Friday, April 27, 2018

Friday Favorites: Keukenhof Gardens

Love is the answer, and you know that for sure; Love is a flower, you've got to let it grow. - John Lennon

I'm back and ready to share our adventure with y'all! To say that our experience was amazing would be an understatement. I'm pretty sure I say that about every trip we take. Traveling is such an important part of our lives, so every trip is an amazing adventure that we cherish forever. Cheesy, I know, but this one was no different. We spent 8 days in Amsterdam, another 4 at Disneyland Paris and of course 2 travel days. Two weeks away from home soaking up culture, experience, adventure, scenery and more.

The first adventure I want to share with y'all was one of my favorite days in Amsterdam. On our second day, we took a bus out to Keukenhof to see the tulips! I have so many pictures to share with y'all. It was hard to narrow it down, but I think I got it to about 30 something. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

There were so many floral and vine archways that Chloe wanted to go through again and again.

Everywhere you looked there was so much color. According to the Keukenhof website, about 7 million bulbs are planted every year over the 79 acre gardens. We were lucky to be in Holland at the perfect time of year. The gardens are open from mid-March to mid-May and usually mid-April is the perfect time to visit! We were actually there April 13th, right in the middle of April. There were still some flowers that hadn't bloomed since it was an unusually cold winter. You can see a few trying to pop up in the garden above.

There were also lots of paths and water features that Chloe loved. I even got her to give me a pretty smile which never happens these days. She loved being able to get out of her stroller, climb up the rocks and walk around on her own.

This weird instrument below is called a street organ. I had never seen one before this trip, but we saw several in Holland. Each one we saw seemed to draw quite the crowd.

Apparently each year Keukenhof park has a theme and this year's theme is Romance in Flowers. According to their website, the park was designed midway through the Romantic period (1857) as an ornamental garden for Castle Keukenhof. Since 1950, millions of tulips have flowered in the garden around the pond with its centuries-old beech trees. Many generations experienced joyous moments there; people have proposed in the romantic tulip garden or had secret rendezvous in the Cupid Garden!

Everywhere we turned there was a different flower bed, a new path and more color as we explored the park.

Chloe personally loved these large white objects in the flowers. She called them marshmallows and couldn't stop talking about them the whole time we were there. After some deliberation and help from our family, we have come to the decision that they look like duck butts. You know like they're dipping their heads into the water with their booties in the air. It seemed about right to me! Any other thoughts?

You can't forget about the windmill! Windmills are a staple in The Netherlands after all.

After we passed by the windmill, there was this big open space with several different staged areas. There was a Delftware garden, a flamingo garden, a flower truck and more! They were so gorgeous and a fun spin on your typical garden.

In the same area, there was also a park for the kiddos and food trucks! We let Chloe play and run around while we ate some lunch. We had pulled pork sandwiches and frites. It was a nice chance for me to sit down for a bit! I forgot how walking around all day can be rough when pregnant. Of course resting didn't last too long because Chloe wanted her mommy and daddy to play with her! She had a blast and didn't want to leave.

We had a bit of a row trying to move on from the park and things went downhill for a while. It got pretty cold and windy, so we went into the green houses. The flowers and exhibits in here were gorgeous and in full bloom.

These roses were some of my absolute favorites! They're so fun and unique, and I love tie-dye. Random fact: In college, I loved tie-dying things. I had tons of shirts, pillow cases, sock and more. It was so much fun that all of a sudden I want to do it again!

Okay back to the flowers, let's also just talk about these gorgeous marbled flowers! They're so neat and I just don't know how they do it.

We had an amazing time spending hours walking around the gardens and greenhouses. Just before we left, we found these colorful birds and I happened to snap a picture of them giving each other a peck! 

I hope y'all enjoyed the pictures! I know there were a ton and I'm impressed if you actually made it this far in my post. Be prepared for more posts from our trip with even more pictures to share. I hope y'all don't get sick of it, but I have to document our babymoon.

Everyone have an amazing weekend, and I'll be back Monday with more!

Have you ever been to Holland's Keukenhof gardens?
What is your favorite type of flower? Besides the awesome tie-dyed roses, tulips are my favorite flowers!

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?

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