Wherever we go, we love really getting to know the city by talking with the locals, eating yummy and unique food, and trying to do what the locals like to do. We think we were able to accomplish that in Anchorage! It was a fun, laid back city with a great culture. It is also a pretty unique place because of how close it is to some truly beautiful parts of nature. One of the fun things we did in Anchorage was go on a bike ride on the Knowles coastal trail. It started in the city, wound through the woods and alongside the ocean. Believe it or not, we rode 22 miles on this ride, which isn’t too bad for a pregnant lady! Of course I couldn’t ride anywhere NEAR that long now a few months later, but I’m pretty proud that I made it that far at about 5 months being pregnant. I will admit it was hard on me, but Tay was very patient even though he could have gone a lot faster.
Kincaid Park is another example of a beautiful piece of nature within the city limits of Anchorage. We took a little dip in this fun lake where we saw a moose hanging out! We of course kept our distance, but were able to snap a pretty great photo of him in his natural habitat. We also ran into an LDS group of youth there for their mutual activity. As soon as we saw the group of youth we thought to ourselves that they were Mormons. They looked like good kids having a fun time together with the girls in one pieces on the leaders wearing BYU shirts, so it wasn’t too hard to spot them. We had a good chat with a couple of the leaders who were very nice. After hanging out by the lake, we went on a little walk that we read had some wild raspberry plants. After a little searching, we found some! We actually found an area that had TONS of bushes with wild raspberries growing, so it was fun to pluck them off of the plants and eat them on our walk.
So we didn’t know this until we got to Alaska, but apparently they are famous for reindeer hotdogs. We were a little grossed out at first, but after seeing about 100 signs advertising them, we figured we should probably try one. We found the best reviewed option which was a little street cart in downtown Anchorage called Tia’s. It was delicious! We actually went back twice before we went home. She also serves caribou Gyros which were pretty good as well. Her cart was in a prime location, right next to a little park/amphitheater downtown where we listened to an outdoor concert one afternoon. The band we listened to was a lot of fun, very blue grass, and played songs all about Alaska. They were called the Carhartt Brothers, check them out!
The following adventure is one that I unfortunately did not participate in. Early one of our mornings in Anchorage Taylor went and hiked to the top of Flattop Mountain. He said it was a good thing I didn’t go with him because it was pretty intense apparently, but the views looked amazing from the pictures! The pink flowers shown are something that Alaska is famous for, they are called fireweed and we saw them all over on our trip.
I actually really liked the art in the Anchorage museum. We feel like we’re able to learn a lot about a place from the museums that they have, so we always try to hit up at least one. One of the cool exhibits that I remember from this museum was all about Captain James Cook. It seems like where ever we travel in the world this guy was the first to explore or discover it! The exhibit talked all about his adventures, including a lot of the discovering he did in New Zealand, where we went earlier this year.
Lake Eklutna was another one of the aqua blue lakes that we stopped at on our way up to Palmer. The mountains next to it were breathtaking as well, and of course Tay spent some time skipping rocks. It wouldn’t be a lake stop without that activity!
Palmer, Alaska was a fun little town we spent a day exploring on our way up to Denali. We took the advice of one of our friends and ate at a country style cafe here called The Noisy Goose for lunch. If you are ever passing through Palmer, this is a must stop. It’s a family run business with delicious homestyle food. I must admit that our typically healthy eating habits go out the window whenever we go on a trip because we just want to experience all of the good food a place has to offer. This place had the most delicious oreo milkshake we’ve ever had. Now I know it’s not too difficult to mess up something as good as an oreo milkshake, but this one was to die for. And our server was so nice! She had already brought us our check when we ordered it, so she just gave it to us for free. We will definitely be eating there whenever we are in Palmer, which I hope we are someday.
The Bodenburg Butte is one of the main must-do activities in Palmer. This hike definitely pushed me to the limits of what a pregnant lady is able to do, but I’m happy to say that I made it to the top. We saw a beautiful field of fireweed, as well as some amazing views of the Alaskam country and mountain ranges. We could even see a glacier in the distance!
Have you ever heard of a musk ox? This was a creature that we discovered in Palmer, on a farm dedicated specifically to musk ox! They were pretty massive creatures, and I’m glad we were able to meet a few of them.
A couple more road side pics on our way up to Denali!
Tay and I went on a baby moon in August to Alaska! Strangely enough we both had a brother living up there for the summer, John in Anchorage and Ryan in Fairbanks, so we decided it would be a fun trip. We absolutely loved it! We were able to experience “The Last Frontier” as they call it, which is kind of fitting because we are in the last frontier before we enter the next stage of our lives as parents. Here are a few highlights from the trip.
It seemed like everywhere we drove on our trip (and we did a lot of driving) was worthy of stopping to take a picture. Here are a few that we took just outside of Alaska traveling south. These are on our way down to Seward on the southern part of the Kenai Peninsula, which was a trip we took with John. We loved being able to spend time with John and do some exploring with him.
This was a cool and random event we ran into on our way down to Seward. They had a chain sawing competition where everybody was given an hour to make a creature out of wood and a chain saw. We ate lunch while we watched, and it was amazing to see the works of art they created in that amount of time. Check them out!
This lily pad lake was another gem we found along our drive. It’s crazy how much bigger I am now than I was on this trip! I had a little tummy in this picture, but it was still that kind of awkward in between stage.
Here are some pictures from a hike we did just outside of Seward called Exit Glacier. The ice at this glacier was a beautifully breathtaking blue, and the glacier itself was huge! Of course the boys found an area on the hike where they could skip some rocks, boys will be boys after all.
Most of our trip we found beautiful places to camp, and the other few nights we spent at John’s apartment in Anchorage. Here is where we camped for a night next to the Kenai Fjords, where we would take a boat cruise the next day. Camping in Alaska, and vacationing in Alaska for that matter, were pretty fun due to the length of the days. It wouldn’t get dark until 11:30 or 12:00 midnight, which made it nice not to have that constraint in planning our days. Our only constraint was our exhaustion at the end of the day after doing so many fun things, which meant we typically went to bed before it got dark 🙂
The following documents the boat trip we took onto the Kenai Fjords. The views were pretty magnificent, and this was definitely one of the highlights of our trip.
Our cruise included lunch on a private, secluded island of fresh fish and crab. I gave my shot at skipping rocks on the shore as well. I must admit, I am not as skilled at this activity as Taylor is, but as you can see from these pictures I get quite determined to get those little things to skip. Taylor is always teaching me his techniques, so hopefully I’ll get better as I keep practicing.
One thing that Taylor loves is whales, particularly killer whales. He was so excited for the opportunity to see some in the wild on the Kenai Fjords, and we were lucky to see so many! Our ship captain told us that he usually doesn’t see as many as we did, so we had a lot of fun. Taylor was like a little kid getting so excited when we would see the different pods coming up. They truly are incredible creatures.
This little guy that we spotted is called a Puffin bird. I thought he was pretty dang cute. We also saw a bunch of seals perched on some rocks as we were boating back.
Our second night on our trip back to Anchorage was spent next to the Kenai river at a camp spot we found along the way. The next day we spent fishing on the Kenai. We were there during the end of the salmon run that the river is famous for, where thousands of salmon are running the river. It was crazy to see them all jumping out of the water! It was a fun and relaxing day on the side of the river casting out our lines hoping for good luck. Both Taylor and I got a few nibbles but weren’t lucky enough to reel any in. So, Taylor decided to get more adventurous. Whenever a fish would come close to the dock we were standing on, Taylor and John would yell out “shore fish!!” and jump in with the net we had rented to try and capture the fish this way. We had quite a few come by, and after a few attempts Taylor finally caught one! He was ecstatic and quite happy, as you can see by the look on his face. It was a fun and relaxing day on the river.
I am so happy to share some photos we took during my pregnancy. I was 35 weeks when we took these, but I basically still look the same, so I will just post them for my 37 week one. I also realize now that I may have been a little too anxious and exciting to finally have rounded out a bit more. So some of my pictures, I am really pushing my belly out in an effort to really look pregnant. I am happy with the results! I honestly can’t believe we are so close, and it makes me so excited and happy for this time, and to meet our sweet little boy. I have imagined being a mother for a long time, and think often about the kind of mom I want to be. I worry about being a good mom, what that means, and how I can also fulfill my life as a person, & also with my family. I know this is the right step to bringing even more happiness and purpose into our lives, & I am so grateful Heavenly Father has given me this opportunity to become pregnant, and experience life on a whole new level. Thank you so much to Christine Barlow Photography for taking these amazing pictures!
How Far Along: 37 Weeks
How big is baby? 6.5 lbs!
Weight Gain: I have gained 30lbs so far! Not much difference in the past few weeks.
Symptoms: I am trying to think of what has been new. I would probably say the baby has started rolling parts of his body instead of little jabs. So the “kicks” are much softer, but sometimes I see his little bum spread out and my tummy expands and goes back down. I love it. He also likes to put pressure on my bladder. Had to walk VERY slowly throughout hobby lobby the other day because he was having a fun time doing that repeatedly. I am just having pelvic bone pain more now. So that’s a lot of fun! But it does mean my body is getting ready for baby to come, which is a good thing.
Sleeping: Getting used to extra trips to the bathroom at night. I must admit, I am lucky to not set my alarm so I still get my needed hours of sleep even if bedtime is more uncomfortable. The worst part is rolling over in bed. I feel like a whale, and it takes a whole minute to switch sides. & of course the pelvic pain hurts the worst at that time, so I don’t switch sides until my one side is absolutely numb.
Food cravings: Pretty average. I just started eating 6 dates a day! It’s not a craving, but it is supposed to help with labor and post labor that I read about it in a pretty cool study.
Food Aversions: I still don’t love spinach on its own, but I am getting better.
Miss Anything? Just sleeping on my tummy. …Oh I do miss being able to wear some of my pants. Who knows when I will get back into those, but I am so far now that I want to wait to buy pants until after baby comes.
Wedding Ring On or Off? Off still 😀
Maternity Clothes: Mostly comfy sweaters and leggings. I also sport some nice looking sweats as pants! haha.
Movement: More like rolling now, and it is fun to know where his bum, toes, head, and hands are positioned.
What I did/Got for baby: I bought a solly wrap on black friday! I know I will love using it, and can’t wait! …We also got our breastpump in the mail. So thanks United Health Care!
What I’m looking forward to: Finishing decorating our house, getting closer to Christmas, and practicing for labor! It is getting so exciting!
Best moment of the week: Putting up all our Christmas decorations, enjoying hot chocolate, and just having fun in our home. It all feels like we are getting ready for baby, and it all makes me so excited!
How Far Along: 34 Weeks
How big is baby? Almost 5lbs
Weight Gain: I have gained 30lbs so far! We will see how much more I gain. I am not worried, and am just taking it as a number. Everyone is different, and I try not to let this get to me. I do admit, it is weird getting on the scale and seeing such a large number I have ever seen, but that’s okay!
Symptoms: I must admit, this pregnancy has been pretty good to me. I know some have it a lot worse. That being said, this is still my own pregnancy experience, and I have realized that I certainly still have symptoms that can be hard. I was lucky enough not to have too much nausea in the beginning. I would wake up being soooooo hungry my first trimester, and feeling a little sick. I always made sure to eat right away, and I was lucky to only have had to throw up 3 times. My third trimester has probably been the hardest. I have had pretty bad bleeding gums for most of my 2nd and 3rd trimesters, which are not fun. I need to buy a new toothbrush! I also have had some nerve pain throughout my pregnancy that sends a shooting pain all down my leg. Luckily that hasn’t happened on a consistent basis. I had a few nights where I would stretch, and quickly regret it because I would get a giant charley horse in my calf. I have experienced a lot of pelvic pain, some days more painful than others. Thank goodness for acupuncture and chiropractors! I went to an appointment a few weeks ago, and since then my pelvic pain has improved immensely. It is still there, but I don’t cringe or feel like I don’t want to move. The worst symptom I have experienced thus far is probably TMI. haha, but I have to document. I was experiencing muscle spasms in my rectum….Hard to explain, but they are shooting pains that come on like a charley horse, but it feels more like a stabbing knife going through your rectum. I had it for 2 weeks, and honestly didn’t want to move. I would get out of bed, or it would come while I was laying, walking, or sitting. It happened about 30 times a day, 5 of which were such a shooting pain that I would start crying. Taylor was having the hardest time watching this, because there wasn’t much we could do about it. Some people told me they experienced this throughout the whole pregnancy. I am so glad to report it has gone away for the most part! The next 6 weeks would have been unbearable. It did make me think that I could handle contractions if I was experiencing those spasms. I will report on that after the birth!
Sleeping: Getting a little harder to sleep. Taylor feels like another human is in bed with us with all the pillows I use to create a nest that makes it somewhat comfortable. Turning from side to side is getting harder, and not my favorite thing to do. I love the nights I don’t wake up 3 times to go to the bathroom. I try not to drink a lot before bed, but sometimes I get thirsty!
Food cravings: Nothing specific right now. I am mostly loving yummy, hot dinner. I always love tacos. & I am still loving drinking my raspberry tea every day!
Food Aversions: I am not loving eggs, don’t hate them, but it takes me forever to eat breakfast if I make them. I have mostly just settled on eating cheerios every morning, because it’s easy and fast. haha, I am slowing down.
Miss Anything? Not being able to walk around as fast. I think I am starting to walk like a pregnant lady, and I can’t walk too fast, or I might feel pressure somewhere fun.
Wedding Ring On or Off? Off. I felt it getting a little tighter, and just took it off. Wearing a nice loose, band now.
Maternity Clothes: I am mostly wearing dressed up sweats, leggings, and dresses. I only have 6 weeks left, so I am trying to hold out on buying warmer maternity clothes for winter. I am mostly at home anyway so I feel like I can just rotate what I wear each week.
Movement: I am definitely having movement, and sometimes when I sit down he starts moving like crazy. I don’t feel huge kicks because my placenta is anterior, so I am sure with my next pregnancy I will realize how little I felt, but I am happy with what I have been feeling. Sometimes I can see and feel something big poking out of my stomach, that is so fun!
What I did/Got for baby: I bought a few things I needed on our registry, and am excited to get them! Ya know, bottles and breast pads! Lot’s of fun.
What I’m looking forward to: Finishing putting stuff up on the walls of the nursery. So happy it is almost done! Decorating is really hard. Also looking forward to the holidays! I am excited to just hang out and enjoy this time before baby comes.
Best moment of the week: My husband taking care of me, & making a delicious dinner. I also loved both my baby showers! I am so grateful for all the love and support I have received from family and friends. I don’t think we could have afforded to buy everything we needed, and I really felt all the love. My best friend Shaleigh was also in her first trimester during my baby shower, so I am super grateful for her hard work!
Halloween this year was fun! Taylor was able to wear his Grandpa Dixon’s old flight suit from the Vietnam war. We are glad we could honor him this day, as well, because we were also able to seal his grandpa to his parents at the temple on the day of Halloween. I was having a hard time with a halloween costume this year. I am almost 32 weeks pregnant, and I also don’t like spending over $15 for a costume. There are a lot of cheesy costumes, that I just couldn’t bring myself to do…haha so I resorted to being Mario, because if you didn’t know, he kind of sports a nice belly.
I graduated! Technically, I graduated in December of 2014…but it is a pretty uneventful finish, so of course I had to talk in the spring. Looking back, I am so, so grateful for my degree I now have. Honestly, I figured out I came to college for an education, not to get the best paying job…& it is so worth it to me. My major has been one of the most rewarding and fulfilling experiences I have ever had. I learned about myself in ways I couldn’t even imagine, and worked harder than I ever thought possible. I learned from those things invaluable life lessons I am sure I will continue with me for the rest of my life. I am a better person because of my degree, and I have a strong belief that my major helped me become a better person, future mother, and wife to my husband. I cannot express the gratitude and love I have for the Art department at BYU. I am almost sad the experience had to end, but hopefully one day I will be able to go to graduate school, and experience it again! Thank you to all of those that supported me in my education, and in my art making….even if you didn’t understand the importance or what it truly encompassed. I am so grateful for the support Taylor was to me through this experience, making lots of dinners for me, supporting me, and helping me through my frequent late nights. I couldn’t have done it without him!