Thursday, January 26, 2017

Orlando Area Attractions You Can't Miss

Orlando is a must see destination for families, couples, and travelers of all kinds. When we stayed in Orlando for a few days in June on our "anniventury", we knew there were a few places we simply couldn't miss. Theme parks are a no brainer, but Orlando also has some other fun things to offer. Check out these area attractions.

Cocoa Beach

One of my favorite parts about our visit to Orlando was being able to get to the beach rather quickly. We flew in on the first day, drove our rental car an hour outside of town, and sunk our toes into the sand of Cocoa Beach. It's a great family friendly destination, and there's nothing quite like seeing the ocean.

Walt Disney World 

If you're going to go to Orlando, you're pretty much required to visit Disney. Between the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Disney Springs, Animal Kingdom, and the water parks, you've got a ton of options when it comes to visiting your favorite mouse. We only had one day to do Disney, so we chose Magic Kingdom and used these tips (especially fast passes) to make the most of our peak season visit. Disney is pricey, but a pretty incredible experience. I'd also highly recommend staying in the Holiday Inn Orlando SW- Celebration hotel. It put us super close to all over the parks, and was a very nice hotel.

Universal Orlando

If you're a little less worried about the charm and fantasy of Disney, and a little more in to the magic of the movies and roller coasters, then Universal Orlando may be the park of choice for you. Featuring Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, and City Walk, Universal is also the home of the ever popular Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The rides are a bit more thrilling, and are frequented more by older visitors. While I wouldn't recommend paying for the fast passes, be sure to take advantage of the single rider lines to maximize your time!

Discovery Cove

Photo by Drew Coffman

If you're looking for an up-close experience with marine animals, consider a visit to the ever popular Discovery Cove. You can swim with the dolphins, enjoy the lazy river, or go snorkeling. Discovery Cove is also a part of the SeaWorld family, where you can still view marine animal shows or ride a number of popular thrill rides.

Kennedy Space Center

Photo by SpaceX

In the case that you've got an interest in science and technology, and prefer a break from both the water and the theme parks, Kennedy Space Center is an excellent option. Located just an hour outside of Orlando, the Space Center features mission zones and bus tours that include IMAX and shuttle launch experiences.

If you've never been to Orlando before, you definitely need to make it there in the near future. From world-class theme parks to the ocean and more, Orlando truly has something for everyone. We had a great time there this summer, and are excited to return again some day with our kiddos!


Monday, January 23, 2017

A Letter to Our Unborn Baby

To Our Sweet, Soon-to-Be-Born Baby K,

For the last 34 weeks, you have absolutely stolen my heart. As I feel you toss and turn inside of me, I never knew I could love someone I've never met quite as much as this. I'll admit, I was a little scared to become a mommy. But from the first moment I saw you wiggle within me on that screen, nothing else mattered. I knew that you would be worth every change, every wrinkle, every labor pain, and every sleepless night. And you are.

A Letter to Our Unborn Baby. Photo: Lacey Rene Studios

It's crazy to think that you'll join us here on the "outside" in the next six weeks or so. You're about to rock our world, and we couldn't be more excited to be a part of yours. Your daddy and I don't know yet if you're a boy or girl. We love surprises, and we know that meeting you will be the best surprise ever. Besides, it doesn't matter to us. We know we will love you more than you could ever know, no matter what (and we already do). 

And speaking of your daddy, he's pretty incredible. You'll fall in love with him just like I did. He is the best, silliest, most hard-working guy I know, and we are so lucky to have him to take care of us both. I hope you get his big heart, big eyes, and big smile: one that you'll be seeing a lot of as you laugh together, tug on his beard, and fall asleep on his chest to the sound of his amazing singing voice. Daddy and I love each other deeply, and we always will.

And as for me? I'll be learning this whole mom thing, so please cut me some slack. I am far from perfect, but I promise to love you with all that I have. I promise to cherish my time with just you, and put your needs before my own. I promise to sing you songs when you get hungry at 2 am and to take you along on new adventures. I promise that anything I've "given up" for you will be worth it, because you truly are our greatest adventure.

A Letter to Our Unborn Baby. Photo: Lacey Rene Studios

You know what Daddy and I ask God for every day? That you would love Jesus and live for Him with all that you have. We're definitely praying for your health and your safe delivery into this world, but really nothing else matters if you love the Lord and spread your love for Him to others. That is our deepest prayer, and the reason behind all that we do here on Earth.

I'm thankful for the amazing blessing of being your mom. I'm thankful that God chose me to bring you into this world, and I know that He had you planned exactly as you are since before time began. I can't wait to hold you for the first time, to give you kisses, to look you in the eyes and commit to giving you the best life possible. 

I can't wait to dance and sing together, to laugh at Daddy's silly faces, and to take you on long walks. I can't wait to cuddle with you and read you books and share our days together.  I can't wait to watch you learn to walk, talk, crawl, and discover all the amazing parts of the world around you. Everything will be better with you.

There are so, so many people that can't wait to meet you, sweet Baby K. Know that you are the biggest blessing and joy, and we are so excited to snuggle you and love you with all that we have. See you soon! 


Other Motherhood Posts You May Enjoy:

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Miami Travel Guide

This post is originally from IHG's Miami Travel Guide. We are planning our first trip with Baby K out there in July, so I'm reading up and wanted to share these tips with you too! 

Miami Travel Guide

Miami, with world class beaches, vibrant Latin influences and gorgeous Art Deco architecture is the ultimate destination for a beach vacation. You’ll find relaxation, trendy nightclubs, amazing cuisine, cutting-edge art galleries and plenty of culture, and there are great hotels in Miami near it all.

Things to See
The coastline is of course a major attraction in Miami, and several beach options are available. South Beach, located off the mainland between Biscayne Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, attracts a cosmopolitan mix of beachgoers during the day and is the epicenter of Miami-area nightlife. Be sure to take the free SoBe Art Deco Tour for a peek at the iconic buildings that define the area, and explore Ocean Drive for premium shopping, nightlife, decadent spas, and stunning hotels. Take the family hunting for shells on Bal Harbour Beach, or cross the causeway to Haulover Beach for surfing and surfing. Depending on intended season of travel, sports enthusiasts can enjoy local games played by MLB’s Miami Marlins, the Miami Heat basketball team, or the Dolphins of the NFL. For cultural exposure, visit the Little Havana neighborhood, a welcoming Cuban-American community with great food, historic landmarks like the Walk of Fame, and the annual Calle Ocho Festival in Little Havana, the final culmination of the weeks-long Miami Carnaval. This celebration of Cuban heritage includes a beauty and scholarship competition, food and wine tasting events, live music, a golf classic and more. There are also plenty of aquatic options for those who enjoy fishing, sailing, kayaking, snorkeling, and diving.

Hotels in Miami
Waterfront resorts with private beach access, family friendly extended stay hotels in Miami, and additional choices that suit every preference and budget are easy to find, with a variety of amenities, comfortable rooms and an unparalleled level of service. The most popular times to visit are the winter and spring, and guests can expect to pay a premium for many hotels in Florida between December and May. You can often find lower rates between June and August, and the best rates are usually found from September to November.

Crowne Plaza South Beach- Z Ocean Hotel
Crowne Plaza South Beach- Z Ocean Hotel                                                                                                     Source:

Where to Stay
South Beach is the most popular district, and you'll find a heavy concentration of shopping, world-class restaurants, chic galleries and museums, not to mention Miami Beach's incessant nightlife and pristine beaches. Coral Gables is ideal for those who wish to stay near University of Miami, while Doral offers a more settled version of comfortable luxury, comfortably separated from the downtown crowd yet not too far from Miami International Airport. Miami Springs also offers close proximity to MIA, while downtown Miami hotels along Biscayne Boulevard are always great choices to take in the scene.

How to Get to Miami
Miami International Airport (MIA) is the closest airport to Miami. Use the SuperShuttle premium van service for convenient transportation to several Miami neighborhoods and suburbs, including Coral Gables, Sunny Isles and Miami Beach. Also consider checking flights into Fort Lauderdale, just 40 miles away. In addition to taxis and The Metrorail system serves 25 miles, has 23 stops that are mostly within one mile of each other, and has connections to transportation in Broward and Palm Beach Counties. Metrobus operates year-round with fees under $5 to many areas of Miami-Dade county, while the electrically powered Metromover rail offers a free way to get around downtown within a 4.4-mile radius.

Miami Travel Guide

 Have you guys ever been to Miami before? So far we are planning on a free stay in South Beach (yay for Rewards Points!),  a little beach time, and maybe driving the Florida Keys! Cheers to planning warm trips during the winter! 


Monday, January 16, 2017

My Two Year Blogging Anniversary

The blog is two years old this week, and I can hardly believe it! The last two years have definitely been a journey. To be honest, at times I've wondered if I should keep blogging. After all, it can be hard to juggle with a full-time job, ministry, and some much-needed time unplugged (not to mention the Baby we have on the way). But you know what? Every time I start to doubt myself, something fabulous happens: someone sends me a wonderful message, reaches out for a new sponsorship opportunity, or simply tells me that they loved reading a post. And then it all makes sense again, and I feel a renewed sense of vision for this little piece of the internet.

My Two Year Blogging Anniversary

Last year I shared Five Things I Learned in My First Year of Blogging, and I would say that they all still ring true: ESPECIALLY number one and number three. This year, I wanted to celebrate year two by looking at some of the lessons and highlights from the year, as well as share a few goals I'm setting for year three. And of course, I've wanted to take a little time to thank you, because this blog wouldn't exist without all of you fabulous readers!


It's been such a joy to see this blog grow during year two. Although it's not all about page views, pins, or social media followers, it means so much to me to see growth in these areas. Along with this, I've been excited about new partnership and collaboration opportunities. I've taken some risks this year with the blog, and I've learned from both the successes and failures along the way. My biggest highlight would simply be some of the amazing conversations I've had with so many folks this year, especially as a result of posts like Nine Reasons I'm Afraid to Have a Baby and 5 Ways I'm Conquering My Pregnancy Fears. Although I'm no counselor, I love seeing the ways that sharing these vulnerable posts has led to amazing conversation and community!

Top Posts of the Year (In case you missed them!):


  • Don't give up on a dream. Even when it's hard or time-consuming or scary. 
  • Be real: that's when you are your best. People want to see you for who you are. There are enough fake people in the world already. 
  • People are dying to ask questions, if only you start the conversation. You never know who may need to hear (or read) exactly what you've got to say.
My Two Year Blogging Anniversary- What I've Learned


Goals for Year Three:

  • Write a book? It's a dream of mine...
  • Grow my readership and social media followers. I've seen numbers double this year, and would love to do it again in the coming year!
  • One sponsored post a month. I'd love to monetize a bit more to help with baby costs, while still remaining true to the Currently, Kelsie mission and focus.
  • Add a new motherhood focus (while still blogging about other stuff too).
  • Take time OFF with Baby K. Like seriously, off from work, off from blogging, off from it all!

Thank You!!!

I just wanted to end this post by thanking each and every one of you for all of your love and support over the last couple of years. I so appreciate the comments, clicks, shares, and just real-life conversations that come as a result of sharing my words in this place every now and then. Thank you for believing in me, cheering me on, and pushing me to be my best. Thank you for making me feel like my time blogging is worthwhile. And thank you for filling this space with your own heart, stories, and selves. Y'all are the very best and I couldn't do it without you! I'm excited to see what year three together brings, and I hope you'll come along for the journey.


Thursday, January 12, 2017

A Timeless Gift for My Favorite Guy (+ Giveaway!)

This post was sponsored by JORD Wood watches. As always, I'll only share products that I truly love, along with my honest opinion. JORD

Aaron isn't a fancy guy. He's a hard-working, level-headed, thrifty man who is good at pretty much anything. But just like me, he's not really fancy. Neither one of us likes regularly spending money, which is good considering the fact that we're both teachers and don't have a ton of money to blow. But I'll admit that Aaron loves to spoil me every now and then. He knows that I'm too cheap to buy myself nice things, so occasionally he will just treat me to them: a new Camry XLE with butt warmers, a Kendra Scott necklace I would never buy myself, and the gorgeous wedding ring that I still stare at on my finger.

All this to say, it's only fitting that I spoil him on occasion too, right? Case in point: I've been wanting to get Aaron a nice watch for some time now. A watch is a (pardon the pun) timeless gift for any guy, and I've always considered it a symbol of my love for him: a love that will never fade as the seconds, hours, and years tick by. JORD wood watch This Christmas, I decided that the time was right to bite the bullet and get Aaron a watch. He'd been wanting one for a few years, but especially since this was our last Christmas pre-kids, I wanted my hubby to know just how much he means to me: now and forever. I was just starting to formulate a scavenger hunt to our favorite jewelry store so he could pick one out, when the folks at JORD reached out to me. To say I was ecstatic is a slight understatement. I'd had my eye on JORD wood watches for a while now, and I could definitely see one looking perfect on Aaron's wrist. JORD wood watch I picked out his Dark Sandalwood & Emerald watch, from their Frankie Series, eager with excitement to see him open it on Christmas morning. I did let him in on the secret a little early so that we could make sure the custom fit was perfect for his wrist. On Christmas morning, he opened the beautiful wooden watch box and we were so impressed with the quality of his watch. I love how simple, yet stylish it is, and he loves just how lightweight it is (especially compared to most heavy metal watches). Aaron teaches woods, so a wood watch is pretty much perfect, right?

Now every time we head to church, formal events, or even out on a date night, Aaron is sure to wear his new watch. I love knowing that this gift from me is on his wrist: another symbol of my love and devotion to him, especially as we enter this new season of parenthood together. I know that it won't be easy, and that our lives are about to look a whole lot different, but I'm so excited that we're in it together. We're committed to keeping our marriage first, and to creating a healthy home for our kiddos with two parents who are still very much in love with each other. I'm looking forward to seeing Aaron's new watch on his wrist for years and years to come: a timeless reminder of that last Christmas when we were just a family of two!

JORD wood watch JORD wood watches are an amazing, timeless gift for the man or woman in your life (and yes, they do have women's watches too!). They're the perfect accessory for any outfit and for any event, formal or not. And guess what?! They're giving away free codes for $25 off any JORD watch

Go grab your free $25 gift code here!


If you win the giveaway, you'll get a code for $100 off, but you'll get $25 off for simply filling out the form! 
The contest will close January 22nd at 11:59pm, so hurry and enter now
 *The $100 and $25 Gift Codes will expire March 31, 2017.

Watch Gift Ideas
Best of luck, y'all! Cheers to the occasional splurge on a timeless gift for your favorite person: one that shows them just how much they're loved.


Monday, January 9, 2017

32 Week Bumpdate

And just like that, I'm officially eight months pregnant. WHAT?! Time is flying and Baby K will be here before we know it. I haven't done a "bumpdate" for a couple of months, and a lot has gone on lately. It's so weird to think that we only have about eight weeks total to go, assuming that Baby arrives on or around the March 5th due date. Here are all of the updates on how I'm feeling, why I'm still a little nervous, and more (plus pictures)!

Baby Bump Pregnancy Update

 How I'm Feeling

Third trimester has still been going pretty well, but I'll admit that it seems a little more difficult than the second trimester was. I've had to up the amount I eat for breakfast in the morning, or else the little one gets hungry and I feel like I'm going to puke again. Thankfully I haven't actually gotten sick at all. I'm still working out at 9Round at least five times a week, but have started modifying more and more as needed. It feels good to still be breaking a sweat. Overall, I can't complain. I'm actually enjoying being pregnant, and for that I'm grateful!


What's New This Month

I am feeling a TON of movement throughout the day. It's fun to look down and see my whole belly move side to side, or to feel Baby K have the hiccups or get kicks in for the day. Aaron is pretty impressed by how much our baby is moving, and it's fun for him to see and feel it too. My bump has definitely been growing quite a bit, and I'm feeling a little back pain here and there. We've also got Childbirth and "Beyond Birth" classes coming up this month, we completed a couple of baby registries, and I've been reading a ton about labor and delivery.


What I'm Wearing

All I can say is this: Motherhood Maternity Bump Start leggings for the win. Seriously. I've got a couple of maternity jeans that I wear here and there, but I could seriously live in my Bump Start leggings. I can work out in them, lounge in them, or dress them up for work (and they go with anything). I've got a few cute maternity shirts and dresses that are becoming my go-tos, and I'm really not wearing much of anything that isn't maternity these days. I think I've forgotten what it's like to have a zipper on pants ha.

How I'm Sleeping

I'm sleeping with a Boppy Pregnancy Wedge every night to hold up my belly or prop under my back and help me sleep. I find myself waking up once or twice a night to pee, and I'm having a little trouble pulling my growing belly out of bed in the mornings. I'm guessing this will only get harder in the weeks to come.


What I'm Nervous About 

Thankfully the Lord has been oh so good to us, and a few of the things I was worried about with our ultrasound came back looking good during our follow-up ultrasound last week. So praise for that! I'm learning to trust God in entirely new ways, and am constantly reminding myself that His plan for us is perfect and good. All that said, I'm obviously still a little nervous about labor. Although I know a lot about the logistics, I have no idea what it will be like for me, or when baby will come. With a couple of snow days, I'm also getting dangerously close to having to come back to work for finals week, assuming baby comes on time.

I passed my gestational diabetes test (yay!), but my blood platelet counts were low and so I have to go back again in a few weeks for another blood draw to check them. If they keep dropping, I won't even have an option of having an epidural during labor. Though I didn't necessarily think I wanted one, it's a little nerve-racking to think the option wouldn't even be there. So prayers for that would be great!

What I'm Excited About

Oh friends, there is SO much to be excited about lately. Every day that passes brings us one day closer to our sweet little one. I am starting to think about just what it will be like to meet and hold Baby K, to find our their gender, to name them, and to love them. I've got multiple showers coming up, as well as maternity photos! I can't wait to share those with you in the weeks to come. Aaron and I are so grateful for the chance to be parents, and each day that I carry this little one is truly a blessing. I am so in love with this baby, and I truly have been blessed with a pregnancy that has been full of joy, excitement, and good health.

Baby Bump Pregnancy Update

Baby will be here before we know it! Love to you all!


Thursday, January 5, 2017

17 Things I'm Excited for in 2017

With each new year, people make resolutions and choose "words of the year" and set goals. And me? I look prayerfully ahead to the next year to think about what's to come: what I'm hoping for and excited for and gratefully anticipating. In 16 Things I'm Excited for in 2016, I shared travel plans, hopes of a new car (check), getting a Companion Pass (check), and following God's will (also a check as we take on the new adventure of parenthood this year). In keeping with my yearly tradition of list making and looking ahead at all that the year will bring, here are 17 things I'm excited for in 2017!

17 Things I'm Excited for in 2017

1. Meeting Baby K! 

It's kind of a given that the first thing that comes to mind is meeting our sweet baby. My official due date is March 5th, but who knows exactly when Baby K will join us. That moment will be oh so sweet, especially because we've waited to find out Baby's gender. I can't wait to hold our little baby in my arms, to call them by name, and to marvel in the joy of bringing a little piece of us into the world. 

2. Becoming a Mom

On top of simply meeting our Baby for the first time, I'm so excited to become a mama this year. I think about what it will be like sometimes and I'm both overwhelmed and overjoyed. I know that it will bring a lot of change for us, but I feel so blessed to join the ranks of mom. Here's hoping I'm okay at it! 


3. Watching Aaron be a Dad

Not only am I excited to be a mommy, but I'm also oh so excited to watch my sweet hubby become a dad. Sometimes I think about how awesome he will be and it just makes me cry. I can't wait to watch him love our little baby in the sweetest moments.


4. Maternity Photos and Baby Showers

While we're on the whole baby theme, I'm also really excited for the baby showers and maternity photos that we have planned in the next month or so. I feel like most of those things don't really happen as much with baby two or more, so I'm relishing these sweet first pregnancy moments. (For bumpdates, click here!)


5. Celebrating Four Years of Marriage

On June 15th, 2013, Aaron and I said "I do", and I've never regretted that decision for a second. This year will look a little different, but I'm still excited to acknowledge our anniversary and celebrate the sweet new stage of marriage we'll be in. I know that being parents will bring new strains to our marriage, but we are committed to keeping it strong and dating each other forever

6. Year Three of the Blog! 

I can't believe that Currently, Kelsie will be two years old in just a few days. 2017 will usher in the third year of the blog, and I'm so excited to see where it will go from here. I'm definitely still learning more and more day by day, and setting new goals for myself. Thanks for joining us! 

7.  Five Months at Home 

Because of the baby's due date, along with the fact that I saved up 52 days of my PTO, I will more than likely be home with our little one for five months! Depending on when baby arrives, and how many snow days we have, I should be able to take the entire rest of the year off and go straight into summer. It will be so nice and means we won't have to take them to daycare right away! 

8. Companion Pass Adventures with Baby

Even though traveling won't be happening for us in February or over Spring Break, we will still have our Companion Pass through the entire year of 2017. With me flying free, Baby flying free, and Aaron flying on points, we'll likely still be doing some trips this summer and fall. I'm hoping to visit Seattle, and also maybe somewhere in the Caribbean (baby needs a passport!).

9. Continuing Home Decor Updates and Projects

I always have a lot of fun dreaming and planning new updates for our sweet home. This year I'll be finishing up the nursery (reveal to come soon!), as well as white-washing our fireplace and tackling our bedroom. I have yet to do anything with our bedroom since we moved in nearly four years ago, so I'm thinking we'll start with paint and some new decor, and then Aaron may build us some new furniture including a King bed frame! Stay tuned.

10. A Trip to Colorado? 

Since Aaron will be spending a week or two in Italy this year on an EF Tour, I'm thinking that may be a great time to take a little trip to Colorado with my family. Baby K definitely needs to see the mountains, and it would be fun to have some extra hands while Daddy is away.


11. Watching our Parents be Grandparents

Speaking of extra hands, we are SO blessed to have both sets of our parents living within 15 minutes of us. I am not taking that for granted for a second, and I know it will be so nice for them to be so close. Our baby (and future babies) will be so blessed to have grandparents so close, and I'm grateful for the willing babysitters we will have around. It will be so fun to watch them love on our kiddos.

12. Aaron Getting His Master's

I'm so excited that Aaron is starting work on his master's degree! It's in administration, and all online so it will be totally doable with Baby. I'm grateful for an amazing man who loves his family so well and provides for us!

13. Fun Adventures with Friends 

Even though I'm a little worried our friends won't want to be around as much when we have a baby, we're pretty committed to making sure that we still make time for fun adventures with them. I know for a fact that we do have some great friends who are also excited to love on our child, and I'm looking forward to watching them in that new role. Adventures definitely await!

14. Slower, More Intentional Days 

Although I'm well aware that maternity leave won't be a walk in the park, and that I'll have lots of eye bags from sleepless nights, I am looking forward to the slower, intentional days with our sweet little one. We live pretty full lives right now with school, coaching, YoungLife, church, and more, and as things shift and change a bit for us, I think it will be good for me, both as a mama and just as a woman in general. It will also be nice to turn off the work email and just focus on our family for a while.

15. Reading for Pleasure 

With all of the time I won't be spending reading essays and grading this spring, I'm looking forward to reading some books that I actually want to read. Last summer I did a whole lot of reading while we were traveling, and it was so great. Anyone have recommendations?? 

16. New Year's 2017? 

We hosted a New Year's Eve Party in our home this year and it was really fun. It was the first year in a long time that we hadn't traveled or been elsewhere for the holiday. It was nice to be home, but I also wouldn't be against a little New Year's Eve trip next year- maybe even without baby at that point. We shall see!

17. Figuring Out What I'm Being Called to Next

While we were on our Nashville Babymoon, Aaron and I spent a lot of time talking about life, marriage, and what the Lord is calling us to next. And I realized that, other than becoming a parent, I wasn't really sure what I was being called to. I'm looking forward to spending more time with God this year, just listening and taking time to be still and figure out what excites my heart and how God can use me in that.

Cheers to a whole new year full of life, love, and lots of laughter. I hope your 2017 leaves you just as excited and grateful for the new year as it does for us.


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