Category Archives: travels + adventure

Angel Stadium of Anaheim Review

Angel Stadium of Anaheim

Duston and I visited the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Angel Stadium of Anaheim in the summer of 2012 during a grand adventure through California. We were young, we had very little bills, and it was darn expensive. However, when we think about it now, we are so glad we did it then when we could. It was amazing. After spending a few days in San Francisco at the San Francisco Giants AT&T Park and the Oakland Athletics O.co Coliseum, we were on our way to another adventure in Los Angeles. We visited Dodger Stadium and of course, Angel Stadium of Anaheim.

I was particularly excited about this stadium because I knew that it had roots and ties to Disney. Now, I don’t quite think Disney owns the stadium… and maybe they never did; however, being so close to Disneyland and dreaming of the days that I watched Angels in the Outfield… I was excited.

The Angel Stadium felt to me quite similar to Busch Stadium back at home in St. Louis. The design, look, and feel are honestly so much the same, I almost rooted for our beloved Pujols who had just left the Cardinals the previous year. It was clean, the fans were energetic and polite, and they have an adorable rocky waterfall in the outfield.

Angel Stadium of Anaheim

Angel Stadium of Anaheim

Angel Stadium of Anaheim

Oh, Baseball

Such a beautiful Monday morning for some baseball. #bahorichbabymoon

There are just a few times each year that I anticipate… my birthday, Christmas, and baseball! I am so excited that spring training is gearing up and we are on our way to summertime and the regular season. With baby Ollie being born last summer, our baseball events were few and far between compared to previous years.

When my husband, Dusty, and I got together, we loved scouting out new baseball stadiums. One of our goals was originally to visit all 30 major league baseball stadiums before turning 30. My husband and I love, love, love baseball. Within two months of dating, we had already visited two stadiums and we used to live within walking distance of our favorite team in downtown St. Louis. But as time tells, we have both celebrated our 30th birthdays and did things like buy a house, attend grad school, and have a kid instead of visiting each stadium. I assume it is about the journey of your goal just as much as the accomplishment.

I think it's the hottest day of the year. But dang the city is pretty.

Take me back please. #bahorichbabymoon

Have you visited any baseball stadiums? I would love to hear about your adventures!! Also, over the next couple of weeks, I will be sharing some of my favorite highlights from each stadium. I cannot wait to share them with you!

Stadiums We’ve Visited ::

  1. St. Louis Cardinals Busch Stadium
  2. Kansas City Royals Kauffman Stadium
  3. Texas Rangers Rangers Ballpark in Arlington
  4. San Francisco Giants AT&T Park
  5. Oakland Athletics O.co Coliseum
  6. Los Angeles Dodgers Dodger Stadium
  7. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Angel Stadium of Anaheim
  8. San Diego Padres PETCO Park
  9. Chicago White Sox U.S. Cellular Field
  10. Cincinnati Reds Great American Ball Park
  11. Chicago Cubs Wrigley Field
  12. Boston Red Sox Fenway Park
  13. Milwaukee Brewers Miller Park
  14. Atlanta Braves Turner Field
  15. Tampa Bay Rays Tropicana Field
  16. Houston Astros Minute Maid Park

Still on the List ::

  1. Colorado Rockies Coors Field
  2. Miami Marlins Marlins Park
  3. Minnesota Twins Target Field
  4. New York Yankees Yankee Stadium
  5. Toronto Blue Jays Rogers Centre
  6. Arizona Diamondbacks Chase Field
  7. Baltimore Orioles Oriole Park at Camden Yards
  8. Seattle Mariners Safeco Field
  9. Cleveland Indians Progressive Field
  10. Philadelphia Phillies Citizens Bank Park
  11. Washington Nationals Nationals Park
  12. New York Mets Citi Field
  13. Detroit Tigers Comerica Park
  14. Pittsburgh Pirates PNC Park

Baseball, BBQ, and baby... Definitely no beer today. #bahorichbabymoon #cardinals

5 Tips for Flying and Pumping

5 Tips for Flying and Pumping

As a mom, I feel like I’m learning something new every day, but as of late, I feel like I am starting to nail this whole flying and pumping thing.

Let me rephrase… I feel like I am in the beginning stages of learning how to pump and travel.

One of the things that I learned quickly through traveling for work was how to travel and pump. I was never going to allow the benefits of nursing Ollie to suffer because I travelled. So I pump on the go wherever I am.

With my work as a learning professional at a consulting firm, pumping sometimes means doing so in a cement parking structure prior to a meeting after a commute into the city. Sometimes it means rushing from one terminal to another in a Chicago airport to pump in the Mother’s Room during a 40 minute layover. Sometimes it means finding an empty corner in a quiet airport restaurant and covering because they don’t have a nursing room. Sometimes it means having an awkward conversation with a tech guy that you just met in a shared workspace in another city why you are using giant Post-It Notes to cover the windows of an office that is not yours.

It is definitely an adventure and I have learned a lot over the past months. I would not trade anything in the world.

Here are my top five tips for pumping while traveling for work ::

Pack the right supplies.

From not having enough storage bags to completely forgetting bottles to attach to my pump, I have missed packing something here or there. Thankfully, I have always spotted the mishap early and there’s never been a Target too far from my hotel. Beyond the standard materials (you can find my packing list here), I always make sure I have a back up Sharpie marker for my pumping bag, extra batteries for my on-to-go battery pack for my Medela, a nursing cover just in case there is no nursing room (here is my favorite), and some wet wipes to wipe down my surroundings. Unfortunately, it is common for housekeeping to not wipe down every surface and you can bet that a Mother’s Room (or worse… a family bathroom) could possibly need sanitized.

Pro tip :: Pack more storage bags than you think you need. I always carry on my milk and pump and cringe at the idea of it being tossed around in security if I would have to check it. Because of that, I try and store each session into 3 ounce increments. Because of this, I fill up bags so much quicker than I ever think I’m going to. Be prepared in this part and always check your bag supply before you leave for your trip.

5 Tips for Flying and Pumping

Make sure your cooler is large enough.

Like I said for myself, I pump far more on the road than I do when I’m home, and I almost always come back with more milk than baby Ollie eats. This is far different than when I’m working from my home office. On a typical day at home, I pump a few ounces short every day… however, on the go, I always come about about 15-25 oz. positive!? Go figure! With that being said, make sure your cooler is large enough to hold your milk and that you pack more storage bags than you think you will need.

According to the work trip and the availability of refrigerators, I sometimes pack a freezer pack… and sometimes I don’t. A freezer pack also takes up room, so if my flight is direct and my milk is going to be straight from the refrigerator to the airport, it is still cold 2-3 hours later when I land. However, if I have a layover or a long wait time from my meetings until flight time, a freezer pack is definitely necessary.

Pro Tip ::Most hotel refrigerators don’t have freezers to make sure the pack is cold enough; however, I have not met a front desk that won’t freeze it for you. Just don’t forget it at check out.

Second Pro Tip :: If you don’t end up taking a freezer bag or you forget (which has happened to me), I have taken storage bags and asked for ice at the airport bar to fill them up. It worked perfect!

TSA is never consistent.

There are rules. They are on the TSA website. I have read them all. And then there is real life. I have yet to meet a TSA attendant that was in line with the previous one. Actually, I have never met one that is consistent with another. Just know the rules and stick your ground. Most of all, give yourself some time. Sometimes it takes an extra 30 seconds. Sometimes going through security takes an extra 30 minutes.

I have had so many different ends of the spectrum. One scanned each 125+ bags individually. One didn’t scan them at all, but patted me down. One said that as long as they were under 3 ounces a bag, nothing needed to be done. One said that the bags were measuring wrong and there was obviously more than 3 ounces in there… I must have bought misprinted bags? One said that he could scan it all at once. One just merely looked inside and waved me on. One swiped everything on me, including my additional baggage that had nothing to do with my pumping bag.

I have had to ask for a supervisor twice for clarification. I have had to wait for a female because male wanted nothing to do with me and my milk. I have had no problems at all. Each time is a new experience.

Pro Tip :: Keep calm, know the basic rules, don’t argue, don’t let them throw away your milk, and ask for a supervisor. It’s honestly not as scary as all of that sounds but those are my baseline rules for TSA.

5 Tips for Flying and Pumping

Know before you go.

The first thing I do anymore before heading out for a flight is jump on over to Mom’s Pump Here website to see if the terminals that I will be visiting have a pumping room or mother’s room. Most mother’s rooms seem to be old family restrooms where the airport has ripped out the toilet and placed a well loved rocker or recliner in its spot. The outlets are not necessarily convenient nor is the bathroom all that updated. Most rooms actually don’t look like they have been touched since the airport has opened.

A few airports, however, have really stepped up their game. If you are lucky enough to visit an airport that has installed a Mamava, you are super lucky. These modular suites offer nursing mothers a clean and beautifully designed space to pump/nurse when they are away from home. My only experience with these pods was in the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and it was so nice to have!  I also really enjoy Chicago Midway International Airport’s Mother’s Room! It is one of my favorite and although not the most conveniently located for a Southwest flight, it is truly appreciated! Look how pretty it is!

5 Tips for Flying and Pumping

Pro Tip :: You can pump anywhere, not just in these nursing stations. There is always a family bathroom or something similar that you can find; however, you may find yourself standing and pumping while a family of five is pounding on the door. Just stay calm and be patient with the pumping process and others.

Second Pro Tip :: I have found myself pumping under a nursing cover a few times. Typically I try to find a very low traffic restaurant at one far end of a terminal and ask if I can sit in the corner. There is usually not an outlet so I carried with me a battery pack (along with a car adapter) for different situations.

Invest in a good pumping bag that is right for you.

I was really surprised when I was pregnant the lack of options there are out in the market for breast pump bags. My insurance-provided pump did not supply a bag with it and the Medela bag itself was outrageously priced. Thankfully, they have dropped the price a bit over the past year but it is still higher than I would like to see it, especially since I cannot seem to find a use for this style of bag post-pumping.

So I went on the hunt for a pumping bag that was right for me. I love my pumping bag! It snagged it at Target around spring time and honestly, it has served me well. It is the perfect size to carry onto a plane and holds everything I need. I went with the Mariekko insulated cooler tote and was able to find it on clearance for less than $20!! I love that it helps keep my milk chilled (even though I store it in a separate breastmilk cooler) and that after I am done, I have a cute and stylist cooler for picnics. Additionally, I love that the whole thing is easy to whip down if it gets dirty, it’s durable for flying, and it looks far less like a breast pump bag for my meetings!

You can still find these Mariekko on eBay if you are interested for close to original retail price… or keep your eyes open this spring and I’m sure Target will release something super similar.

Pro Tip :: If you are traveling a lot (more than a few times a month), I would highly suggest investing in a higher quality bag. Although I love my bag, it would not handle every week travel nor will it probably make it through another kid. I would suggest looking at Sarah Wells Bags as they look great. I’ve been eyeing one myself for over a year!

5 Tips for Flying and Pumping

Perfectly Pack Emergency Winter Car Kit

Perfectly Pack Emergency Winter Car Kit

I know I am a little late to the party but I am crying inside that the groundhog saw his shadow a few weeks ago. Although the midwest is being blessed with beautiful weather this week, I know deep down that we are going to have a terrible March winter storm when it should be spring. It is also a constant reminder that I am thankful that I finally put myself together a perfectly packed emergency winter car kit.

As a first mom there are things that come to me as a gut feeling. However, packing my car for emergencies must not have been one of them. Of course I know that my most used item as a mom is hands down diapers and wipes. I can go through countless boxes of these things and you can never pack enough. And of course, after a chilly ice storm in December, I became that mom that was not prepared for the winter months ahead of me. I found myself trapped at a gas station solo for hours with Ollie with two blown out diapers, one very messy blanket, and no spare clothes for my shivering little one. I felt horrible.

Thankfully, the gas station that I had found home to that evening was more like a truck stop and offered up their washer and dryer for Ollie to have some dry, clean clothes. Once I got home, I gathered myself up an emergency winter car kit. It was a super easy kit to put together, but it ensures that we are always prepared.

Here is what you need ::

Storage

I highly recommend a storage cube, because it folds up easily if it is in the way and lightweight. I keep mine in the trunk of the car. It is out of sight and keeps things organized. I was gifted mine during my baby shower; however, they are super easy to find and fairly cheap.

Perfectly Pack Emergency Winter Car Kit

Diapers

We are currently using Bambo Nature Baby diapers. I’m not picky with many diapers and I honestly haven’t found ones that I really love or really hate. These are pretty good. Bambo Baby diapers carry the official environmental Nordic Eco-Label, the Swan and are certified free of harsh and dangerous chemicals. They are certified non-toxic, hypoallergenic, eco-friendly, & they have transparent manufacturing process. They are a bit pricer than some diapers but we have found less skin irritation and nighttime leakage with them.

Wipes

I am loving Aldi’s baby wipes! They are hypoallergenic, fragrance and alcohol-free. The Little Journey Soothing Baby Wipes only include ingredients that have been thoroughly tested and proven to be safe. The ingredients used in the wipes are consistent with those used in the national brand wipes, which have been proven to be safe, reliable, and effective. They compared them to the Huggies brand… which I really dislike, but I disagree! We started out with Bambo Nature’s baby wipes and I would compare them so much more to these. They are so soft! I keep a pack of these wipes in our cube!

Small Ointment

I also keep a small sample size of diaper ointment in the cube just in case. While we don’t use it as much as we did when Ollie was a newborn, there are still those moments when I find myself needing some extra.

Perfectly Pack Emergency Winter Car Kit

Blanket

After Ollie had a major blow out all over his blanket, I believe having a spare in the trunk is a good practice for any winter month. It’s helpful to have just in case you get stuck on the side of the road or need a spare.

Winter Jacket

I hope everybody by now knows not to put their little ones in the car seat with their jackets on. It is unsafe. Because I was not bundling Ollie up in his jacket, when we were stuck during the ice storm, I also did not have it in the car! I typically just wrap him up tightly in a blanket to run in and out of place; however, now his jacket just lives in our emergency winter car kit. If we ever need it while we are at home, the car is always parked in the garage!

Perfectly Pack Emergency Winter Car Kit

Other Items

Over the winter months, I have also transition a few things to our emergency winter car kit including our baby carrier, gloves for myself, and our Binxy Baby shopping cart hammock. I could also see things like a baby ice scraper or a box of Kleenex living in there soon.

Overall, our car kit is starting to become an easy place to storage things that I typically forget to grab with me as a mom in an organized way. With quite a few more weeks until spring, I hope this helps you think simply and grab just what you need for your family this winter in your own emergency winter car kit!

72 Hours in San Antonio

72 Hours in San Antonio

We just arrived home from San Antonio last week and boy, was it amazing! San Antonio has to be Texas’ best kept secret. It was beautiful and there were so many things to do. I cannot wait to return there for a family vacation one day as it has definitely made it on as a great places to visit.

There are obviously many ways to see the city but I wanted to provided to you a little bit of what we did over our stay. I feel like we got to see a good portion of the historic and “must-do’s” without wearing ourselves down. We spent the weekend adventuring but we did a great job at relaxing as well. That’s how all vacations should be, right?!

Friday

We took an early flight into the city and arrive to our hotel around 1pm, just in time for lunch. Staying on the Riverwalk is a must. You are smack dab in the middle of everything. We dropped off our luggage in the room and quickly found a bit to eat!

Rio Rio or Casa Rio would be my top two recommendations. Casa Rio is one of the original eateries to the Riverwalk and looked amazing; however, they had a bit of a wait to we opted for Rio Rio. It was delicious and their Tex-Mex was top notch. Both venues are right on the river and the view from your seat inside or outside of the restaurant is quite adorable.

After our bellies were full, we hopped onto the boat tour of the Riverwalk. I am so glad that we did this earlier in our trip. It really gave us a lay of the land early. We had a good idea of what was and was not on the Riverwalk itself as well as we learned a ton of history about the city. Our tour guide was funny, charming, and super informative. We typically try to steer ourselves away from super touristy things like this in cities… but this is something you do not want to miss. You just can’t find these history facts out by exploring yourself. It is definitely worth the 30 minutes of your time and the $10 out of your pocketbook.

Because we knew we had a late night ahead of us… and we had already had an early flight, we opted for a late afternoon nap each day. So after our boat tour, we headed back to our room for a nap and shower before our dinner.

72 Hours in San Antonio

72 Hours in San Antonio

Friday Night

Dusty and I went to San Antonio for a little bit of work and a little bit of play. I am so grateful to work for a company that helps us do this — a holiday party each and every year! This is how we ended up in Sant Antonio in the first place, so our Friday night itinerary was a bit pre-planned for us. We headed down the Riverwalk to Acenar, a bit more upscale restaurant, for some great food and drinks, followed by a social hour with work folks.

I would highly suggest the restaurant and then exploring some of the Riverwalk in all its vibrancy. It is beautiful at night and if you arrive a bit later in the afternoon, take the boat tour that night after dinner! I have heard that it was even prettier of a ride in the nighttime.

Because it was vacation, we finished up our evening at one of the local ice cream depots on the Riverwalk before bed, but there was a Ghiradelli’s nearby as well. Our hotel was attached to the Rivercenter Mall which also had a pretty typical mall atmosphere. The shops were open late and hot spots like Dave & Busters, Improv Comedy Club, Margaritaville, and others were super close by.

72 Hours in San Antonio

Saturday

After our morning coffee and workout, we headed straight over to the Pearl Brewery complex. Do not be confused by the name… there is no brewery, just the building from the old beer crafting facilities; however, they have remade this cute little area into a must-visit. One of a kind shops and restaurants flooded the three to four block area. With residential housing above, this area is filled with a flea market on the weekends. We were able to eat some amazing local Mexican street food from some of the booths for breakfast and completed a walking tour of the grounds by an adorable older man filling in for his wife, the normal tour guide.

We finished out our stay at the Pearl Brewery area with a late lunch at La Gloria, owned and operated by a famous local chef Johnny Hernandez. Definitely some great tacos, margaritas, and salsa!

After the our time at the Pearl, we stopped by the Alamo. We weren’t even going to go, because again, touristy; however, the Alamo was just a few blocks away off of the Riverwalk and was so close to our hotel, it was hard to pass up. If you are a history buff, I would definitely suggest it and the rest of the stops on the Missions Trail. The trail starts at the Alamo and continues down the river walk for quite a few miles. I know a few coworkers that biked to the closest few, but if it is in the middle of summer for your visit… or you are just not that into biking, there are guided bus tours that will drive you to each one and tell you all the history you need to know about them.

Just visiting the Alamo, accompanied by the historical information 17 minute video, helped us appreciate the grounds and Texas history overall. I am not sure this sort of stuff was in the Illinois grade school text books and I really enjoyed learning about some of the roots of the city and culture before we walked around the complex. Followed by a nap, our day was pretty full. It was off to our company’s evening event for dinner and dancing.

72 Hours in San Antonio

72 Hours in San Antonio

72 Hours in San Antonio

Saturday Night

Obviously, your Saturday night may look a bit different than ours did; however, there are still tons of things to do that we just did not have time for. San Antonio is home to the NBA team, the San Antonio Spurs, which would be awesome if they are in town. You can also look up local events that may fit your fancy a bit more than NBA basketball. While we were in town, Monster Jam was going on at the Alamo Dome, or for a short drive up to the north of downtown, there are some great upper-end outdoor shopping areas called …. which also includes a trampoline park, indoor skydiving, and a Top Golf. If you are not wanting to adventure much out of the city core, the Alamo is suppose to have an amazing video/light show around 9 pm that we didn’t even get to see. Our boat tour guide told us that it was really popular.

Sunday

On Sunday morning, we headed straight to the Historic Market Square for our brunch. Being the largest Mexican market outside of Mexico, this place was just filled with culture and great food and such a perfect breakfast spot in San Antonio! We were able to snag a table pretty early at …. but this place fills up fast. At minimum, grab an item from their bakery to hold you over until the street vendors get up and running because everything we had from there was delicious!!

We spent a few hours at the Market Square shopping at the indoor and outdoor vendors that the market had to offer and I was able to snag the most adorable traditional Mexican blanket for Oliver’s room. How cute, right?!

And because it was vacation… we took another amazing afternoon nap!

72 Hours in San Antonio

72 Hours in San Antonio

72 Hours in San Antonio

Sunday Night

We spent our last night in San Antonio back on the Riverwalk. We did not spend hardly enough time down here, to be quite honest. There are so many great looking restaurants for dining and drinks. We opted for some dinner at The Republic of Texas for something a bit more hardy and little Tex-Mex. The Chicken Fried Steak with mashed potatoes were simply delicious. Of course, we had some more great margaritas and chips and salsa to accompany them. We finished out our evening at the Agave Bar for some more local brews and some football.

72 Hours in San Antonio

Monday

We had the luxury of not flying out of San Antonio until later in the day on Monday, so we were able to rent a car after checking out of our hotel and heading to D&B Ice Bar, a local and uber delicious BBQ joint for an early lunch. After a weekend full of amazing Tex-Mex, I am so glad that we did not miss out on some good ol’ Texan BBQ. Coming from St. Louis and having a pretty high standard for BBQ, I wouldn’t say that D&B had the best ever; however, their favor was super good. It was peppery and sweet and nothing like I have had before. I would definitely make it back when we return and the locals rate the place pretty high. Plus they have a huge list of local brews for $4 a can before 4 pm and great outdoor seating that allowed us to soak in all that last-minute sunshine.

We finished our afternoon pre-flight by walking around The Shops at La Cantera that I mentioned earlier.

Overall, San Antonio is a great weekend trip! Even though we did things a bit unconventional with some work activities in the middle of our trip, I think that a typical couple could explore the highlights of the city in a three day weekend.

72 Hours in San Antonio

72 Hours in San Antonio

72 Hours in San Antonio

72 Hours in San Antonio

San Antonio Weekend

Weekend in San Antonio 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

This weekend we are headed to San Antonio! Dusty and I have an entire weekend to spend together and enjoy each other’s time without Ollie. Of course, we will miss our little one, but in between my travel schedule at work and some upcoming travel for Dusty as well, one of us will be riding solo each week through mid-March. It will be so nice to just hang out with one another and take some time to connect in the warmer weather. These were just a few things that made my suitcase for the weekend.

Any suggestions for our weekend in San Antonio? Right now we have minimal plans but would love to hear your recommendations. Please shoot them over to us. We’ll be updating our trip on Instagram!

10 Tips for Doing Disney Pregnant

When we started to plan our babymoon to Disney, I knew it would be different. I was not prepared mentally on how different of a trip this was going to be. We did a lot of things right and some things I would totally do differently and take slower. I was really worried that I wouldn’t be able to go on many of the rides at Disney World during this trip. I knew that I could watch the shows and other entertainment that Disney provided but other than that I was unsure. Many people thought we were nuts for doing Disney while 27 weeks pregnant; however, we had a blast! Here are my top 10 tips for doing Disney pregnant!

10 Tips for Doing Disney Pregnant

1. Wear comfortable clothing.

This can be said for anybody really; however, really think about what you are going to be most comfortable in. On a normal, non-pregnant park day, I usually can be found in a tank top or t-shirt and cuffed jeans. However, for my pregnancy trip, I opted for a super thin tank and shorts to make sure that I did not overheat. Even in March, this pregnant gal was warm and I was super thankful for less restricting clothing and my maternity tank from PinkBlush.

10 Tips for Doing Disney Pregnant

2. Think about your shoes.

Again, any park goer should think about their shoes. I opted for my Sanuk Yoga Sling flip flops. They are super comfy and if my feet were to swell up any (which they didn’t), the cloth sling would have been the least restricting on my feet. We also made sure that when we took breaks that I propped my feet on another chair to minimize the chances of swelling.

10 Tips for Doing Disney Pregnant

3. Water + snacks.

I take my CamelBak Eddy Water Bottle pretty much wherever I go. Disney is no exception. There are water foundations everywhere and it really saves me a lot of money as well as helps both Dusty and I keep hydrated throughout the day. I also always pack a handful of snacks for the day to keep us well fed in-between meals. We also opt to do two lunches to keep our energy going. We typically split one quick service lunch around 11am before the lunch rush, hit up the rides while they are slower, and then return for our second quick service split lunch around 2pm to 4pm. Making sure that you are keeping up your energy for all the extra walking throughout the day is a necessity.

4. Enjoy more relaxing rides.

Originally I was really bummed about all of the rides that I could not do, but once I got to the parks, it really did not phase our trip much. Yes I would have loved to go on Space Mountain, but I know that we will be back with our baby boy soon and this trip was just not the trip for thrilling rides. Instead, we focused on shoppings, shows, and the more relaxing rides. There were a handful of rides that Dusty had never even been on because we typically shoot for the more popular, thrilling ones. I was amazed by how much I enjoyed Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival, Journey Into Imagination With Figment, and Mickey’s PhilharMagic.

10 Tips for Doing Disney Pregnant

10 Tips for Doing Disney Pregnant

5. Take a mid-day break.

This was a easy transition for us on our park day during our babymoon because it rained for three hours in the middle of the afternoon. Instead of fighting the rain, we were able to hop on the monorail and ride quickly back to the Polynesian for a refresher. Dusty was able to go to the gym and I rested a bit with a delightful bath bomb. It also allowed up to avoid the “drown rat” look that we gracious received with the down pour after lunch. We were able to make it back to a new park by late afternoon and felt great!

10 Tips for Doing Disney Pregnant

6. Schedule your Fast Passes.

For me, I like to schedule all of my fast passes earlier in the day back-to-back. This allowed us to have a plan for the morning, and we were able to be more flexible in the afternoon. The pregnant-friendly fast passes that I choose for our morning at the Magic Kingdom were Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, and Pirates of the Caribbean.

What I would do differently is not space my fast passes all over the park. I did do it in a good order where we could easily move from one side of the park to the other without backtracking through lands; however, with my back-to-back timing, it was hard to waddle my pregnancy body through the lands as quickly as usually. If we did this again, I would probably focus more on having my fast passes on one half of the park and in a condensed time frame, still allowing us to have the afternoon and evening less structured and still being able to take advantage of the fast pass perks.

7. Explore non-park adventures.

One of my favorite things that we did the entire trip was actually not park-related at all. Dinner at California Grill during the Magic Kingdom fireworks was absolutely amazing. We were able to spend the day relaxing at Disney Springs and exploring our resort. We finished up the evening by getting dressed up and having our weekly “date night” with the most fantastic view. The dinner itself was delicious, but a little pricey. California Grill is definitely a treat dinner, and not normal occurrence for us on a Disney vacation. I think it was perfect for us to wrap up our babymoon.

10 Tips for Doing Disney Pregnant

10 Tips for Doing Disney Pregnant

8. Do not overdo it.

Overall, I am so so glad that we did Disney for our babymoon; however, as much as I could not fathom it prior, it was a different experience than the past. It was slower, more stops, and more exhausting. On a day-to-day, I feel fairly normal so I did not understand how this could really change our park hopping process during the trip. It did. I was tired. I was worn out. I moved slower. I waddled more.

Just do not overdo it. I am glad that we spent most of our week at Vero Beach and excited that we were able to have the one day at the parks, but more than that would have been an even slower paced experience. We woke up late. We hit the bed early. We took naps and breaks. All of these things made the trip better overall.

10 Tips for Doing Disney Pregnant

  1. 9. Take lots of photos.

Dusty and I have opted not to have maternity photos taken during our pregnancy. Not because we are anti-maternity photo shoots, but with a babymoon, house renovations, and all the other expenses that comes with a baby, a maternity photo shoot did not make the cut. We did take TONS of photos at Disney and purchased a one day Memory Maker from our trip. It was totally worth the investment. I only saw this option to purchase the one day pass ($59 at the time) on the MyDisneyExperience app itself, and not on the website. We had the best time taking a moment here and there maximizing our photo opportunities throughout the park. We even had the sweetest PhotoPass photographer that ventured out with us through Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival and took some “maternity photo shoot”-like photographs. This was his own idea and I cannot express how much it just made our day!

10 Tips for Doing Disney Pregnant

10 Tips for Doing Disney Pregnant

10 Tips for Doing Disney Pregnant

10 Tips for Doing Disney Pregnant

10 Tips for Doing Disney Pregnant

10 Tips for Doing Disney Pregnant

10 Tips for Doing Disney Pregnant

10. Have tons of fun!

Disney is the place to have fun, so do it! Enjoy the day, take it easy, and maximize on the rides and shows that ideal for your stage of pregnancy. We went during my 27th week and I could not have loved the experience anymore. Yes, there was rain. Yes, I was tired. Yes, the entire experience was a wee-bit different than the last times we have been there. I enjoyed every moment we had. It was such a great vacation with Dusty before our whole world changes and we get to meet our little guy!

10 Tips for Doing Disney Pregnant

10 Tips for Doing Disney Pregnant

10 Tips for Doing Disney Pregnant

10 Tips for Doing Disney Pregnant

10 Tips for Doing Disney Pregnant

Up, Up, and Away

A trip to Dallas is in the books. A leadership conference is over. A long weekend with friends all learning about how to be better church planters… done.

I had such a blessed weekend. As we flew back from Texas, I sat on the plane and stared out at the sunset. We had prayed for this. We had asked God for some deep connections and friendships. We found them in the most unexpected place.

Wrapping up the #a29dallas conference today. Learning so much about what it means to be and grow #healthyleaders within the church. #weareheights

Now I know that sounds just silly on the surface. You mean, I can find good Godly-centered friendships in church?! Who would have thought? Ha.

Honestly though, most of the people around us now on a daily basis are from a previous life. It is like cuddling up in your favorite sweatshirt from high school. The relationships were already there, just disconnected. Some friends from college, some from a previous church, some that was part of “our crew” years ago… It is truly amazing how I looked around the airplane and saw the faces of memories from the past and memories yet to come.

Traveling does something to my heart. Alone or with a large group. With my travel buddy (my husband) or a bunch of strangers. Traveling gets my heart going and feeling and loving in a way that I lose at home. It gets me out of my comfort zone a bit. It grants me reflection time, reading time, reviewing time. I spent more time with music and a book than normal, and I am surround by others that are going somewhere for something.

It is magical to me.

I have been thinking a lot about that since I have landed. How crazy is it that it took a trip across the country for me to realize how much God had blessed us with our friendships? What can I do to add that reflect and review time to my daily life?

Discipline.

I’m not really sure what this looks like yet, but I know that discipline is the answer.

Going into these wintery months I am going to strive for this discipline to take place. I will keep you updated.

Cheap or Free Dates Nights in St. Louis

free or cheap date nights  in st. louis, missouri

My husband and I love date nights. Options for date nights in St. Louis are endless; however, many say that they are too costly to do all the time. We try to do one night a week just for us, so we have to be cheap. Here is a list of 20 things that we do to keep our cost low and our date nights constant.

  1. Bowling. My favorite spot is Flamingo Bowl, but really anywhere works. Tropicana Lanes. Pin-Up Bowl. Moolah Lanes. All good.
  2. Take a Hike. Katy Trail State Park, Castlewood State Park, Cliff Cave Park Trails, Grant’s Trail, Laumeier Sculpture Park, and Route 66 State Park are some of our favorites.
  3. See a show. Did you know that the Muny Theater holds spots for each show for free seating? They offer 1500 free seats to every performance of their summer season! Get there early though; the line can get really long and the free tickets can “sell” out fast. Ballpark Village also has summer and winter movie series for free on specific nights throughout the year.
  4. Bookworms. Grab a coffee and explore. My husband and I break off typically at the beginning, find something we like, and find a nook to read together for a bit.
  5. Drive In Theater. Ever been to Skyview Drive In in Belleville, Illinois?! It is so cute and a complete blast from the past! There are a lot of Groupons in the spring time typically as well.
  6. Art Gallery. St. Louis Art Museum. Contemporary Art Museum. Sheldon Museum of Art.
  7. Dine In. Hit up Soulard Farmers Market and buy your cooking options together. Make a night of it. There is nothing more romantic than roaming arm-in-arm through the market together choosing options.
  8. Hit up an international food market. Global Foods Market in the Kirkwood neighborhood is a great place to explore, try new things, and ask questions about food you may have never seen before.
  9. Festivals. International Festival. Irish Festival. Beer Festival. Strawberry Festival. Storytelling Festival. Microfest Beer Festival. Heritage Days. Shakespeare Festival. Greek Festival. Apple Butter Festival… and so many more.
  10. Hang out at a local coffee shop. Mississippi Mud. Sump. Rise. Park Avenue. Coffee Cartel. Mokabe’s. Blueprint. Kayak’s. Foam. The Mud House. Soulard Coffee Garden. So many options.
  11. Plan a picnic. Go to Forest Park. Romp around and explore. Sit at the bottom of Art Hill and talk while overlooking the Grand Basin.
  12. Donut crawl. Start at Strange Donuts, then onto the Donut Stop, the Donut Drive-In, and World’s Fair Donuts. You will be stuffed with delicious goodies by the end of the day.
  13. Stay home and rent a movie. Redbox the evening. Or find an old favorite from your childhood and share it.
  14. Microbrew Hop. Civil Life Brewing CompanyPerennial Artisan AlesSchlafly TaproomUrban Chestnut Brewing Company. There are enough in St. Louis to do this for two plus days…
  15. Root for your favorite team. If you have never been to a St. Louis Cardinal baseball game, you are missing out. But not a baseball fan? Try our hockey team or football team or even soccer!
  16. Go up in the Arch.
  17. Visit the zoo. 18,000 animals from 700 species on 90 acres with no admission charges. Yes please.
  18. Pick your favorite fruit at Eckert’s. Just a bit outside of the city and you can find fresh from the farm tastes! Pick-your-own season in Belleville begins mid-May and ends in October which means whatever is in season is available to pick!
  19. Botanical Gardens.
  20. Tour of Italy on The Hill. The Hill is a neighborhood within St. Louis that has an Italian American majority population, and is home to many Italian restaurants and businesses. Start at one location for appetizers, another for your entree, and another for dessert!

Photo via Joel Marion

saint louis, missouri :: pappy’s bbq

engagement photo by abbie takes pictures

St. Louis Pappy’s Smokehouse Bar-B-Que is quite possibly my favorite place to eat in town. Featured on ABC’s The Chew, Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, and many other television shows in the past several years, this seven year old restaurant smokes a specific amount of food every day. When they sell out, they close down.

For my husband and me, it was a popular date spot when we first started dating. The idea of being able to have delicious green beans, pork without the bun, and cole slaw while staying on our no/low-carb diet was splendid. This restuarant somehow made it into our engagement pictures, and when it came down to our wedding, Pappy’s was the cheapest catering place within 200 miles.

If you are looking for places to eat when visiting St. Louis, this is a place you cannot miss. Remember, this is not your average dinner place. Go for lunch, and go early if you want food…they will close when they sell out. Mr. Pappy himself is usually there, manning the door and making sure the restaurant runs smoothly. If you are from St. Louis and haven’t made it out to Pappy’s Smokehouse, be ashamed and run toward Midtown quickly.

engagement photo by abbie takes pictures

engagement photo by abbie takes pictures

engagement photo by abbie takes pictures

Photo via abbie takes pictures