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Friday, September 30, 2011

The Only Girls Never to Sin in Sin City!

Sadly this is my last Vegas post! But...that means that Disney posts are right around the corner so I'm pumped for that :)

Our trip was very short. We arrived Thursday (Sept 15th) and left Saturday (Sept 17th). Yeah, I know. Mega short! Honestly though, it was more than enough time to do everything we wanted to do and neither of us feel the need to ever go back to Vegas. I don't know what Zach and I will do if we go there with Aflac! There are lots of shows and stuff you can see at night, but practically nothing to do during the day. Katie and I were thankful we had the Vegas travel magazines b/c they listed tons of free things to do!

After all our fun at the Vegas Bash the night before we got some more solid sleep in (12 hours our first night there and 10 our second...pretty awesome!). When we woke up we caught a taxi down to The Strip and ate a late breakfast at Planet Hollywood. Again, super slllllllow service. But the food was good and the prices weren't too bad either!

Plus our receipts were good for one ride on the mechanical bull - too bad we never saw him!
The thing we decided to do was to go around the strip and try to see all the fountain shows. I know, it's random. But they were free and they were supposed to be pretty cool. Our first one was at Planet Hollywood and it was mega lame. A couple minutes long and just basically colored lights on the water with a short song. We were some of the only people watching! We may not have enjoyed the fountain show, but we really liked the hotel. It was so much more spacious than the others we'd been too and had some great shopping (too bad we didn't have the dough - or luggage space - to really check it out!).
In front of the lame fountain
You know you're in Vegas when a HUGE Stripper is posed in the middle of a mall!
On our way to Planet Hollywood our taxi driver was crrrrrazy. He drove like a speed demon through a deserted parking garage in a way that totally made us feel like we were in a high speed chase on some action movie! Where he dropped us off we weren't even sure where we were so we were pleasantly surprised when we exited the hotel and saw that SO much was right around us!
Got to see a few of the Vegas sights!

Our next stop was The Bellagio!
In front of the Vegas Eiffel Tower
Waiting for the fountain show!
Before going on any trip I always look up the top things to do in that city on Tripadvisor. It gives me a good idea of must-see things! One of the things on the list was to see the Bellagio Fountain show...of course it suggested to see it at night but we figured the day would be better than not at all. Zach and I had seen the show on The Bachelorette this past season so it was neat to get to see it in person! It was SUPER cool...I tried to take a video so you can watch it here. To me, Vegas means Elvis so it was neat that the show included his song :)
in front of the fountain!
One of the only things I really, really wanted to do in Vegas was meet an Elvis. Growing up my dad was (and still is) a HUGE Elvis fan! I know just about every Elvis song by heart and couldn't imagine going to Vegas without meeting The King. Luckily for us we ran into one while walking to Caesar's Palace! He charged us for the pictures with him...but it was worth the $1 I gave him ;)

Our next fountain show was at Caesar's Palace and it was an awesome hotel. Katie and I both LOVED it and I hope if we ever come back that we get to stay there! It was all Roman themed which spoke to mine and Katie's many semesters of taking Latin in college ;)

Picture in front of a cool fountain
The show there was really neat. It reminded me of a Disney ride! I enjoyed the Bellagio better, because it felt very "Vegas", but this one was super cool and even a little scary! I took a short video just so you can get the idea of how the figures moved and were really life-like, you can view it here.

It was a story about a king who couldn't decide who to let take over his thrown...
his daughter (who loved ice)
or his son (who loved fire)
The sound was kinda hard to understand so I'm not sure who won out in the end, but I'm guessing no one since this huge dragon appeared?
Caesar's Palace had a HUGE mall area like Planet Hollywood and I loved the "sky" above us everywhere. Made me feel like it was much more open and less claustrophobic. We enjoyed walking around and I even picked up my Vegas souvenir there (a $3 ornament for our tree!)

in front of another fountain

One thing we knew we HAD to do while there was gamble. Only to be able to say we did it. I know some people feel that gambling is a sin, but in my opinion anything can be sinful depending on how far you take it. Me spending $1 in a slot machine then walking away is not anymore sinful than someone spending $1 on a little toy crane game at the mall. So that's what I did! $1 went in, I got to pull down the lever thing 10 times, I had ZERO clue what was happening, then it ended and I was without my dollar. :) Still cool to say I've gambled in Vegas though!
Katie was Lady Luck in our little duo...the first machine she tried the lever thing didn't work and it was mega complicated so she tried one more slot machine and WON!
Okay...she spent $1 and won 15 cents, but a win is a win right? And YES, she cashed that junk!
Growing up my parents had a little Statue of David displayed on a shelf somewhere (probably a souvenir from one of my dad's business trips). In college at some point Mom gave it to me and it became a running joke between Zach and I. Zach can't stand it b/c it's a naked man and he does not want it displayed in our home. So, of course, I've enjoyed years of hiding it in random places and letting him find it. It's pretty funny (I totally need to start doing that again!) and I had to get my picture with David when we saw him while waiting in the taxi line!
Back at the hotel Katie wanted to try one hand at Black Jack. I would have played one too, but I have no clue how to play! We found a $5 table and she played a hand...and WON AGAIN! How crazy is that?!?! She paid $5, got back her $5, and won $5! Pretty awesome!!!
Since our flight was at 7:45 that evening (Vegas time...which means 10:45 Ga time...) we just relaxed in the room for a little while and caught the 5:00 shuttle to the airport. We ate dinner there (at California Pizza Kitchen which I LOVE LOVE LOVE!) and had time to pick up Kye a little something for a present (I got him an Elvis bear beanie baby). On our way to the gate we saw this sign...we TOTALLY forgot to over-use this phrase while on our trip dangit ;) We did see a bib in a gift shop that said "I'm what happened in Vegas." Made me laugh!
The flight home was tough. We flew out at 7:45 pm Vegas time on Saturday, had to stop in LA for 2 hours, then to Atlanta with another 2 hour lay over (we got to Atlanta at 7 am GA time), then got into Valdosta at 10:45 am on SUNDAY. Katie was an a-mazing travel partner!!!! She helped me a TON and was SO patient with me. I'll be flying the same flight (except longer) on our way home from Hawaii so it was good practice. I slept the entire time on the plane ride and it caused my legs to swell even while wearing the compression stockings. I'm thinking for Hawaii I probably need to set a timer to get up, drink water, and walk around a little bit.

Katie and I both had a BLAST on the trip!!! It was a GREAT experience and even though we weren't huge fans of Vegas it's great to say that Katie had her first flight, we got to visit Sin City, and we had some super fun girl time! Being a wife and mother I don't get lots of quality girl time like that so I ate it up! I'm so thankful to have Katie in my life and SO SO SO glad I won that bet with Zach so we were able to go!!! Hopefully it won't be our last trip to The Vegas Bash...if Jeff ever does go we will find a way to go back!!!!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Freezer Friendly Meals

When I was pregnant with Kye I made a ton of meals to freeze so when he was born we'd have plenty of yummy things to eat without having to do much! We were blessed with meals from friends and family and those blessings, combined with my pre-made meals, helped us get through about 3 months without having to worry about cooking! Isn't that awesome?!?!

Now that I'm getting closer and closer to my due date with Blitzen I am starting to buy the ingredients for all the meals I want to freeze. I'd LOVE some help! I'm not a natural cook and require hardcore recipes in order to make anything (I have a recipe card for hard boiling eggs...I'm not kidding...). When I look for recipes to freeze, I do not know if it's possible to freeze it unless the recipe says so. I'm sure some of you out there freeze all kinds of meals that I would even attempt freezing simply because I don't know it's an option. Enlighten me please!

Here are the meals I already have recipes for that say you can freeze them:
  • chili
  • cheddar chicken soup
  • minestrone soup
  • easy chicken casserole
  • comforting chicken casserole
  • green bean chicken casserole
  • beef stroganof
I know it's possible to freeze pastas and such but none of the recipes I have say that you can freeze them so I'm scared to make it and waste it all if I do it wrong. We love pastas so if anyone has any good recipes for freezable pasta meals that'd be awesome!

Here are some meals I plan to buy that are easy to make or come already frozen (they are all okay but the home cooked stuff is SO much better, especially when you're a nursing mother and could eat non-stop!):
  • canned green beans
  • frozen tubes of creamed corn
  • Pillsbury bread items
  • cinnamon rolls
  • muffins (the just add water type)
  • sausage balls (can't freeze but they are easy to make)
  • chicken pockets (can't freeze but are easy to make)
  • pasta bags - just boil and add sauce!
  • bagged frozen dinners
  • pre-made boxed dinners
Do you have any recipes I could add to my list??? Or any suggestions for super quick and easy things I can make or meals I can buy that are already frozen??? Or any tips to help me out??? Maybe some ideas for side dishes? Lunch ideas? Breakfast? ANY help would be greatly appreciated!!!

I'll post all the recipes that I use via my other blog and will give credit to each person who submitted it. Even if you just have a link to a recipe from a website that would be so helpful and will save me the time and energy from having to look myself. Especially if you've ever tried it and know it's good!

I can't wait to have a freezer full of food for our family of four!

Thanks in advance for your help!!!

P.S: I'm also in the process of gathering addresses for my upcoming baby showers, Blitzen's birth announcements, and to update my Christmas card list! If you have changed your address in the last year or want to be added to my list (the more the merrier!) please email me at You can email recipes there too if you'd rather! Thanks again!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

What I'm Lovin' Wednesday!

Whew! After all our amazing fun at Disney it kinda stinks to come home and be hit with a lot of different stresses. I'm doing my best to not worry about things, but that's one sin I struggle with! Even though I already posted a blog entry today, I decided to join in with Jamie to share what I'm loving today. It always puts me in a better mood :)
I'm loving that the end (or should I say the beginning?) is in sight from setting up all this annoyingly stressful LLC junk. We are creating an LLC for our business expenses to help with tax stuff and OMG HUGE HEADACHE! Today I actually had to switch banks which is a huge hassle. I'm not done yet, but it all has to be wrapped up by the first so I'm confident tomorrow will get it all settled :) 
I'm loving that we got to "meet" our sweet baby Blitzen yesterday! It was a special time for our little family and we're excited to add the newest addition to our bunch in under 11 weeks! You can see more of the ultrasound pictures here!
I'm loving that even when life is stressful I can look back on our recent vacations and smile! Vegas with Katie was SO much fun and I loved getting to meet soooo many reality stars (you can see who all we met here and here)! With the start of Survivor's newest season, seeing Russell got me ready to watch! Wish he was on again so we could root for him to finally win one :)
I'm loving that we are narrowing down our choices for a baby girl name! We LOVE the name we have picked out for a boy and thinking up girls names has been a little stressful for me. I'm not a fan of girls names for some reason? Maybe I'm just too picky! I've been using the social security website like crrrrrazy to see how popular the names we like are (you can do it too, here's the link!)

I'm loving my new Traverse! I wasn't over-the-moon about it when we first got our new cars (which you can read about here), but the more I drive it the more I like it. I LOVE the space and it was AWESOME for Disney World! We fit everything in it for a 6 day trip and still had some space left over. Once we add the luggage rack and put our trailer on the back I know we'll have plenty of room for our travels as a family of four!
I'm loving how much Kye LOVED Disney. He talks about it constantly and it was seriously an amazing vacation for us all. Mrs. Charlotte hasn't stopped talking about it either and has all the Parker's ready for a trip! I'm down to go ANYTIME! I'm itching to get blogging on it (which is the reason I've been posting so much, I'm ready to get to the fun Disney stuff!) but here's a sneak peek at one special moment from the week...when Kye met Mickey and gave him a kiss on the nose ;)
I'm loving that I have a giveaway going on right now! I LOVE doing giveaways and haven't done one in awhile. Stella and Dot jewelry is so awesome and so fun to give to others! Not knowing the sex of our new baby makes for a great chance to give some stuff away! I'm doing a baby pool where you can win up to 6 pieces of can read more about it Here

Just one of the many prizes up for grabs: the cleo fringe statement earrings!
I'm loving that I can always lean on the Lord. When times are stressful or I'm overcome with worry I just need to STOP and PRAY about it. It's so easy to get caught up in go-go-going and worrying non-stop that I forget to just pause and talk to God. He really is the only one we can count on to be there for us when we need someone, ya know? I'm working on leaning on him more and myself less! 
I'm loving that I'm pregnant b/c I totally have a valid excuse to PIG OUT. Right now, feeling so overwhelmed, I think something terribly bad and unhealthy is in my future ~ something like cookies or maybe brownies or maybe I'll just splurge and go get myself some DQ. I haven't had a blizzard in awhile and I totally need something YUMMY!!!!

Blitzen's 4D Ultrasound!

Yesterday we had Blitzen's 4D ultrasound! It worked out wonderfully timing wise because it helped us not to feel so depressed coming home from Disney. I was looking forward to seeing Blitzen and to comparing how he/she looks with what Kye looked like. You can see more of Kye's 4D ultrasound here. I KNEW when we scheduled Blitzen's that the girl was wrong about the timing of it...29 weeks is pretty late for that type of ultrasound. But I let her tell me that it was the best time...and you can tell in the images that Kye's were better because I had it earlier in my pregnancy (during week 27 rather than 29). Good to know for next time!

"Clover" at 27 weeks
I had the 4D Ultrasound done at the same place we did Kye's. The prices have actually gone down since then and the package included more! Sounds good to me! Zach, Kye, Mom, Mrs. Charlotte and I all went to the appointment and spent a solid hour enjoying seeing Blitzen. They gave me over 10 actual pictures, a cd with 76 images on it, and a dvd of our entire session. He or she was not too happy to be on tv and kept blocking his or her little face with his or her arms and hands. We still got several great shots though!!! You can click on any of them to make them bigger and see them better :)

Love how well you can see the arm
told ya Blitzen wasn't pleased...he or she is giving us the finger haha
Since I am further along in this pregnancy...the pictures aren't as clear and the baby looks a little more smushed (because it IS! There's less room in there for that child every day!). I knew it was probably fine but in lots of the images there's a ball looking thing on Blitzen's right eye...luckily it was just a blob or something and isn't actually on Blitzen. You can tell it's gone in several of the pictures so that made me feel better :)

a little grin!
blob free :)
The baby made LOTS of funny faces for us!
covering the face again

profile shot
To us, Blitzen looks chubbier than Kye with fuller lips, don't you think?
more smiles

good one of the face
probably my favorite, love the little fingers

making an "Elvis face"
resting the hand on his or her little chin!
sad face :(

this is another favorite, looks very sweet!

another funny facial expression

covering those eyes
covering the mouth!
It was neat that we were able to see each individual finger. The ultrasound tech also showed us the feet (while avoiding any private parts!) and we could count all the toes. To me, Blitzen and Kye ("Clover") looked very similar...but to Zach they look very different. Maybe I just think all babies look alike?!?! With Kye's we left feeling like it looked like a boy...this time we both said it looks more feminine. Maybe it's because it's filled out more or something? Maybe seeing these will help some of you make your guesses for the Blitzen Baby Pool ;)

We were also able to see some fuzz on the head, so Blitzen DOES have hair!!! You can't tell in any of these images but the tech was able to show us. It's a little bit frustrating when you go to these types of things because they can't tell you anything health-wise about the baby. They aren't allowed to. Even though they couldn't say that Blitzen looks healthy, I still felt good SEEING the baby and being able to tell for myself that he or she is healthy (at least the best I can tell!). The heart rate was 148 which is consistent with every appointment I've had. Blitzen was moving a lot during the whole thing and it was neat to see the movement while I felt it.

One of the most precious things about the whole experience was Kye. He was so sweet to me. He asked to get up on the table with me and laid his face on mine. He kept giving me kisses over and over and just wanted to be right with me the whole time. I'm not sure if it all made him nervous or something? I also think he thought we were bringing the baby home with us. When we got home he got a diaper from the nursery and started running around the house looking for the baby b/c "Kye needs to put diaper on it." He had show and tell at school today and it was supposed to be an item that starts with the letter "B". I'm not sure how he did with it, but I let him take one of the ultrasound pictures with him. I think he enjoyed it because when he was eating lunch he asked to hold the baby and took the pictures and was talking to them and kissing them. He told the baby all about Disney ;) Here's a video of it!

Kye talking to his sibling
It was a really great experience and I'm SO thankful that Mom didn't have to make the drive up from Melbourne for it this time around. How awesome is it that she's here now and able to buzz to the dr and then go on with her day? Such a blessing for sure!

Mom with her 2nd grand baby!
 Mrs Charlotte with her 4th one :)
 proud parents!
 soon-to-be family of four!
While I do wish we'd done it a couple weeks ago, I'm still glad we had the ultrasound and the experience together. It's wonderful to be able to better visualize the baby and makes everything feel SO much more REAL. Can't wait to meet Blitzen in person and hold our baby in our arms!!!

What do you guys think of the pics? Look like Big Brother? Different? Does Blitzen look more like a girl to you or a boy?
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