Travel Diaries: My Summer in San Francisco

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In case you didn’t notice from seeing my adorable two year old in the photo above I spent my summer in San Francisco. Every since I can remembered I’d dreamed of going to California and this summer I had the opportunity to do just that.

Now this trip was not for play but for business. I applied for an internship at my dream Public Relations agency and after months of an extremely competitive application process and three phone interviews I found myself on a plane to San Francisco.

Due to the cost of living in San Francisco as compared to Arkansas my husband and son did not spend the entire summer with me (that’s another story for another time). It was very hard on me emotionally, as I had never been away from my baby boy. However, my husband was brave enough to drive all the way from Arkansas to San Francisco and stay with me for a week. I thought I’d share some of the places we visited.

Golden Gate Bridge

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This one I’m sure you were probably expecting being that it’s one of the most visited places in the country but seriously you have to go. There are several places in the city you can go to if you want a great view. My husband actually found this tiny park area not far from North Beach. This spot was on all of our bucket lists.

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Giants Stadium

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I am by no means a sports fan but everyone should have an experience like the one I had at the Giants stadium. Even if you aren’t into baseball the food is delicious (garlic fries are a must) and they have tons of places to take awesome photos as you can see in the picture above. They also have a beer garden, Coca-cola slide and Trolley.

I went during the dog days of summer and got to see a ton of ADORABLE dogs dressed (and painted) in the giants gear and colors. Cutest thing you’ll ever see! So if you go make sure to go in June when all the four-legged fans are there. (Here is a link if you want to see some of the dogs from this past summer).

Ghirardelli Square

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If you have a sweet tooth like I do then you must go to Ghirardelli Square and get a sundae. The Ghirardelli shop also offers tons of chocolates and other sweets and views of the bay. My two year old definitely enjoyed this stop.

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Because I spent a great majority of time working I didn’t get to go to a few of the places on this list but my husband and son did some exploring of their own. Below are a few of their favorite stops.

Coit Tower

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This beauty is located in Telegraph hill (just a few blocks away from my job so I saw it everyday but never actually climbed the stairs to the top LOL). This was one of the first stops my husband and son took since it was so close to the office. The tower offers great views of the city.

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Pier 39 and Fishermans Wharfs

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Definitely the most “Touristy” thing on this list. You can find tons of restaurants, museums and attractions here and it’s always full of life. My husband and son took a cable car down to Fishermans Wharf. If you like seafood you are in for a treat, if not there are a number of other options from street cars to In n Out burger (you must try their vanilla malt!). You can also find a ton of seals hanging out in this area.

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So while my son and husband were out having all of the fun I was in the office.

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*I will be sharing my internship experience in a later post*

Regardless of whether I was in the office or exploring the city it’s amazing to be able to share these experiences and continue to stay optimistic about where life will take me next. It was easy to fall in love with San Francisco and their are still a ton of great places  I didn’t get to visit, which is the best excuse to go back and I definitely plan to.

Until my next adventure, ciao!

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Why I don’t plan to have more children

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Well hello again and welcome back to my blog. I am sure you are curious about the title and I thought since my little man is now two and people have started questioning me and my husband about possibly having more, (a daughter perhaps) I thought I would address my feelings on the matter.

I DO NOT WANT TO HAVE ANOTHER CHILD!

No, it is not because I dislike being a mother, being a mommy is the best thing that has happened to me and I adore my baby boy so much, but pregnancy was AWFUL for me. Let me explain in a bit more detail so maybe I will stop getting the “when is the next one?” question from now on.

Background

Because I do not come from a big, supportive family like many people I know, when I found out I was pregnant no one was planning a baby shower or any of those fun things for me. I didn’t have many people to celebrate with and it was a little lonely. At the time I just told my husband and a few relatives. My husband, on the other hand, does have a big family who all seemed really excited, so we decided to go to Belgium to have the baby. I was young, pregnant, lonely and in a foreign country where I did not speak the language and it was rough. I’ll add that this is the summer after my brother died and I was also struggling a lot mentally so I had dropped out of college and was quite depressed but that is not even the full story… allow me to go into the pregnancy itself.

First Trimester

My first trimester I had hyperemesis gravidarum, which is basically 24/7 morning sickness. I vomited constantly… It was miserable. I could not smell food cooking without vomiting and even when my stomach was empty (which was 90% of the time) my body would try to vomit which led to dry heaving. The only things I could manage to get down on occasion were apple slices, oatmeal and sometimes soup or crackers. I also drank a great deal of apple juice. I was weak because I could hardly eat and basically lived in bed.

At some point, It got so bad and I got so weak I almost fainted and had to go to the emergency room. I was then given an IV and prescribed medicine to help with the extreme morning sickness. It helped a bit but not enough, I was still sick constantly. I remember trying to walk through the city with my husband so he could show me around and literally having to walk into an alley to throw up. Not fun at all! I lost over 10 pounds during this trimester.

Second Trimester

During this point in my pregnancy, I developed what is called sciatica. This is when pressure is put on the sciatic nerve that leads to radiating pain throughout the body, particularly the lower back and hip area. It was excruciating and I have a high pain tolerance so that’s saying a lot. There were no medications that I could take for this while pregnant so I had to just make myself as comfortable as possible.

Around the same time I developed this problem, we started to have issues with some of Michael’s relatives and were put on the street living from home to home due to the severity of those issues. I was having to walk a lot and sleep on floors at times and the pain got worse. I also developed pelvic girdle pain, this happens when the joints in that area become unstable. It literally felt like my hip was popping out of place when I walked at times. It became painful just to roll over in bed, I would literally cry ( I didn’t even cry during labor) and as the baby grew more and more the pain became worse and so did my mobility.

Third Trimester

So at this point in the pregnancy, my extreme morning sickness had subsided but the sciatica and pelvic girdle were really bad and because my belly had gotten big it became very difficult for me to walk.

Around this time we were still living from house to house and struggling with the family conflicts. We were being threatened and harassed and my stress level was at an all-time high. I started having contractions at around 30 weeks and went into preterm labor a week later. I was taken to the emergency room where I was monitored, given a steroid shot and other medications and put on bedrest. The entire time my husband and I were in the hospital we were still receiving threats from some of his relatives, so while doctors were telling me to relax, I still could not. The hospital staff even locked the door to our wing because they were receiving calls and asked if we wanted to contact the police. I can’t make this stuff up, it was stressful.

I returned to the home we were staying in at the time and had to stay on bedrest for the last six weeks of my pregnancy. I was given medication that was supposed to stop the contractions and prevent preterm labor. I could only get up to use the bathroom or take a shower (I had to sit on a stool in the shower because I couldn’t stand). Because of my lack of exercise, my sciatica and pelvic girdle pain became ten times worse and I now needed help to get around. I could not walk properly. I had to go to my doctors’ visits in a wheelchair at this point. I was honestly worried it would not improve after labor and that I wouldn’t be able to walk normally again.

Labor

I went into labor at 38 weeks, a few weeks before my actual due date. This was actually the easiest part of my pregnancy and for a lot of women, the opposite is true. I was in labor for around 33 hours. I wanted to have a natural birth so I gave birth in a room with a jacuzzi tub, but because I had a high-risk pregnancy I wasn’t able to have a full water birth and had to get out of the tub once it was time to push. Everything went perfectly, the pain was awful but bearable… at least for me. I spent the majority of the time trying to meditate and do deep breathing practices. The intimacy of the room was incredibly nice and my doctor and midwife were great! I loved giving birth in Europe because they do not intervene as much as American doctors.

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(Old Instagram Post of the room ^^)

My son and I had skin to skin for the first two hours of his life and he was kept by my side the entire time. The only mishap was that I tore (TMI) during labor and had to have stitches. I honestly did not feel a thing until later. I was up and walking like normal the next day and my sciatica and pelvic girdle were gone. I literally felt like giving birth was a miracle and I was so grateful my pregnancy was over. The recovery went fairly well minus the stitches and my baby boy was perfectly healthy.

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(After labor^^)

And so…

I have no doubt that I could get through labor but I am not sure my body can stand another pregnancy. I was told several of the issues I had are sometimes even worse the second time around and that seriously concerns me. For now, I am content with my little man. Adoption is something I have always considered and always wanted to do and something my husband and I will discuss more in the future but for now, I am completely content with just one.

I hope this puts things in perspective for you. If you’re reading this and you are a mom what are your thoughts on having more children? Do you feel pressured to have more? If so comment below and let’s talk about it!

Thanks for reading!

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Kid friendly places to visit in Dallas | Our mini vacation

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So we decided to take a spontaneous one day trip to Dallas, Texas with our little one. I decided it’d be great to share some of the great activities available in the city for those with children.

For those who do not know I have a one year old (going on two) toddler who is VERY active. Traveling can be fun but equally as stressful when you have a little one. Hopefully this list will help you enjoy your time in Dallas if your traveling through with your little one(s).

Fair Park

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This stunning gem is a lovely place to let your little one run around and has incredible scenery. It’s located at the Texas state fairgrounds (too bad we didn’t visit during the fair) and it has tons of room to let little ones run around.

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What’s great about Fair Park are the museums and exhibits located there. I suggest visiting:

Children’s Aquarium at Fair Park

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Texas Discovery Gardens and Butterfly House

(click the names to be linked to the websites)

The Children’s Aquarium was amazing! My little one was so excited and loved seeing all the cool sea creatures.

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The aquarium was great because it was at a low enough eye level that the kids could explore by themselves and though the aquarium wasn’t very big they had a good variety of fish and sea creatures.

They also had an area for children to touch sting rays (don’t worry their tails were clipped down they couldn’t sting if they tried).

It was incredible. I think my husband may have enjoyed that part more than any of us. It was also my first time seeing sharks up close which was interesting.

*visit the website linked above for price info*

I also really enjoyed the Texas Discovery Gardens, we went at noon when they do a very educational and fun butterfly release in the butterfly garden.

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It was a gorgeous garden and I enjoyed how educational it was. It’s always great to find fun ways to learn and teach the little ones. We all left knowing something we didn’t know before we came. It was fun to watch all the beautiful butterflys fly around.

They also had insects and snakes as well. Don’t worry only the butterflys are released.

This museum is only a few steps away from the aquarium and its nice to just be able to walk through the park while visiting other exhibits, gives the little ones a chance to run and because it’s all gravel you don’t have to worry as much about cars. The kids are free to run to their hearts content.

It was also very easy to find bathrooms which is always a bonus.

Dallas Heritage Village

We were able to step back in time for a bit at this cute little village in the city. Also lots of space for the little one to run but also a great learning experience for older kids as well.

There were tons of buildings built back in the 1800’s, several were built by slaves. It’s important for my son to know his roots though he may still be very young it was a nice place to walk through and my husband and I enjoyed it.

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The village usually has village people dressed as they would be back in that era, I suggest coming on a nicer (warmer) day and maybe later in the afternoon. We arrived pretty early so there weren’t many village people to give us a tour and it was pretty self-guided. We still enjoyed it anyway.

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Vitruvian Park

If visiting during the holidays this park has some of the most stunning holiday lights I’ve seen. We took an evening stroll here to let the little one get his last bit of energy out before returning to our hotel room. It was stunning and relaxing and we all enjoyed it.

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Heard Natural Science Museum

The next on my list was about 20 minutes outside of the city of Dallas but worth the drive. If you have a little one who just LOVES dinosaurs like ours this is the perfect place. It’s filled with fossils, crystals and features exhibits with live wildlife and a LIVE dinosaur exhibit.

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My little one was a little anxious around the “live” dinosaurs but it wasn’t too bad. It was actually pretty funny. He kept squinting his eyes and frowning at the dinosaurs as if to try and intimidate them.

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It was easy to lose track of time at this place. It’s great because the little one was able to get his energy out and enjoy himself but so were we. We were pretty tuckered out at this point in the trip and by this point you will probably need some food so here is a short list of places we visited to dine.

Dine in

Dream Cafe

Truck Yard

(better to go during the day)

Fast Food

Whataburger

In and Out

We stayed at the Sheraton Hotel and Suites near Downtown Dallas and enjoyed complimentary breakfast there. This is a great way to save a little extra money. The room we had was amazing, the view was great, the breakfast was good and the customer service was exceptional. Would recommend.

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All in all it was a great mini-vacation. I hope you get a chance to visit these places if you  ever find yourself passing through Dallas.

    Happy New Years Eve Everyone

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