Friday, May 25, 2018

Friday Favorites: Artis Royal Zoo

Hey hey y'all! It's Friday and the sun is shining here. I'm going to take that as a sign for a good day. Not only is it Friday, but it's the Friday of a long weekend which means more fun and relaxing for the whole family! Chloe's last day of school was yesterday, so there's going to be a lot of time with mommy and Chloe over the next few months. It's always nice when daddy can join in the fun with us especially as my belly gets bigger.

Today I wanted to flashback to last month in Amsterdam! Yes, I still have pictures that I have to share with y'all. They do no good to me just sitting here on my computers hard drive, so off to the Internet they go. While we were in Amsterdam, there were a few days where JP had to work, so it was Chloe and me against the city! One day we decided to venture out and find the zoo and I'm so glad that we did!

For starters, Chloe and I LOVE the zoo. We have a zoo membership at home and try to go as often as we can. I saw reviews that the Artis Zoo in Amsterdam was a good one, so we had to check it out.

It did NOT disappoint! We happened to chose a gorgeous day with highs in the low 70's and not a cloud in the sky. The animals were not only out, but they were active and some were so engaging!

The monkeys were busy eating all of their snacks which Chloe thought was absolutely hilarious. I was able to tell her that monkeys need to eat lots of snacks just like Chloe! She scoffed when I told her they ate their vegetables. She still won't eat any unless I sneak it in her smoothie!

The elephants were by far our FAVORITES! First of all, the elephant exhibit was huge. They had a really neat area that you could walk all around and even through.

The exhibit has a big water feature with a walkway along it that dips down to water level. It allows you to see the elephants from a totally different angle. We stumbled upon it right as they started playing with the baby elephant! She was so cute and playful and just 6 months old. We stood and watched for at least 15 minutes. They were playing with the water and a ball before moving to the pool.

Chloe and I were both mesmerized. They were so sweet to watch and we even went back again before we left because Chloe loves elephants so much.

The giraffes were also a big hit! They had several viewing areas too. You could see them from the backside of the exhibit or behind the glass up close and personal from the front. They happened to get snacks right as we showed up, so all of them were right by the glass enclosure.

Just next door there was a smaller giraffe area and we saw a baby giraffe! He was only 5 days old!!! He was still super wobbly and unsure that his legs would stay beneath him.

One of the best parts about this zoo were the playgrounds scattered throughout. The large play area was right outside the main restaurant and was a huge hit with the kiddos. Of course the little kid area wasn't enough for Chloe. She wanted to climb up the big ladder. It was kind of shocking since my little girl is quite the timid one. She insisted though. She was nervous the whole way up, but did it all by herself! Then she got to the top and panicked. She was too scared to go down the slide. Luckily a sweet momma went down with Chloe and her son so that I wouldn't have to climb up to get her!

Look it's a wallaby! We were actually able to walk through this enclosure! There were a few animal enclosures that you could walk through and get closer to the animals. The wallabies and lemurs were a few that I remember.

I love seeing animals that we don't have in our zoo at home. Some we saw were the wallabies, a camel and penguins! The little penguin below wanted to come play with us.

Like I said, tons of play areas throughout the park and you know we had to stop at every single one. I was okay with that. Burn all the energy Chlo!

Another play area was just a large green space with benches, flowers and two huge dinosaurs! An Allosaurus and a Stegosaurus!  Chloe took the time to stop and smell the flowers before attempting to climb the Stegosaurus's back. She's not the most coordinated, so she didn't get too far.

This area was one of the last that we found right over by the aquarium. I enjoyed getting a moment to sit down while Chloe ran around just a bit more because after that we were headed back to our hotel. Of course it was about a mile and a half away and I had been on my feet for about 5 hours.

One of my favorite things about traveling with Chloe is that we seem to find things and visit places that we wouldn't have gone if she wasn't with us. JP and I wouldn't have gone to the zoo, but I'm so glad we got to experience this. It was so neat and one of my favorite zoo's that I've ever visited! Since it was just the two of us and we had no schedule at all, we took our time, revisited our favorite animals, ate a picnic lunch, played at every park we could and even bought popsicles since Chloe was such a good girl!

If you're in Amsterdam with kids or if you have a spare day and aren't quite sure what to do, I highly recommend the Artis Royal Zoo. It's a beautiful zoo with lots of unique features and animals. I would go back in a heartbeat.

I hope you enjoyed taking a look inside a travel day with just little Chlo and me! Now go off and enjoy your Friday and then your long weekend!

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Life Lately: May 2018

Lately I've been posting a lot about our big trip to Amsterdam and Disneyland Paris. {I still have a lot to share with y'all though!} I've also been posting a lot about my pregnancy. Let's be real, those are some of the biggest things that have been consuming my life these days! But, there is so much more. It's been quite a long time since I did a lately post, so here's what's going on!

{Be sure to check out my new workout down there! It's a good one and I have a video up on Insta of it!}

Lately I've been...

...reading the Century Trilogy. I'm currently on the third book in the series and I'm completely hooked. In case you haven't heard of these books, they are by Ken Follett and their titles are Fall of Giants, Winter of the World and Edge of Eternity. It's actually a historical fiction series. The first is around World War I, the second World War II and the thirt around the Cold War, Civil Rights Movement and Vietnam War. They follow fictional families from around the world and put them in real life situations that happened back then. I highly recommend them and I'm so glad that my awesome mother-in-law told me about this series! Just so y'all know, they are definitely long books, but they suck you in and you're hooked!

...listening to The Birth Hour podcast! I'm hooked and I can't get enough. The podcast is just different women telling their birth stories. There are all types of mommas and birth stories from natural births to planned c-sections. I love hearing about their pregnancies and their experiences. And any woman who has given birth knows that we love talking about and sharing our birth stories!

I had been listening to tons of true crime podcasts, but I had to take a step back while pregnant because of my hormones. I was getting so emotional and worked up, so I figured I could go back to them later. I need happy, good feels in my life right now.

...watching Silicon Valley at nights with the hubby, Outlander when I want to actually pay attention and watch a show and Make It or Break It reruns on Freeform when I want to watch something and multitask! Otherwise you can bet that my TV is on the Disney Jr app or HGTV.

...thinking about the fact that my baby girl is about to turn three and then become a big sister in just a matter of months. It's been us against the world for the last three years and our world is about to experience some major changes! Amazing and exciting changes, but earth shattering for a three year old! I can't help but think about how she's going to take on becoming a big sister. I know that she will be the best, most caring sister to this baby boy, and I'm getting excited to see them together!

She's also becoming obsessed with all of the baby stuff that we're pulling out of the nursery! We've been storing all of her things in the baby room and not that we're starting to turn it into a nursery, we're in there a lot. Chloe loves playing with her Lotso Bear and her baby dolls, and occasionally tries to climb in herself! Looks like she's grown quite a bit over the last 3 years.

...looking forward to our family trip to Schlitterbahn in a few weeks and my baby shower next month!

...working out as often as possible. My runs have turned into walk/run intervals and just long walks thanks to the rapidly increasing heat and humidity. I've also been trying to get more new and creative workouts in at my house. Here's one that I knocked out in my workout area the other day. It was about 30 minutes and moderate intensity. Not too intense for a fit pregnant lady, but not as high intensity as I could manage without this little guy in my belly! Check out my Instagram to get a glimpse of the moves!

...eating lots and lots of carbs! My diet this pregnancy consists of a lot of bread, crackers, pretzels and tortilla chips. I also have been all about tuna, peanut butter, watermelon, apples, grilled cheese and ice cream.

...working hard on getting the house just the way I want it. After we painted back in March, I've been switching out decor, adding new pieces and trying to get my house just right. Some may call in nesting. Okay, I'm definitely nesting. We've just gotten several pieces from JP's family that are making me excited like a tea cart in our dining room, a piano in our foyer and new furniture for Chloe! We've moved her old furniture into the baby's room and after my shower I plan to finish getting the nursery all together!

...happy that we were able to spend last weekend in the Chicago area visiting our best friends' new home! They just moved up there after living in Houston since 2012, and it was so hard to see our besties move far away last month. Getting together to celebrate Renee's 2nd birthday was perfect. Having the gang all together like normal was the perfect way to spend my last big trip of this pregnancy. Here are just a few pictures from our long weekend:

...ready for a summer full of fun with my girl and hubby as a family of three! We might as well have a blast doing all of our favorite things while we can. We'll be hitting the pool, zoo, indoor play areas and more. But lots of time will be spent in the water and air conditioning in this Houston heat!

There you have it! That's pretty much what's going on around here as of late. Obviously a lot of it is centered around my pregnancy and getting ready for baby boy to join us in August. I know y'all get that in my biweekly bumpdates, so hopefully I was able to shed some light on other things happening in my world these days.

Now I'm looking for suggestions...send me some books that I need to read, easy shows that I can binge watch and podcasts to listen to! {Podcasts don't have to be pregnancy related! Just not sad or too upsetting...hello hormones!}

What should we add to our summer bucket list before baby? I want to make a list of things to do with my girl before her brother comes!

Thursday, May 17, 2018

26 Week Bumpdate

It's that time of the week, it's Baby Boy's Bump Day! I'm loving sharing this stage of life with y'all and I hope that you're still enjoying following along on my journey. I've always said that I want this blog to be a reflection of my life, and I believe life is a balancing act of all the things we're juggling. It just so happens that pregnancy is quite a large thing that I'm juggling right now since I'm pregnant and feeling it 24/7! I have a pretty exciting update about my 3 hour glucose screening, so read on to see how that went and some other fun news!

How Far Along? 
26 weeks today!

Size of Baby: 
Baby is as big as kale. Yeah that's what the app says as you can see above! Another one says that he's the size of a bowling pin and another a butternut squash. In a nutshell it means that my little boy is about 2 lbs and 14 inches long from head to toe! 2 lbs! It's hard to believe, but I can definitely feel it in the weight of my stomach.

Weight Gain:
I'm pretty much where I was last time. I'm up about 16-18lbs, so right on track to gain about as much as I did with Chloe!

3 Hour Glucose Screening:
If you follow along with me on Instagram, then you may have seen that I had to take the 3 hour glucose test. I found out last Friday that I failed my 1 hour test by a few points They want your blood sugar levels to be under 130 after and hour and mine was 140. I was so bummed about having to take the 3 hour test and the prospect of having gestational diabetes. I have a great love for carbs after all! I went into the 3 hour test nervous about throwing up because I heard that it can make you really nauseous. If you puke, then you have to start all over again. If you don't know about the test, you go in after fasting for 12 hours, get your blood drawn, drink a crazy sugary drink, get your blood drawn again after 1 hr, 2 hrs and 3hrs. So 4 blood draws in 3 hours and no food for pretty much 16 hours! I survived and didn't throw up, but after the test I felt so dizzy, lightheaded and queasy that I had to eat something in my car and sit for 15 minutes before I felt well enough to drive. Well I got the results back yesterday morning and it turns out I do NOT have gestational diabetes. Not only did I pass, but I passed with flying colors. It turns out the original test was just a fluke. Here's how my results looked:
Fasting: Me- 93 Desired- Under 100
One Hour: Me- 128 Desired- Under 180
Two Hours: Me- 113 Desired- Under 160
Three Hours: Me- 43 Desired- Under 140
 Clearly I passed. But do you see that 43? Yeah that's actually dangerously low. My body processes sugars so well that it went into overdrive to finish processing all of the sugar from the drink! That's why I felt so sick. That's also why I get hangry and have to eat every two hours or so. It's nice to officially know the reason I feel like I need to eat all the time! I'm not crazy!

Back pain is killing me. I didn't experience it until the last several weeks of my pregnancy with Chloe, and this time it started early on. It's only getting worse, so I'm trying to do everything I can to make it better naturally. I've been walking like crazy because sitting makes it worse. Oddly moving and working out are making it better. I also ordered a belly band which I need to be better about wearing!

Tacos, tuna salad, tortilla chips, apples and peanut butter, peanut butter and jelly, cheese, watermelon. Quite the variety!

Better now that the glucose test is over! I was super nervous upon finding out I failed the first one which is why I only told a couple of people that I was taking the 3 hour test before I did it. I felt very anxious about having gestational diabetes because I just want to be as healthy as I can for this baby boy! 

It's coming together y'all! We officially put Chloe's crib, dresser and rocker in there. We also put in a small cabinet that we got from JP's grandparents' apartment. We still have a lot of stuff laying around and I'm waiting on our shower for bedding and decorations. It's hard to wait when I just want to buy all of the things! I can't wait to share when it's ready!

We have a mover and groover on our hands. His favorite times to move around are early morning and late at night. I'm sure he's moving more than I realize during the day, but it's harder to feel when I'm busy!

Falling asleep is easy, staying asleep is another story. I'm exhausted in the evenings and ready to go to bed by 9:00pm. Unfortunately I'm waking up a couple of times to go to the bathroom, and I'm having trouble sleeping past 6-6:30am. But hey, I'm still getting plenty of sleep, so I can't complain yet.

Still good! Lots of walking, easy jogging and lower intensity workouts. Here's what my last week looked like:

Wednesday: 4.5 mile walk with my girl Chandra!
Thursday: Rest - I was so sick
Friday: Rest - Still recovering
Saturday: 2.3 mile walk
Sunday: 3.5 mile walk/run
Monday: 45 minute cycle class, 6 rounds Tabata
Tuesday: 2 mile walk
Wednesday: 3 rounds of Kettlebell Tabata and 3 rounds of a little workout I made up on the spot and plan to share with y'all later!

What I Miss: 
Not having back pain!

Belly Button in or out?
It's flat through the first half of the day and an outtie by most evenings!

Labor Signs: 
Just a few Braxton Hicks contractions each day. I feel more when I'm more active, but nothing crazy. Yesterday, I had a huge sneeze which triggered a BH. It was one part hilarious and one part annoying!

Anything making you queasy or sick: 
Thinking about the Glucose Test. The first one hour test wasn't too bad, but my 3 hour test was horrible. I was so nauseous after drinking the sugar drink that I was convinced I was going to throw up. There was no way I was going to throw up and have to start all over again though.

Best Moments The Past Weeks: 
Mother's Day weekend! I had the most relaxing and wonderful Mother's Day. I celebrated with all of my neighbors at a pool party on Friday, floated in my parents' pool all day Saturday, and my hubby and Chloe spoiled me all day Sunday. I didn't wash any dishes or clean up any toys. Also finding out that I don't have gestational diabetes!

Looking forward to:
Leaving for Chicago tonight to see my best friend and celebrate her baby girl's 2nd birthday! My last flight and big trip of this pregnancy. 

There you have it, 26 weeks down and about 14 to go! It's hard to believe how fast this pregnancy is going, but my body can definitely feel all the changes that its going through. 

I'm excited to share my 28 week bumpdate because I'm going to do a compare and contrast to my pregnancy with Chloe! Stay tuned to see what's up!

Did you ever have problems with back pain, pregnancy or non-pregnancy related?
What were the best ways to overcome the pain naturally?

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Traveling Around Holland: The Hague & Leiden

Oh hello! I've been missing for a week, I know. And I still have so much to share about our two weeks overseas. Before I get to that, the reason I've been gone is because I got so sick last week! I was down for the count Wednesday and Thursday. By Friday I was feeling much better, but still off. Then I didn't have the drive to get on my computer and get everything ready. So here I am a week later! On the plus side, I had a wonderful Mother's Day weekend and I'll tell y'all all about it tomorrow when I do my next Bumpdate. Stay tuned!

Today I actually want to share our day when we hopped on a train and travelled around Holland! First stop was The Hague. Chloe absolutely loved riding on the train. It was a great experience to see the countryside and more of this beautiful country.

We saw these gorgeous fields of flowers multiple times along our 45 minute journey. Their countryside is so colorful!

Once we arrived in The Hague, our plan was to hit some of the top spots and things to see in the city. We were there on a Monday, so it wasn't too crowded! The only downside was that many places were closed for tours on Mondays. We didn't think of that at all, so I had to be sure to share. Since tours are so popular on the weekends, they take Monday as their day off! We didn't let that stop us from exploring.

Binnenhof & Ridderzaal
First we came to Binnenhof & Ridderzaal. This is the Inner Court and Hall of Knights. It is also known as the political heart of the Netherlands. This is where important events in the Netherlands history have taken place. It is where Parliament meets and has been the office of the Prime Minister since the 1980's.

We had the chance to stroll around the courtyard and take in the beauty of the buildings. But again, since it was Monday, we weren't able to go inside or take a tour. It kind of worked out in the end because we were able to get more packed into our half day there.

The Hague is known for their shopping! If you go for a visit be sure to check out the Court District. We didn't make it there, but we heard awesome things. If I wasn't pregnant, we would have found a way to get there. Even though we weren't shopping, we still saw some beautiful stores while walking the city.

The Canals
When you're in The Hague, be sure to take some time to walk along the canals. They are so pretty especially on bright and sunny days!

The Peace Palace
One of The Hague's top attractions is the Peace Palace. It's the city's most photographed building and it holds the Eternal Peace Flame at its entrance.

Once again, the Peace Palace offers tours, but not on Monday. Since we couldn't go in, we did take the time to enjoy all of the green space around it. Chloe loved running around and even posed for a few pictures for me!

Here's the World Peace Flame that burns eternally outside the entrance!

I also loved the attention to detail with the benches and gardens around the palace. This dove with an olive branch bench was my favorite!

The Panorama Mesdag 
This is a unique piece of Dutch artwork that shows the history of the city. The panorama portrays the city of The Hague from 1881. The building that holds the panorama was specifically built to house the painting. The panorama is in the upstairs roundabout tower and is 36 meters in diameter. It's size is quite impressive! Fun fact: The windows behind the panorama and the roof allows for natural light to come through, so the panorama projects the weather of the day.

Parks and Green Space
The Hague has parks and green space throughout the city. This was particularly welcome the day we were there because Chloe needed to burn some energy. She doesn't always love riding in a stroller all day, so any chance we can give her to run around and have fun we take!

A few other places to see in The Hague are:
Madurodam: a miniature version of The Netherlands
The Pier and the Sea: The Hague is on the ocean and is a beautiful place to visit. I wish we would have had the chance!
Palace Noordeinde: The royal palace

After we spent several hours in The Hague, we hopped back on a train and took a quick 15 minute train ride to Leiden. I fell in love with this city! Leiden is a sleepy little Dutch town full of history and quite a bit to do!

Molen de PutThe first thing you should do is check out the Windmill Museum! It's not far at all from the train station, and you can get great photos of a Dutch windmill. Of course, the museum is closed on Mondays. Just our luck right? I thought everything would be closed on Sundays, but like I said, we were wrong. We still got to see a windmill up close and get some great pictures.

Burcht van Leiden
An old shell fortress from the 1100's! It's now a public park open to everyone to take a break, have a look around and bask in the city views. When you enter the fortress, there are stairs that take you up to the top of the wall so you can see all around the city. Every few yards, there are plaques that explain what you're seeing. I loved learning more about the city and understanding what was around me.

JP and I had to take turns going up there and looking around because someone fell asleep in her stroller. It was kind of nice to be able to sit at a table and kick up my feet while JP took his turn looking around the fortress.

Leiden is the perfect city to just walk around on the cobblestones, browse through markets, check out the canal system, or sit at a cafe sipping a drink while people watching.

There are several churches and museums that you can visit as well as beautiful botanical gardens. Because we had such a busy day already, we decided against more museums and such. Instead we decided to try out the people watching at a cafe! A Dutch pancake cafe to be more specific.

We shared a cinnamon apple pancake while just relaxing and taking in our surroundings. It was the perfect end to a wonderful day traveling around Holland. Afterwards, we burned some Chloe energy running around the square before getting on the train one last time to go back to Amsterdam.

It was a busy day and we were gone from 9:00am to 7:00pm which is pretty impressive for a 2 year old! If you're visiting Amsterdam and have the chance to get out of the city and see more of the country, I highly recommend both of these cities. The Hague is more of a big city great for shopping or the beach. Leiden is more of a small, sleepy town great for a low key day checking out some museums, the canals and markets!

If you find yourself planning a vacation in The Netherlands even if it's just a few days, I'd love to talk to you and give you some great ideas of what to do!

Do you prefer visiting a big city or sleepy town? 
It definitely depends on the day for me, but I would say I definitely lean towards sleepy town!

Where would you go outside of your favorite major city if given the chance?

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