Babymooning in Nicaragua

We just returned from our “Babymoon”. I say that with laughter because it almost didn’t happen. Let me explain.

What started out as “Hey let’s spend the weekend in North Carolina” turned into “Let’s go to Nicaragua 30 weeks pregnant!”.

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We had found this really cool ecolodge where you stay in tree houses and eat sustainable food so we thought it would be a cool overseas adventure before our little baby arrives. Everything was booked, and then we were met with hesitation from loved ones that we would be traveling to a third world country during pregnancy. Yeah, didn’t think about that.

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Asked the doctor for approval and crossed our fingers that he would say yes, because we didn’t buy the trip insurance.

All systems were go.

Well, until the night before we were to leave and went to pack. We discovered that Conner’s passport had expired. I began thinking to myself that this babymoon had turned into a solo-trip across the world.

Well Google to the rescue. Did you know that getting an expedited/same day passport is a thing? It is a scary-not-sure-if-it-will-actually-work thing, but it can happen. After spending a few hours on Google and two hours on the phone, we were advised to show up early to the Atlanta office to wait to see if they could squeeze us into the system to process a same-day passport.

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Those hours from finding out the passport was expired to actually having the passport in hand were a blur. A sigh of relief didn’t come until we were actually sitting in the airport, passports in hand, waiting to board the flight. Now to get to the relaxing part of this trip.

Here are a few highlights from our days in Nicaragua. We paddle boarded, bird watched, attended a Nicaraguan buffet, lounged in the hammocks, and hung by the pool. I will say that the pool was the life saving element of the trip because there was no AC anywhere on the private island, so a dip in the pool was always a relief and left me feeling weightless.

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Overall it was a great and memorable experience. I think we chose the perfect place for our babymoon. We both love to be adventurous and explore when in new places, but being on this private island forced us to slow down and truly relax. Sometimes we go on trips, and while we spend the majority of the time exploring we end up more exhausted than when we left because we squeezed so much into the time away. This time, I can say we truly returned well-rested, well I guess as well as you can be at 30 weeks pregnant and no A/C.

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Surprise Date Nights for the Win

I wouldn’t say that gifts are a love language of mine, but I definitely have an appreciation for them as I realize that is how some people show they love others. Throughout our relationship, Conner has surprised me with little gifts here and there. This isn’t the primary way to love me, so it always takes me by surprise. One time he ordered me a hammock before a trip and it showed me he was thinking of me and really wanted to enhance the memories I would make while adventuring. Recently, he took the gift giving surprise to a new level in order to enhance a date night.

It all started with a request. It was early in the week and I declared to Conner that I wanted him to plan a date night on Thursday, but that is all I said. I love a good date night, and I don’t mind planning them because it is a way that I can show Conner I am thinking about him…by choosing activities he would enjoy or even a restaurant where I know he will love the entrees. But this time I wanted him to plan the date.

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So he made reservations…but didn’t tell me where until the night of the date. I came into the house to find a new dress waiting on the counter, a Clif bar, and flowers. All of which had purpose and were a complete surprise. Conner took it upon himself to go buy a new dress for me to wear for the evening. Being 28 weeks pregnant at the time had left me with some outwardly verbal body issues that consisted of my clothes not fitting and having nothing to wear. I’m working on that self-hate talk, but I am not perfect. Anyways. Conner picked out a dress for me, and the fact that he thought I would look good in it, and knew the dress with the side gathering would work the best with my expanding belly made me so happy to put it on! The Clif bar made me laugh the most though. The earliest reservations he could get were going to be way past my hangry hour. The Clif bar was to tie me over until we could get to the real food. Love him.

Ultimately these gifts were a complete surprise and just went to enhance our date experience. I felt so loved and cared for and the evening was a lot of fun. Never underestimate the power of a surprise or date night.

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Rim Hugger: Manassas, VA

When I scheduled a customer trip to northern Virginia, I couldn’t help but notice the proximity of my hotel to Manassas National Battlefield from the Civil War. I used to love learning about the Civil War when I was in school so the entire time leading up to the trip I was so excited! I had done my research and I couldn’t wait to run the 5 mile loop around the site of the Battle of Bull Run.

All through the morning’s meetings I heard reports on the news of an impending thunderstorm, but they kept talking about the threat north of DC so I didn’t pay much attention. When I arrived in the parking lot of the Visitor’s Center, the sun was shining and it was a balmy 105° but it wouldn’t last long.

I passed the statue of General Stonewall Jackson and set off into the woods with the #IOHear album blasting in my ears. As I ran along I thought long and hard about the history of the area I was running through. Here I was coming to exercise while so long ago brothers fought and died on the very same trails I was enjoying. The Stone Bridge was where the Confederate Army was commanded on that fateful day, but today it was just another beautiful sight for me. Distracted by the beauty of Adam and Paul’s voices, I didn’t notice how dark it had gotten so quickly until I burst back into the battlefield.

IMG_2727I decided to press on and hope I could outrun the storm. Wrong decision. At almost exactly the furthest point from my car, the winds began to whip and the storm was telling me “you had better get back to your car now”. I ran on and luckily took a wrong turn that doubled me back to a part of the trail I had already covered. I ended up back on the street I had crossed and quickly decided to run down the road rather than try to navigate my way back on the trail. Traffic had picked up so I ran along the side of the road trying not to get hit by cars, but the worst was still to come.

IMG_2728I made the last turn on the main street that would lead me to the visitor’s center entrance, but it was then that the bottom dropped out. I still had about a half mile to go and I made a snap decision to sprint across the battlefield rather than continue to follow the road. Can you guess what happened next? If you guessed that I would run across a giant open field with lightning striking all around me, then you would be right. Oh yeah, and the hail started to come down as well. It was a recipe for the scariest run I’ve ever had. As I breathlessly flopped into my car with the rain pouring down, I knew that I had completed a memorable run but I’m not sure if I even realize now how dangerous it was. Next time I’ll check the weather before I head out!

However, I think it was all worth it for the spectacular sunset that I got to see on the way back to the hotel!

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How far will you go for your dreams?

“Raise your right hand as high as you can. Now raise it a bit higher. We always hold some back. To create art and do something that no one has done before, you have to go all in.”
– Seth Godin

This was a small snippet of a great speech we heard at Leadercast 2015 and it really got me thinking. In an example that took 2 seconds and had no bearing on anything, our natural reaction is to hold back. Keep some in the tank. Give it less than our best in case something better comes along. This is a model we see all around us. Remember the football movie where the coach asks them to dig deep and they win the big game as time expires? How about the students who sit at their desk minutes before the test trying to get the last tidbits of knowledge packed into their brains? We are constantly being shown examples of people that hold back and most of the time it is portrayed as a good thing.

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I would venture to say that the happy ending from that situation is missing out on its potential though. Anything in this life that’s worth doing is worth doing the right way. That right way includes, to borrow a phrase from Mark Batterson, going all in and all out. Especially in circumstances that we can influence the outcome, why would we give anything less than our best?

Perhaps the most tragic place that we see this played out is with our relationship with God. Many, many people (including me for a large portion of my life) would chase after God in some areas but hold onto others. Typically this involves some type of sin that makes us comfortable or feel like we are in control. For me, it was with my weight. I knew I was overweight, but I was comfortable in my bad eating habits. I went so far as to train for the Peachtree Road Race but I didn’t see any changes because I held onto my poor nutrition and didn’t feel the need to go after my health 100%. But God’s plan for our lives is perfect. Why would we sell ourselves short by holding back and not giving everything we have to Him? Given enough time, the results will be in our favor. Going all in may not be the easiest way or have the positive outcome we are looking for immediately, but in the long run doing life the right way, exerting our maximum effort every day, and fiercely fighting for our goals and dreams will create things that the world has never seen.

In what areas – relationships, careers, aspirations, finances, sports, leadership opportunities – are you holding back? I challenge you today to pick one and be sure that you give everything you have and work 100% to do all you can! I don’t believe that you will regret it.

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Oh Boy, Let The Fox Adventures Begin

When we found out that the ultrasound to reveal the gender of our baby would be the week of Conner’s birthday, there was only one request from the birthday boy- a gender reveal/birthday.  On the way to the reveal

We sent some last minute neon invitations to our families and asked them to join us in the park for some pizza and cake. Now, y’all know my mom is amazing at cakes (exhibit A, B, C) so it made perfect sense for her to be the only one to know the gender secret for the big reveal. And boy did she have some tricks up her sleeve!

Foxy cake for our baby reveal

I mean I die at the cuteness, mostly over the tiny pacifiers and the little bows.

Before we cut into the cake, we had everyone gather into the group they suspected the gender to be.

What's it going to be?  A Boy or Girl Baby?Team Girl:

Team Girl

Team Boy:

Team Boy

So how was she going to make this cake tell us the gender? With candy and sprinkles of course!Cake Cutting PictureI think this photo is awesome. Looks similar to our pregnancy announcement if you ask me. Terror + excitement on my face, Pure joy and accomplishment on Conner’s.

Snap Chatting all the fun

So the secret is out, we are going to be parents to a little baby boy.

Balloon + Neon Confetti = MagicY’all I’m scared and nervous, but luckily Conner has the “I love trucks, sports, and football games” categories on lock. Time to learn how to raise a southern gentleman and the proper way to teach him a love for polka dots, stripes, and bow(tie)s.

Thanks to Jess for the majority of the pictures (obviously the ones that aren’t from the phone or snapchat!)

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Date Day: Helen or Bust

With the first trimester behind us and the energy of the second trimester filling up my body, it was time to bust out of the house for an outdoor adventure date. Date nights have looked a lot different the last few weeks as the majority of our free time has been spent sleeping or eating carbs in an effort not to vomit everywhere. Did I mention being chauffeured anywhere was also out of the question as just a simple ride in the car made me queezy?

So when the energy hit, it was time to plan a date day with the hubs. the original plan was to go to the zoo… But I didn’t follow the rules completely about getting the free pass, so we had to make some last minute game plan changes. The zoo would have to wait for another day. We made a day out of it and headed up to Helen. We had lunch along the river, walked through the little German village, and then found our way to the state park.

I'm a sucker for face cut out photo ops.That hike though was a little rough. I get so frustrated with myself knowing my fitness level feels less than normal because I’m using extra energy to grow a human. It took at least 30 minutes to walk up hill .5 of a mile with multiple stops for breathing and water. I felt so bad as I knew I was holding Conner back from running up that mountain. At the top we sat for a while and I must have looked as exhausted as I felt because a lady commented with a question asking if we had just hiked the major trail (a 10 mile hike). Insert YIKES emoji face here.
Hike in HelenLuckily on the way down I had a burst of energy mixed with equal parts needing to hurry to the restroom and keep Brinkley from popping on the side of a mountain without a bag to clean up his mess. This combination made us run down the hill, finish strong, and catch a snack break of the fudge we bought while visiting downtown Helen.

It was a fun day, nice and sunny for getting out of the house, and the perfect amount of exhaustion to create the need for a two hour naps once returning home.

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Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday (a day late in the blog world) to my wonderful husband. We kicked off his birthday shenanigans a day early with a little donut treat. A group of Conner’s friends get together frequently to work out early in the morning. I’m talking 7am early. So I concocted a plan to surprise them with a little breakfast tailgate.

I made it my mission to set my alarm a few minutes after Conner left to go work out so that I could dash to the store for donuts and coffee. Because isn’t that what everyone wants to eat after working out?

Birthday DonutsAll went according to plan, luckily, and my mission was a complete surprise!

So to my donut loving husband, Happy Birthday. I love you, your hard working self, and your ability to splurge every now and then for a post-workout donut.

 

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