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!