Category Archives: Traveling

Beach Maternity Photos

While we were in Destin, we did a little photo session on the beach to capture this stage of pregnancy. We set up the tripod and used a 2-second delay on our little remote and we were in business. 🙂



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So sweet. I just love them all! It’s hard to believe that we’re officially in the third trimester now. Baby Girl continues to thrive and look great at every appointment. Praise God! Thank you for all of you who have been praying for us throughout this pregnancy. We appreciate those prayers so much more than I can express!

Love Rach


A few days in Destin

Destin, Florida has become a home-away-from-home for us. For the past few years we’ve gone at least once, if not twice a year and it is just wonderful. We have a bit of a routine down now so as I thought about writing a blog recap, I realized that we literally did the exact same things we always do. So I’m going to share the video I made from last year’s Destin trip again because… well… it was the same, ha! We wore the same tacky Hawaiian shirts on the first day, ate at the same places, stayed at the same place, did the same things on the beach, and on and on. We’re even wearing the same outfits in our dressy beach pictures, ha! Just pretend I look 7 months pregnant in this video below and VIOLA! It was the same! 😉

And just one sweet little BUMP pic from Destin for today…

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This trip was such a sweet one for us. Our last Destin trip before becoming parents. We actually had another trip tentatively planned in June (to visit the Pacific Northwest) assuming we were cleared to travel (which we knew we might not be), but after this trip we’ve decided to wait on that one until after Baby arrives. Everything turned out to be okay, but we had a bit of a scare on the last day of this trip and realized just how much we don’t want to be far away from our doctors in case of an emergency. So this trip was even more sweet for that reason. Our last “big” trip before our family grows. We may still get away for a weekend in June, but if so – we’re thinking it will be a little closer to home.

Later this week I’ll share some of the maternity photos we took on the beach. They are super sweet and I just love them! 🙂

Love Rach

That one time I had a kidney stone while 6 months pregnant on vacation…

I’ve made vague references to this pregnancy being high risk and that there is a lot going on medically and etc. Christopher and I are pretty private people when it comes to personal things so there is a lot that I haven’t shared on this blog. But suffice it to say that this little girl we are pregnant with is quite the fighter and is beating lots of odds. She’s our very own little miracle. Because of that, I don’t ever want to complain about this pregnancy. Every week has been such a precious blessing that I can’t really be upset about the normal challenges that have come with pregnancy.

So… when I thought I was experiencing normal pregnancy discomfort on a Monday, I didn’t think too much of it. My thought process went something like this: “Back pain is totally normal with pregnancy as the belly grows, right? And all this pain I’m feeling must be the round ligament pain kicking it up a notch. Oh, and are those Braxton Hicks? My app told me this week that I might be experiencing more of those.”

Tuesday was pretty rough, but I just kept telling myself that it was normal pregnancy stuff. But then Wednesday was awful. Just truly and completely awful. Agony all night long. As soon as the doctor’s office opened on Thursday morning I called them. Based on my symptoms, they were concerned that I might be in preterm labor (something I’m at high risk for) so they had me come in immediately. Thankfully Baby Girl was still nice and cozy in there with no signs of her coming at the moment, but I was still in so much pain. They told me that it was most likely a UTI or a kidney stone. They started me on antibiotics for a UTI and sent me home with Tylenol for pain. They still cleared me to travel the next morning if I really wanted to as long as I promised that I would go to urgent care if I didn’t start to improve.

So at 6am on Friday morning, we flew out to California. All those photos you saw on social media and in our travel videos on the blog (here and here) – totally taken while I was still in a lot of pain. But there isn’t another time we would have been able to go on this trip this year so we decided to still go and just take it super slow.

And when I say “super slow” I’m not kidding. It probably took us an hour to walk a mile on Saturday and Sunday while seeing the national parks. We stopped at every stump and bench we saw for me to rest a few minutes before continuing on. Elderly people with walkers were passing me. Seriously. It was pitiful. But! I’m still so glad we went. It was such a fun trip despite me not feeling well. Thankfully by Monday when we got to San Francisco I was starting to feel much better.

We got home from California around midnight on Tuesday and I went in to the doctor on Wednesday. My results had come back negative for a UTI so based on my symptoms, lab results, and some TMI info you don’t want to know, the doctor said that it sounded like I had passed a kidney stone.

A kidney stone, you guys. Suddenly I didn’t feel like such a wimp for being in so much pain from “normal pregnancy stuff” ha! Christopher keeps telling me that since I was such a champ with the kidney stone that obviously labor will be a breeze for me now. Ha! Here’s to hoping that’s true! 😉

It took another week of rest at home before I really started to feel back to normal, but thankfully I’m back to 100% now! Here’s to hoping that was my one and ONLY kidney stone!

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Have you ever experienced a kidney stone? What was that like for you?
Love Rach

San Francisco!

Another video for you guys today! We had a blast in San Francisco!


– The Sea Lions at Fisherman’s Wharf were one of my favorite highlights! I know I only have a few seconds of video of them, but we sat there for a long time just watching them play together. So cute!

– Christopher is giving you a tour of our hotel room because we were very pleasantly surprised to find out that our “free hotel stay” (thanks to Hyatt credit card points) landed us in the Presidential Suite of the hotel! Faaaaancy!

– Christopher tried his first moon cake from Chinatown! And I got to eat sponge cake again! Both were much sweeter than I remember from when we lived in China, but it was fun to relive those memories.

– We ate a lot of good food while in San Fran, but the Italian Homemade Company was the best! Oh my gracious, that pasta was heavenly! Reminded us of the pasta we ate outside Vatican City in Rome! 🙂

Love Rach

Yosemite, Kings Canyon, and Sequoia National Parks!

We got home from the west coast late last night and then hit the ground running today. But I wanted to go ahead and share our National Parks video with you guys today because things aren’t going to be slowing down any time soon and I don’t want to get too far behind in blogging. So enjoy a little sneak peak at our time at Yosemite, Kings Canyon, and Sequoia National Parks!


– Most of the footage was taken at Yosemite & Sequoia. The General Grant Tree is really the only thing we saw at Kings Canyon while passing through.

– We took the random shot of me standing on the snow (1:28) to show just how much snow there was in some places. I’m technically standing a couple of feet above the path. You can look behind me in the photo for a park bench that’s half covered in snow for reference.

– It was all amazing, but one of my favorite things was that we celebrated Easter Sunday at Sequoia National Park. We stopped along the Tall Trees Trail and read the resurrection story from Matthew. So so powerful. The snow glistening around us, the bubbling stream, the towering Sequoias, the sun breaking through the trees. It was like being on holy ground. He is risen. 🙂

Love Rach

Ohio Trip

We spent this past weekend in Ohio visiting my oldest sister’s family. For those who don’t know, they live in Prague (check out this post for our recent trip to visit them there!). However, thanks to a business trip, they are hanging out in Ohio for a bit so we went up to visit them!


This is us with our niece, Katka and nephew, Marek. They are so fun to spend time with! Melissa (their mom/my sister) and I have talked a lot about parenting over the years and this weekend I started asking her oldest (Katka) what she thought of her parents parenting. It was fun hearing her perspective (turns out she thinks her parents are doing a pretty good job). 🙂

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Katka is very excited to meet her cousin the next time we see them! She loved feeling my baby bump and offering name suggestions. 🙂


My sister’s family! As always, we had a wonderful visit with them! Even though they live in Europe, I’m so thankful we’ve made an effort to see each other as frequently as we can!


We did plenty in Columbus, Ohio over this weekend (including visiting the zoo, walking around the Ohio State campus, walking around downtown, eating lots of delicious food, and playing at parks), but this is the only other photo I have, haha! We ate at Skyline Chili and it was delicious! Though, I’ll be honest, half that cheese came off before I ate it, haha! 😉


I’ll leave you with this shot from yesterday at the airport. Baby Girl has POPPED! I can’t figure out if this is because I really have grown this much or if this is the first Baby Bump photo we’ve taken near the end of the day versus in the morning. I definitely ate a lot of dairy this weekend which tends to bloat me. So I’m not sure how much of that is Baby V and how much of that is the cheese I had for lunch. 😉 But either way, Baby Girl is growing and making sure everyone knows she’s here! This is the 4th State she’s visited while in utero, but her first flight! I’m excited for all the adventures we’ll have with her on the outside too! 🙂

Do you have far-away family that you still get to see on a regular basis?

Have you had Skyline Chili? If so, did you actually eat all that cheese?! 

Love Rach

Thanksgiving in Gatlinburg

Our family celebrated Thanksgiving in Gatlinburg, TN this year. We left on Sunday just before the fires came raging through and destroyed so much of the beauty you see in this video. My heart breaks for the devastation of such a beautiful place. It makes me especially glad that I documented this trip. Enjoy this glimpse into our time in Gatlinburg featuring snow tubing, walking trails, a murder mystery dinner, games, dancing, and just general family fun. 🙂

I have so many favorite parts to this video. From my mom snow tubing to Makenzie’s face when Christopher beats her at pool to my uncle and nephew dancing to my aunt photobombing my sister to Christopher’s selfie-mode snow tubing clip… it’s all just fun. I’m so glad we were able to get away as a family for Thanksgiving. It was a wonderful trip!

Love Rach