Picking up where last we left off...
(Get comfortable 'cause this is an epic post.)
(Get comfortable 'cause this is an epic post.)
We left London after a wonderful visit. One of the last gatherings was a music trivia night at the Morrissey House with the ol' gang. We didn't win the actual trivia competition but we left knowing in our hearts we were all winners at life, which (obviously) matters more...
June 27-June 28: Toronto, ON
Bryn and I headed from London to Toronto on the 27th. We stayed with Bryn's Aunt Joanna, Uncle John, and cousin Matt. They are wonderful hosts! While there, we met up with a whole whack of dear old friends for several fun activities. Highlights included hearing Ian MacKay play with a band, joining Clay and Emily at an Indian restaurant to celebrate Clay's birthday, witnessing the hilarious Laura DiLabio onstage for a comedy show, and spending some quality time with Dr. U.
|Ian playing with "Brothers."|
|Happy 30th Birthday, Clay!|
|DiLabs TEARING IT UP on stage.|
|James in the subway.|
June 29: Hamilton, ON
After a nice morning brunch in Toronto with Bryn's Oma, we headed to Hamilton to visit "The Daves." We had a wonderful barbecue and did a lot of catching-up. Zeybo came by from Burlington after work for an evening hang-out.
Love that girl, yes I do. She's been with me since day one (of University) and continues to be such a positive influence on my life.
June 30: Welland, ON
Unfortunately, I woke up this morning feeling really sick. It didn't feel like baby-related anything; it felt like the flu. I did my best to join the Daves and Bryn for breakfast, but it was (quite literally) a bit of a shit-show. I spent most of the morning in the bathroom, crying because I was pregnant and emotional and sick, and pacing outside the restaurant. The only positive experience of the burnch outing was this hilarious license plate on a car outside of our brunch destination:
Despite my sickness, we managed to make it to Welland to see Christina, JP, and Noah at their welcome-baby-party. It was a beautiful sunny afternoon and they'd set up a wonderful party in their backyard.
I wish I could say I had a good time... but I didn't! Everyone else did, though, so that's good. I spent the majority of the party lying inside on the Duponts' couch, sharing my woes with their dachshund, Teddy. I feel bad for not having the energy or intestinal fortitude to be social, but I really didn't have a choice.
We left the party and headed to Peterborough that evening. It was a tough drive due to my queasiness. I managed to stomach some gatorade, pretzels, and half of a plain Tim Hortons bagel. As soon as we got to Bryn's Uncle Sion and Aunt Kelly's, I crashed for the night.
July 1: Peterborough, ON
Peterborough was the perfect site for a gathering of Hugheseseses and Hughes-supporters from across Ontario (and various other sexy, international destinations like Nosara, Costa Rica.) The day was spent playing road hockey, drinking beer, listening to The Tragically Hip, and eating delicious barbecue. I did my best to hang-in for the fun, despite still being a bit under the weather.
|The winning goal!|
|Post-hockey dip in the river.|
I've often joked that even if I didn't love Bryn I would have married him just to have the chance to be a part of his awesome family. Thankfully, I get the best of both worlds! This weekend was just another reminder of how great the Hughes clan is. Sion, Kelly, and Evan were great hosts, and it was so much fun to spend time with Junior, Cass, Mair, John, Joanna, John, Matt, Jeremy, and several others who joined the festivities at various points. I think there should be an international "Hug a Hughes" day each year. Love those people, I do.
July 2: Ithaca, NY
I woke up this morning feeling no better than the day before. It was tough getting started... and it was made worse by all of the tearful goodbyes as we departed Peterborough that AM. Bryn did most of the driving this day while I clung to my pillow in the front seat and prayed for death. We crossed the border in the early afternoon (WITH OUR NEW SUPER-AWESOME VISAS) and made it to Ithaca in time for a wonderful reunion with James. Highlights included seeing James's awesome new house, giving him a box of his favourite Canadian cookies, and a dinner out at Northstar followed by dessert at Purity Ice Cream.
|James and his favourite maple cream cookies. Troy, are you jealous?|
It was so wonderful being back in Ithaca; the city holds so many treasured memories for both me and Bryn!
July 3-4: Aberdeen, MA and Centreville, VA
We left Ithaca in the late morning after stopping in to the Ithaca Beverage Center, Wegman's, and Shortstop Deli on the way out of town. Thankfully, I was starting to feel better and was able to eat a delicious Shortstop Deli sub. I hadn't eaten anything much the night before -- what a CRUEL, CRUEL WORLD to bring me back to Ithaca, a wonderland of delicious restaurants, and steal my appetite!
We drove south for a few hours and stopped in Aberdeen, MA to visit with Neil, Robin, and Zahra.
|Hanging out with Zahra.|
The Fourth of July was celebrated in Fairfax, VA at a festive parade.
|At the parade!|
|Happy Birthday, America!|
We spent the rest of the visit chatting, relaxing, eating delicious food, and playing board games. It was a wonderful stop along the way. Hannah and Mallory are among the cutest kids in the world, and they're lucky to have such awesome parents in Kathy and Chris.
July 5: Orlando, FL
We set out from VA early on the 5th and drove 12.5 hours straight south (hello I-95!) to Orlando. We spent the night with Greg and Meaghan. It was yet another wonderful stop along the way -- three FSU friend reunions in a row!
July 6: HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
A delicious brunch at Briarpatch Restaurant started the day, followed by a walk around downtown Winter Park. Check out these adorable tree carrots (?) we discovered on our walk:
Following our time in Winter Park, we sadly but eagerly jumped in the car and drove the remaining 4 hours home to Miami. We were so excited to be back: we found the house still intact, the lawn mowed... and the A/C BROKEN. (Gulp) We had our neighbour take a look at it and called the landlord. We were quickly informed that things wouldn't be fixed for two days. We managed to survive two nights in a VERY hot house (with two VERY hot pugs).
I'm happy to report that as of Tuesday, things are crisp and cold inside! A/C has been fixed!
Now, I'd like to share a few points of reflection to build upon the chronological account given above. First, let's summarize the entire trip in numbers:
4,685 miles driven
21 days of traveling
12 states, 1 province
12 cities (+ countless "comfort stops" along the way)
Only 1 night spent in a hotel, thanks to so many awesome friends and family!
This was an amazing trip for a number of reasons. Car travel is a powerful tool for forced reflection. 4,685 miles of driving allows for a lot of quality talk time (and music time and snacking time and Freakonomics podcasts time). Both Bryn and I embraced our car captivity, using the time to reminisce about the past and to look forward towards a new chapter in our married life. Every stop on this road trip brought treasured friends and family back into our lives, reuniting us with many people (to whom we are eternally grateful!) who helped us get to where we both are today. This was a road trip I will not soon forget!
When we reached London, I was greeted with several boxes containing the remains of my childhood shipped from my parents in Alberta (who have since moved from "the family home" to retire in Victoria, BC.) This was another powerful reflective moment. I sifted through boxes that contained things I used when I was little and mementos (so thoughtfully preserved and stored) from when I was a baby. How amazing is it to be able to share things from my childhood with my SOON-TO-BE-BORN child? Thanks, Mom and Dad. You've given me so many gifts throughout my life. Saving these treasures and shipping them to me meant the world.
On the back of this reflection and reminiscing, we starting building on this trip towards something bigger than just me and Bryn... the support and love of those who mean so much to us to build a family was found at each stop along our journey. This trip was an amazing chance to celebrate and plan for the future. So many supportive words and tips and stories of experience from parents who survived. So many thoughtful gifts and warm smiles and words of encouragement. Thanks, everybody. Both Bryn and I can't wait to share this exciting little person with you in a few short weeks!
I have to give an extra special shout-out to our dear friends Toni and Alex who gave the pugs an AMAZING vacation in Miami while we were traveling. We couldn't have done this trip without you. Everyday since we picked them up the pugs have been asking when they'll get to go back to your place... Prudence especially misses the pool.
The focus of this blog has definitely shifted since I got pregnant, I know... but here's a quick healthy living/exercise update. While on the road, I did my best to eat well. I did eat a lot of delicious things along the way but think that the 2 or 3 days when I got really sick and couldn't eat anything really helped even everything out! Don't get me wrong, I would have MUCH rather been able to eat during those days... but... well, my innards had different plans.
As for exercise, I've done my best to keep walking as much as I can. I will be returning to the pool now that we're back in Miami for some water running, lunges, etc. It'll be a nice adventure on the extremely hot days, I'm sure.
As you can see from some of the pictures from our trip, my bump has grown. Those of you who saw us at several points different points along our road trip can probably attest to the fact that things changed from day-to-day even during the three weeks we were away.
|In Toronto, at 32 weeks.|
I'm now at the point where my pregnancy is the first thing anyone brings up in conversation. It's funny because it's become so normal to me that I kind of forget about it. When people ask things like, "how far along are you?" or "is it you first?", it always takes me a moment to realize what exactly they are talking about.
I am really enjoying myself right now, for the most part. It feels great to be home and able to cook again. I'm making pulled chicken for dinner tonight. Last night we had baked bean-stuffed acorn squash with homemade potato salad. Yum yum. And I made blueberry muffins yesterday morning with BLUEBERRY YOGURT instead of plain yogurt. Don't know why I didn't think of that before. Took those darn muffins to a whole new level of deliciousness.
Healthy eating is still being encouraged in our household by our delicious garden. It was a JUNGLE MONSTER MESS mostly dominated by one renegade zucchini plant.
It took me about a day to get things under control.
We now have a better-behaved zucchini plant, tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, a watermelon plant, a cucumber plant (I think), peas (or they might be beans, I can't remember... damn pregnancy brain... whatever they are, they haven't fruited or vegetabled or whatever they're supposed to do, so it's hard to tell.)
|Bryn inspecting our bounty.|
|Well, hello there, little watermelon!|
And sunflowers, boy, do we have sunflowers!
|Grumpy gardener reluctantly stands among the |
sunflowers to give you an idea of how tall they are!
We are slowly but surely getting ready for baby's arrival as the delivery date inches closer! I am 33.5 weeks along and will see the OB again tomorrow. I have been feeling really good for the past few weeks, with the exception of the few days of stomach flu. The bump is getting bigger and bigger. I tried to paint my toenails this morning and experienced great difficulty. It might be time for some pregnant-lady pampering, which I think at this stage of things becomes a necessity and not a luxury!
We had a wonderful Miami baby shower this past Sunday which was hosted by Cathy and Patrick (two professors at FIU with whom we have become friends over the past year or so.) It was a great afternoon to reconnect with several folks we hadn't seen in a while, to eat delicious food, and to celebrate (yet again!) baby's impending arrival. A highlight: Cathy read aloud one of the books she gave us as a gift!
Next up: Rest and recover from car trip. No big plans for the next 6-8 weeks, as we prepare for baby's arrival! Time for some serious nesting.