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Sunday, September 22, 2013

"Bugs and Babies" Camping trip

 This summer a friend of mine at church expressed her desire to go camping and I was so excited! I've been trying to get Aaron to go with me since we've been married but he has been a little resistant. That man likes his showers and bug free bed... We pitched the idea to our small group at church and made a plan! The group consisted of 3 families with babies 1 and under, one family with a 3 and 7 year old, and a brave newlywed couple. We didn't get a whole lot of sleep... but it was still a lot of fun!

Here are the pictures from our first annual "Bugs and Babies" camping trip to Chippokes State Park in Surrey, VA.

Waiting patiently for dinner

setting up the tent
breakfast around the campfire

sunrise over the campsite

the babies eating breakfast

Bess making pancakes

love the pack and play

Kaylee in her wagon

Eli hopped on for a ride

making his move!

love this boy

being patient while we loaded the car

Family pic!

Salmon Foil Packets
Asparagus, lemon, salmon, butter, and dill. Yum!
The salmon cooking over a fire

Friday, September 6, 2013

The Traveling Pregnant Lady

The summer we found out we were pregnant was kind of crazy...

I'll start around Christmas time of 2011. My husband Aaron is a submariner in the Navy. While in Washington he was the Navigator on the USS Michigan. This job was slated to be done around May of 2012. His detailer at the time was not giving us very much information about what jobs were available after that time so were sort of in limbo. I was working as a horse trainer in a hunter/jumper program in Poulsbo. I knew there was a possibility of getting late orders or the chance of orders being changed last minute so I told my boss that we needed to find my replacement. This really was my dream job and I also knew it would take me some time to come to terms with the fact that I would have to turn over my beloved ponies and students to someone else. There was a chance that we would stay in Washington, but I couldnt risk the chance that we would have a last minute change. Aaron was deployed in February (Valentines Day to be exact...) So we were now limited to once a week or even once a month communication for the next few months. He was growing more and more impatient about the lack of orders and the difficulty of organizing any potential moves while deployed. Long story short, we were originally told we would be staying in Washington, only to be changed to a multiple move ending up in Virginia. The final decision wasn't given to Aaron until a few weeks before returning from deployment. This gave us only a few weeks to prepare to move across the country. Luckily I had found a great new trainer to take over my job and had already started the transition.

Knowing that this was now definitely a shore tour which means he wouldn't be deploying for a couple of years, we decided to start "trying". Ideally if he stays in the military we didnt want to have a pregnancy fall during a deployment. This two to three year shore time would be the best time to start a family. More and more I had been feeling like "mom" was what I was meant to be. Aaron and I wanted to be married at least a year before growing our family.

Just found out!

about 8 weeks, DC
The first part of our adventure was moving to Washington DC for a 5 week pre commanding officer school. We decided to drive out there so I could have a car during this time. Usually the families don't travel with the sailor for these types of things but we were lucky enough to be able to make it work. We are not interested in spending any more time apart than we have had to already. This trip took about a week. We were able to stop in Boise on the way there which is my hometown. I hadn't been back in a few years and was so glad to show Aaron around.

 The first inclination I had that I might be pregnant was the day we were driving into DC. I started to get a little queasy during the drive. I frequently get car sick so I thought it could just be that. I was already a few days late and had taken a couple pregnancy tests that week that were all negative. Aaron was trying to quell my excitement and made me wait three more days to take another one. The weekend we got into DC we had to find a place to live for that month. We found a place and moved our car full of belongings (and a very fed up dog) in. After unloading our stuff I finally broke down and took another pregnancy test. It was positive!! Aaron was unpacking in the other room and I ran in and showed him. He was kneeling on the floor and kissed my belly and said "look at you, bun in the oven." Several of my friends had dealt with miscarriage recently and I was initially very cautious and not wanting to get ahead of myself. We would be seeing both of our parents at the end of the 5 weeks and decided we wanted to tell them in person then. It was fun to have our own little secret for a while anyways. I made our first doctors appt out there which would be a couple weeks later. The following week the nausea hit ... For the majority of our stay in DC I threw up every morning. I was usually safe to leave the apartment around 1:00, but still wouldn't be feeling very good. On top of that, it rarely dropped below 90 degrees and the city smells awful!! Aaron had a path he would take me to the metro and back that avoided the smelliest parts.

The hardest part was deciding to keep the news from a few of our friends out there and our families. It was getting hard to explain so much sickness. One time I had to race back from the metro and climb into bed with a migrane while Aaron entertained our friends and their two kids in the living room. Another one of my good college friends wanted to take Aaron and I sailing with her and her boyfriend. It sounded like a lot of fun, and Aaron tried to talk me out of it. I probably should have listened. That story only gets told to my closest of friends....

I was afraid my parents were going to start suspecting something when it was becoming apparent that I rarely left the apartment. I had hoped to use this free time to explore the city, but just didnt feel up to it most of the time. My poor dog was a good sport, I eventually committed to taking her to a dog park most days to get her out of the house. By the end of our time there I was able to get out and to a couple of museums. Poor DC got a bad rap in my book, I'm afraid I will forever have

The next step was driving back to Washington to pack up our house. This trip we swung through Minnesota to visit Aarons parents, and then made it back in time for my annual family reunion. We gave our parents this picture and t shirt to tell them the news.

This is the first grandchild on both sides and they were all ecstatic.

After a month in Poulsbo to pack up the house and get it ready for renters, we headed back to the East coast. This was now our third cross country trip in three months and I was about over it. This time we needed to get both cars over and had to drive separately. My ever shrinking bladder was making this a much longer trip. Aaron was used to doing 1100 miles in a day when he would move by himself, we were lucky to get 500... The morning sickness had started to die down and I only had a couple of "pull the car over I'm going to hurl" moments. I discovered that Starbucks croissants were the safest breakfast choice.

Our first peak at baby C!

Poulsbo, WA
Bainbridge Island, WA
My main concern at the beginning of the pregnancy was that Eli was due three months after moving to a new state. I have so many amazing friends in Washington that were in the same stage as us and I was very nervous about leaving all that behind. This would be my first move to a new state that wasn't for a job or school.

God definitely answered that prayer. The first church we went to in Suffolk got us plugged in to a young adult small group right away. The first time we walked in the leader said "well you're in the right place, our group just had 8 babies in the last 8 months!" I was so relieved to have some new friends in the
                                        same life stage as us.

Suffolk, VA
Suffolk, VA
Unfortunately we only had a month in Suffolk to find a house and move in before Aaron needed to be in New York. Luckily I was able to go with him (and not stranded in a new town by myself, thank you Navy). He had a 5 week design school in Schenectady with most of the crew. I was actually looking forward to spending the fall in New England and was hoping to find a barn to volunteer at while there. I had stopped riding at 20 weeks but sent emails to local barns offering to teach for free to keep myself busy. The only response I got was a barn about 30 minutes from the hotel we were staying at. The lesson program was in a bit of a transition and once the head trainer figured out I could teach, they put me to work. Mostly I was helping out with a group of riders with handicaps (which is one of my favorite groups to teach.) I was glad to stay active and out of the hotel room.

We wanted to be surprised about the gender :)

Schenectady, NY
22 weeks
We were able to do day trips around the area which was great. Saratoga Springs is a super cute town with lots to see. We also drove up to Montreal for the day which we decided was our babymoon. I still daydream about meandering around old town Montreal, leisurely eating crepes and antipasto platters.

babymoon in Montreal
24 weeks
Mystic, CT
27 weeks
After the five weeks we took a week to drive back to Virginia by way of Connecticut and Long Island. Aaron has good friends in Mystic and I have family in Stoneybrook, Long Island. Luckily this coincided with Thanksgiving and we celebrated with a pig roast at my aunt and uncles house.

About a month after we got back to Virginia I flew out for my baby showers. My Aunt was hosting one for my Montana family in Billings and I was having another for my Washington friends and family on Bainbridge Island. I didnt get a bridal shower so Aaron was very supportive of my decision to fly around.

Billings, MT
28 weeks
Poulsbo, WA with my horse Izzy

Bainbridge Island
 the last time I saw my grandfather

The most significant part of this trip was that a week after being in Seattle with my grandparents, my grandfather passed away. He had been having issues with his heart and was just weeks away from a brand new procedure that had just been approved. He passed away at night. My brother was there and his last words to him were "good night champ." I am so thankful I was there the week before. The four years I got to spend in Washington were worth it solely for the extra time I got to spend with my grandparents. I was heartbroken that Eli didn't get to meet great grandpa Roger, but am thankful that he is no longer suffering. My grandfather was an incredible man and I hope to get a post done on his amazing life.

Suffolk, VA
32 weeks
Sequim, WA where Aaron proposed
33 weeks
Bainbridge Island, WA
Seattle in the Background
Photo by Dave Raley

By the time I got home I was 6 months pregnant and ready to be in one place for a while. Its hard to nest when you're moving every other month! Our Christmas was really low key, the first and only with just us at home. Aaron had a couple weeks off and we reveled in the last time it was going to be just the two of us with that much time off together. I had a pretty "easy" pregnancy. I was able to be active and had no complications. I was not one of those women who loved being pregnant though. Most of the time I was very uncomfortable. Aaron was a good sport and did all he could to allieviate that. We had decided on a natural birth through the Bradley Method and Aaron took charge of the preperations. (More on our birth story here.) He made me a chart to mark off my daily responsibilities (squats, red rasberry leaf tea, pelvic tilts etc.) Aaron is an engineer and even had a power point presentation on all the Bradley recommendations... I was so thankful that he was not deployed for the pregnancy and birth and could be so involved.

Suffolk, VA
36 Weeks

Suffolk, VA
38 Weeks
A few weeks postpartum 
All in all, Baby Coudray had been in 26 states before he was born. Since then we have scaled back, only three states so far. I feel like this was an accurate introduction into his life as a military child. We are hoping to be able to retire from the Navy in the next 10 years so he has a chance to live a stable life as well. We see value in both and pray that he is better off for it.