St Louis Trip

Well it only took me 3 months but I finally finished our trip write up!  We went in early May and the weather was great. Cool but not cold.  We only stayed 2 nights so there was only so much we could fit.  Next time I’d love to stay longer and do more.  Spend more time in Forest Park, at the botanical gardens, and at the Magic House.  Here’s a rundown of our trip.

 

Where We Stayed

Home2 Suites Forest Park.  This hotel is only a year old and was perfect for us.  We prefer to stay in suites whenever we travel so that we can stay up after Gretchen goes to bed.  Having a partial kitchen is great too.  This suite was huge with a fridge, sink, microwave, dishes, and a table to eat at.  Gretchen slept on her cot in the living area (pull out couch was there if we wanted it) and we had a king bed in the other room.  Huge bathroom with a nice big tub.  They offered a really great complimentary breakfast and had an indoor pool (saltwater) that we enjoyed.  Location was very central to everything we did.  Kind of steep at $250 a night but worth it!

Restaurants

  • Anthonio’s Taverna– Italian restaurant in The Hill district.  Great Italian restaurant but not too fancy for kids.  They do take reservations but we forgot to make them and walked right in and got a table around 5.  Sorry, no pictures of our delicious meal (including the St. Louis special, toasted ravioli)
  • Gelato Di Riso– this was just a couple of blogs from Anthonio’s and the gelato was FANTASTIC.  Wish we had a great gelato place like this in KC.

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  • Bailey’s Range– this restaurant is downtown near CityGarden and the arch.  They have great burgers, salads, and make their own ice cream! Very kid friendly place to eat while not sacrificing great food.
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Things We Did:

  • St. Louis Zoo– while admission to the zoo is free, parking is not and neither are the extras like the train, sea lion show, feeding the stingrays, and the children’s area.  If you have a zoo membership elsewhere you can get a discount but we opted not to get one this year. We were able to see most of the zoo in 3 hours with the help of the train.  Gretchen loved the penguins, polar bear, and the hippos.  The hippo exhibit was phenomenal.  The children’s area of the zoo was very shaded which was nice and there is a playground and splash pad there where you can stop and play.
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  • Turtle Park– this is a park right by Forest Park and next to the highway that has a bunch of turtle sculptures that kids can climb on.  Big turtles, baby turtles, turtle hatchlings.  It’s really unique and a fun stop.

 

  • Missouri Botanical Garden– This was my favorite stop on our trip and I could have spent more time here.  The gardens are beautiful and there are almost too many to see them all.  We got there late in the afternoon so didn’t get to spend as much time in the children’s garden as we probably would have liked as it closes early.  It is AMAZING though.  Treehouses, slides, a general store for pretend play, and in the summer there is a splashpad to enjoy as well.13263791_768470697971_4784912242508492926_n13255926_768470084201_9103440642436251344_n

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  • St. Louis Science Center – I was feeling pretty exhausted the morning we went since we’d walked all over the zoo the day before.  The museum is free but the extras are not.  Our Union Station/Science City membership got us a free admission to the kid’s Discovery Room which was Gretchen’s favorite part.  I wish the sessions were longer (you only get 45 minutes in there) since there was so much to do and explore.13230104_768469924521_4222101808238888441_n
  • CityGarden– Only a short walk from Bailey’s Range, CityGarden is a sculpture park right in the heart of the city.  It was a little cool for us to enjoy the fountains but it would be great in the summer.  You can also get a good view of the arch from here.13232996_768471421521_130822128540047043_n13254298_768471167031_1705166848221008063_n

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  • Magic House–  I was SO excited to take Gretchen here as I have clear memories of going as a kid.  We got there right when it opened but after about an hour it got somewhat crowded (depending on which room you were in).  This is a children’s museum for kids of all ages.  Gretchen is very into playing pretend right now so she loved the vet clinic, pizza parlour, and baby nursery.  I loved the things that made me nostalgic, like the static ball, three story slide, and the bubble room.  We spent only about 2 hours here but could have spent more, sadly it was time to head home.13260233_768471536291_2770321847287516267_n13239206_768472025311_8674125121213880493_n

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32 Weeks

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How far along: 32 weeks

Cravings/aversions: nothing really sounds good or bad right now.  Baby is taking up so much room in my tummy I can only eat a little bit before I feel full, so I mostly snack throughout the day.

Feeling: Pretty good now that my heartburn is under control (thank you zantac!)  I am usually up 2-3 times a night to pee, so good times. I struggle with some insomnia if I wake up after 5am but Gretchen has been awesome about hanging out with me in bed and looking at books so I can snooze a little longer in the mornings.  The heat has been rough but I’m hoping the worst is over and fall will be here soon!  Lots of braxton hicks contractions and lots of baby movement.  I have a doctor’s appointment and growth scan this week and my OB will be back from maternity leave.  Excited to be back under her care and discuss how thing are going.

We had maternity photos taken last weekend, something we didn’t do last time around. I’m so glad we decided to have them done this time since it’s our last baby!  The ones we’ve seen so far have been amazing!  Can’t recommend Brooke German Photography highly enough!

 

20 Weeks

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How far along: 20 weeks

Cravings/aversions: chocolate/vanilla swirl ice cream cones, pork pot stickers, California rolls, caeser salad.

Feeling: Really good, lots more energy and about 50% less puking.  Some pelvic pain that comes and goes but I’m planning to visit with a chiropractor to see if I can get some relief from that.  As it gets more hot and humid I’m more uncomfortable so we plan to spend most of the summer in the pool!

For Mother’s Day we had an elective ultrasound to learn the sex of the baby.  After our crappy experience at our NT scan we wanted a more positive one when we found out the news.  We all guessed girl and were all right🙂  Gretchen is thrilled and talks about her baby sister all the time.

We’ve also picked a name

CoraAnnWillhite

We are at least half way there! So excited to meet baby Cora🙂

Pregnancy Update

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How far along: 14 weeks

Cravings/aversions: I crave salty stuff, not big on sweets with the exception of Dr. Pepper and my favorite iced chai from Starbucks!  I ate buffalo chicken dip for lunch a couple of days earlier this week.

Feeling: Mostly okay, the worst thing is the insomnia which hits a few nights a week.  This pregnancy has been very different from the last since I haven’t had to take progesterone supplements.  They exacerbated the nausea last time.  I usually throw up once every morning but then I’m good.  I threw up every day of my last pregnancy so we’ll see if that happens again this time, so far it looks like it.  My appetite is significantly smaller than usual.  My energy level has rebounded now that I’m in second trimester.

I am showing much earlier this pregnancy.  I can still wear my regular jeans but they ride down and I’m constantly hiking them up.  Time to buy more maternity pants!  I’m ready for summer and maxi dress/skirt season.

Gretchen changes her mind all the time about whether it’s a boy or a girl.  She wanted to buy the baby a pacifier to help it “stop crying” so we bought a turtle wubbanub this week.  She’s currently using it on her dolls.

I definitely felt movement for the first time this week.  Much earlier than last time which I think is pretty normal for second pregnancies.

We are hoping to do some work in the finished basement this weekend to get it ready to become our new guest room. Haven’t made any nursery plans yet since we haven’t found out the sex yet (about 5 more weeks til that ultrasound).  Toying around with a baseball theme if it’s a boy.  No clue if it’s a girl.  I feel like I used up all my ideas on the first kid!

Our Happy News

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(photo credit Legris Photography)

It was a long road.   We spent all of 2015 doing fertility treatments, save for a couple of months after I had surgery to try to get to the bottom of whatever our problem was.  With IUIs the egg and sperm were in the right place at the right time and conditions were perfect but still, month after month they failed. By September when we went on our early 10 year anniversary trip we had pretty much accepted that a second child wasn’t going to happen.

When we got back from our trip and I had bloodwork done to start our next cycle we found out I was pregnant.  I ovulated and conceived on our vacation, and without any assistance!  Sadly it was a chemical pregnancy, over before it ever really began, but it gave us a little glimmer of hope to keep going a bit longer.  We agreed that after 3 more rounds of treatment we were going to stop for both emotional and financial reasons.

2015 came to a close (and our insurance deductible reset at zero of course!)  I lost track at some point but I believe January was our 6th or 7th IUI, and my first time trying acupuncture (figured it couldn’t hurt even though insurance wouldn’t cover it).  I resisted the urge to start testing early but towards the end of the second week I felt crampy but in a weird way. The next morning I ripped into the box of pregnancy tests and got the second pink line we’d been waiting such a long time for.

I will be 12 weeks in a few days and while we’ve had 3 ultrasounds so far and heard the heartbeat at each one it still hasn’t really sunk in yet.  This pregnancy has been night and day different from my first one, mostly because I’m not on progesterone supplements.  If it weren’t for a bout of nausea each morning and my growing stomach I don’t think I’d believe it.

Sharing the news has been the absolute best, as we’ve had so many friends and family that have hoped with us and prayed for us the last year.

We meet with a high risk doctor (MFM) next week to discuss options for trying to prevent another premature birth.  Likely I will need to do progesterone shots for several weeks in my second and third trimesters (thought I left shots behind with fertility treatments but I guess not so much!)  We will be finding out the sex but not until closer to 20 weeks, so sometime in May.  My intuition told me it was a boy last time so I am just ignoring any “hunches” I have.  Tyler keeps saying “maybe it will be a girl and you won’t have to buy any more clothes” and I just laugh and laugh.  Apparently after almost 10 years of marriage he doesn’t know me at all😉

Thanks for rooting for us!

 

Year of Dates

a year of dates

Several friends gave me this idea as a gift for Tyler, whose birthday falls right after Christmas.  I really want to spend more quality time together in 2016, so it seems like a great time for this!  Here’s what we have planned:

January:  Sushi date and Tyler’s work holiday party

February: Hot chocolate at Christopher Elbow Chocolates and arcade games at Up/Down.

March: Pasta making class at the Kansas City Culinary Center.

April: Date in downtown Lawrence.

May: Lunch out and a game of mini golf.

June: Recreating our first date: picnic and a visit to the Nelson Atkins museum.

July: Drive in movie

August: First Fridays in the Crossroads District

September: Tyler’s pick

October: Brew at the Zoo

November: Brunch and a movie

December: Dinner and a carriage ride on the Plaza.

2015 in Review

January: Not the most exciting month, but we had a couple of beautiful days that were perfect for spending time outdoors.  We made a trip to the Prairie Park Nature Center in Lawrence and a visit to the dog park, a rare treat for Boopers.

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February: Hosted a fun Valentine’s Day party and had a visit from our friends Aaron and Sarah.  We crammed a ton of fun (and food) into one day.  Roasterie, Boulevard Brewery, Q39, and Lidias.  We were stuffed!

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March: Had a sleepover in Lawrence at Gpop and GranJan’s house for my birthday.  They babysat so we could go out for lunch.  Gretchen got to help plant seeds in Gpop’s garden.

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April:  We spent a weekend in Oklahoma visiting friends and celebrating the first birthday of two of our favorite twins: Maddie and Baylor.  Also celebrated Easter with an egg hunt in Gpop’s garden.

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May: Went to Omaha for a long weekend.  Spent two days at the zoo and some time at their amazing children’s museum. Can’t wait to go back!

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June: Gretchen took her first ballet class and LOVED it.  Tyler and I celebrated our 9th anniversary with a trip to the Craft and Draft at Kaufman Stadium.  Also, potty training happened, and wasn’t nearly as terrible as I had anticipated it would be!

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July:  Had a visit from my brother’s family around the 4th.  Gretchen loved hanging out with her cousins and celebrating her 3rd birthday with a Daniel Tiger themed party.  Boopers had surgery to remove a couple of mast cell tumors, including a ping pong ball sized one on her leg.

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August: My month to have surgery!  I had an exploratory laparoscopy after months of failed infertility treatments.  I’m going to spare you the pictures of my ovaries and the endometriosis that he found. Much more exciting event: Gretchen started preschool!

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September: Tyler and I took an early 10 year anniversary trip to Oregon. It was our first time being away from Gretchen for more than a couple of nights.

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October:  Maybe the craziest month of the year.  I went to Oklahoma for a girls trip but a terrible stomach flu took us out one by one.  While I was away Gretchen broke her leg when she fell of the swings at the playground.  The high point of the month was going to a Royals/Blue Jays playoff game at the K with Tyler, and we won!  (Also we saw the blimp, and I love the blimp).

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November:  THE ROYALS WON THE WORLD SERIES!!!!!!  I took a class at Thirsty Palette and sure enough, I lack painting skills, but it was a lot of fun anyway.

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December: Tons of fun holiday events, Gretchen really got into Christmas this year.  Attempted to go to my sister’s graduation in Arkansas but unfortunately Gretchen ended up with the stomach flu and our trip was cut short.  We celebrate Christmas Eve on the Plaza and Christmas Day at home before visiting Tyler’s family in Kentucky.

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