Food

Betty Crocker Mint Crinkle Cookies

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SHEEEEEEESH.

I should’ve known by the reviews just how GOOD these cookies would turn out. I was in the mood for something that not only tasted yummy, but also looked pretty, and these crinkle cookies are IT.

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If you follow my instagram, you’d know that one of my 2017 resolutions is to bake more. I love cooking and spending time in the kitchen, so I think baking is just the thing I need in 2017! Recipe adapted from Betty Crocker. Give it a whirl and let me know what you think!

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Ingredients:

2 Cups All Purpose Flour

1 cup unsweetened baking cocoa

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup vegetable oil

4 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon peppermint extract

1/2 cup powdered sugar

Hershey’s Kisses candy cane flavored

Directions:

1. In medium bowl, mix flour, baking cocoa, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

2. In large bowl, beat granulated sugar, oil and eggs with whisk until well mixed. Beat in vanilla and peppermint extract.

3. Stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients just until combined. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 2 hours.

4. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with cooking parchment paper. Place powdered sugar in small bowl. Shape dough into tablespoon-sized balls; roll into powdered sugar. Place on cookie sheets about 1 1/2 inches apart.

5. Bake 10 – 12 minutes, until cookies crackle and dough doesn’t look raw. When cookies are done, immediately place KISSES candy in center of cookie and press lightly. Cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack. Cool completely until candy is set.

Life

It’s A Boy! My Second Trimester Pregnancy Symptoms

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My OBGYN considers week 13 as the second trimester, so i’m going with it (hey, anything to get me out of the dreaded first trimester!)


Week 13: 

I feel so GREAT! I actually feel my energy coming back whereas every task during the first trimester took so much more energy to do. I remember asking myself during first tri, “Am I making myself feel tired?”, “Are these food aversions in my head?”, “Is this all a game I’m playing with myself?” The answer: NO. You have absolutely no control over your body during pregnancy. It does whatever it wants to do. If you don’t like a certain food, it’s not by choice. If you’re tired, it’s not by choice. It’s your body preparing for baby! Looking back, I realize all of that now. I just started drinking coffee again, and I couldn’t stand the taste of it in first trimester. Isn’t that the craziest thing!? #thepoweroftheplacenta (speaking of placenta – have you read how big a role the placenta plays in pregnancy? It’s mind boggling. I’ll have to find the article that I read and link it here, but it helps level out your hormones allowing you to feel as good as you do in second trimester, and that’s just the beginning of all the miraculous things the placenta does!)

We got a call from our OBGYN this week with results from our Panorama test that we took last week at 12 weeks (a blood draw that tests for gender/chromosomal abnormalities). We were told our tests returned normal and low risk. We are grateful for a healthy baby. We asked them to stick the gender into a card and that i’d pick it up later that day. We had a fun night planned around the gender reveal with a picnic on the beach, but when I got home from picking up the card and it was only 1 PM, we COULD.NOT.WAIT. So we decided we would open the envelope (dun dun dunnn).

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I placed the envelope on the kitchen table and waited for Tyler to break out the Welch’s Grape Juice and two glass flutes (you know – for cheers-ing). We both thought at one point we would pass out from pure anticipation. We got to where we were so nervous that we’d barely rip the envelope and then have to set it down just to catch our breath. I think we set the envelope down at least 5 times to jump and hug and laugh. It was seriously funny! Finally, we flapped open the piece of paper and my eye immediately went to “MALE”. Tyler said he was scanning the entire page looking for a color or a pie chart of percentages. Haha! Good thing I started crying, pointing and screaming, or I think it would’ve taken him all day!FullSizeRender

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I was wailing, “I knewwwwwww it was a booooooooy, iiiiiiii kneeeeew itttttt”, and I had to make sure Tyler knew I was crying from joy and not disappointment. It’s a boy! I am so happy! I really DID know it this whole time. After we collected our thoughts (and emotions), we poured another glass of sparkling juice and headed to the baby room where we sat and talked about our expectations as parents. I was asking Tyler questions like, “what do boys do all day?” (Haha!!) And I was telling him how I’ll need a lot of help with Christmas gifts since Tyler’s area of expertise is the boy’s section in Toys R Us. When dinner rolled around, we decided to get out and celebrate so we went to our favorite Japanese restaurant and ate a really great meal. It was truly a great, great day and one that I won’t forget.

The following day, we were so excited to know the gender that we decided to talk about names. I was in the middle of making S’mores Rice Krispie Treats and Tyler had the idea to write our name selections on a large piece of paper taped to the wall, so we headed to the baby room with snacks and a pen. It took us about a day to make the final decision, but it was a decision we both came to with ease, and I love that we can call him by his name when we talk about him now. We plan to keep the name our little secret ’til birth!

 

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Like I mentioned at the start of this post, I’ve been getting new symptoms! My nipples are chapped and peeling. I have no idea why or where this came from, but I’ve asked other mothers and most have not experienced this symptom. So crazy! I have been putting coconut oil and Bio oil on them, both of which have helped over time. The good news is they are not as sensitive as they were in first trimester.

My pregnancy dreams are in FULL force – I had a dream that I was breastfeeding a cat. I mean, what the…?!

I’ve been getting intense leg pain when I sleep which is something that didn’t happen to me during my First Trimester. I’ll wake up with a sore/pulsating/tingling leg and switch sides which means I am in FULL fish-flopping mode, all night long.

This week was a pretty great week. I know we still have so many milestones ahead like the nursery, feeling the first baby kick, touring the hospital and a baby shower, but this week will be hard to top. If you’ve chosen to find out the gender in the next few weeks, can I just say what a difference it makes in the overall pregnancy experience!? I find myself at random times of the day seeing his face around the house and calling out his name. We are so excited!


Week 14:

This week has been a pretty easy one other than the itching. My boobs itch, my stomach itches, my sides itch. I’ve been trying not to scratch it for fear of stretch marks, but it’s so hard not to!

Oh, and BEWARE: In your second trimester, your taste for food will come back with a vengeance!!! You will be a hungry savage at every hour of the day – so hungry that you question having two lunches (and two dinners). I can eat at 8 AM, 11 AM, snack at 2 PM, and fight the urge to eat another meal at 4 PM (to which, I lose… and eat another meal). YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED. Also, I’m still craving comfort foods. Give me all the mashed potatoes, bagels and spaghettio’s. I know, I know. None of it makes sense to me, either.


Week 15: 

BREAST MILK. Yes, you heard me correctly. The boob leakage is in full force!

For your information: my boobs are small (they haven’t grown much during my pregnancy) so I don’t wear a bra around the house…like, ever…which is probably how I was aware of this symptom so early. It was a Saturday morning, and I was washing the dishes only to notice my shirt was wet, directly over my nipples. I told myself that water had gotten on my shirt, and I kept about my day. Lunch time: I’m eating at the table and look down to notice my nipples are wet. I was really shocked at how messy I’d been and couldn’t believe I got my shirt wet again! Skip to dinner: I’m on the phone with my mom and realize my nipples feel cold. I look down to notice my shirt is soaked. This time, it was obvious that the culprit wasn’t water. It was my colostrum coming through! I screamed over the phone, “MY NIPPLES ARE LEAKING” and my mom was like, “No way, already?!” …Crazy, right? Don’t let me freak you out: this symptom is on and off. It doesn’t happen all the time. In fact, the following day I had nothing! However, I’ve noticed a common pattern: when my breasts do begin to leak, I know that they will leak for the rest of the day. I’ve already woken up with a wet shirt, so I lined my bra with panty liners to catch the goods (only a temporary fix til I make a run to Target for breast pads). The doc says it’s a normal symptom to have during pregnancy, but I can’t believe I’m experiencing it earlier than some of my other pregnant friends.

Prepare yourself for bleeding gums and a bloody nose during the second trimester. I’m sure these symptoms don’t happen to everyone, but i’ve already woken up with a bloody nose and it’s not uncommon for me to brush my teeth and see blood (this is coming from an avid flosser)

We had our 2nd appointment this week! It was a quick one: pee in a cup, listen to the heart from a fetal doppler and talk to the doc. He had such a strong heartbeat! The nurse said the heartbeat is normally difficult to find at this stage in pregnancy, so when she found his heartbeat right off the bat, she was stunned. She couldn’t stop talking about how surprised she was that it was so easy to find! We didn’t get to see baby on ultrasound this time, but our next appointment in 4 weeks is a brain/organ scan, so I’m counting down the days until I get to see my babe again! My weight on the scale has gone up 1.5 pounds making that 3 pounds gained thus far in my pregnancy.

In the last days of week 15, I was sitting at my kitchen table and  felt the baby flutter for the first time! As I’m typing this, I feel him kicking! It’s too early for Tyler to feel the kicks from the outside, but it has been pretty amazing to experience, and he seems to be squirm often! I feel him move every day now.


Week 16:

This week, I really feel like my bump has started to become visible. It’s not “large” by any means, but it’s extremely low and round, and I can wear a tight t-shirt and get comments from friends. Toting this little bump around makes me happy.

Don’t be fooled! The second trimester is great and all, but you will still experience some crazy (and painful) symptoms. For the past 2 weeks, I’ve been struggling with hip pain while I sleep. I wake up from a burning/aching hip (the one I’ve been sleeping on) and apparently it’s from a hormone called relaxin that relaxes the ligaments in the pelvis and softens and widens the cervix. I read that sleeping on your soft hip allows the bone to move from the joint causing the burning sensation I’ve been feeling. It’s pretty terrible! Not only do I have to avoid my back and stomach when I sleep, but the sides aren’t that great either! BOO HOO. You can read more about the symptom here and how other preggy ladies are combating the pain! So far, nothing seems to help me. I’m a lost cause!


Week 17: For the past 2 weeks, I’ve been trying to get Tyler to feel baby kicks from the outside. I’ll say, “He’s kicking, gimme your hand!” but our baby boy is still little, so it’s been almost impossible for Tyler to feel anything. Like I’ve said before, it’s such a magical feeling, but it’s difficult finding the words to describe it to him, so I was determined for Tyler to feel it for himself!

After a big dinner of shrimp wraps and broccoli, we sat in bed talking. Baby Weir was kicking – hard – and I told Tyler to place his hand on top of my stomach. We really didn’t think he’d be able to feel anything yet, but one hard kick later, and I swear his eyes could light up a Christmas tree. His mouth dropped and he sat there, frozen and not moving. It was almost as if he was in disbelief. Experiencing his reaction has been one of the most precious sights I’ve ever witnessed in my life. I reminded myself in that exact moment to hold onto that feeling : watching a Dad feel his baby for the first time. I hope I will always remember the way his face looked. It was a true gift.

I haven’t had any pregnancy headaches in a while which is AWESOME! And I’ve been sleeping like Rip Van Winkle at night. I still wake up with leg pain, but I swap sides, and I’m out like a light.

I’ve been making breakfast every morning this week. It’s been my most favorite thing to do! I love to cook, and I read that breakfast is so important for a pregnant woman, so I’m up-and-at-em at 6:30 frying bacon, glazing cinnamon rolls, flipping eggs. It’s a special time I get to spend with Tyler before he leaves for work. I hope we can keep this up!

Cravings: still eating tuna fish like it’s my job. bagels and cream cheese. turkey sandwiches. Nothing has changed much!


Week 18:

I was making my bed the other day when I noticed I had four pillows on my side. Four! I used to sleep with just one! Now it’s as if I won’t sleep without a whole pillow fort around my body, and four doesn’t even seem to be enough! My current sleep position is as follows: left side sleeper with a pillow in between legs, pillow behind my head, body pillow on top of head pillow turned vertically to run down my side, large sham resting on headboard for when I wake up and want to sleep upright. If that’s the case, then I gather all of my pillows and put them under my waist and back. Whew!

The irony about my sleeping position is that I’m not even sleeping this week. Week 10 and week 18 have been my worst no-sleep-weeks. I don’t know if its because my body temperature is high, and I cant cool down, but there is no sleep happening for this girl at the moment.

Oh, and welcome, bloody nose #2!


Week 19: This week, I welcomed two stretch marks on my boobs – one on each boob in the exact same spot. I’ve been lathering them with oil, but they’re still there. I may lose the stretch mark battle, folks! I guess some things are just inevitable!

We had our 19 week checkup this week : brain/organ ultrasound scan and talking with the doctor. Baby Weir is measuring at exactly where he needs to be! His lips are full and show no cleft lip, his heart has four chambers that are pumping blood, his brain measures the right width, and we are beyond grateful! …though i’m not as grateful for the 5 pounds I’ve gained since my last visit. Whoops! Since the beginning of my pregnancy, I have gained 8 pounds thus far (thank you, ice cream and bagels) Grow, baby, grow! Here is an updated ultrasound pic of Baby Weir! His little feet are over his head. He is so active!

Boy Ultrasound

I’ve also noticed how hard my uterus is! I read that it’s muscles in the uterus tightening. It honestly feels like there’s a rock in there! Because it’s hard and rounded, this week is the first week that my belly has actually felt like a pregnant belly!

It’s also the first week that I’ve experienced Round Ligament Pain. It’s TERRIBLE! I walk around like a hobbled, old woman. It doesn’t hurt if I bend over and give my muscles some slack, but when I stand straight, I get crazy pains on the lower right side of my uterus. The pain is strong enough to bring me to my knees. Yyyyyouch! Lots of firsts this week.


Week 20: Well, I think the frustrations of pregnancy are hitting me hard this week. With my growing belly not showing signs of slowing down anytime soon, it’s been hard to dress myself lately. I’m officially at that point where all the clothes in my closet are too tight – belts hardly fit around my waist, all of my button down shirts want to pop open, vests wont close past my breasts, and any dress I wear is pulled up too high by my belly. I would love nothing more than to go out and buy some new clothes, but in a season when you’re busy buying for others, it’s just not in the budget! I just get stressed thinking about holiday parties and gatherings coming up that I have no clothes for. This part sucks. This part sucks real bad.

I’m also at the point where I have difficulty bending over to put on my shoes. Sitting on the staircase seems to help, but only if I don’t care for oxygen. Oh, and I can’t shave anything below my belly button because I can’t see! Does it sound like i’m whining? THAT’S BECAUSE I AM!

Other than my petty problems, I’m starting to get to where I can’t imagine not having dessert once a day, whether that be a donut, a slice of cake or a scoop of ice cream. I am literally a vampire that needs blood! I was telling Tyler recently how we used to rarely have desserts around the house. We never had bad food…only simple snacks like hummus, apples, peanut butter, nuts, etc. Now I just want shells and cheese and pop tarts and oatmeal cream pies and .99 cent boxed cake and cookie dough and anything processed. Ha! The good news is I’ve been walking twice a day (once in the morning, once after work). It just feels so incredible outside!


Week 21: Oh, Thanksgiving food. You tasted really good this week, but you came with acid reflux and IBS (x2). #WORTHIT.

We spent the Thanksgiving holidays with my mom and dad this week. I haven’t seen my parents since I’ve felt Baby Weir’s first kicks, so my mom finally got to feel him wiggle! I loved watching her reaction. It’s really special sharing that moment with friends and family.

This week has been pretty easy other than acid reflux and IBS. For lunch one day, we had tomato soup and grilled cheese, and for dinner that same night, I ate taco soup (also filled with tomatoes). Tomatoes are so acidic so this was my first bout of acid reflux. YOUCH! Apparently it’s not good to lie down when you get acid reflux, but it was 10 PM, and I had a full belly so I slept upright for the rest of the night.

And I’ll spare you the details about IBS (other than it was awful, and I think it was from all of the rich thanksgiving food I ate)


Week 22: I BOUGHT BREAST PADS. No more washing my bra every other day! Pretty pumped about this.

I am slowly realizing that I can’t do things the same way that I once could, pre pregnancy. Like i’ve mentioned above, putting on my shoes or bending over for anything is beginning to get difficult. Even more, I was surprised to find out that wearing high heels isn’t the best idea. I am a girly girl through and through: I like my sequins and my heels. Now that we’re smack in the middle of holiday season, I REALLY like my heels. I wore some for work the other day and when I took my shoes off at home, my feet were so swollen! I’m pretty sad about it considering there’s a Christmas party in the coming week…to which I will be wearing heels then, too 🙂


Week 23: Coming soon!


Week 24: Coming soon!


Week 25: Coming soon!


Week 26: Coming soon!


Week 27: Coming soon!


 

Life

We’re Pregnant! My First Trimester Pregnancy Symptoms

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11 weeks ultrasound photoWhen you’re pregnant for the first time, every little twinge of pain – and even no pain – can become nerve-racking to a new mom. These days online, it seems like pregnancy is as simple as an announcement and a bump photo. That’s it!? No symptoms?! No abdomen pain?! No random mood swings followed by a river of tears?! No acne so bad that you’ve perfected your Home Alone face in the mirror every morning?! Throughout this process, I wish I had more advice, more stories, better expectations. And that’s what I hope to do for any of you preggy or hope-to-be-preggy moms out there who seem just as lost as me.  You’re not alone like you might sometimes feel!

If you’re a new momma, congratulations! The worry that you feel right now is all too familiar to me. I’ve made this post for the simple reason that like you, I was that first-trimester-scared-pregnant-mom sifting through hundreds of baby forums a day to compare symptoms just hoping that I could relate to someone going through the same things as me. Hey – you may not relate to my symptoms. Every mom is different. I know moms out there who had NO nausea and NO cramping and gave birth to a healthy baby. I also know moms out there who vomited their brains out for weeks and went on to have healthy babies. If I can help ease the mind of one mom-to-be out there, I have officially done what I came here to do! Here are my first trimester symptoms:


Week 4: I have a menstrual cycle that functions like a clock, so when my period was 1 day late, I knew that I was pregnant. My husband was so surprised at how keen my intuition was. He was absolutely shocked when I took the test and it was positive (not to mention that the results happened in a matter of seconds, and I don’t think he was prepared for that!) We decided to share the news with our best friends, Ashley and Jordan, and it was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made. Since she recently had her baby, it was helpful to text her with any questions or concerns knowing she’s been there before. Even more, having them to share in our excitement with us was so memorable!

My week 4 symptoms included crazy bloating (it looked like I was 3 months pregnant, and I had trouble buttoning my jeans), gas, a lot of abdomen pressure and period-like abdominal cramping, frequent urination (also because I started drinking 3 liters of water a day), constipation, breathlessness, fatigue, sleepless nights and really painful lower back ache. My back hurt so bad at times I would have to sit down in small intervals throughout the day. Sleep is nonexistent for me right now. I’m just so uncomfortable! No nausea symptoms for me yet.

Note: I prefer the First Response pregnancy tests that have the pink lines. I have used Clear Blue, and I don’t have the patience to wait 3 minutes for a blinking icon to tell me the results that First Response can tell me in 15 seconds. I felt that First Response was extremely accurate and easy to read. It’s simple: two pink lines means “pregnant”, regardless if one of the lines is faded (the left pregnancy line was bold and the right line was faded).


Week 5: My symptoms during week 5 seemed to come and go, which worried me. One day I would feel like the littlest of tasks took so much energy, and the next day I would feel completely normal with ZERO symptoms (not even sore breasts). My week 5 symptoms included terrible, terrible, terrible cramping (implementation – more painful than my regular periods), bloating, blue veins in breasts, hard breasts, sore nipples, frequent urination, constipation, spots of acne on my forehead, breathlessness, fatigue and lower back ache (though the backache was not as bad as week 4). I have finally started to get some sleep! No nausea symptoms!


Week 6: I think I jinxed myself when I said no nausea yet at week 4 and week 5. I was in the middle of grocery shopping at exactly 6 weeks and had a bad wave of nausea come over me. Thankfully, my husband was there and we were in the middle of checking out so I tried to mind-over-matter the whole situation, but i’d be lying if I said I wasn’t eyeing the closest grocery bag for safety precautions! That’s the only bout of nausea that i’ve had yet.

Can I say how hard it is to grocery shop when pregnant? At 6 weeks, I have more food aversions than I do cravings, and everything looks so GROSS. I can barely browse Pinterest without wanting to vomit at every food recipe I see! Other week 6 symptoms include tight pressure in my abdomen, frequent urination, sore breasts, blue veins in breasts, “alert” nipples (I am not a nipper and I’ve been nipping constantly), hard breasts, a stinging twinge in my right ovary (though not constant), constipation, fatigue, throbbing headaches and breathlessness. When I say “breathlessness”, I mean that I sound like I sprinted a mile just from the parking lot to the grocery store. It’s absolutely insane.

I have to say, the coolest part about this week for me is watching the changes in my breasts. Though they’re not terribly sore, they grow more blue veins every day, and I can see my areolas darkening and expanding (which I think is so interesting!) Right now, it’s the only thing making me feel pregnant, so I’m running with it!

Oh, and acne. So annoying. So present, all over my forehead.

Still no morning sickness for me!


Week 7: The headaches. Oh, the headaches! If I’m ever sitting down and I stand on my feet, I immediately feel throbbing in my head. And every morning, it’s a guarantee that I’ll wake up with a headache, so I’ve been putting popsicles on my neck! No vomiting or nausea, so I think i’ll take the headaches as a sign of how my body is responding to the extra hormones.

My sense of smell is absolutely ridiculous. We went to the movie theater the other day, and upon entering the theater I was immediately hit by a wave of smell – the strongest, butteriest, mustiest popcorn odor that I’ve ever smelled. And when I say “wave”, I actually mean that I jumped back because the smell was so strong. I almost couldn’t bare it. I also take photos for a local boutique that sells candles, and the scent almost knocked me down. I take photos for them on a weekly basis, and i’ve never noticed the smell before until now!

The breathlessness struggle is real! I’ll go on walks around the neighborhood with my husband, and even though I walked pre-pregnancy (thinking my body would be used to the walking), i’m still completely out of breath due to my increased blood volume. On the days I don’t feel like drowning in my own sweat outside, I like to do YouTube workouts. I read that a normal increase in blood flow and the hormone progesterone causes you to breathe more often, so if you’re feeling short of breath, it’s completely normal!

Have you heard of the ‘ole wives tale that icy feet mean your having a boy? Regardless of the baby’s sex (since we aren’t at that point yet) my feet have been ICE cold. And I don’t mean a little “chilly” – it feels like ice straight down to my foot bone. I wear socks all day long, and that doesn’t even help! I have my heating pad on standby, but I praise the day when my feet aren’t in pain anymore.

Other week 7 symptoms include frequent urination – I probably pee 15 times in a 24 hour period; fatigue – the fatigue is in full force this week, and I take naps every day. I feel extremely lazy and have no motivation to do anything at all. On my last 2 days of this week, I’ve been feeling a lot of constant abdomen pressure, day and night. I wake up with it and go to bed with it. It’s not that i’m not tired, but the pressure keeps me awake. No morning sickness!


Week 8: My worst pregnancy symptom thus far has been migraines/hormone headaches. Though i’ve always struggled with motion sickness, I just recently found out that these headaches i’ve been getting are even worse in the car. On day 1 of week 8, I came down with the worst headache since i’ve been pregnant – the kind where you want complete darkness, cold temperatures and no food. It was bad.

On day 5 of week 8, we were traveling 6 hours to Jackson, MS (where our family lives) and I got so sick from the stop-and-go traffic that the closest thing near me was a cardboard box, so I threw up in it. The rest of the car ride was spent gagging into said box, and I chose to ride with it in my lap throughout the entire trip because I didn’t want to stop the car. Worst car ride of my ENTIRE life!

I’ve had a lot of abdominal pressure lately, and I feel it most when i’m laying down at night. I’ve also been waking up at 4 AM with hunger pains (the kind where it feels like there’s a hole in your stomach). I can’t decide if I should get up and eat, or ride it out until morning. Either way, it’s hard to fall back to sleep.

I know some of you will have your first prenatal appointment this week! Hooray! Ours has been pushed back since we’ll be traveling out of state during the next two weeks. Before you go to your appointment, make sure your OBGYN is in “Network” and your insurance plan is eligible. There are thousands of insurance plans out there and not all plans are accepted by your OB. Trust me, you don’t want to be stuck with self-pay. So expensive! To make sure your OB is in Network, visit your insurance site or call your insurance agent and ask (there should be a number on your card). For example, i’m with Aetna insurance. I can go to their website, find my OBGYN and sift through the plans that are in network. If it has a green checkmark by it, I know that they accept my specific plan!

Insurance

If your OB is NOT in Network with your insurance, you will pay LOADS of money, FYI. I didn’t know that until researching and talking with my parents.


Week 9: You are the devil, week 9!

This week, we spent 8 days in San Francisco (plus a few extra days of travel time + spending time in our hometown with family). We’ve been planning this trip for 7 months, so it’s all we’ve been talking about and saving for. Little did I know, I would wind up pregnant two months before our trip. Not knowing what I was in for (and also having almost everything booked like flight, hotel and concert tickets) we decided to move forward with our trip. If I could give you one piece of advice through this whole experience, it’s to avoid traveling during your first trimester. Don’t do it if you can help it! I mean this with every fiber in my body.

On average, I had 3-5 headaches per day during this trip. Part of the headaches were triggered by eating late, and the other part was caused by hormones.

All I wanted to do was sleep. I’d be in the middle of a ferry boat ride struggling to stay awake, not to mention my husband had me biking, hiking and sight seeing! Ha!

I was so hungry that by the time we ate lunch and dinner, I didn’t even care what was on the menu. Just bring me food. And the craziest part? As hungry as I was, I would get full easily. I had an amazing meal one night (crab macaroni and cheese). I could only take 4 bites before I was done, and I was literally so embarrassed to hand my plate back to the waiter because it looked like I didn’t even touch it (and we didn’t have a mini fridge in our hotel room)!

And the Hwy 1 roads? Stop and go traffic? Hills? HEADACHE CITY.

We truly had a great time in San Francisco and made some wonderful memories. I wouldn’t take it back for the whole world, but it was a serious struggle to get through each day, and I just wish it could’ve been during a time when my symptoms tapered off (or when I wasn’t pregnant). Tyler’s aunt and uncle ironically went to San Francisco during their first trimester and from what they’ve told us, she was miserable, too!

Since our families live in another state, this is the week we told them we were pregnant!


Week 10: THE TEARS. My mood is like a switch, and I can cry on command. I’ve never experienced anything like it. If something makes me upset, tears just come out. It’s literally uncontrollable! My poor husband!

I actually have a small bump already!! It starts right under my belly button down to my uterus. I can still wear my same jeans (uncomfortably), but I have to unbutton them anytime I sit down. I also have skirts that already fit tighter in the waist (that were large on me last year – boo hoo!)

Hubby actually found a large, blue vein on my stomach today. More blue veins!

My abdomen is tight, tight, tight. It’s hard to get comfortable when I sleep because of this. I’d say that week 10 has been my worst sleeping week yet. Throughout this pregnancy, I haven’t had any insomnia or trouble getting into my REM stage of sleep, but this week it’s been hard because there’s so much pressure in my stomach, and no matter what side I sleep on, it’s uncomfortable!

Also, my nipples. So tender.


Week 11: On day 1 of 11 weeks, we had our very first ultrasound! We had to push our ultrasound back because we were out-of-state for almost 2 whole weeks. I was super anxious about my first appointment. I hate needles (my mom says, “you better get used to it!”) and I also didn’t know what would be the outcome of all of the testing. I have to say that having Tyler there made it so fun for me. He was really calm (when is he not??) and so helpful when my mind went blank filling out the 100 forms they give you. I actually think I looked at him when the form asked me my race. He gave me a puzzled look and said, “Caucasian”….Oh, right. Baby brain.

I can’t explain what it feels like to see your baby on an ultrasound screen. Ours was wiggling, waving, kicking, shaking! I wasn’t expecting to see it move. I was so in awe by this that I asked the technician if she was moving him with the ultrasound wand. She said, “Nope, that’s your baby!” …You guys! It was a complete wiggle worm! It’s insane to think about how much they move and you can’t even feel it yet. Tyler told me he almost fainted. Ha!!

We also heard the heartbeat. It was so fast! My OBGYN said, “Your baby’s heart rate was 173 BPM, fast and just how we like it at this stage” which gave me much relief. She also said figuring out gender based on heartbeat is a complete myth and to not believe what anyone says, FYI. I had never heard that wives tale before so it was news to me!

Lucky me, I got to skip my labs this week since I wanted the Panorama testing that reveals your baby’s risk for genetic disorders as well as tells you the gender early (and that can only be done on week 12.) So next week, week 12, I go back for all of my blood work and maybe by week 13, we’ll know the gender! So glad to almost be out of my first trimester.

Other than our first OB visit, this week we’ve been deciding on the best insurance plan for me as well as how much we’ll have to pay out-of-pocket for birth. It’s been extremely stressful. I’ve shed a few tears over it. So far, it’s looking like we’ll need an extra $8,000 by April ($343 per month until April for monthly health insurance and $6,000 out of pocket expenses come birth). Keep in mind that I am self-employed and pay for my own benefits which is why it’s so expensive on my end. If you’re lucky, yours will be half of that! This is the not-so-fun part of working for yourself, but I remind myself that after the baby is born, some moms will pay upwards of $800/month for daycare, and we don’t have that expense since I work from home (and take client photos on the weekend when Tyler is home). You win some, you lose some. Still, it’s a nerve-wracking thought having to save up that much money in 6 months while also forking out money for a nursery, maternity clothes, and hello – I don’t even have my own car! Lots to do. This week is a great time to sit down together and figure out your finances!

A huge thanks to my parents for helping us figure out our insurance/finances, spreadsheet and all!


Week 12: Back to the OB’s office. I’ve already learned everyone’s names around here, and it’s fun to come in and catch up with staff at every visit. This visit was super quick – a 15 minute blood draw, and I was done! Of course, I panicked and Tyler held my hand the entire time. I don’t know what it is about blood, but I can’t watch it going into the tube, so I stared at the bacon calendar on the wall – yes, an entire calendar dedicated to bacon.

The nurse who drew my blood calls herself the “blood sucker”. She had the cutest british accent and told me about her horse and her family in Birmingham, UK. When we were done with the blood tests, she packaged up my tubes and put them in the Panorama box to be shipped off to the labs! Let’s hope for a healthy baby! We also told her that we wanted the gender results in a card so Husband and I could open it together. We’ve talked about enjoying a nice dinner on the beach and opening it there. I’m really excited!

After my lab appointment, Tyler took me to get maternity jeans. I’ve been walking around with my pants unbuttoned for about 2 weeks, so it was time. I finally bought my first pair from H&M ($49.99) and they’re really adorable. I bought a pair one size larger than my regular size so I could grow into them. I also got two basic t-shirts and some cute maternity jogger pants. After that, I had to stop by Zoe’s Kitchen to grab some chicken salad to go. I can eat loads of chicken salad, right now.

As far as symptoms go, my forehead acne is still present but slowly dissipating. My breasts definitely fill up my bra, and sleeping is painful. There’s a slight dull ache when I lay down on my side, and I flop like a fish all night long. Other than that, it’s been an easy week and my food aversions have died down. Thank goodness!


Week 13: *Sigh* the last week of my first trimester. When I found out we were expecting, it felt like this week would never come. Now, I am in awe that it’s here.

If I had to sum up my first trimester, i’d say that I had it easier than most. After reading a lot of baby forums with very sick moms, I’m surprised that the morning sickness simply didn’t happen to me. I also slept fairly well though I had a few nights where I woke up a lot because of the pressure/abdomen pain. I’d say the worst part about my first trimester experience was the headaches and food aversions. It got really difficult eating at times! Seeing that I have no trouble eating now, i’m glad that’s over. I missed you, food! Weight wise, it looks like I gained 1.8 pounds since the start, and I’m expected to gain 1 pound every week until baby. Week 13 was an easy week. Feeling great!


Currently Reading / Watching:

Belly Laughs by Jenny McCarthy. I actually read this book in one day. It has really quick chapters and fun pregnancy humor. Such an easy read! I love Jenny McCarthy and it’s so funny to hear all of the symptoms she went through while pregnant (she seemed to experience it ALL!)

Have I told you how bad my taste in TV has become since i’ve been pregnant? I have The O.C.One Tree Hill and Gillmore Girls playing constantly, and it’s such bad TV that it’s GOOD. I’ve never watched any of these television series before, and I truly believe it’s pregnancy that got me here, but… TEAM RYAN (and LUCAS).

I’m using the free Pregnancy+ iPhone App. I love it so, so much! After downloading over 5 pregnancy apps, this one was my favorite. I also love Baby Center. Every day, the app gives you fun facts and recommendations based on how many weeks you’re at. On the Pregnancy+ App, it has weekly images of the growing fetus with a 2D and 3D scan so you can get an idea of what it looks like in your belly. You can enter appointments, your weight, look at monthly diagrams and log important phone numbers. All in all, it’s a great app and I wouldn’t use anything else. I look forward to opening it every single morning!


Currently Drinking:

Loads and loads of water. I find that my HydroFlask helps me gauge how much water i’m drinking per day (which is around 3 liters). I also love to throw in a La Croix here and there to make drinking water more enjoyable, though i’ve heard that carbonated water can make you more bloated and burpy. I don’t care! I love LaCroix! And i’ve been drinking a lot of milk for calcium. Since I am not a huge fan of coffee lately (which is crazy because i’m a total coffee fanatic and had 2-3 cups a day pre-pregnancy), i’ve been drinking hot cider in the morning and I just love it, especially with fall right around the corner. If you do buy cider, makes sure it is pasteurized.


Currently Eating:

I’d like to start by saying I am a fairly healthy eater. My pre-pregnancy lunches consisted of simple, whole foods like apples, avocado wheat toast and a string cheese. Dinners at our house range from baked salmon with watercress salad or shrimp kebabs. I love to cook, and I’m a huge foodie, so any time of day that I can eat is my favorite time of day! However, immediately upon getting pregnant, my tastebuds quickly turned into the KID MENU AT APPLEBEES. Though I have not gotten terribly sick during my first trimester, all I can stomach lately are refried beans, mashed potatoes and gravy, tacos, macaroni and cheese, grilled cheese sandwiches, chicken noodle soup and cereal. You know – comfort food. I’m buying things that I didn’t even know still existed: OATMEAL CREAM PIES? $1 RED HOTS AT THE GAS STATION? POP TARTS? It feels out of my control to eat healthy at this point, and I’m trying not to make myself feel guilty for it. I’ve had several attempts at eating vegetables, and I literally can’t fathom swallowing them. I am forced to spit them into a napkin! In my opinion, it’s better to eat something than nothing at all. Be prepared for your taste to change. Mine has gone completely bonkers. Here’s to hoping I eat better in the second trimester.

My top cravings are chicken salad sandwiches and turkey sandwiches. My OBGYN says it’s totally ok to eat deli meat, and only recommends Boars Head meat – it has no preservatives and no nitrates. FYI: It’s not near the other sandwich meats. It’s in the deli section.

Other foods i’ve been eating are peaches, oranges, boiled eggs, avocados, dried apricots, babybel cheese (you can eat/drink any dairy products made from pasteurized milk and Babybel cheese is one of those) Toast with strawberry jam, spaghettio’s, corn chips and salsa, and the occasional chocolate cupcake and sour cream and onion potato chips. Yummmmm!


Currently NOT Eating:

I have both salmon and cod in my freezer and the thought of eating them makes me want to vomit. If you know me in the slightest bit, you would know that I absolutely live for seafood. I mean, hello – I live on the beach! On the other hand, I did enjoy a cooked sushi roll the other day and never seem to grow tired of my go-to teriyaki sushi roll. Still a fan! And yes, i’m eating sushi! My OBGYN says “go for it” and that, “pregnant Asians have been eating sushi for centuries and they have some of the smartest kids in the world”. I am liking my OB more and more every day.

I cannot stomach rotisserie chicken (the color, the smell, the taste) I made dinner one night with a rotisserie and spit it into a napkin. CORN (oh my god, vomit, vomit, vomit) sweet potatoes (i usually love them but I ate too much of them before I got pregnant and now the taste lingers with me) but corn is probably my worst aversion of all. Typing the word makes me cringeeeeee.


Things i’ve learned in this trimester:

Avoid kitty litter while pregnant. I had never heard of this until a friend told me! Thank God she shared this information with me, because I have a cat and clean out the box once a week, hence = a new job for hubby!

Body pillows are complete life savers. I’ve always slept with a normal square pillow, and it wasn’t until I got a long, body pillow that I started sleeping well. I find that the body pillow helps with a bloated and crampy tummy. I got mine at Walmart for under $10! I can promise you that a body pillow will help you sleep so much better during pregnancy.

Husbands are miracles. I have really enjoyed this process so far but that’s largely because Tyler has made it easy for me. If I have a craving, he’s good about helping me satisfy it. If i’m uncomfortable, he finds a way to make it better. He rubs my belly sometimes and asks me how i’m feeling. I’ve really fallen in love with him even more during this process.

Prenatal vitamins don’t always give you great hair, skin and nails. Although my nails look better than they ever have and i’m clipping them almost daily, my hair is dull and my face is covered in zits. WHERE IS MY GLOW?

Find a way to stretch. I’ve been doing YouTube workouts in our media room. This one is really great. It helps stretch parts of your body that haven’t been stretched in a while, and did I mention that I slept like a baby after I did this workout? In my early first trimester, I walked around the neighborhood in long sleeved shirts and long pants to play it safe. I can’t do that anymore. Not only are there 80 confirmed cases of Zika in Florida, but a long sleeved shirt in 100 degree heat is not my idea of a good time. Zika has been such a bummer!

Keep Cheerio’s by your bed incase you get a spout of nausea or wake up hungry. It’s perfect for those 3 AM hunger pains!

COCONUT OIL. It smells delicious, you can cook with it, and I rub it all over my body to create elasticity for when my belly grows. I’ve actually heard its great for breast feeding moms (and some like it better than using Lanolin) since coconut oil is completely edible and is safe for the baby to ingest. I leave my jar out as a reminder to put it on every day!

Put a cold popsicle on your neck if you suffer from hormone headaches. The cold seems to help immensely.

Treat yourself to your cravings. I’ve read article after article talking about how important it is to avoid your cravings and eat healthy. This ticks me off to no end. Not only am I growing a tiny human, but i’m uncomfortable, headachy and eating is already tough. Now, I wouldn’t say Cheetos are a healthy choice for every meal, but do NOT make yourself feel guilty for enjoying what you can. Food is not a fun part of the first trimester. Feed your body, do your best, and treat yourself, damnit.

Let go and let God. I’ve often had to remind myself that regardless of outcome, worrying will get me nowhere. It only makes it worse. Stress is not good for you, mama!


Disclaimer: The opinions expressed on The Weir House are based on my own thoughts, knowledge, and experiences. Please keep in mind that I am not a medical professional, so please consult your OBGYN before making any changes to your diet or health while pregnant.

Travel

Our San Francisco Trip Budget

For the past 2 weeks, i’ve been keeping up with all of our San Francisco expenses for the simple reason that we wish we had this information during our planning stage! We’ve heard San Francisco is expensive, and we didn’t know if we would need $100 a day or $300 a day for food. We didn’t know if the City Pass was worth it, or if we should consider another option. Think of our budget as giving you the flexibility to increase or decrease your budget and better personalize your experience.

We purchased the city pass for this trip thinking the street car and MUNI bus would be a beneficial way to get around. The city pass also comes with tickets to the science museum, aquarium and a few other local attractions. However, we found that using an Uber to get around town was a better option. Our Uber rides only cost $7-$10 per ride, and we got some great local recommendations this way. The amount of time it took for us to stand in line and wait for a street car or bus wasn’t worth it to us. If we could do it again, we would skip the city pass.

We really enjoyed where we stayed. It was right in the middle of Fisherman’s Wharf, so we could walk to dinner or grab ice cream at Ghirardelli. Our hotel was clean, our bed was extremely comfortable, and the complimentary breakfast was decent. If you want to go all out, you could stay at the Fairmont, Hyatt or Hotel Zephyr. We knew we would be out of the room a lot, so we chose a middle of the line hotel. If you want to save even more money, you could look into an AirBnb or Travelodge. If we go back, we will stay somewhere new just to explore a new area of town, maybe somewhere near Haight-Ashbury. Keep in mind that Fisherman’s Wharf is very dirty, very crowded, very touristy. If you want to see the real San Francisco, go deeper into town.

If I had to choose my favorite experience of the trip no matter the cost, it would be Coldplay, followed by the Giants game. California’s stadiums are some of the nicest I’ve ever seen. The food at the game is SO good, the atmosphere is wonderful, and the weather is lovely. Bring sunscreen because Tyler walked away a fried lobster and my head has been peeling through my hair the entire trip. Tyler’s chosen experience would be Coldplay, followed by biking the Golden Gate bridge with Blazing Saddles. He loved it!

My least favorite experience was China Town. It didn’t impress me much, and the food isn’t the typical Chinese food that you’re used to at home. There is some funky looking food in China Town! I also think the China Town in New York is nicer than this one.

Food wise, it looks like we spent around $100 per day on food. I think we could have eaten better as well as enjoyed a few more meals that didn’t involve a table number or standing in line. If you like the restaurant experience (and being waited on), I would increase your food budget. I know some that spent $200 a day solely on food.

If you have any questions about your San Francisco trip or ways to save/splurge, you are welcome to browse my past posts as well as leave your questions in comments. I’m happy to answer them! My whole goal on this blog is to make your life easier and provide you with real expectations for a hassle free trip.


Arrival Day:
• Delta Airfare with complimentary companion ticket (we have a Delta Sky Miles Credit Card) – $420.00 round trip for 2 people
• Airport lunch (Chick Fil A) and snacks for plane – $18.00, $25.00
• City Pass (usage of Street Car, Cal. Academy of Sciences, Bay Cruise Adventure, Exploratorium, Aquarium) $188.00 for 2 people
• Holiday Inn Express Hotel, Fishermans Wharf, 7 nights (complimentary breakfast) – $1700.00
• Fisherman’s Wharf Crab Chowder for dinner – $32.00 for 2 people incl. tip
• CVS run for chapstick, toothpaste, and makeup wipes – $15.00

TOTAL: $2,398.00


Day 1, Fishermans Wharf, China Town, AT&T Park:
• Starbucks morning coffee – $8.00 for 2 people
• CVS run for deodorant and shampoo – $9.44
• Giants game tickets – $110.00 for 2 people
• Giants game stadium food (1 hot dog, 2 hamburgers, 2 waters, 2 cokes, nachos, ice cream bar, peanuts) – $55.00
• China Town dinner at Begoni Bistro (impulse decision) – $55.00
• Uber back to the hotel – $10.00

TOTAL: $247.44


Day 2, Blazing Saddles Bike Tour, Sausalito:
• Bike rental – $100.00 for 2 people (one electric bike at $70, one mountain bike at $30)
• Trader Joes snacks for the bike trip – $8.15 (peanut butter pretzels, 2 waters, dark chocolate bar)
• Ferry ticket to return bikes – $20.00 for 2 people
• Lunch in Sausalito – $27.51 (2 sandwiches, 2 chips, 2 drinks)
• Saltwater Taffy – $10.00 
• Starbucks coffee in Sausalito – $9.20 (2 coffees)
• Pizza at Carmel Pizza$55.00 (2 large pizzas)
• Ice Cream Sandwiches at The Baked Bear$11.00 (2 ice cream sandwiches)
• Uber back to the hotel – $10.00

TOTAL: $250.86


Day 3, Alcatraz + Ferry Building:
• Alcatraz Tickets – $66.00 for 2 people
• Lunch in the Ferry Building – $47.00 (one salad, one hot dog, one sandwich, one cup of chili)
• Candy treats at Miette Bakery – $12.00 (one chocolate treat, one sour treat)
• Ghirardelli Square Sundaes – $29.00 for 2 sundaes
• Baked Potatoes for dinner – $19.00 (2 loaded baked potatoes, 2 drinks)
• Movie on demand – $3.00 (Escape from Alcatraz on Amazon)

TOTAL: $176.00


Day 4, Mission + Castro + Haight-Ashbury:
• El Farolito lunch – $23.00 (2 super burritos, 2 sodas)
• Starbucks – $12.00 (2 waters, 2 muffins, 1 coffee)
• Uber to Castro – $7.00
• Uber to Painted Ladies – $7.00
• Uber to Haight Ashbury – $8.00
• Uber to Embarcadero – $8.00
• Walgreens run (sunscreen, aloe, souvenir) – $29.00
• Starbucks collectible coffee mug souvenir – $12.00
• In N Out for dinner – $19.00

TOTAL: $125.00


Day 5, Bixby Bridge, Santa Cruz Boardwalk, Monterey Aquarium, Carmel :
• Enterprise Car Rental – $265.00 with insurance
• Starbucks – $8.20 for 2 drinks
• Santa Cruz Corn Dogs for lunch – $9.00 for 2 corn dogs
• Santa Cruz slushies – $12.00 for 2 slushies
• Monterey Bay Aquarium parking – $10.00 (our tickets were included in the City Pass book, see arrival day)
• Souvenir for parents – $18.00
• Carmel dinner – $74.00

TOTAL: $396.20


Day 6, Sausalito, Muir Woods:
• Lunch at Caffe Tutti – $46.85 (2 drinks, 2 lunches, 2 desserts, cup of soup)
• Sausalito parking – $4.00
• Entrance fee Muir Woods – $20.00 for 2 people
• Gas – $30.00
• Dinner at Bistro Boudin – $88.00 incl. tip (crab macaroni and cheese, meatballs, appetizer, hamburger)
• Souvenir for family – $28.00
• Ghirardelli – $20.61 (2 hot chocolates, 2 ice creams)

TOTAL: $237.46


Day 7, Palo Alto, Santa Clara, Coldplay Concert:
• Switched Hotels for one night for Coldplay concert (and close to airport for the following morning) – $175.00
• Wings for lunch – $26.00 for 2 people
• Dinner – $15.89
• Stadium Drinks – $12.00
• Stadium snack – $7.00
• Coldplay T Shirts – $80.00
• Coldplay Tickets (the whole reason for our trip!) $600.00 for 2 people

TOTAL: $915.89


Departure Day:

• Gas – $11
• Breakfast at airport – $10.00
• Lunch at airport – $12.00

TOTAL: $33.00


TOTAL TRIP COST: $4,779.85


• Most Expensive: Hotel Cost, $1700.00 for 7 nights (and one night at a hotel for Coldplay)
• Average spent on food per day: $97.00 (I would recommend increasing your food budget if you plan on making reservations at a nice restaurant / being waited on since you will end up tipping your waiter. We only ate at one restaurant that waited on us. Everything else involved standing in a line and ordering at the register).
• Most expensive activity: Giants game / Coldplay concert

Life Travel

San Francisco, Day 5: Bixby Bridge, Santa Cruz Boardwalk, Monterey Aquarium, Carmel

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Today was my perfect day, and my favorite day on our trip thus far. It incorporated everything I love to do – road trips, aquariums, fair food on the boardwalk, dinner by a fireplace, sightseeing.

We rented a car for our road trip today (which we will keep through Sunday for the Coldplay concert on Saturday, 30 minutes outside of the city). We had a list of places we wanted to visit, so Tyler put them in order of proximity, and then we were off! We also had a running bet that we would see 15 Volkswagen buses on the drive, so part of our trip was keeping our eyes peeled for them.

It was such a moody day today and perhaps the most foggy day we’ve experienced yet, which is why it made our road trip extra cozy and fun! We stopped at the Starbucks in Pacifica and began driving Hwy 1. Looking out at the Pacific Ocean with it’s moody waves and nippy breeze made the experience so memorable. We’d jump out at every stop and spot seals playing in the foam of the waves.

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We spotted a whale carcass with a sign nearby that said how the whale died, which was by head collision with a large vessel. It was a sad sight (and smelly) but the circle of life, I guess. If you squint your eyes in the below pic, you’ll see the remains by the birds.

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Our next stop was the Santa Cruz boardwalk. I’m so glad we came here! We were like big kids trying to decide what we wanted to eat, considering it’s probably not healthy to eat 3 funnel cakes for lunch. We settled on corn dogs and mixed our own slushies. It was a beautiful day in Santa Cruz.

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I had to sport my food pins at the boardwalk!

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After Santa Cruz, we drove 5 miles to Venetian Capitola, a charming (and colorful) 1920s Mediterranean-style hotel overlooking the beach!

About 50 minutes South, our next stop was the Monterey Bay Aquarium (below – I only took one photo, i’m sorry!!!). I am a total sucker for aquariums, and this one was officially THE nicest aquarium i’ve ever been to. Supposedly if you go after 2 PM the crowds die down. We had no idea and just happened to arrive after 2 PM, so we sort of had the aquarium to ourselves (give or take a few kids and strollers). This aquarium has awesome touch pools with manta rays and creatures you’d find in coral reefs.

The mission of the aquarium is to inspire conservation of the ocean. I really felt like they were doing that. They had exhibits around what we as humans can do to save whales, sharks, dolphins and turtles. They even pass out brochures teaching you what types of fish to eat and to avoid (because of extinction and overfishing). They have a pretty cool app that has similar info. Look them up!

They also have an area to walk outside and observe sea life right under the Aquarium (since the aquarium is located on the edge of the Pacific Ocean!) We saw crabs swimming around, and seagulls trying to catch them. It was really cool!

The town of Monterey is so clean and adorable. We talked about coming back and staying here!

With two more stops on the list, Bixby Bridge had to be one of them! The two lane road and turns on this mountain had my hands (and head) sweating the whole time, but it was worth it! We also drove over and past the bridge into Big Sur where we had to turn around because there were wildfires. We saw helicopters grabbing water and everything!

Side note: if you’re on Hwy 1 at night, it is terrifying. It’s two lanes on the edge of a cliff, no street lights and sharp turns. I was biting my nails the entire time. I would suggest leaving before it gets dark. And if you get car sick easily, this road does have its fair share of turns…though not as bad as Point Reyes. We tried to make our way out to see the Point Reyes lighthouse. NEVER AGAIN. I promise with every fiber in my body, it’s the curviest, most head spinning drive i’ve ever been on…in my entire life. Tyler had to stop a few times because I thought I was going to hurl. You could not pay me money to get on that road again.

Our last stop on this epic road trip was Carmel. By the time we got to Carmel, the sun was going down. I was kind of upset because we wouldn’t be able to see all the quaint homes (or take photos!) but we found the most charming restaurant for dinner, so all was well.

Boy does this town know romance! It has quaint shops, cobblestone streets, and our restaurant even had the fireplace going (since it’s so darn cold in Cali! I’ve had my jacket on the whole trip!) We also talked about coming back here for Valentine’s Day one year. We loved it.

This was also the first restaurant we’ve been to that actually served us. It didn’t involve waiting in lines, or grabbing a number, or a vibrating pager. It was really nice to be able to sit back, have a great conversation and enjoy an even better meal (we got the chefs special with a honey mustard salad, chicken and pasta and cheesecake for dessert). Highly recommend!

Total VW Buses: 9

Only two more days, and our trip is over. I plan on posting our budget at the end!