Sep 1, 2016

Heidi's Southwest-Inspired Nursery


I really should stop saying I'm going to do so and so on the blog on a certain date because that date always ends up passing by without my promise coming to fruition. I am the blog procrastination Q-U-E-E-N these days. Lucky (or unlucky) for me, little miss is now 4 days past her due date (KILL ME NOW) and I'm frantically trying to fill my free time with anything but thoughts of why this little babe is so darn stubborn! With all this waiting time, I finally have a moment to share Heidi's nursery with you all (silver lining?). Maybe she's been waiting for this post and NOW she'll make her grand entrance to the world? Wishful thinking, I know. This girl has a mind of her own and seems perfectly comfy with her current set up. She really should read this post and see what goodness is waiting for her on the outside...am I right?

Friends, this nursery was a true labor of love. One that I toiled over via Pinterest and Instagram while on our 3,000 mile road trip...making pin boards and trying to envision something stylish, yet girly, for a room I'd never stepped foot in. I knew what sort of nursery I wanted in our Florida house, but this rental in Cali, my mind jumped from theme to theme. I was all over the place (both literally and figuratively). Thankfully, a dear friend created a private pin board of fun things for Heidi's nursery and it was full of Southwest-inspired touches from Aztec-patterned blankets to cactus prints and boho rugs. I wasn't sold on the idea until the moment I saw THE room and found THE rug. It all fell into place from there. 

Crib: DaVinci Jenny Lind 3-Way Convertible Crib | Crib Sheet: LittleMoose by Liza  | Rug: Suzani Rug via Rugs USA | "Greatest Adventure" Wood Wall Sign: WilliamRae Designs | Cactus Pillow: Pottery Barn Teen | Red Fox & Fuzzy Ostrich Stuffed Animals: JellyCat | Faux Fiddle Fig Leaf Tree: Hayneedle | White Faux Fur Rug: Hobby Lobby

A sweet, feminine take on Southwest style for a new start out West. Seemed super appropriate for this new chapter of life and now this nursery has easily become our favorite room in the house! Not hard to see why, it's the only room with new everything...and everything all in its perfect place. I love to sit in the glider, morning light streaming in, and think about the sweet sounds that will someday fill the room. It's where I come to pray for Heidi and the kind of person she'll be, the kind of life she'll lead. It'll be the place where lots of beautiful memories will be made. Gives me chills just thinking about it all. But on to the details!

The crib and crib mattress were the only two pieces of the nursery we brought with us from Florida (thanks, Mama B!). The rest, well, I had 7 weeks to scramble and shop for once I'd landed on a theme. Needless to say, most of my third trimester meltdowns were nursery-related. Amidst unpacking boxes and trying to get the rest of the house functional, all my heart wanted to focus on was this tiny 12'x13' room. I ended up hating almost every decor option at stores like Babies R Us and BuyBuy Baby, so most everything I ordered from places like Etsy, Target, and Amazon. Because of that, we spent a good amount of time waiting for nursery mail to arrive week after week. Talk about frustrating! I got to be REAL good friends with the UPS, USPS, and FedEx men. They probably thought I was a hoarder with all the packages they were delivering. As we rounded the corner into week 39, all pieces were delivered and tiny details hung and polished. Nursery complete!

**the Moses Basket is a family hand-me-down...my mom used it for me and my sister, my Aunt with her daughter...and now our little Heidi. :)

Moroccan Pouf: Maison Marrakech | Glider: Wayfair | Pillow & Throw: Target| End Table: Nate Berkus for Target | Heidi Book: Amazon 

I'm not sure why I felt the need to get this room 100% finished before Heidi's arrival. Part of me thinks it's because I had a beautiful home ripped out from underneath me (dramatic, much?) and I wanted this one room to be PERFECT. She deserves it...heck, I deserve it. The other half of me was nesting so hard I couldn't see straight. Either way, I'm so happy it's done and that it all fell into place so much more seamlessly than how I typically decorate a room. Totally a God thing. Probably ridiculous to say out loud, but He's been in the details of every aspect of our move and this pregnancy...nursery was no exception.

Changing Pad Cover: Grace and Cruz | Herringbone Gray Lamp: Target | Dresser: IKEA Hemnes | Hexagon Wall Shelves: West Pine Company | Pink Candle: Paddywax Heirloom Candles | Gold Filament Dresser Knobs: World Market | Tiny faux succulents: World Market | "No Whining" Print: Hammerpress | Ceiling Light Fixture: Target (now discontinued)

And now we wait. Wait for girlfriend to drop it low and make her grand debut into this crazy, crazy world. I'm BEYOND ready to see her face and snuggle the crap out of her. And ready to be done being pregnant. Am I allowed to say that? Who knows...but I am. We've tried ALL the old wives tales and "labor-inducing" foods ever suggested and big fat GOOSE EGG to it all (for my next trick, I'll stick my thumb up my rear and whistle Yankee Doodle from a mountaintop--that should do it!)...so save your comments. Sorry, that's sounds harsh, but the sheer quantity of unsolicited labor advice I've gotten these last couple weeks has me wanting to murder well-meaning humans. Baby rage is still alive and well in me...save yourself! I've decided all those who've gone into labor after eating eggplant parmesan or spicy food or getting pedicures have done so out of pure coincidence. Their bodies were already ready for baby and mine's just...not. Not yet, at least. She's gotta come out by 42 weeks, so come hell or high water I'll be birthing a babe before long. I just need to not psych myself out during the agonizing wait. Easier said than done, right, mamas?

Custom Book Ledge Shelves: Dunn Rustic Designs | Hanging Wall Planters: Amazon | Yarn Wall Hanging: NW Urban Cottage Shop | Ivory Striped Swaddle Basket: Pottery Barn Kids | Woven Rattan Book Basket: Target

Oh, and I should mention, that ADORABLE Aztec Alphabet Print was designed just for Heidi by my amazingly talented graphic designer of a cousin. I found something similar on some website wanting a bagillion dollars for a wrong color print, so I asked and she worked her designer magic. Couldn't be more in love with the result! Don't worry, we won't teach Heidi from that alphabet, but it's one of my favorite fun details of her nursery. Had to shout it to the world. Thanks, Linds! Another BIG shout out to the husband for putting all the furniture together and hanging everything on the walls. There's a special seat for you in heaven, I just know it. ;) D also hung the pendant light after a heck of a fight with it. He's come a lonnggg way, folks. Proud wife right here.


Longest (and most rambling) nursery reveal ever? Likely so. But I want to remember every tiny detail until the day I die, so blog it all, I said! And I finally did. You're welcome, you've made it to the end, and thanks for reading. ;)

Side note: if you've got some good baby vibes, prayers, positive juju, and/or love to send our way, we could use it! I need this baby girl in my arms, like, yesterday. COME ON, HEIDI! We are SO ready to meet you!

Aug 10, 2016

Bump Watch: Week 37 [& a PinkBlush GIVEAWAY!]


[Items in this post c/o PinkBlush Maternity, however, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the businesses that support this blog!]

In case you were curious, we're safe and sound in our new home in California (have been for almost a month and a half now--crazy!), we're unpacked, and we're 3 weeks until baby (also #CRAZY). I would have updated you all sooner, but...ahem...see items above. It's been a bit crazy around here, as you can imagine. I really thought I'd be better about blogging my pregnancy journey, but thanks to Snapchat, Instagram, and my own personal journal, I've felt less a need to sit behind a computer screen and type about it all. Freeing, actually. There might be something to this whole "micro-blogging" thing. 

In other news, see that gorgeous floral robe up there? I've basically been living in that thing since the day PinkBlush Maternity mailed it to me. Want a sneak peek into my hospital bag? Well, there you go...that robe will be one of the first things I pack! It's incredibly soft and just darn so beautiful to look at, really. Makes me feel super feminine and as far as the hospital goes, it will likely keep me from feeling frumpy and disgusting post-labor. Perfect for late-night feedings too, I imagine. I'm going to squeeze every ounce of use out of it possible! Want one of your own? It's your lucky day! Head on over to my Instagram and enter to win $75 to PinkBlush! Annnnd...you don't have to be pregnant to win! PinkBlush also offers non-maternity items that are just as beautiful. More info on Insta...so go and win you something fabulous.

Since it's been, oh, 17 weeks since my last Bump Watch post, without further adieu....

Baby's the Size of: a winter melon, whatever the heck that is.

General Thoughts/Feelings: Feeling all the feelings right now. Excited, nervous, terrified, joyful, peaceful, prepared, not prepared...you name it, I rotate through it on the daily. On one hand, I can't stand the wait to meet her...but on the other, I'm nervous about having a human being to take care of and worry about for the rest of my life. I know, we should have thought about that 9 months ago, right? We did, believe me...but as reality sinks in, those moments of doubt bubble up as well. 

I'm also selfishly sad about it no longer being "just the two of us" with regards to D and I. Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled to add to our family, but I'm still mourning the loss of life as a team of 2. It's a weird feeling. We've had almost 16 wonderful years of it being just us, more than most get before little ones arrive...but I can't decide if that makes this all easier or harder. I know Heidi will bring us more joy than we could ever imagine and I'll get over it once she's in our arms, but let's face it...jaunting off to Napa or LA or Hawaii won't ever be an on the whim event. Our days of throwing a suitcase in the car and jetting off will become slightly more complicated (although we're gonna do it, dang it!). Have baby, will travel, yes? Just things I ponder on when the insomnia hits.

As for labor, I'm only slightly freaking out about it. I feel prepared thanks to our 5 week birthing class and my super supportive midwives...but everyone handles pain differently, so it's hard to gauge how hard this might actually get. I feel like I have nothing to compare it to, so the unknown is...scary. That being said, every time I start to feel the panic rise up, I remind myself that women are doing this everyday, I am built to do this, and the pain will be a mere blip on the radar of my life compared to the sweet gift I'll get at the end. Mind over matter, am I right?

Food Aversions: Not a darn thing I won't eat. Well, except the things I still can't eat. Although I've given up on avoiding feta and blue cheeses. Pregnant rebel here.

Food Cravings: Deli sandwiches...which I can't have. I've decided an Italian sub be my first meal after she's born. That and a spicy tuna roll and glass of wine. If the nurses offered to hook me up to a wine IV while I breastfeed, I'd do it. As far as everyday cravings go, I'm still in love with fruit and my sweet tooth has taken over my daily breakfasts. I used to be a hard boiled egg and toast chick, but these days, cinnamon raisin English muffins have been on my mind non-stop. And Sunday morning banana pancakes have become a new tradition. I'm not mad about it. ;)

Health/Fitness: I've been trying to keep up with walking along with doing some of the stretching and breathing exercises we've been learning in birthing classes. I feel like I've spent this pregnancy more active than normal, but in different ways...all of it mostly centered around moving and unpacking. That whole process took us WAY longer than it's ever taken in previous moves, but I also had an extra person in tow. Going up and down stairs now feels like running a marathon, so doing it 20+ times a day had me beyond exhausted during the thick of unpacking. Braxton Hicks kept me in check though. As soon as they'd amp up, I'd hit the couch. 

Doc Appointments: I have my 37 week appointment on Thursday (they're weekly at this point), but at my 36 week appointment, we got to see little love via ultrasound and confirm she's head down (yay, Heidi!) and nice and comfy along my left side. Explains why I've been feeling lots of rib kicks on my right side. Girlfriend may have a professional soccer career in 18 years. Everything else measuring right on track for my due date and no issues to worry on (thank the good Lord!).

Weight Gain: Total for the whole pregnancy = 17lbs. Not too bad if I do say so myself. My goal was to keep it under 20, so I'm happy even though I've definitely noticed a decline in muscle tone. I'm looking forward to a couple rounds of 21 Day Fix after the all clear 6 weeks postpartum! Also, no belly stretch marks! We still have 3 weeks to go, but I'm optimistic.

Symptoms: That whole idea of pregnancy coming full circle and reverting back to 1st trimester fatigue, hunger, and just feeling not quite that lovely...yeah, I'm there. No nausea or anything of that sort, just plain uncomfortable in too many ways to count. Hard to get up, hard to sit down, belly feels heavy all day, and I still have limited eating and breathing room. My emotions are back on high alert again, but I'm trying to enjoy these last few weeks because it's all gone by too fast!

Sleep: Pregnancy insomnia has worked its way back into my life again. I had a bout of it the beginning of the 2nd tri, but now it has me wide awake from 3am until 5am...and sometimes I never get back to sleep. I attribute it to not being able to get comfortable and turn my brain off. Naps have become an essential part of my day needless to say.

Movement: She's running out of room in there, but every evening it's like she saves all her energy up to give me a slightly uncomfortable after dinner dancing show. D's always telling her to "behave in there!" It's adorable.

Baby Items Purchased: ALL OF THE THINGS. I feel like we're bleeding money at this point. What's one more swaddle blanket?
 Nursery is alllllmost done...just waiting on a few pieces of decor to arrive and we'll be set. 

Best Moment Recently: FINALLY getting to park in one of those "expectant moms" parking spots! I dutifully snapped a photo and felt like I'd completed some sort of pregnancy rite of passage. 

What Does Daddy Say?: That he's so ready for me to stop buying furniture and nursery decor that he has to put together! Bless him, he's been such a warrior picking up my slack, and then some. Lately (as the reality of labor sets in), he's been worried about how he can help me in the delivery room. How to soothe and comfort...what will I want, what will I hate? I keep reminding him he'll likely see a version of me that I'm not sure I've ever seen before myself...so let's just take one moment at a time. We'll figure it all out along the way. Our nightly prayers consist of his hand on my belly and lots of prayers for me, Heidi, and the preparedness of our home and marriage. I quietly pray for him and the changes coming his way. He needs them just as much as I do. So grateful for such an incredible husband to share this journey with.

Looking Forward To: Seeing her sweet face for the first time in the flesh. Holding her. Smelling her. Seeing D love on her. Having my mom in town for 3 weeks (bless her). And getting my body back...in certain ways, at least.



Another memorable moment the last 6 weeks? Our beautiful maternity session with Mallorie Owens Photography. THAT LIGHTING! I still die over it. I've shared a few sneaks on Instagram from the session, but I wanted to share another here to showcase the PinkBlush maternity maxi dress I wore for the second half of our shoot. It was 100 degrees outside that day and this dress was perfect for showing off my then 31 week bump while keeping me cool in that darn heat wave! Now who wants to enter that Insta-giveaway, hmmm? DO IT. More from our maternity shoot to come...someday (my famous last words, huh?).

WHEW! Long post, guys...thanks for sticking 'round. This is likely my final pregnancy update before Heidi arrives, so soak it all in, folks. That's what I'll be doing these last few weeks. CANNOT believe we're officially on baby watch! EEEK! This pregnancy has FLOWN by. I hear the song "You're Gonna Miss This" playing in the background of my mind from time to time...and to tell you the truth, I so totally am.

Jul 16, 2016

Road Trip Essentials


[My stay and this post come to you c/o TownePlace Suites by Marriott. While there are sponsor links throughout, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the businesses that support this blog!]

 D and I truly are no strangers to road trips (we've driven the 10+ hour route from FL to NC too many time to count), but this cross-country move was definitely the longest and most tedious one we've ever endured together. Maybe because I was 30-ish weeks pregnant, maybe because our car was loaded down with an extra 900 lbs...probably both. After logging in over 3,100 miles on the road from Central Florida to Northern California, I feel like I learned a thing a two about road tripping...most notably, the things you need to take/do in order NOT to kill yourself and any of your travel partners along the way. HINT: you may still want to kill yourself and/or your travel partner at varying points in your trip...but not because of boredom. Road tripping is just plain HARD sometimes. You're a liar if you say it's not. I may or may not still be delirious from our journey...jury's still out on that one. 


Tasty Snacks - You've got your gummie bears, your pistachios, your granola bars...those are just a few of our favorite travel treats (and local roadside fresh fruit stand scores, too!). But whatever you choose, try and have a good mix of healthy and non-healthy items, just to keep it interesting. Also, bring a small cooler with bottled water and drinks for the kiddos (if you've got them in tow), so you won't have to keep dolling out $3 at every gas station you stop at. Just replenish your cooler every morning with free ice from your hotel and boom, you're back on the road!

Camera - Don't just rely on your your iPhone for road trip pictures...grab your DSLR and keep it on the dashboard. You never known what gorgeous scenery you'll see just outside your windshield! Our drive through Colorado had me snapping photos and recording Snapchats the entire way. You may only do one big road trip in life, so be sure to document it all. Side note: I also recorded a handful of beautiful miles via our GoPro sitting up on the dashboard...and took a few dozen films with my Instax Mini, just for some unique ways to capture the experience. If you have either of those, bring 'em along as well!


Comfy Beds - Some days while on the road, the only thing I look forward to at the end of the day is a clean, quiet room where I can safely lay my tired head. Towneplace Suites has been our saving grace this particular road trip. We stayed at various ones across the USA (Savannah, Atlanta, Nashville, to name a few) and spent 10 consecutive nights at one here in California before we moved into our new home. As extended stay hotels go...Towneplace Suites is the best (especially where military families are concerned---military discounts available)! FREE hot breakfast & coffee each day, FREE wifi, spacious rooms with kitchens and large bathrooms and closets for storage, fitness centers, pool, BONUS...they're pet friendly! Plus, they're always located in great areas close to loads of local attractions and dining options. As a military family, we've stayed in LOTS of hotels while in transit to new bases, but Towneplace Suites continues to rein supreme for those long stretches of displacement. 

UPDATE: Towneplace Suites just began their partnership with Weber Grill! Starting today, the extended-stay hotel brand will roll out new high-end Weber stainless steel Summit® Gas Grills at more than 100 hotels across the U.S. and Canada.


"Barbeque enthusiasts staying at TownePlace Suites hotels can beef up their stay with unlimited access to new premium grills, tools, spices and seasoning in the outdoor patio area. Inventive recipes inspired by TownePlace Suites' In a Pinch market and created by Weber Grill Master Kevin Kolman can be downloaded from TownePlaceSuites.com. Available recipes include All American Steakburgers, corn on the cob with basil-Parmesan butter, and more. All guests need to do is B.Y.O.M. (bring your own meat)!"

Good Tunes - Good music changes everything. It's critical to keep you from losing your mind while on the road, especially when conversation wanes and you just want to zone out a bit. We had our iPhones full of songs we loved, but we blew through all of those the first 2 days of driving. When we hit dead spots in radio reception or areas where only 3 stations were available and they were all country music, we were thankful we also had Sirius XM Radio. D got a 2 month free trial and boom, our music woes were solved! 90s on 9 was my personal favorite, but we also got a lot of mileage out of 80s on 8, Pop2k, Z100 and Y2Kountry.


Comfy Clothes - Seems like an obvious recommendation, but I saw so many road-tripping gals wearing wedges and strapless dresses. IS THAT COMFORTABLE? WHO ARE YOU GOING TO VISIT? There is literally no one I was trying to impress at the Tennessee Visitors Center or the 7-11. NO ONE. So, I opted for my most favorite maternity shorts, tanks, and slip on sandals. But if your eggo's not preggo...choose breathable, flexible pieces that are easily packed and cute, yet comfy for the long haul. And don't forget those sunnies!

Road Trip Toiletries - Chapstick, Wet Wipes, hand lotion, tissues, oil blotters for your face, and a hair brush...just a few things I had in the glove box ready to go when it was time to get out of the car and face human beings. Going through multiple climates and elevations, my skin got so dry, so the chapstick and lotion were godsends. The wet wipes were useful for sticky hands and for nasty rest area bathrooms {shudder}.

GPS - Self explanatory. While getting lost can be fun, it can also delay your trip and add extra hours of unnecessary headaches. I love a good old fashioned paper map (and having an atlas on hand is quite fun to look at from time to time), but a GPS will be the most efficient way to get from here to there. 


Safety Gadgets - Spare tires, jumper cables, first aid kit, flashlights, a screwdriver...you clearly don't want to have a reason to use them, but better not pull out of the driveway without them. Murphy will find you! Just my two cents. ;)

Sun Visor - If you travel the open road in the dead hot of summer, make sure to have one of those nifty reflective sun visors to put in your front windshield when you're not in the car. We drove through the "American Heatwave of 2016" and thank our lucky stars we had that thing! Plus, it's a nice little deterrent for looky-loos if you decide not to lug your whole life into your hotel room at night.


Pillow, Blanket, and Windex (yes, Windex) - If your driver is a sweet one and doesn't mind the quiet, it's always nice to catch a few zzz's in the passenger's seat. I, for one, almost never sleep in the car (I feel like I might miss something and want to keep D awake, for safety reasons), but I did bring a pillow for my bum and to support my back for those long segments of driving. As for the Windex...you can't take pretty photos out your windshield if it's covered with bugs, now can you? One small bottle and a few paper towels go a long way in keeping your car looking fly...less.

Cash - Keep a couple bucks or coins on hand for grabbing extra snacks or for paying any tolls you may run into while on the road. 

Anything else you'd add to this essentials list? Shout it out!
Happy road tripping!

Jun 8, 2016

Florida to California PCS: The Road Trip



3,100 miles, 11 days, 8 different stops, and 7 hotel stays. 
#FLtoCaliRoadTrip 



T-10 days till go time! 
So, there it is...that's the route we'll take on our 11-day journey across the good 'ol US of A. This Northern route approach will have us logging almost 50 hours of driving. FIFTY. I know, kill me now. But, we've got enough stops planned to break it up quite a bit. Here's a better breakdown of our plan:

STOP #1: Atlanta, Georgia - Here we'll be logging in another sure to be FABULOUS stay at Towneplace Suites (this hotel chain is perfect for road trip stays for couples AND families alike) and hopefully enjoying some iconic burgers & shakes at The Varsity. We've been to Atlanta before so we're not gonna go too crazy exploring, especially since we've only got maybe 13-16 hours in the city. Plus, the drive from our starting point in Florida to Hotlanta will be the second longest leg of our trip (clocking in at an annoying 7 hours). I'm sure by the time I get to the hotel, I'll want to kick my feet up and chill.

STOP #2: Nashville, Tennessee - Even though we've also been to Nashville before, we were young (hello, 11th grade!), so we're excited to get to explore a little more. We'll have a good chunk of time here in Nashvegas...roughly 24 hours, but who's counting (me, I am--we've got a schedule to keep, unfortunately!). We're still undecided on whether we just wander the city or if we should hit up a backstage tour at the Grand Ole Opry or a couple hours at the Country Music Hall of Fame (thoughts?). We know FOR SURE that we want some good southern food (biscuits, preferably) and to buy Heidi some baby cowgirl boots. Because when in Tennessee, am I right?

STOP #3: St. Louis, Missouri - Another city I've visited once at a young age, so we're not spending a whole heck of a lot of time here either. But, I do want to show D the Gateway Arch (not that you could miss it) and we'll probably hit up Delmar Loop for some shopping/eating. I would LOVE to do the City Museum, but thanks to being pregnant, it wouldn't be nearly as fun. Next time!

STOP #4: Kansas City, Kansas- This may be the stop I'm most excited about. Not because I've never been here (hint: I have...like 5 times), but because we get to spend 3 days staying with my Kansas cousins! After a few days cooped up in a car, we'll be SO thrilled to have some quality time with some super familiar faces. Plus, KC is a really fun city and D has never been! Hoping to share the goodness of KC BBQ and Boulevard Brewery Beer with him. We've also got a date with a swimming pool. Can. Not. Wait.

STOP #5: Denver, Colorado - This will be our longest, most boring drive of the whole trip (8.5 whopping hours of midwest nothingness, yay!). So once we get to Denver...a city I HAVEN'T been to before (but D has, whomp whomp), I have a feeling we'll grab a bite to eat and pass the heck out. Not much time for sightseeing, but we did get a hotel with a view of the Rockies, so at least we're looking forward to that.

STOP #6: Moab, Utah - I'm super excited to make a stop here in Moab. We'll be staying at an fun motel just outside of Arches National Park and will get to spend a decent amount of time exploring the gorgeous rock formations inside the park. No hiking for us (thank you, Heidi), but we'll still drive through & stop at all the scenic pull-offs for a good taste of one of Utah's most treasured natural attractions.

STOP #7: Salt Lake City, Utah - Salt Lake will be another fairly quick stop, but that's alright with us. Aside from eating at some cute local eateries, the only thing I really want to do is explore Temple Square. Our hotel is just around the corner from it to make visiting super easy on my sure to be exhausted body. I wish we did have a little bit more time here just so I could meet up with some fun bloggers I've gotten to know. Hopefully this won't be our only time in town!

STOP #8: Reno, Nevada - the "Biggest Little City in the World"...if you would have told me we'd be making a pit stop here, I would have laughed at you (Vegas AND Reno in one pregnancy? You gotta be kidding me!). But we had an extra day and instead of facing a third 8-9 hour drive straight from SLC to Cali, I decided we'd stop and see how Reno compares to Vegas. We're staying right on the Reno "strip" at a casino/spa resort, so while D tries his luck with the roulette wheel, I might cash in on a prenatal massage. I'll have earned it by then, right? ;)

FINAL DESTINATION: Sacramento/Roseville, California area - At this point, I'll calmly get out of the car and kiss the ground. We aren't 100% sure yet where we'll be laying our heads when we FINALLY arrive to the Golden State, but I do know I'll be so darn thankful...and ready to hit the ground running on the house-hunting front (UPDATE: staying at another fabulous Towneplace Suites for the next 8 days!! HELLO, FREE HOT BREAKFAST AND COFFEE!). We aren't buying a house in Cali (I wish I had that kind of cash flow, plus we'll only be here 2 years), so a rental it will be. Fingers, toes and eyes crossed we find something perfect for our little family of 3.


As much as I want to hit this road trip hard and make the most out of our first big move cross-country, being preggo comes with more restrictions and less fun. My sole goal is to make it across without giving birth, ya know? My doc has been on top of that and so far, baby girl and I are healthy as can be. Even so, we're going to try to make this trip one to remember. How many times does one get to road trip across America? If you're military, often...but we like to think this will be our only chance. I hope I don't eat those words later.

Because the travel blogger in me can't let this opportunity go to waste, I'll be documenting the whole crazy adventure via Instagram and Snapchat (username: Caseadilla1016), so feel free to follow along! There will be exciting sights to see along the way and likely a whole lot of delirious car chat (and singing--consider yourselves warned), so help keep us entertained! Also, if you have any suggestions for great restaurants for us to try in any of the cities above, shout 'em out! We're always down for recommendations from past travelers. It's how the travel world goes 'round.

And as always, if you've got some spare good vibes and prayers hanging around...we could still use them! We're getting closer to that light at the end of the tunnel feeling, but we've still got 3,100 miles and a few questionable hurdles jump before we can breathe again. It ain't over until I'm surrounded by my belongings in a nice home in California, amen? AMEN! Oh, and baby girl...stay nice and comfy in there for at least 10 more weeks, mmmkay? Peace out, East Coast!

**Cool road trip map itinerary planner via Roadtrippers**

May 31, 2016

Sanibel Island: Babymoon


The last 2.5 months have been a total whirlwind of change. With a pending cross-country move, a house to sell (it's SOLD, thank goodness!), and an entire life to pack up and restart in a new state 3,000 miles away, it was safe to say D and I needed some time away from all the chaos. Even amidst the the busyness that is this military life, we wanted to take a moment to relax, recharge, and celebrate our baby girl in a way that we both love...on vacation! Since writing about our Florida Bucket List the end of last year (and thinking we'd have 2 more years to try and check things off that list), I knew our babymoon destination would have to come from that short list. It wasn't long before reservations were booked and off we went to Sanibel Island for 4 sweet days of sand, sea, and celebrating our little Heidi.


Sanibel is just about as dreamy as islands come. Palm trees and lush tropical greenery line all 33 miles of this gulf coast town and the water...oh, that GORGEOUS turquoise water...was so blue & clear that it sparkled in the sunlight. Everything about Sanibel was quaint, from the colorful beach shops and non-chain restaurants to the charming B&B's and 25 miles of scenic bike trails, the island felt like our own secluded slice of paradise those 4 bliss-filled days. Instead of staying at a large resort, we opted for a small inn on the Eastern part of the island called Song of the Sea. It was perfectly beachy, came with a continental breakfast each morning (hello, fresh Florida fruit!), complimentary bike rentals, and swoon-worthy views of the coast that kept me starry-eyed each day. There's nothing like waking up to salty sea air in the morning. Heaven must be a beach...MUST be.


Our Sanibel days were spent waking up early for sunrise walks on the beach, lounging by the pool, searching for shells on the beach, exploring the island by bike, and chowing down on local seafood by night. We talked about our days in Florida and how we felt we didn't fully appreciate our time in the state until it was being cut short. We reminisced about the last 5 years of our lives together...from Germany to now...and how crazy our journey has been. We tried to picture what our lives in California might be like with a baby and a whole new set of responsibilities on the horizon. And we prayed for our sweet girl, our move, and our marriage. There were some tears (mostly mine), but a whole lot of clarity and time to make peace with the big changes we both were still trying to wrap our heads around. Those moments, just the two of us, remain in the forefront of my mind as we continue to navigate our way through this move. I fondly look back and take solace in the words we said and plans we made every time I feel overwhelmed with all the tasks still before us. Thank goodness for the inception of the "babymoon"...trendy as it may be, it was too good for our souls. Two babymoon believers right here. 


If you're interested in making Sanibel your babymoon destination (or just a super fun vacation, for those not expecting), here's a few places you should try hard to not miss:

If you need help planning or booking your Sanibel getaway, I know a good travel agent! A little shameless plug, I had to. Email me at Casey@destinationstoexplore.com ;)


A few tips for planning the perfect babymoon:

  • Travel before you're 30 weeks! We only had a free long weekend around the time I was 22 weeks and it turned out to be just perfect. I wasn't too big to enjoy lots of activities, but still pregnant enough to be offered free ice cream and prime sunning spots. ;)
  • Minimize your travel time. Drive no more than 6 hours and stop every two hours to stretch your legs.
  • If you're a maternity body pillow lover (I'm obsessed with my Leachco Snoogle Body Pillow), bring it along with you! And grab a king-size bedroom reservation to add extra comfort.
  • Don't forget to pack pregnancy-friendly sunscreen (I LOVE this kind from Kiss My Face) and all your vitamins, belly creams (big fan of Burt's Bees Mama Bee Belly Butter), bug spray (I use Cutter All Family 7% DEET Bug Spray), comfy breathable clothes/shoes, healthy snacks, and a water bottle to keep hydrated.
  • Is your destination safe from Zika Virus? Sanibel is! Avoid any babymoon destinations with Zika Virus travel restrictions. For more info on the virus and it's affected locations, click here.
  • Check with your OB before you travel! Typical recommendations are to not fly after 36 weeks and most cruise lines won't allow you to cruise after the 24th week of pregnancy.
  • Make time for naps or ample down-time between activities. Be active, but know your body's limits while pregnant. Don't overdo it!
  • Document it all! We brought along our FujiFilm Instax Mini and took loads of fun Polaroid photos to put in Heidi's baby book. We also Snapchatted (find me at Caseadilla1016) much of the trip, so now we have little videos to share with her when she's older.



"Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory"
-Dr. Seuss
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