Sunday, April 28, 2013

recommendations

1. these popsicles.  We got them from good 'ol Walmart and they are so refreshing and are WHITE so I can give one to Olivia without worrying about stains.  She loves them.
2. Cravings cupcakes in Pleasant Grove.  The only cupcake rival I have found to 25 Main in St. George (25 Main is still better...).  They won the Food Network show Cupcake Wars. Try their Better than What? cupcake and the fruit pizza one.  Jack also loves their sugar cookies.

3. If your toddler likes Pooh as much as mine, the Winnie the Pooh Wonder and Wander app is pretty great.  Olivia learned to match on it, and it's super cute.

4. A Parent's Guide put out by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (click on the yellow to go download it).  Learned about it in RS today.  Basically it's about how and what to teach your kids about sensitive issues.

5. The reality show Ready for Love on NBC on Tuesday nights.  I'm a sucker for dating shows though.  This one is different from The Bachelor because there are three men and each has a pool of women that were hand-picked for him by professional matchmakers so they already have kind of a foot up on compatibility.  Plus one of them has an ex-girlfriend participating so that has been interesting.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Hawaii Day 5- Snorkeling

Saturday was our snorkeling excursion.  I was dreading it.  We had booked it weeks in advance and I had been thrown into panic mode on more than one occasion before the trip just thinking about it.  The trip was really just a trip the the Molokini Crater and another site to snorkel and see fish and sea turtles, but the fact that we had to travel through open water and the company was called The Pacific Whale Foundation did not sit well with me.  All my friends were stoked though and I didn't want to be left behind, so we went ahead and booked it with them.  $80.  $80 to face my fears.

If you don't already know, I'm very afraid of whales.  Remember this story? I have been scared of them since I was very small, I'm not sure why.  All I know is that they are too big.  Jack always makes the case that they are extremely gentle creatures and I tell him that it doesn't matter because they could swallow you or land on you without even realizing it.  Jack witnessed the extent of my fears for the first time on our Honeymoon.  He took me to SeaWorld and thought I might enjoy the Shamu show.  He parked me right next to a platform in the 4th row.  The dolphins were lovely and I really enjoyed them. Then people started chanting "Shamu, Shamu, Shamu" and putting their arms up in the air.  As the noise became deafening and a giant swell appeared in the tank, Jack looked down to see me shrinking behind the bench, tears rolling down my cheeks.  When Shamu landed up on the platform next to me, I'm pretty sure I injured five people climbing up Jack's head and scrambling down the aisle to the exit.

We arrived at the dock at 6am sharp.  Everyone was cranky because of the early hour.  They took our photo before we boarded the boat.  Apparently I decided I wanted to look like I was recovering from a serious illness so I wore a skin-colored scarf on my head.  Not to mention the bags under my eyes from lack of sleep the night before. Worst photo of me ever. not sure why I'm posting it except for a good laugh.  We said we'd look miserable on purpose because it was 6am.  Half of us committed and half thought it was a joke.

I was happy to see that the boat was bigger than I had expected.  Maybe the whales would interpret it as a threat and stay the H away from us.

The weather was coooold.  It was overcast and windy, and once we got going our ornery group huddled under our towels a little and silently accepted coffee cake and fruit for breakfast.  We had to use our towels because, if I remember correctly, no one brought a jacket.  We were in Hawaii!  You don't wear jackets in Hawaii!  ....am I right? :)

So someone gets on the intercom and explains the trip and the rules and then says that there's a good chance we will get some whale sightings.  Sure enough, about 5 minutes later someone shouted "I see one!"  I remained in my seat and pretended to be super interested in my phone while everyone rushed to the side of the boat and snapped pictures and ooohed and aaaahed.  (Jack asked if I wanted him to stay with me and I told him to go look). This happened a few more times and things settled down a little bit.  Our group was in better spirits and were sitting together joking and laughing.  I looked out at the water and saw....a whale.  It was far in the distance and I think I only saw it's head, but wow.  My mouth dried out and my heart beat faster.  But then it went back in the water.  I waited for it to get closer to the boat and land on us or tip us over.  I thought about how I'd never see my daughter again.  I thought about being sucked into the depths of the ocean holding Jack's hand.  It never happened.  I saw another whale and waited.  Again, nothing.  I relaxed.  I was on a boat next to whales!  I felt empowered.
 I love the look of disbelief on Tasha's face in this one
 This is a baby whale who was following it's mama

We went to the lower level of the boat to be fitted for wet suits.  The girl looked at me and handed me an x-small.  "Ahem.. you are very sweet but I don't know if you noticed that I am extremely pregnant." She smiled at me "that's a maternity top."  A maternity wetsuit?  Fishy.  Even so, I haven't worn an extra small since I was 10.  She saw my skepticism, "do you want to try a small?"  I took the slightly larger top from her and Jack helped me pull it over my belly.  Not a bad fit.  Sure enough, it was loose in the armpits and would let in some water, but I wasn't about to peel it off and wrestle into the original (extra small!) one, so I went upstairs.  I felt like a busted can of biscuits in that wet suit but it was pretty warm.


We reached Molokini Crater.  It was still overcast and chilly, but the water was remarkably clear and blue.  I'd heard that this particular crater was considered by some to be the best snorkeling in North America.  There was a slide on the side of the boat where we could enter the water in our gear.  Suddenly someone came on the intercom and said "If you'll look over to the entrance of the crater, there are three whales!  I've been doing this for 12 years and have never seen whales enter the crater before!"  ....great.

It took me half an hour to get in the water.  I told Jack to go on by himself and he said he'd wait until I was comfortable.  Finally I just put on the flippers and mask and went down the slide.  I was in the water.  In the ocean.  By whales.  I panicked, I felt like I couldn't breathe.  Suddenly my wet suit was too tight.  I didn't know where the whales were who had come to the mouth of the crater.  My flippers were dragging me down (or maybe it was an undercurrent created by giant tails and flippers).  Jack reached me, put an arm around me, and tried to talk me through it. I tried not to drag him down, but I was suddenly sobbing and shaking and I couldn't stay afloat.  I swallowed some sea water, and he held me under the armpits.  The captain, who was monitoring all of the snorkelers, noticed we had an issue and asked if we wanted some water noodles.  He then produced a few from a large bin that we hadn't noticed and tossed them down to us.  Buoyed up by the noodle, I felt a little better and was able to take some deep breaths.  Jack asked me to pull my mask down and look into the water and I did so.  There were no whales below me, just tons of beautiful fish and plants.  Instead of looking out toward the dark sea, I looked toward the crater and saw more fish and lots of coral on the lava rocks.  We were going to live.  :)  Jack showed me how to position my snorkel in my mouth and breath through it and we both dunked under and made our way through the fish, me clinging to my noodle.  It turned out to be quite an experience and I'm so glad I did it.

Nevertheless, when we reached our second snorkeling location we decided to stay on the boat.  Due to weather, the crew ended up going to Wailea beach instead of the original location and Jack had just been snorkeling there the day before.  I was cold and tired.  They had grilled chicken sandwiches, hot dogs, and salads on the boat for lunch and when we headed back they lowered some sort of sonar into the water and we could hear whale sounds and then we saw a whale do a full breach pretty close to the boat.  I didn't even look away.


After docking I bought myself and Olivia a whale shirt to celebrate my accomplishment and then our group drove into town to do some shopping and have ice cream.  Jack and I saw a Bubba Gump's, which is his favorite restaurant, so we stepped in for some shrimp and sodas.  I also found a perfect bracelet for my mom to thank her for watching Livs.  It was green volcano rock.

That night Kassie and Eric barbecue'd and we all sat down to dinner in our condo and then played games and talked.  Was I still afraid of whales? Yes, but I had gone on the excursion and survived and didn't make a fool of myself.  I felt pretty great.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Hawaii day 4- Maui (Wailea Beach)

Thursday was beach day!  We got up and ate breakfast, packed the car FULL of beach chairs, snorkeling gear, skim boards, towels, snacks, and coolers full of sandwiches and cold soda and water.  I thought everything might not fit, but we managed
 
We stopped at a surf shop to rent a few things and then drove about 10 minutes to Wailea Beach, parked, and hauled our stuff down some walkways to the sand.  The beach was amazing and was backed by two really nice resorts so it was super clean and not very crowded.  We kicked off our shoes and picked a spot to set up.  The sand was sooo fine, white, and silky soft.  

Before the trip I had debated on what kind of swimsuit to wear since I was sooo pregnant.  I ended up throwing all decency into the wind and sported a bikini.  I really wanted to take advantage of feeling the sun on my skin (after the long winter we'd been having in Northern Utah), and my friends are pretty much family so I didn't feel the least bit self conscious about it.  It was glorious.  The water was so warm, and Jack and I rode waves together and swam and talked until I was tired.



Jack walked to up to one of the resorts and brought me back a frozen lemonade with a little umbrella in it :) Then the girls laid out, ate snacks, and read magazines, while the boys went out snorkeling.  They saw tons of fish and were so close to sea turtles that they were able to hold onto their shells and be pulled through the water!  When they got back we put together our sandwiches and had chips, cold drinks, and cookies.  The boys then skim boarded and Tasha and Kassie rented paddle boards and pretty much were bosses at it.




 When we were all beached out, we packed up and headed back to the condo so we could all shower and get ready for dinner.  We ate at a burger joint called Boss Frog's in downtown Kihei.  I thought my hair looked natural and beachy that night, but looking at the photo it looks more like I just climbed out of a dumpster after living in it for a week.  Oh, well.

 There was a wicked awesome photo on the wall by our table that reminded me of the creepy kitty living in the yard of our rental condo.  We called it (the real one in the yard) sunken kitty and kept an eye out for her the whole trip.
 After dinner, the boys drove north to see Warren and Annabelle's Magic Show.  In true male fashion, they didn't take any pictures.  The girls stayed home and made bracelets and took online quizzes to find out which Harry Potter and Hunger Games characters we were.  We made good use of our time in Hawaii that night ;)

Monday, April 15, 2013

banana blueberry waffle recipe

Jack has been in a Biggest Loser competition with his family for the past several weeks and has lost 20 pounds!  I love it because not only is he being super healthy, but it challenges me to come up with low-calorie meals and snacks. I threw this together the other day and it turned out really yummy!  The whole recipe is 1,123 calories.  I use our belgian waffle maker so it yields 5 waffles which puts us at 226 calories per waffle.  Even better than that, it fits relatively well into the clean-eating habits that Olivia and I like to keep.  Pure stuff, with natural ingredients.

whisk together:
1 3/4 c whole wheat flour
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt

throw into blender:
1/2 banana
2 eggs
1 3/4 c low fat milk (or buttermilk)
1/4 c unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp vanilla

Blend the wet ingredients and then whisk in to the combined dry ingredients.  Pour into waffle iron, sprinkle on some blueberries (I use frozen), and cook until brown.



Friday, April 12, 2013

leggings tutorial

a few weeks ago I saw a tutorial on Pinterest for how to make baby leggings out of a mini skirt.  Last week when I was at H&M I saw the cutest fabric on a $6 mini (I've heard that Forever XXI and Rue 21 also have cheap skirts sometimes), and thought I'd get it for some leggings for Livi. It was super easy to do.  Easier than handing the cashier at H&M a mini skirt when I am obviously hugely pregnant, and having her look at me like there's no way I can or should be wearing it.

First I turned the mini skirt inside-out and laid a pair of Olivia's existing leggings on top, with one side matching up with the edge of the skirt (that way I could use the already sewn edge and wouldn't have to do it myself).

I pinned around the outsides and along the inner legs of the existing leggings.

I cut out around the outside of the pin line and then sewed along it.  The great thing about using a mini skirt is that you don't have to make the waist or hem the bottoms since they are already there!

Turn those bad boys right side out and BAM!  Killer baby leggings.
 Livi wanted to showcase the full effect of the leggings.  White baby belly included.


Monday, April 8, 2013

Hawaii day 3- Maui

Our first day in Maui with our friends was Road to Hana day.  If you've never heard of the road to Hana, it's supposed to be considered the most beautiful drive in North America or something like that.  It's a coastline drive along a thin, winding road that includes tons of places to stop at waterfalls, beaches, temples, etc. that ends at the small town of Hana. It's a full-day excursion.

I woke up around 4:30 again (dang time change), and laid in bed for a while.  Around 6, Jack and I took a shower and got ready.  One by one, our friends streamed into the kitchen and ate a groggy breakfast, packed lots of snacks, and we all piled into the van.

We had a list of the must see places along the road, and figured we'd just drive and stop at places until we were sick of it.  The first stop was a short hiking trail up to a waterfall.  It was gorgeous, but the water was super cold.  I had to go slow, with the baby sitting so low and the Braxton Hicks coming at me pretty good.  I was glad I had bought Jack and I some waterproof hiking sandals, since some of the hike was through the streams and river and I had good traction to keep me from taking a spill.  Clar fell in and had to hike the rest with no pants on :) (don't worry, she had her swimsuit on). At the beginning of the hike there was a fruit stand that sold coconuts.  When you buy one, the guy would chop off the top and stick a straw in so you could drink the milk.  Then when you finished the milk, he would chop it down further so you could scrape out the coconut meat.  I'm not a big fan of coconuts and I concluded that the milk tasted like dirty socks.  Tracy loved it though because he had had coconuts a lot on his LDS mission in Brazil and had missed the taste so he was pretty stoked.

We also stopped at a black sand beach that was made cooler by the fact the the sky was dark and cloudy.  It made the whole beach even darker and more ominous. The water was a dark cobalt blue because it wasn't lit from underneath by white sand.  I collected some rocks off the beach for my mom's rock collection.

The drive was long and twisty-turny, but after many gorgeous vista, hairpin turns, and pulling of to the side to let people by (it was one-lane in many places), we finally made it to Hana.  We stopped at a sketchy roadside open-air shack for some questionable Thai food and then headed back to our condo in Kihei.  On the way back, Eric asked to stop and we all got out at a random trailhead.  This turned out to be one of the best decisions of the day because at the end of the trail there was a waterfall with a rope swing on top and the boys were able to swing into the water.

We came home exhausted, ate some pizza, played a few board games, and hit the sack.  I'm glad we took a day to drive to Hana, but I don't think I'd do it again.  Especially pregnant.






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