Thursday, April 19, 2018

22 Week Bumpdate

And just like that another week has flown by! I know that this time the days are passing so quickly because we’re traveling. I feel like time just passes at a different rate when you’re constantly go go going. Today is actually our last (and 8th!) day in Amsterdam, but we’re not coming home quite yet! Tomorrow dark and early we set off on a train to Disneyland Paris! I’m so excited, I can hardly stand it. It’s going to be so magical.

In case you missed my post earlier this week, check out a few tid bits and pictures from Amsterdam! I plan to share much more when we return, but I had to let y’all in on some fun facts I learned!

Enough about our travels for now because today is all about that bump!

How Far Along? 
22 weeks today

Size of Baby: 
A coconut!
He weighs over the 1lb mark y'all! 
He is also about 11 inches long. 

Weight Gain: 
I'm not positive since we're traveling, but I think it's safe to say I'm somewhere in the 12-15 lb range. Who knows, I always think I'm going to gain a lot of weight on vacation, but we walk so much that I end up coming home the same as I left! But you know, hungry pregnant lady, so I guess we’ll see when we get home!

Maternity Clothes:
Yes! I'm comfortable in a lot of my normal shirts, but some are starting to get too short. As for bottoms, I prefer maternity if I'm wearing jeans/jean shorts, but I can rock my prepregnancy athletic shorts and yoga pants. I have a lot of cute cold weather maternity clothes that Nicole let me borrow for our trip.

Stretch marks: 

Sleep is starting to get iffy. I'm getting more uncomfortable which makes it hard to go back to sleep when I wake up to potty in the middle of the night. I'm also wide awake around 5-6am. Some nights I take half of a Unisom just to get a full night sleep! Other than that I'm doing pretty good. I'm still hungry all the time and dealing with yucky allergies and congestion.

Salty snacks, buffalo sauce on everything, tuna sandwiches bonus points if it's from Subway or Potbelly, cereal with milk, apples with peanut butter or chocolate hummus. Pretty much the same as the last month. My sweet tooth has picked up a bit on this trip!

It's a boy!

I'm going to get real with y'all. I'm much more anxious this time around. I feel like I know so much more about everything that can go wrong than when I was pregnant with Chloe. I think I was pretty oblivious with her, and now I'm hyper aware of all of the different complications. I think my anxiety is starting to subside now that I can feel him move more often. Other than that I'm super excited to add this little boy to our family.

Not a lot going on, but I did by a lamp and a pillow at Target the other day! I'm looking forward to working on it when we get back from our trip.

More and more each day! He's starting to get stronger and I can see and feel some movements from the outside. I'm hoping to get a video once he really gets going.

I'll go ahead and refer back up to symptoms. Sleep has been hit or miss lately. The hardest is getting back to sleep after my middle of the night potty breaks.

Still going strong! I squeezed some workouts in before we left for Europe, but since we've been here, we've been walking so much that workouts aren't necessary! I did bring some workout clothes and went to the gym to do the treadmill and a quick weight workout one day because I could. I'm hoping to do that one more time on this trip. Nothing crazy, just a little something to get my heartrate up even more!

What I Miss: 
Sleeping on my stomach and comfortably on my back!

Belly Button in or out?
It's gotten much closer to being flat the past couple of days!

Wedding rings on or off? 

Labor Signs: 
None really. I'm starting to get the occasional Braxton hicks contractions. It's not very often, mostly when I've been walking for long periods of time. {Which has been every day lately!} Nothing out of the ordinary though!

Anything making you queasy or sick: 
Nothing about Chinese food sounds good to me, so I just avoid it. I'm also vehemently against the smell of fish and fishy smells. I about died walking through the seafood portion of the Albert Cuyp Market the other day! 

Best Moments The Past Weeks: 
Flying in business class and exploring Amsterdam! I can't wait to share about out whole trip with y'all!

Looking forward to:
Heading to Disneyland Paris on Friday!

There you have it! 22 weeks down and about 18 more to go. I'm finally in the "honeymoon" phase of pregnancy and not disliking quite as much of it. I'm looking forward to enjoying the rest of our trip and then heading home to start preparations for this little one! Stay tuned for my next "bumpdate" at 24 weeks. You'll see plenty of bump pictures before them with all of my travel posts though!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

i amsterdam

Hello from Amsterdam! I have a little down time and decided to pop in and show y'all a little bit about what's been going on the past 5-6 days in The Netherlands!

Fun Fact: Did you know that the iamsterdam sign in the back of the Rijksmuseum was placed there in 2004 as a marketing experiment? It's estimated that it's photographed over 6,000 times per day! Pretty successful if you ask me. Now the iamsterdam slogan is used to market Amsterdam internationally and promote tourism. It's clearly working!

The sentiment behind the slogan was to make Amsterdammers feel good about themselves and where they live!
Amsterdam’s strongest asset is its people.
The people who live here, who work here, who study or visit here.
The people of Amsterdam are Amsterdam.
We are Amsterdam.
I amsterdam
– Amsterdam Partners

I just thought it would be fun to start with that interesting tidbit that I learned about Amsterdam! I found it while trying to figure out the exact meaning behind iamsterdam. I love to try and learn as much about a city that I'm visiting as I can while I'm there. It leads to lots of tours, questions, Googling and searching to find information. JP often laughs at how many questions I ask and how often I Google things to find out more information!

Speaking of Googling information about places I visit, today I was thinking aloud about how all of The Netherlands has these intricate canal systems. It made me wonder just why they decided to create them. I learned it was more than one reason. First, did you know that 26% of Dutch territory lies below sea level? There is a bit of a battle between the water and the cities. This is one reason for the canals, to channel the water out of the city. Since Amsterdam was built in the Middle Ages, the canals were also used as a defense mechanism around the outside of the city like a moat. As the city grew, the outer most canal was not longer used for protection, but they kept them for transportation. Goods could be pumped out of the city to ships in the harbor where they would then be traded and sold around the world.

Last little fact...I swear. But this is another interesting one and goes along with the canals because I'm going to talk about windmills!

There are over 1,000 windmills in Holland and they were originally created to help pump water out of the lowlands. The first windmill in Holland dates back to 1400! See what I mean, this is related to the canals though? The water had to get pumped out somehow! Historically they were also used to cut wood, crush grain, build ships and even produce oil and mustard. The windmill I have pictured is currently functioning in Leiden. It's now used as a Windmill History Museum and has recently been able to grind grain again. We didn't get to go through the museum, but it did cause me to spend some time looking up all of the uses of windmills!

When I sat down in my hotel room to type up this post, I didn't plan on giving y'all a history lesson on Amsterdam and it's key features. It just kind of came to me as I began writing. I hope y'all enjoyed it and maybe learned something new on this Travel Tuesday!

We're still going to be in Amsterdam until Friday and then we're off to Disneyland Paris! You can keep up with our adventures of my Instagram if you're interested. Until then, you can plan on my next bumpdate post to come later this week. Somehow I'm almost 22 weeks pregnant. Time is flying!

Have you ever been to Amsterdam? What's your favorite part?
Do you enjoy learning everything and anything about cities that your visiting?

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Meet and Greets Around the World

Meet and greets with your favorite characters while walking around the world. Sounds amazing right? Where can you do this you ask? None other than Epcot at Walt Disney World! In the past, I've talked about how you can walk around the world and eat around the world, but today we're talking about all of the amazing characters you can meet around the world. Stay tuned and I'll even let you know just where you can find them and when are the best times to visit!

First up, Mickey and Friends at their meet and greet spot in Future World. You can find this walking towards The Land on the left. It's inside, so you can escape the Florida heat while you wait! Here you can meet Mickey, Goofy and Minnie all at once. The wait usually isn't too bad, but you can also get a FastPass to meet these guys. Since FastPasses at Epcot are tiered, this is a good lower tier option! It's family friendly and always fun.

And I mean come on, you get to meet Minnie Mouse and totally fangirl over how much your two year old daughters love her! As you can see, that's exactly what Ali and I were doing. When you're away from your babies for a few days, you start to miss them and think about everything they love. When Minnie Mouse happens to be at the top of their list, you have to tell her!

And then she'll give you extra awesome hugs!

Just across the walkway from the Mickey and Friends meet and greet, you can find more characters! Again these characters are inside which means waiting in the air conditioning. As you walk in, to the left you can meet Baymax and to the right you can wait to meet Joy and Sadness! These are two separate lines. Joy and Sadness are a two for one deal though.

They're super fun. Joy has boundless energy and is fun to interact with while Sadness gives the best hugs. I think she just gets that everyone needs a really good hug some days. These two make for super fun picture poses!

Baymax is also great to meet! He's just a big squishy marshmallow. We didn't wait to meet him this year, but have in the past. Now let's work our way around the world!

First stop...Mexico! Here you can meet Donald the #1 Duck! He's decked out in his Los Caballeros gear and looking fabulous.

Coming from Future World, you can find Donald just on the other side of the pyramid in a little cove. He comes and goes throughout the day, and his line is usually pretty short. Fun tip: Inside the pyramid there is a Three Caballeros boat ride! The wait is usually pretty short and is indoors.

Moving right along to Norway! If you want a one stop princess shop, let me recommend princess dining at the Akershus Royal Banquet Hall. It's a little pricey, but you get a bang for your buck. You start with an appetizer buffet followed by your choice of main course which there are many options. Then your table also gets a little dessert trio where you can taste common desserts served in Scandinavia! All throughout your dining experience, you also get to meet princesses. They're available for you to take pictures and sign any autographs for you. 

As you walk in, a princess will be there to greet you along with a Photopass photographer!

That moment when you and Punzie are totally fangirling over each other. Punzie is my spirit princess with her vibrant personality, flighty brainspace, sense of adventure and love of life! She was totally obsessed with my shirt and ear that were inspired by none other than her!

The character that you meet as you enter the restaurant will not be making rounds during your dining experience, so make sure to get all the pictures, memories and signatures while you're there. Take your time and enjoy it! You paid for this special time after all.

Here's a look at some other princess that will come your way! Cinderella.

Snow White

Princess Aurora or Sleeping Beauty

Ariel with her human legs!


You may notice for Belle that we're back at the entrance where we met Rapunzel. Well sometimes the princess at the front switches out for another princess. If you notice that this happens and you want to meet her, just let your waiter know. They'll inform someone up front and they'll let you know when you can go up there. Usually they say to just go whenever! They're super accommodating. You have to love Disney customer service!

And we had to meet Belle since she's Ali's spirit princess! Rachael's is Aurora, so we all got to spend time with our favorites.

While you're in Norway, take a peek in the troll shop! You too can get an awesome picture with this troll! And here's the best part, there's never a line. How do people not know about his magical gem?

Fun fact: There really are trolls like this in Norway. Don't believe me? Check it out...on my 2014 trip to Norway, we visited Bergen for the first time and hiked up to the troll park. Yes, the trolls are eerily similar. You know you want to look! We also got a little troll statue while we were in Norway this past summer since we love Norway so much!

While in Norway, you can also meet Anna and Elsa! Since we met them at the end of our race earlier that day, we decided not to visit them this year. But do not fear, I have the cutest picture that I MUST share with y'all because I realized that it never made it to the blog.

Yep, that's Chloe at 15 months! You can now meet Anna and Elsa at their summer house in Norway! A lot of the wait is indoors as you get to walk through their summer home. Be sure to pay attention to all of the amazing details as you walk through. Disney Imagineers did an amazing job this time.

As you continue your way around the world, next you'll find China! In China you can meet Mulan at the Temple of Heaven. She comes and goes, so be sure to check the times she's visiting on your Disney World app or ask a cast member.

In Germany, you can meet Snow White over by the the Wishing Well. This is a perfect place to meet her if you don't do princess dining!

If you're on a character hunt, walk on through Italy, America and Japan since there aren't any characters there! However, I highly recommend making lunch or dinner reservations at Via Napoli. Simply amazing food and dining experience.

Once you pass through Japan, you find yourself in Morocco where you can meet Jasmine! She is at the Lamps of Wonder. I've never actually met Jasmine here since she does have specific times that she's out for meet and greets. Make sure to check your map, app or a cast member for times! And while you're in Morocco hit up Spice Road Table. If you aren't hungry, grab some sangria. The sparkling sangria is my personal favorite!

While in France, you get a two for one deal! First you can meet provincial Belle in her spot along the water! I believe this is the only place you can meet Belle in her street clothes. 

Also in France in the France Pavilion, you can meet Princess Aurora!

Next up is the United Kingdom! Here you can meet the one and only Mary Poppins! Again, I haven't met her here, but she is located in the United Kingdom Promenade.

Finally you can pass through Canada to the World Showcase Plaza. This is the start and finish of the World Showcase just in front of the water between Mexico and Canada. Here you can meet Pluto in the Friendship Ambassador Gazebo!

Epcot is an amazing park to just walk around meet characters, ride a few of your favorite rides, eat a lot of food and drink some drinks! Each country has its own special flair. Be sure to check out the different performances in the World Showcase. Take your time and explore. I promise you'll find something new each time you visit! 

Have you visited Epcot recently?
What country is (or would be) your favorite? 
My favorites are Norway because of the Frozen ride, princess dining and Anna/Elsa and Morocco because of Spice Road Table and the amazing smells and spices!

Monday, April 9, 2018

13.1 Magical Miles

Just over a month ago, I ran a half marathon at 14 weeks and 3 days pregnant! Not just any half marathon. I ran the runDisney Princess Half Marathon which is an annual tradition for my girls and me! This was my 7th Disney Princess half marathon and my 9th runDisney half marathon. No, it doesn't get old! Each year get's better and better. It helps that Disney puts on an amazing event!

Like all Disney races, it started dark and early. Our alarms went off at 3:30am and we were dressed and at the bus stop by 4:00am. The buses drop you off at Epcot where the finish line area is located. Here you can check a bag if you have one, use one of the many port-o-potties, meet up with friends and jam to the music they have trying to wake everyone up.

The start line is nearly a mile walk from this drop off point. It seems like a lot, but it's a nice, easy way to gradually wake up. There are several potties right before the corrals too which is important info for us runners! The corrals are all labeled very clearly. Just make sure you get to your corral at least 30 minutes prior to the race start if you're in an early corral because they do close them. Once in our corral, we had the chance to stretch and get excited to run 13.1 miles!

Disney is awesome about starting their races right on schedule! 5:30am Fairy Godmother was there to bippity, boppity, boop us on our way along with some fun fireworks. Rachael and I were in Corral D which meant we had about 10-15 minutes before we were actually on our way.

We started off our race nice and easy. Rachael was running on a bum foot and I was running with child, so we weren't trying to get a PR. We just wanted to run together and have fun. Around mile 3 we saw the princes and were originally anticipating being able to get a picture with them when we looped back around on mile 10-ish. Unfortunately the road construction going on meant they were in a different place. We stopped in the line for a minute, and then decided it would take us way too long to get through. Instead we took awkward selfies in front of them and went along our way.

Shortly after that this pregnant lady had to pee. I decided to take a potty break between miles 4 & 5. I told Rachael to keep running but just slow down a bit, and I'd catch back up to her eventually. Post potty I had a surge of energy and really kicked it into gear to catch Rachael. It was fun running faster for about a mile, but I was happy to slow back down when I caught her. Right after that we were running into Magic Kingdom!

This year the race course was a bit different and we came in the main park entrance. We ran straight down Main Street USA with a surge of energy! 

After running down Main Street, you hang a right into Tomorrowland. I spotted Buzz with a short line and had to grab a picture with him!

There were several other characters like the Queen of Hearts, Alice, Gaston and Tiana, but they had long lines or we had already met them just the day before. We decided to just head straight for the castle! And then we saw the Evil Stepmother and Stepsisters and couldn't say no! I've never seen them out at a race. The line was a little bit longer, but it was a 3 for 1 deal. Completely worth it. Plus, we got a fabulous picture out of it!

Sassy! And then we really did just head straight through the castle.

We got the cutest castle pics! The photopass photographers there are awesome. They get everyone in and out super quick. We even were able to get two pictures: jump and posing!

Once you run through the castle, you turn into Liberty Square and continue on to Frontierland. There we saw Woody and Jessie, but there weren't as many characters as usual. I was a little bummed about that. Luckily, there were still tons of photopass photographers capturing some great action shots. There are way more photographers in the parks which definitely makes for happier photos. Running through the parks is the best part of the race after all.

As we left the park, there was a crazy long line for Cinderella & Prince Charming and Aurora & Prince Philip. We didn't want to wait over 30 minutes, but we were willing to wait 1 minute to snap a picture in front of the dragon! When they said we could run up and get a picture with it, we were all in.

Unfortunately, as you leave Magic Kingdom, you're only about halfway through the race. The rest is along the many roads and overpasses that connect the Disney parks. When we first left the parks, it was starting to get warm and we wound up right around a very large Galloway pace group. Now I'm not knocking on Galloway training or pace groups, but this group happened to be a tough one to run near. It was very big and the roads were narrow. We were trying to pass and there wasn't a lot of space. Sadly, a lot of the runners in the group weren't very considerate of passing runner. Also they were running 0:30/0:30 which meant they were walking 0:30, running 0:30 over and over and over again. That meant they were shouting when to go and when to stop every 30 seconds. It was just a lot to deal with around mile 7-8 running into the sun.

The good news is that we did eventually get far enough away from them that they didn't bother us anymore. It took a couple of miles though. Other than that, the run kept on keeping on. We saw a couple of characters along the golf course including golfing Genie and the wedding pavillion men, but again, no one that we just had to stop for.

Miles 10 and 11 were ROUGH. We were hot and the course was very hilly and banked. It makes for incredibly achy feet, ankles and knees when you're already quite tired. The banked turns really took a toll on Rachael's foot, so we slowed down a bit more. I was able to encourage her and push her to keep going a couple of times when she was ready to just walk. I really wanted to finish the race hand in hand despite her injury! We made it through thanks to extra water stops along the course. Disney really is ready for everything! When they saw how warm and humid it would be for the race, they added extra water stops through the whole course. This helped keep us hydrated throughout. Plus we were able to dump lots of water on our heads to cool us off.

Around mile 12, we got to head into Epcot! You run in through one side of Future World, all the way down to the lake, u-turn and head back out by the Epcot ball and to the finish line.

Being in the parks again and knowing that the finish line was so close gave me quite the surge of extra energy. I may have started picking up the pace quite a bit, and Rachael had to reign me back in. You can see me being the rabbit in the picture above! I just get so excited!

We had to stop in front of Spaceship Earth for a quick pictures since again there was barely a line. We opted not to take a jumping picture since neither of us was in jumping condition with only half a mile to go in the race.

One of my favorite parts of the race is about a quarter mile until the finish line. There is an amazing gospel choir! They really lift you up and make you feel amazing. You just want to clap your hands along with them. Then you turn the corner and you can see the finish line.

As we approached, we grabbed hands, threw them in the air and finished it hand in hand just like we had planned.

It was definitely one of the harder Princess races I've run because of the heat, humidity and the fact that I was just out of the first trimester of my pregnancy. I think Rachael definitely agrees with me. We're not too keen on hot, nasty runs. Despite everything we had going against us, we did it! And we got the picture to prove it.

Not only did we finish the half marathon, but we completed the Fairytale Challenge which was the 10K and the half marathon together. Baby Boy Gougler finished his first Disney race like a champ! I can't wait to bring him and Chloe back to run the diaper dash and kids races in the future.

After we got all of our goodies, we met up with Ali and got some princess pictures! That's one of the best things about the princess half marathon. After the race, there are TONS of princesses out to take pictures with. It's a great opportunity to meet your favorites. The lines look long, but they move pretty quickly!

Anna is one of my favorites and Snow White was the leading lady for this year's half marathon medal and shirt, so I had to see both of them.

After finishing the half marathon, I ran 22.4 miles and earned 4 medals in just 3 days. That is definitely something to be proud of, and I can't wait to do it again! Call me crazy, but waking up at 3:30am, dressing up like a 5 year old and running crazy distances is just so worth it!

Now to decide if we're going to do princess weekend or a different race weekend for next year!

Have you run a Disney race? Which one?
What Disney race would you try to run if you had the chance?

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