Sunday, May 31, 2009

Colorado - Day 2 (Fri, May 22)

Friday was one of my favorite days because of the great adventure we had! Dave and Jim both had to work Friday, so we headed out on our own with a Colorado map and a GPS to see what we could find!
This was the first of many encouters with snow capped mountains. They are everywhere and so beautiful. We truly experienced God's amazing creativity and beauty in nature in awesome ways this trip.

You almost can't see the mountains here because they are so white against the sky.

This was when we started to drive up Mt. Evans, the highest paved road in North America. The top of Mt. Evans is 14,200 feet above sea level. We were lucky because that day was the first day the road had been opened since it closed last year for Winter. Unfortunately, because it had snowed a good amount the night before, the road wasn't open all the way to the top where mountain goats and sheep wander around. We had to stop at Summit Lake at mile 9 (instead of all the way to mile 14 at the top). The picture below was taken on the drive up...before we got above the tree line!

Like I said, we had to stop at Summit Lake (which is behind us below, you just can't tell because it's iced over and covered with snow!). It was snowing when we arrived. Since we couldn't continue driving up the mountain, we starting hiking up instead!
Directly below us you can see two completely frozen lakes. This was just the beginning of our hike. We were above the tree line so even though there was no trail (or if there was, it was covered by snow!), we could see where we ultimately wanted to be so we just started hiking!

The higher we got, the colder it got. Though we stayed pretty warm just by keeping moving, it was pretty chilly when we stopped. I was amazed at the temperature difference between elevations. It was about 65 when we left Denver that morning and was probably about 30 (colder with windchill) once we got to the top!
There are no really good pictures to show how high we were, but by the time we were forced to turn around (storm clouds were rolling in, our feet were wet, and we'd been hiking for almost 4 hours!), we were at 13,700 feet. Thankfully, neither of us got elevation sickness, but Michael did get dizzy a couple times and we were definitely short of breath! It doesn't take much to get winded when you are up that high! Keep in mind, I was 17 weeks pregnant, so we were careful to take it easy...relatively speaking. I mean, it's not very easy to hike up a mountain in snow with no trail in 30 degree weather...but it sure was beautiful! We'll have some good stories to tell our kids someday "When your mom was 4 months pregnant with you, she hiked up a snow covered and uphill both ways!" (Only slightly exaggerated...) You know those shots from Lord of the Rings where they are crossing the ridges of snow covered mountains? That's what we felt like on this day!
In the picture below, Michael had shed his hiking boots and wet socks for the drive down the mountain. It was warmer to walk around barefoot than put his wet shoes back on...hence the bare feet depsite the snow!

Mt. Evans was amazing...definitely recommend it to anyone visiting the Denver area. I was disappointed that we didn't get to drive all the way to the top, but I understand them not opening the road. There are no guardrails (!!), so unless they can completely clear the road of snow and ice, Colorado DOT will not allow them to open it.

Colorado - Day 1 (Thurs, May 21)

Michael and I flew to Denver, Colorado last Thursday morning for five days. This was technically Michael's 30th birthday trip, but it kind of turned into a birthday trip for both of us since my 25th was a week later! Our friends Dave and Jim let us stay with them and borrow their hybrid Civic to explore Colorado for five days! It was such an awesome trip...thanks Dave and Jim for your wonderful hospitality!

This was a local ice cream place called Lickety Split (Liks for short). Yum!

One thing I loved about Denver and Colorado in general is how healthy everyone is. People walk and bike everywhere because Denver has bike trails everywhere. And not just Denver. You can bike from city to city. I wish Nashville was this pedestrian friendly! Thursday afternoon, we biked from Dave and Jim's house to the REI flagship store downtown. The bike trail follows Cherry Creek until it meets up with the South Platte River at REI and goes all the way through the city. It was a very cool ride and REI was huge (I could spend so much money in that store!), but my bum was pretty sore the next day! In the picture below of Dave and Michael, REI is in the background (there's a Starbucks in the REI).

These rapids in front of the REI are where the employees do kayaking demonstrations and training in the summer...pretty cool!
The pictures below are from Boulder, Colorado. It's just north of Denver and a very cool place. We ate at an awesome restaurant called The Mediterranean and then walked around for a bit on the mall/plaza. This was the first of a few different visits to Boulder.
This was the closest we got to a moose encounter the whole trip!

Baby Gender Poll

Only one more day left in the baby gender poll and girl has pulled ahead by two! Much to Michael's dismay...he he he...just kidding. He would be thrilled with a girl too, he's just convinced it's a boy. We'll see! Ultrasound is scheduled for Tuesday at 8am (Central). I'll post as soon as I can some pictures and if Baby Payne is a boy or girl.

Update 15 minutes later: Michael read my post and proceeded to vote twice for boy to "at least even it out!" He had to delete the cookies and temporary Internet files before it would allow him to vote again, but that didn't deter him for long! Hilarious. He's throwing off the results of my highly scientific statistical research study! :)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

A Little Taste of Colorado

Driving up Mt. Evans...check out all that snow on May 22!

So beautiful...God is amazing.

We are at about 13,500 feet right now. This was quite a hike!

Catching snowflakes!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Bringing Baby Home Seminar (14 Weeks)

I know I'm going backwards in my posts, but I wanted to get a few pictures on here from when my sister, LeeAnn, and her husband, Chuck, were in Nashville April 24-26 and came to the Bringing Baby Home Seminar with us at Harpeth Hills. So in the pictures below, LeeAnn is 34 weeks and I'm 14. I know, I just posted a 16 week update and picture, but this picture was too cute not to post!

I love my sister!

We had beautiful weather on Saturday so Michael grilled out some yummy pork chops. We didn't want to waste those hot coals, so LeeAnn and I busted out the marshmallows and started roasting. LeeAnn's baby brain comment of the evening: "You think it's okay to roast marshmallows over charcoal?" My reply, "Yes, LeeAnn. We just ate pork chops roasted over the very same charcoal, I doubt the marshmallows will hurt us!"

Baby Brain in Target

I feel like I need to document these or else I will forget these fun stories (doesn't take much these days to forget something).

Yesterday, I went to Target after work to return a couple things. I put the bag with my returns in my cart and decided to do a little shopping first though since one of the things I just wanted to exchange for a different size if they had it. So I walked through a few departments and ended up in the baby section (like I often do these days). After finding some great deals on clearance, I grabbed my cart to head back to the customer service counter to do my returns and buy my baby items. That's when I noticed that my bag of returns was gone!

Of course, my first thought was confusion (also very normal these days). Where in the world was my bag? I knew I hadn't taken it out of the cart since I put in there when I first walked into the store. Had someone taken it out of my cart when I wasn't looking? Maybe the store could look on their security cameras to see if someone had taken it. I got to that point and then started thinking rationally...okay, maybe I had accidently picked up someone else's cart at some point in my trip. I walked through all the departments I'd been in (or at least I thought I did) and didn't see any abandoned carts with a Target bag in them.

Then I saw a Target employee gathering together all the empty carts. I asked her if she'd seen a cart with a Target bag in it - nope. But she did offer to help me find it. So as we walked toward the customer service counter to see if someone had turned in the bag, she sees an empty cart...and whatdya know - it's got a Target bag in it! With my returns!

I had completely forgotten to check that department. I didn't even remember walking through it until I saw my cart and it all came flooding back. At some point in my wanderings, I'd walked down an aisle without my cart and stolen some poor shopper's empty cart right from beneath them! I can just see them looking at me funny as I walk away with their cart and me completely oblivious to the fact that I was just very unintentionally rude.

Thankfully, the Target lady was very nice and just excited for me that I'd found my stuff! I didn't tell her I was pregnant or try to blame it on baby brain...I should have.

Baby Update - 16 Weeks

It's official! I have a baby bump! I figured I could officially call it a baby bump when I could no longer suck it all in and when it's still there when I wake up in the mornings. Well, that time has come. That little bump is definitely a lot bigger at night or after I've eaten large meals so I meant to take the 16 week picture in the morning for a better comparison, but it didn't happen. Oh, well. So everything is still progressing normally. Haven't seen a whole lot of changes between 1st and 2nd trimester except not always having that queasy feeling. Not sure where that "boundless energy" is that everyone keeps saying I'll have in my 2nd trimester...I wish it would come though! Granted, I'm not falling asleep at 8:30 every night anymore.

No real aches and pains yet. I definitely don't sleep like the rock I used to, but I can't complain. I'm sure sleep will be much more disrupted later. I'm still wearing my own clothes right now (the larger sizes of course), but it won't be long before they will pretty much all get folded and put away for the summer. I tried wearing a pair of maternity jeans the other day (just the kind with the elastic on the sides, not a band in the front) and they were a little too big in the waist. Of course, the butt and hips weren't that loose, but I've dealt with that since the 6th grade! Hopefully those hips will bless me with faster labor in about 5 months!

Our ultrasound and next appt are scheduled for June 2. If he/she cooperates, we should find out the gender at that point. Don't forget to vote in my poll on the right! It's looking like a tight race right now...Boy is only ahead by one vote!

This weekend we are headed to NC for LeeAnn's baby shower and I'm so excited! She has less than 4 weeks until Baby Taylor is scheduled to arrive. I will be making a lot of trips to NC in the next couple months...this shower, once Baby Taylor arrives in early June, then again for camp in mid June, then hopefully again later in the summer for another visit with Baby Taylor and probably a family baby shower for Baby Payne!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Baby Brain...It's Starting!

I'm developing a bad case of baby brain. And learning to laugh at myself. A lot. :)

At some random point last night, I realized that $2.79 divided by two is NOT $1.79 and thus the math in my previous post was wrong. (Don't bother checking, I've already corrected it!) I originally posted that the salsa was $2.79, then BOGO free so each one was $1.79, so I received $0.21 overage after my $2 coupon. Uh, no. $2.79 divided by two is $1.39 meaning I received $0.61 overage, NOT $0.21. And yes, I did use a calculator the first time...why I didn't just look at the receipt is beyond me.

Even worse was my experience at the RedBox during lunch today. We rent movies from RedBox fairly frequently. At least once every couple weeks. And have been for probably a year or so. Never once have I had a problem returning a movie. Or have even had to think about the process of returning a movie. Until today. I walked up to the box, inserted the movie to be returned, but lo, and behold, RedBox wouldn't take my movie! It kept spitting it back out. I seriously tried it like 6 times thinking maybe it was a fluke (in CR, we say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results...uh, oh!).

Frustrated, I gave up and returned to my car but then promptly decided that I had to call RedBox. Maybe they could force the box to take my DVD back. After sitting on hold for about 5 minutes, a very nice guy came on the line and very politely informed me that I was inserting the DVD backwards. Wow. Today, I was one of those stupid people that customer service people deal with every day that can't figure out how to do a simple task. This pregnancy thing is humbling. And humorous. :)

Monday, May 4, 2009

Lunch Break Deals

Quick post as I wrap up my lunch break, but I have to share my couponing success story from today!

During my lunch break, I got $40.14 worth of stuff for $3.23…by far the best I’ve ever done! I won a free jar of salsa in Pace’s Hand Pick and Win sweepstakes about a month ago, but the coupon wouldn’t print so they just mailed me two coupons worth $2 off each.

So my Publix run today:
Pace Salsa #1 (normally $2.79, on sale BOGO): $1.40 minus $2 coupon = $0.60 overage
Pace Salsa #2 (normally $2.79, on sale BOGO): $1.39 minus $2 coupon = $0.61 overage
Back to Nature Granola (normally $.3.59): on sale for $1.80
Energizer AAA Rechargeable Batteries #1 (normally $8.99): on clearance for $1 minus $1 coupon = FREE
Energizer AAA Rechargeable Batteries #2 (normally $8.99): on clearance for $1 (I have another $1 coupon, but it’s at home!!)
Energizer AAA Rechargeable Batteries #3 (normally $8.99): on clearance for $1

TOTAL: $3.23 (could have been $2 and some change if I’d had my other Energizer coupon!)

The bottom of my receipt shows my grand total as $3.23. "Your Savings At Publix = $36.54"

Then I went to Borders and got a White Chocolate Mocha free after coupon – normally $3.60!

Woo- hoo!