Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Family Trip to Orlando - Part I: Traveling and Gators

Yeah! The time had come! Our family trip to Orlando was happening and I was so excited! The plan was for me to dive down to Ohio, stay with Ryan and Missy for a couple of days, and then fly with Missy and the boys to Florida where we would meet up with my parents, Uncle Wade, and Aunt Karen.

A few days before I was to leave, two things happened: (1) I got a call from my Midwife informing me that I failed my first glucose test. And (2) Missy informed me that all of them had the flu.

Oh great. I failed my glucose test! And, of course, right before that I had ordered a bunch of Girl Scout cookies from a family member AND Josh had gotten me See's Candy for Valentines Day! UGH! I was already planning on bringing the majority of the Girl Scout cookies to Missy and the boys, but I really wanted to eat just a few of the See's Candy! 

Nope, nope! I tend not to eat a lot of sugar anyways and at the same time I decided to splurge a little I get my wrist slapped!

Oh well. It's for the best, right?

I was also told by my midwife that I should get a flu shot and stock up on probiotics and Vitamin C before I left on my vacation. No arguing here! 

I left on Thursday, February 9th, and made the drive to my parents house in Cincinnati. Right after I arrived I called my brother to see if he could come help me find a chirping smoke alarm. Missy ran to the store and got a battery and then came over to help. At that time I told her I was pregnant and that I wanted to do a "FaceTime conference call" with Luke and Andie on Friday so I could tell them too!

The next day I went to Ryan and Missy's to hang out and have dinner. I then called Luke and Andie and told them (and Ryan) that I was pregnant. They were so excited! Andie is only 10 weeks ahead of me in her pregnancy so our kids will be really close in age!

The next day (Saturday, February 11th) Ryan took Missy, the boys, and I to the airport so we could fly to Orlando!

Brady and I had an empty seat next to us so Dane came over an joined us while Missy and Cole sat across the aisle from me. Before the plane took off the boys kept asking, "Are we in the air yet? How about now? Now? Now?" They were so excited! 

We arrived in Orlando late that night, met my parents at the airport, picked up our rental car, and headed to our adorable condo at the Lucaya Village Resort.

The next morning (Sunday, February 12th) we all gathered in the kitchen for breakfast and I thought that would be a good time to tell my parents I was pregnant. I gave them a small box and told them that it was a present from when Josh and I went on that Epic Fall Road Trip (which wasn't a lie... *wink wink*).

They opened the box and this is what was inside:

They were very surprised and excited!

After my announcement, my dad and I took Brady and Dane to the Club House to see the pool and to play some video games. The only games they had were for the XBOX (which I don't know how to use) but we figured it out and played a few "kid friendly" games before heading back to the condo.

The whole group then got in the cars and headed to The Boggy Creek Airboat Rides so we could go on a 'gator tour!

[He's seriously so cute!] 

The airboat was LOUD so when we arrived we were given noise canceler headphones and the little boys were given life jackets. We zipped around the wetlands looking for 'gators, turtles, and exotic birds. Every so often the driver would stop and we could take off our headphones while he told us about the creature we were looking at. We all had a blast and the boys seemed to really enjoy it too! Cole was a huge fan as long as the boat was moving and he could feel the wind on his face!

After our ride Missy and I went to Disney Springs (similar to Downtown Disney at Disneyland) to get some Sprinkles Cupcakes for Brady's 6th birthday.

She decorated them with Mario characters and Brady loved it!

Happy birthday to my first nephew!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Sushi Night and an Early Valentines Day

After I found out I was pregnant I bought a book and really started researching things that I could and could not do and could or could not eat.

I knew that raw fish was on the list of things I had to avoid, BUT I can still have "sushi", we just had to make sure the fish was cooked all the way through. So Josh bought some sushi rice, seaweed, salmon, and avocado's and made us some delicious sushi!

[Sushi! Complete with lightsaber chopsticks!]

I knew I was going to be gone for Valentines Day this year (I was last year too... oops!) so we did Valentines Day early again!

I love flowers but I am super allergic so Josh got me chocolate covered strawberries, a stuffed bear, a balloon and the best Valentines Day card EVER!

I got him some "safety approved" Oakley sunglasses, but they didn't come until after I had left for Orlando... oops! 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017


I'M PREGNANT! Josh and I are THRILLED to announce that we will be joined by a beautiful baby BOY on August 16th!

You can stop reading now if you don't want intimate details... you've been warned :-)

Just before Christmas I was starting to feel some strange womanly symptoms: breast tenderness and chest acne. I thought it was strange, but then I realized that I didn't remember when my last period was (I guess I just lost track during our Epic Road Trip). Josh and I decided then that we should really start "trying" (tracking my cycle, ovulation test, etc.) in January, so on our way home from seeing Rogue One we stopped by a Walgreens and I purchased two pregnancy test and ovulation test. I was so sure that I wasn't pregnant, but I wanted to make sure before we went to Wisconsin for Christmas.

Welp, I took the first test and not even a minute later the screen showed "Pregnant". I honestly didn't believe it. So I drank a bunch of water and took the second one. Same result: "Pregnant"

What to do now?! We started to really rack our brains so we could figure out how far along I was. We came to the conclusion that I was probably only 6 weeks along (at the most) so we decided it would be the best to not tell anyone just yet.

Christmas in Wisconsin went off without any problems. Once we got home I found a local OBGYN and made an appointment. On January 9th Josh and I went to see the OB. When we got there we were told we would be set up with a Midwife (unless that was not what we wanted) and that is when we met Heather. She was super nice and answered all our questions. We then scheduled an ultrasound for later that week so we could see our little gummy bear.

During the ultrasound we saw our little guy (even though we didn't know it yet) and we got to listen to his super strong heartbeat.


Over the next few weeks I started to really feel pregnant. I would either be super hungry or uncomfortably full (sometimes at the same time), I would feel dizzy and nauseated a lot (especially in the morning and at night), excess gas, and I'm having aversions to sugar (most of the time).

[I got freakishly hungry one night so we went to Cracker Barrel! YUM!]

So far my pregnancy has been pretty normal and I am beyond grateful for that! Stay tuned to see how I told my parents and my trip to Orlando!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Christmas Season 2016

To start the Christmas Season off Josh and I went and saw Rogue One! EEK! It was amazing! I cried!

We then decorated our Charlie Brown Tree and prepared gifts for our family!

Look! It's Brodee! We got a few of Brodee's Kindergarden pictures from Sara just before Christmas. We framed a few of them and sent them out to the grandparents. Look how cute he is!

On Tuesday, December 20th, Josh and I had our own little Christmas in Marseilles. We opened presents, ate pigs in a blanket (Neilson family tradition), and watched The Muppet Christmas Carol (my tradition).

[And I ordered us stockings! Appropriate, right?!]

[Josh got me these LAA Jedi and Stormtrooper rally monkey's! Love them!]

The next morning, December 21st, we drove to Joilet so Josh could get one of his teeth pulled! He broke a tooth a few years ago and to prevent further damage (and infection) he had to get it pulled. What a trooper! While he was at the dentist I went to Target :-)

We then headed to the StubHub pickup in Chicago so we could pick up our HAMILTON tickets! EEK!

We then drove to our beautiful hotel on Michigan Ave where we unpacked, put on more clothes, and headed out into the city! We walked up the road and got a snack at Garrett Popcorn (best in the world!) before coming back to the hotel to get ready for dinner.

[View from our hotel]

We then took an Uber to Au Cheval where we split a huge burger and cheese fries (complete with fried egg).

After dinner we took another Uber to Sprinkles Cupcakes! We "split" a red velvet cupcake, a chocolate and vanilla cupcake and a dark chocolate cupcake.

We then walked all the way down Michigan Ave (through the Magnificent) to the Private Bank Theatre!



We waited outside for a few minutes before being let inside to find our seats. 

[So excited!] 

I've been wanting to see Hamilton for a while but I wasn't sure if Josh would like it. He's not really into musicals or history, but since he liked all of the historic sites we went to during our Epic East Coast Road Trip AND this wasn't a traditional musical, I figured we could give it a shot! AND he loved it! Seriously! I've seen a few Broadways in my time and this has got to be one of my favorites!

The next morning, December 22nd, we decided to go on a walk to Luke's Lobster to get some lobster rolls! We fell in love with lobster rolls while we were in New England and I heard these were the best around. And I'm happy to report that they lived up to our expectations!

After lunch we walked down the street to the Christkindlmarket. This outdoor, German-style market had EVERYTHING! Clocks, cheese, pretzels, hot cider, etc! The place was crazy busy so we grabbed a couple of hot ciders and some baked cheese before continuing our walk.

At 3:00 PM we walked to the Chicago Symphony Center to watch the Chicago Symphony Orchestra perform their Christmas show! Along with the Orchestra there was a children's choir and Ashley Brown performed! She is best known for playing Marry Poppins on Broadway! 

At the end of the show Santa came out along with the Cubs 2016 World Series Trophy! Everyone went crazy! We then all sang "We Wish You A Merry Christmas" before closing the show.

That night for dinner we jumped on the underground and headed north to Boka! YUM!

We started with the cold roasted carrots (with pistachio, vadouvan, dates, and smoked feta cheese),

then got the hot apple soup, 

and finished off the appetizers with this amazing truffle dish (pasta, white truffles, and parmesan)! HOLY CRAP! Mouth watering!

For our entrees I got the roasted lamb and Josh got the roasted chicken. Both meals were delicious!

We then ended our glorious meal by getting the hazelnut and coffee dessert and the black sesame and bittersweet chocolate dessert! YUM!

The next morning (December 23rd), we checked out of our hotel and went to Do-Rite Donuts to get some highly rated doughnuts.

We then left Chicago and made the long trek to Superior, Wisconsin. We got in late, checked into the hotel, and hit the hay!

On Christmas Eve we went to spend the day with Josh's dad, George, and his step-mom, Julie, who live in Minnesota. Julie and her mother made us a delicious turkey dinner (all the scratch) and then we all gathered around the TV to watch the Packers play :-)

On Christmas Day we called my family before heading over to Jessi and Ally's house to help them prepare the Christmas Day feast! While we were cooking I got a call from Luke and Andie who told me they are having a BOY! Eek! Another nephew!

While Ally cooked the rest of us decorated cookies!

[Our beautiful chef, Ally]

["Christmas tree" (cheese, tomatoes, broccoli, and cauliflower) and "Holiday Wreath" (grapes, blueberries, and strawberries)]

[Kennedy, Jessi, Shorty, and Josh decorating cookies!]

[Josh got REALLY into it]

[Uncle Shorty brought his VR and we all had a good laugh watching everyone take a turn]

[Cassidy, Alex, Grandpa, and Grandma]

After an amazing dinner (thanks Ally for doing all the work!) we had dessert and then drove home on two inches of ICE (gotta love those Christmas Day Ice Storms!)!

We spent the rest of the week hanging out with the family! 

I didn't see my family for Christmas this year but here is the gift we got my dad:

Aren't they perfect?!

Before closing this post I wanted to acknowledge that my favorite Disney Princess passed away on December 27th. Carrie Fisher was such an amazing woman and she will be missed.

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! I have a feeling 2017 will be a great year for us! First Trip: Orlando!