Thursday, December 6, 2012

28 Weeks

I seriously can't believe I've been pregnant 28 weeks.  Time is flying by ridiculously fast, and I find myself completely unprepared.  I have so many things I need to get for this little one!  Good thing I can take advantage of some after Christmas sales here in a few weeks.

I figured it was time I updated this blog with another belly shot.  I have not taken hardly any pictures this pregnancy!  It's not because I don't want to document it (I actually really really do!), it's just that it's a pain to take self photos and Hubster is pretty busy and isn't around when I remember to actually take a photo.  Fail!  In any case, here's the latest pic from this week:

28 weeks

I am still feeling like a champ.  I'm not super uncomfortable yet (though I do have my moments), and my hormones are still really level.  I haven't had any crazy tears or emotional freak-outs, which I guess is pretty rare.  I'm sure that my hubby is grateful for that little miracle!

My weight continues to go up (duh) and I'm currently sitting around 172 lbs.  Luckily, it appears to all be baby related weight as I can still fit into my pre-pregnancy pants (though I would NEVER wear them because that's just plain uncomfortable on the belly).  It's been a good way to make sure that I'm not gaining any "extra" weight that isn't good for baby.  It's hard to look at the scale and see it climb (way harder than expected), but it's good to know it's all for the baby boy and that the doctors are very pleased with my current weight.  According to my midwife on Tuesday, I am "having a very healthy pregnancy."  YAY!

The most eye opening part of this journey for me so far is how large I feel currently, and how I've actually been bigger than this before and didn't realize it.  My belly feels HUGE to me (and I actually keep running it into things because I misjudge the size--fail).  However, I once again measured my belly and it currently is the same width around as it was when I weighed 168 lbs and started this blog.  I just can't believe I had that much sitting on my waist and I didn't realize it.  It's kind of horrifying how disconnected I was (and still can be) with how I actually looked.  The shirt I'm wearing in the pic above isn't a maternity shirt; it is just one of the shirts I bought during my heavier days.  I have a LOT of shirts that fit me now that I wore during my heavy days.  It's been really, really eye opening to me.  It serves as a good warning that weight can sneak up on us and that our eyes can be liars and we may not look as good as we think we do.  I certainly didn't think I was packing around the equivalent of a 6-month pregnant belly on me at that time.  What's crazier is that 168 wasn't my highest weight and I had more fat on me prior to that.  I just wish I had measurements to compare with!

Have any of you ever experienced the "lying eye" that tells you you look better than you actually do?  Or worse, the opposite that tells you you look terrible when in reality you actually look great?  Please tell me I'm not alone in having this problem.

Also, can we discuss how it is currently December?  How the heck did that happen?  I seriously feel like we just started 2012.  I must admit that I am looking forward to the holiday season and snow falling at Christmastime.  It's been raining in Utah for nearly a week, and the temps have been in the 50s to 60s.  That is NOT Utah winter weather.  I don't love snow, but I do like it during the holiday season so I say, "Let it snow!  Let it snow!  Let it snow!" and then melt off after January...ha!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

I Miss Running


I miss running.  A lot.  I dream about it.  I think about it.  I yearn for it.

I can't believe it's been over a year since I last ran a race.  2011 was the year of races (5ks, 10ks, half marathons, a full marathon, and 3 Ragnars).  It seemed like every day of 2011 was spent training and focusing on an upcoming race.

2012 has been the year of waiting.  Waiting for my feet to get better.  Waiting for my tendonitis to disappear so I could get back to running.  Waiting for my little wee one to show up!  Admittedly, waiting for my little boy to show up is MUCH more fun than waiting for injuries to resolve themselves!

I regret not being able to run right before I got pregnant.  I think that running during this pregnancy would've been awesome for me, and I have truly missed my ability to do so.  I won't make the same mistake next time.

I'm already planning 2013 out.  Obviously, my days of nonstop epic races are going to be behind me, but that doesn't mean I can't still go out and train for a 10k or even a half marathon.  I love both of those distances, and I'm really looking forward to training for them in 2013.  It will be interesting to see how different it is to train while nursing a newborn and being sleep and time deprived!  I think it will be worth it.

Unfortunately, I will be essentially starting from scratch after my baby is born.  I haven't consistently ran in a year and I know that I have lost pretty much all cardio stamina.  Additionally, I'm pretty sure my body is going to be all sorts of torn up after pregnancy and that my core strength (and alignment) is going to be all out of whack.  I want to start slow and build my base correctly.  I am really hopeful that it won't be a super painful process!!

Does anybody have any experience or advice on coming back to running after a pregnancy?  I'm interested in the best way to go about it.  I'm definitely out of my element here!  All I know is that I am really looking forward to a lot more moments like this in my life:

You know you  miss this, too.  :)
Nothing quite like the feeling of getting suited up in your running gear to go conquer the world.  Only a few more months and I can be back at it!!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

On My Mind

First off, I can't hear the phrase "on my mind" without thinking of this beautiful song by Kalai:

Enjoy.  His Acousticism album is beautiful.  Go check it out (particularly Divide Me and Shotgun Blues).

Anyway, there's been a lot on my mind lately but I haven't really taken the time to post.  I know I promised that this wouldn't become a pregnancy blog, and I will admit that most have my thoughts lately have been related to being pregnant so I have felt like I couldn't post!  However, I remembered that I started writing this blog for me as a way to document my feelings and my journey and that shouldn't really stop just because I'm pregnant.  If anything, I should utilize it more!  So here I am.  :)

First off, being pregnant is insane.  It is both awesome and terrifying all at the same time.  The human body is incredible.  Every time I feel my little boy move inside my belly, I am struck by how incredible and insane that actually is.  It seriously feels like I have a little alien inside me!  But I love it.

I've been blessed to be able to feel my little guy move really well due to how my placenta formed (why is the word placenta so gross to me?  I have no idea...).  I felt him first move in Australia when I was 17 weeks pregnant.  I was watching Mythbusters trying to stay awake just a half hour longer (hellllllo, jet lag!) when I felt a "tap tap" movement in my belly.  Sure enough, it was baby boy.  Hubster was lucky enough to feel him move at 19 weeks.  And now, at 23 weeks, I can actually see him move in my ever-growing belly.  THAT is weird.  Awesome, but so very weird!

Additionally, I've been thinking a lot about the actual birth process.  Oh my.  That's a terrifying concept.  However, at the recommendation of my doctor, I signed me and Hubster up for the Bradley Method birthing classes.  I am SO glad that I did.  I've never been a huge fan of medical interventions (which is why I take FOREVER to actually go to the doctor when injured!!), so I have been looking for a more natural approach to birth than what is typical in hospitals these days.  I'm so glad I live in a time where I have options that I can choose for myself.  My current plan is to go as natural as possible--no medical interventions (no inducing, epidural, etc.).  I'm sure it will be very hard, but I think the benefits outweigh the pain.  Wish me luck!!  This is a big deal!

Also, I'm training for birth (related to the above).  My birthing class instructor has me doing special exercises (squats, pelvic rocks, butterflies, kegels, etc.) specifically designed to strengthen the muscles involved in labor.  It's weird to be training for something other than a running race, but I suppose it makes sense to train for birth when it really is the most strenuous exercise a woman's body will likely ever go through!  It also helps me feel more prepared for the big day.  All good things!

So what's going on that is non-baby related?  Lots!  We just finished getting all our carpet replaced and painting pretty much entire house.  Holy cow.  That was much harder work than expected!  My aching back was not quite prepared for it!  But now our house looks lovely.  SO worth the effort!  I'll post before/afters once our house is fully put back together.  Right now it is in a transition state.

I also went up to Idaho for the annual Spud Harvest event.  It felt good to be back on the farm, even though I couldn't help out with the process.  I did get some fun pictures while up there.  I love time on the farm!

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New digger.  Awesome.
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TWO bumps!  My sister is pregnant too!
I tried to upload more, but my internet is being glitchy today.  These two will have to suffice!

I'm headed to the doctor for my 24-week appointment.  I'll try to get some new pictures of my bump to share soon.  It is growing SO much lately!

Any of you tried the Bradley Method?  I'm interested in feedback!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A Comparison--Measurements in 2010 vs Today

Now I know what you are thinking--it seems a bit crazy to compare measurements from when I wasn't pregnant to when I am.  BUT, I kind of wanted to see how differently my body was distributing my new weight and see where the changes were (and weren't) happening.  Plus, I figured it was a good gut check to make sure I really am being healthy in this pregnancy.  So today I hopped on the scale and busted out my measuring tape.  I was really really surprised by the results!

Crazily enough, I actually have a measurement back from 2010 where I weigh *exactly* what I weighed in at this morning.  I figured that I couldn't get a better comparison than that!  I plugged in today's numbers fully expecting that my belly would be significantly larger than back in 2010 (cuz, duh, I'm preggers) but surprisingly, I was still smaller on almost every single measurement (except boobs...not really a surprise there).  I couldn't believe it!

 I was really really happy to see that even though I am gaining weight, I am doing it in a significantly different way than I previously did.  Then I decided to compare my current stats with my most recent ones (taken in January).  That was surprising to me, too:
My arms do look smaller to me (in a good way), and of course I fully expected my bust and waist to be significantly bigger, but I was surprised that there wasn't a bigger difference!  My belly feels so big to me!  It was reassuring to me that most other measurements stayed flat.  So far, so good!   It will be interesting to see just how much that "waist" number grows over the next few months.  It certainly feels like it has grown more than 2.5 inches since January!!

Taken at 20 Weeks
Do you ever take measurements?  Are you a stat junkie like me who loves to look back and compare?  Please tell me I'm not alone in this!!  

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Real Bears

Why must soda always be so dang addicting?  *sigh*

Stuff like this is a good reminder--check it out!

Monday, October 8, 2012


Tomorrow is (hopefully!) the day.  We've been waiting anxiously to find out what our wee little one is, and tomorrow we should know!  I am SO excited and can't wait.  I've been taking guesses from people in the office and all my family, but now I'm curious to hear what you guys think I'm having (besides a human...I'm definitely having a human).

Leave your guess in the comments!

Friday, October 5, 2012

The Debut

It's here!  The baby bump has officially arrived and this is the first picture taken of it.  I'm 19 1/2 weeks in this photo.  Only a few more days until we know the gender!  Can't wait!

Have a great weekend everybody!  I'm headed to Idaho for Spud Harvest.  Awwww yeah.

Monday, October 1, 2012

One Week

One week.

One week ago I was just getting back from Australia.

One week was all it took to gain 5(!) pounds upon returning to the US.

One week is all that is between me and finding out what kind of baby I'm baking!

It's crazy how much can happen in such a short amount of time.  Let's start with the first point--Australia!  I was there for a week for work, and while I didn't have much time to play outside of work I did make sure to see the main city sites again.

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Sydney Opera House!
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Sydney Harbour Bridge
You may have noticed that I look slightly, uh, pudgy(?) in those photos.  I'd like to clarify that I'm actually wearing two shirts.  I'm wearing this shirt underneath the green shirt:
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Sunset in Sydney
I say that like it matters, but in reality the truth of the situation is that the baby bump totally decided to show up while in Sydney.  I woke up one day, looked in the mirror, and voila--there it was!
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And here it is again.
It's actually not as pronounced in real life as it is in those photos, but it seriously won't be long.  

I also made it to Darling Harbour for some delicious food and entertainment.
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Darling Harbour at night
And by entertainment I mean fireworks, because YES:
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Every night is a good night for a fireworks show!
All in all, it was good to see Sydney again and to explore some new and some familiar areas.  I really like Sydney.  I wouldn't mind living there if it wasn't so freaking expensive.  Eesh!

Coming back from Australia was painful.  The jet lag finally caught up to me and this pregnant lady took a LONG time to recover.  I was seriously wiped out for almost an entire week.  I'm still not convinced my body recognizes what time zone it is in.  Lesson learned--no long distance traveling during pregnancy ever again!

Since I didn't have access to a scale during my trip, I was wondering what number would greet me upon my return.  I'm not going to lie--I felt especially "fat" during my trip.  My clothes were fitting uncomfortably, and my belly looked puffy and bloated.  Not pregnant, but fat.  Ladies, prepare yourself now because I'm pretty sure no one comes through this phase feeling sexy.  I can't wait till my bump is clearly a bump.  

I weighed in last Monday and my scale said 156.8.  Tuesday it said 157.8.  Saturday it said 162.  Today it says 161.5.  It's all over the place, but I'm pretty sure I'm around 161ish.  That's a 5 pound gain in one week!  Holy cow!  I wasn't eating a lot (except one night out on the town) and my clothes don't fit differently, but was super shocking to see it climb so fast.  I'm hoping that it stalls for a while and returns to a normal growth rate.  I want to stay in the healthy range and a 5 lb gain per week simply will not do!  

To go along with that, I finally caved and bought maternity clothes.  My old clothes still fit me, but I am much more comfortable in pants that stretch with my belly rather than dig in.  I was pleasantly surprised with how normal and cute the pants were in the maternity section.  They looked SO awkward on the hanger, but on the body they look surprisingly normal.  I'm so glad!

And finally, to the last point--one week from tomorrow I find out whether we are having a boy or a girl!  I'm SO excited.  The speculation game has been fun but the anticipation is killing me.  I think I'm having a girl, which means it is most likely a boy.  :)  I've taken a poll at work and the vast majority of people think I'm having a girl.  It will be fun to finally know!  I don't really care either way; I just want a healthy baby!

Finally, I am still trying to have a healthy pregnancy.  Traveling was not super awesome for keeping me on track, but I'm feeling more motivated than ever.  I continued going on intense walks during my travels, and I will be incorporating some specific strength moves that are good for labor into my routine at home as well.  Should be good!

How have the last few weeks been for you?  Any fun adventures?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Gaining Weight...and a World Record!


Gaining weight while pregnant.  It's kind of a bum deal.  It's very hard to step on the scale each day after eating well and knowing the the number is going to go up rather than down.  While the very logical side of me says "Duh, Becky, you are freaking growing a human being and your body has to gain weight in order for the baby to be healthy!" the vain side that worked so hard to lose those 25 lbs that I'm supposed to gain back says "But it was so hard to get off of your body in the first place!!!"

It's a good thing I'm a logical person and I care much more about this baby than I do about my weight.  Plus, I know that a lot of the weight that I will gain over the course of this pregnancy will disappear once the baby arrives.  If all goes well, I will have about ten pounds of extra weight to work off which is more manageable to me.

But now's where I confess that I actually haven't gained weight during pregnancy; I've lost weight.

Starting weight: 162.2
Current weight: 156.0

As of today, I'm down a little over 6 lbs from the start of my pregnancy.  I've actually gained a pound back over the last month, but other than that I've been losing.  I'm not sure why as I never threw up during the morning sickness phase, but my doctor is not concerned and says that so far I am quite healthy.  I think it helps that I started the pregnancy with a BMI of 26.2 which is in the "overweight" category which means my pregnancy weight gain should only be 15-25 lbs compared to the 25-35 lbs for normal weight people.  Since I've lost weight, I like to think that I'm almost in the normal weight category!  My ultrasound tech thanked me for being "skinny" since it makes it easier for her to see the baby.  I love her now.  She's my new best friend and I can't imagine why.  ;)

My current BMI is 25.2 which is just .3 pts over the healthy range.  I feel really good about this.  One of the things that was really stressing me out was that I was starting this pregnancy out at an unhealthy weight and I didn't want it to affect my wee little one.  Now I'm feeling much better about that.  However, please note that I did NOT try to lose weight while pregnant.  I've actually been actively trying to gain weight according to what I'm supposed to be doing; my body just isn't responding.

So that's where I'm at.  Trying to stay active and trying to eat as healthy as I can.  It's hard.  I don't have any energy when I get home from work so my desire to cook healthy meals is pretty much gone.  But I'm trying! And I think that's the important thing.  I'm actively involved in the healthiness of this pregnancy and I think that will pay off after the baby is here and the time comes to drop the weight.  Fingers crossed, anyway!

Oh, and about me dropping off the radar last week....sorry about that!  I had a good excuse though--I was in the Netherlands!

I went there for work, but while there I did manage to sneak in some personal time for some fun events.  I lucked out enough that I was there during the Redhead Days Festival which is an annual gathering of redheads in the Netherlands.  It just so happened that there were so many redheads there that we set a world record for most natural redheads in one place at one time!

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Red hair everywhere!
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Very odd to see in real life...
I'm not gonna lie--it was a combination of awesome, creepy, nerdy, and surreal to be a part of that many redheads in one place.  It just felt....odd.  And unnatural.  That just doesn't happen normally!  But it was fun and I'd definitely go again if I was in the area.

I also got the chance to sneak over to Antwerp, Belgium.  It's a beautiful city with some awesome architecture.
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And a very funny statue...
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This place is gorgeous!
It's good to be back in the states, but I'll only be here for a couple of days.  On Friday I fly to Sydney, Australia for some more work.  I'll post pictures when I return!  Perhaps I will finally have a baby bump by then!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Working Out While Pregnant

First off, thank you all so much for your kind words after my big announcement!  Hubster and I are seriously so excited.  It's a huge life change, but I think we are ready.  (<---famous last words, right?)

So, now for some facts:

  • I'm approximately 14 weeks along.  The wee little one is about the size of a lemon.  
  • I'm just barely starting to show.  It just looks like I had too big of a meal.  If you didn't know I was pregnant, you definitely wouldn't think I was.  I have a feeling the next month or so will be kinda rough with the baby bump until it finally looks like I'm pregnant!
  • I'm past the nausea (for the most part).  I was super queasy from weeks 8-13, but never puked.  I feel like I should get a medal for that!
  • I'm tired.  ALL. THE. TIME.  Seriously.  I was greatly unprepared for the "fatigue" that comes with pregnancy.  I put fatigue in quotes because I think there needs to be a stronger word for the level of tiredness that comes with being pregnant.  I feel like I haven't slept in years.  
That last point brings me to what I wanted to talk about today--working out while pregnant.  How have I been doing, you ask?  Ha.  Well, not so good.  

I started out really well.  I was biking almost every day and taking frequent walks.  Then I went to Lake Powell.  Then I went to Alaska.  That was a month without daily activity.  Coming back from those vacations was really difficult.  I had no routine.  Additionally, I was SO TIRED (still am).  All I want to do is nap, particularly after a long day at work.  But I can't, because working out is good for both mama and baby.  

So I'm trying.  I'm back on the wagon this week.  I'll be walking and doing this workout DVD.  
The combo will be great to make sure I maintain (gain?) strength during this pregnancy, while also making sure that I keep my heart strong.  I still have achilles tendonitis issues (yeah--it's been since January and it's not even close to better), but I think that I'll just have to work through that and get the walking in.  I walked for a half hour last night and while my achilles was super upset during the workout, it didn't hurt very badly this morning.  I think that's a good thing.

How am I overcoming the strong desire to just lay on the couch and not move because of the fatigue?  Well, after caving in and listening to it for a couple weeks I've finally decided that I just have to tough it out.  I used bribery with myself ("You can watch your favorite TV show on Netflix while you walk--it's a win/win!") and that seemed to help.  Now I just have to get in the habit of doing it to make sure it sticks.  I know I'll feel better about myself if I keep active, particularly as the weight gain begins.

Ahhh!  That brings me to another topic--weight gain while pregnant.  How am I doing there?  I'll let you know later this week.  I think you'll be surprised!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

I've Been Keeping a Secret...

A pretty big one.

(Or a little one if you want to get technical about it--currently about the size of a peach.)

But it's time for me to share what I've been keeping from all of you for months.  I am super happy to announce that Hubster and I are expecting a wee little one at the end of February!

Oh yes, we are SO very excited.  It's a bit surreal, a bit scary, but pretty freaking awesome.  This also explains my lack of updates lately--it's been really hard to talk about my life without talking about what is really going on in my life!  Because I'll tell you right now, the first trimester absolutely screws with your body.  I'll write a post later on that, but I just couldn't wait to share my news!

Don't worry--this doesn't mean this blog is going to become "all about baby."  I'll still be posting about the rest of my life, but perhaps with a little bit of extra thoughts regarding this new part of my life.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Alaska - Part Two. JUNEAU!

Remember how I mentioned that we lucked out in weather in Anchorage and Denali?  Our luck did not extend to our visit in Juneau.  They are having the wettest and coldest summer on record (exact opposite of Utah!) and we definitely experienced the temperate rainforest in full effect.  It was chilly!

We started our trip at the Mendenhall Glacier, which has to be the most visited site in Juneau.  It's pretty awesome.  Even though the pictures don't really show it, that glacier is 700 feet high and half a mile across.  I didn't really believe that until later when we were able to kayak closer to it.  More on that later.

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Mendenhall Glacier
I was also surprised to see a little bit of fall color sneaking through already.  I'm not quite ready for that!
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It's not fall yet!
The salmon were running (so. awesome.) so there were plenty of bear out and about.  We saw SO many black bears taking advantage of the easy feast that the salmon provided.  This black bear was right at the visitor's center with her two cubs.
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Om. nom. nom.
Speaking of bears and salmon, we later went on a hike around the same area and came across this unsettling sight mid-hike:
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Instantly, we were all on high alert for a bear because one was clearly close by.  Not a minute later we found her (and her two cubs) just twenty feet off the trail.  Talk about an instant heart rate spike!  We made a bunch of noise, slowly backed up, and hightailed it out of there.  It was too close for comfort for me!  Thank goodness the cubs were right next to her, rather than close to us.  That's a nightmare situation for sure!

Speaking of wildlife (again), Juneau has a crap ton (that's an official measurement, btw) of bald eagles.  Like 30,000+ or something ridiculous like that.  They are seriously everywhere.  It was fun to see them in flight.  They were also big fans of the salmon.

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This is what freedom looks like.  Or something.
Juneau is also home to the Tongass National Forest which is the world's largest temperate rainforest.  It's around 17 million acres.  Huge!
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Jett joined us for that too!
We also did a whale watching tour.  I was realllllly hoping to see some Orca whales but we didn't have any luck with that.  We did see a bunch of humpback whales.  They are always fun to see.
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Whale tail!
We did luck out and get ONE day of sunny weather.  It was beautiful!  It was incredible to see all the different mountain ranges that had been hiding behind the clouds and fog.  We made sure to make the most of that day by kayaking and hiking.  The pictures are lower down (they didn't upload in order and blogger is a pain).
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Mendenhall Lake
We also rode the Mount Roberts Tramway up to the top of one of Juneau's mountains and were able to see Juneau from above.  It was awesome to be able to see the Gastineau Channel from above.  It really is such a pretty area; it's just too bad the weather is so rainy.  I'd go crazy living there!  This girl needs her sun.
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Bald Eagle at the Tramway
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Tramway--can you find the cruise ship?
And of course, all visitors must do the Tracy Arm tour if they are visiting Juneau.  It's pricey but well worth the money.  The Tracy Arm fjord was carved by a mile high (!) glacier and there are still many glacier remnants along the way.  The water is absolutely beautiful.
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Tracy Arm Fjord
There are also glaciers, if you are in to that sort of thing...
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...which I am.  Duh!
The fjord seriously has hundreds and hundreds of waterfalls.  I'm pretty sure they have more than Hawaii.  Each one was unique and beautiful.  My favorite, however, was definitely this cascading one:
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I want one.
Nature really is awesome.  

Another thing that I LOVED about Alaska is the crazy amount of wildflowers they have.  There are so many flowers in bloom there!  My particular favorite was definitely the fireweed.  It was everywhere and so bright and colorful.  Absolutely gorgeous!
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Fireweed Meadow
Did I mention that we also went rafting down a river while in Juneau?  Check out the fog on the lake behind us in this photo:
River rafting
It was so eerie and so awesome.  There were some impressive rapids as well!  Unfortunately, I don't have any photos from the ride because it was raining so dang hard I didn't want to risk ruining a camera.  Oh well--I have it in my memory bank!  :)

And now we get to my favorite part of the trip--kayaking to and hiking the glacier.  Absolutely incredible, and probably my favorite thing I've done on a trip ever.
I was nervous about kayaking because the lake is only 34(!!!) degrees and kayaks are notoriously tipsy.  However, we sucked it up and paddled away to the glacier.  It must have been at least a mile or two across the lake to actually get to the glacier, but it was well worth the effort.
Getting closer...
And remember how I said that the glacier is much bigger than you think it is?  Here's some proof:
Find the people.  Yep.  It's a massive chunk of ice.
Once we reached the glacier, we parked our kayaks and hiked on the glacier up to some glacier caves.  I'm not going to lie--it was super sketchy.  The glacier is really active and calving fairly frequently.  Additionally, it was a sunny day so water was flowing down and through the glacier like crazy.  We crossed many sections where the ice was hollowed out and there was a good risk of falling through an unseen crevasse.  I was totally freaked.  However, I had seen photos of where we were headed and for me the risk was worth it. 

I am SO glad I sucked it up and took the risk.  I can't even describe how amazing this place is in real life:
The cave continues on for about 50 yards or so until the water drops and it becomes too difficult to hike through.  The water is fast and swift.  It also leaves a creepy mist in the cave which you can kind of see in the background of that photo.  Pictures still don't do the place justice though.  If you are up for a risk, I definitely recommend going to this hike.  Be warned though--it is super dangerous!
On the glacier on our way out.
You can see in the photo above some blue streaks on the glacier--that is the running water I was talking about.  So sketchy!
Nugget Falls in the background
Still awesome though...
Mendenhall Glacier
So yeah...those are my adventures in Alaska!  Do you think I'm crazy for hiking to the glacier caves?  I think I am, but I'm so glad I did.  Have any of you ever done something similar?  Tell me about it in the comments!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Alaska - Part One. SO many pictures!

There was this one time when I went to Alaska for two weeks.  And it. was. AWESOME.  I've always wanted to go to Alaska (the final frontier!) and when Hubster's brother got a job up there for the summer, we knew it was time to finally cross Alaska off the bucket list.

We decided to first fly into Anchorage and rent an RV with Hubster's parents so that we could drive that stretch of country.  As you probably know, Alaska is HUGE so we had a lot of ground to cover.  We first drove the Kenai Peninsula down to Homer where the boys went Halibut fishing.  The drive was GORGEOUS.
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On the way to Kenai
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Glacier Lake
The drive was a little over 4 hours long and there wasn't one part of it that wasn't breathtakingly beautiful.  The mountains were SO green.  It looked like Hawaii, but with snow. Very unexpected for me.
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More of this, please!
While the boys fished in Homer, the girls walked around the Homer Spit and checked out some of the local art.  I love seeing the unique arts and crafts from each region!  If I were a wealthy woman, I would totally collect stuff like that from my trips.

That evening we had to drive back to Anchorage so that we could make it up to Denali National Park the next day.  I was really looking forward to seeing Denali along with North America's tallest mountain.  We had been warned that the mountain is typically only visible a few days out of the summer, but apparently we had really good luck because this is the view we got the entire time we were in Denali:
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Clear as can be!
We were super excited that we had such good luck.  The mountain stayed clear for several days.  Our bus driver guide told us that while it was clear for us on the south side of the mountain, it was completely covered with clouds on the other side.  We had great timing!
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And of course we brought Jett with us!
Denali National Park was so beautiful, but in a different way than I expected.  For some reason I was imagining that the park would be nothing but miles of trees and trees, but it was actually wide open with so many beautiful vistas.  I was pleasantly surprised!
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Denali National Park
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Polychrome Pass--so much prettier in real life
We saw plenty of wildlife along the way, including some weird Caribou-like creature...
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Very weird creature, indeed.
And once again, we were treated to awesome view of Mt. McKinley.  This mountain is seriously HUGE.  It has nearly a 4-mile vertical rise!  It's a mammoth.
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Hubster wants to climb...badly.
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At the visitor's center
Denali also has a lot of little lakes to check out.  My favorite was definitely this one that was lined in white flowers.  Nature is awesome.
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White wildflowers.
We also got to see plenty of glacial runoff.  It was especially interesting to me when it mixed with the clear creek runoff.
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And of course, we saw the Dall Sheep which is the animal that Denali was created to protect.  It's a pretty cool sheep.
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However, I was slightly more impressed with one of our final sights as we left the park.  We were lucky enough to see a Grizzly from less than 50 feet away.  I was SO thankful that I was on a bus that could move away quickly if a bad situation arose.  Those bears aren't to be trifled with!
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PARTICULARLY when they have baby cubs...
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But they are so cute!
We got to watch Mama and babies play for several minutes before the bus driver had to move on.  It was definitely the highlight of the Denali Park tour.  So. Awesome.

The last bit of wildlife we saw in the park was the famous Caribou.  Sadly, Santa's sleigh was no where to be found.  Maybe next time...
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On our last day in Denali, we decided to check out the Alaska Husky sled dogs that they use in the park during the winter.  They love people and were so dang cute!
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Even though this one looks less than impressed with me...
They even did a demonstration sled run.  I wanted to be the person on the back quite badly!
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After seeing the sled dogs, we headed back to Anchorage to fly to Juneau to meet up with the brother-in-law.  I'll post my Juneau adventures later this week!

Have any of you been to Alaska?  What was your favorite thing you did/saw?  Tell me in the comments!