Monday, August 21, 2017

I Carried You

As you rest here in my arms, the soft movement of your breath making your entire body rise and fall, I am overwhelmed with love. Every night as you fall asleep within the security of my grasp, I can't quite believe you are mine to love. And though you won't remember it, I always will. After all, I carried you.

Through nine months of pregnancy, through the morning sickness, the desperately-needed first trimester naps, through the growing and the stretching and the change- I carried you. It was an amazing time of anticipation, of worry, and of joy for all that was to come. And through it all, I carried you inside me, your tiny body growing from the size of a mustard seed to a watermelon. I carried you.

Through labor pains, hours in the bathtub and on the couch, through my fears of needles and the unknown, through the ultrasounds and all of the check ups- I carried you. And once you were here, though I could barely pull my body out of the hospital bed and though I could barely keep my eyes open, holding you was perfect. The scent of your new soft skin, your beautiful eyes, your perfect fingers and toes. Joyfully, I carried you around our home, showing you all of the places where you'd make wonderful memories that fill my heart with delight.

Through those first hard six weeks full of sleepless nights and wondering what I'd gotten myself into, through the first baths and the new routines and the simple joys of having a baby- I carried you. To doctor's appointments and relatives' arms and to meet co-workers and your church family and more, you were in my arms for it all. My heart recognized the desire to love you and protect you with all that I have. To hold you just to hold you and to know that a piece of my heart was no longer with me but with you, always.

And even now, after months of having you in our lives, I still carry you. Your sweet eyes close for naps and for evening sleep, and I carry you up the stairs, slowly and carefully. There is nothing like watching you rest peacefully, not a care in the world that can steal your serenity. And me, trying to stop time and remember you as you are, sixteen pounds of sweetness and curiosity- the best thing I've ever done. Our greatest adventure. You won't remember, but I carried you.

But some day, things won't be so simple. You'll have struggles and heartache and hard things to overcome. I wish with all of my heart that I could carry your burdens for you. That I could shelter your storms and make it all better with one soft kiss on the top of your head. But I can't. I am unable to be everything you'll ever need, and though I hope you'll let me carry you for several years more, I will never be able to carry the things that will weigh you down in this world. There is only one person who can do that, and I hope that you will trust and love Him with all that you have. He, and He alone, can rescue and save and walk with you through the darkness that will seem to surround you. He will carry you.

And so, my sweet baby, just as I have carried you through pregnancy, birth, and the sweet dreams that greet you every evening, it is my prayer that one day you will look back through the storms of your life and see that, through it all, you were carried by the Lord. That you would never feel alone or overwhelmed because there is someone who knows every hair on your head and every desire of your heart. That you would be not only mine, but His. That he would carry you.


Monday, August 14, 2017

My Travel Bucket List

It's hard to believe, but when Aaron and I got married a little over four years ago, neither one of us had ever been out of the country. Now we've explored not only the vast majority of the US, but we've also been to Cancun, Grand Cayman, Jamaica, Ireland, England, France, Switzerland, Italy, and Greece. It's safe to say that seeing the world outside of our small piece of it has opened our eyes to so much, but we aren't done yet! Here are some places that are still on my travel bucket list, both in the U.S. and beyond.


With a last name like Kleinmeyer, it's really a shame we haven't explored our German roots yet. When we went on our 16-day adventure throughout Europe, we just didn't have the time to add Germany on to our seven-city itinerary. We are hoping to make a tour of Germany within the next five years.


On that same note, we didn't have time to fit Spain into our whirlwind European adventure either. The friends that we met up with in Italy were heading on to Spain afterwards, and I remember being so jealous. I'm especially hoping to visit Barcelona and Madrid, and maybe take the train in between.

Cinque Terre

Ever since I first saw the gorgeous photos of it, I have been dying to go to Cinque Terre. Is there anything better than Italian fishing villages on the sea? I'd say no. We are considering doing this next summer with Eli, and just keeping it a pretty calm trip to Europe. I'm still not sure, though. Either way, I've got to make it here someday!

French Riviera

As a part of our future visit to Cinque Terre, I would really like to hit the French Riviera as well. Nice isn't too far away from Italy. My dream would be to hit both in one trip, simply enjoying the slower-paced life of these cities for multiple days instead of hustling from place to place and checking in and out of hotels every night.


If I had to choose one place in the entire world to be at the top of my ultimate bucket list, it would be Australia. I'm not sure why, but the beautiful water, awesome accents, and incredible sights just draw me to visit this country. I know it's a crazy long flight and really expensive, and I wouldn't want to go unless we had at least a couple of weeks to spend there. But Australia is seriously my dream destination.


Speaking of long flights, I would really like to visit Asia at some point. I don't know exactly where in Asia I'd most like to go, but I've heard awesome things about Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Taiwan. I've also heard that it's really reasonable to eat and stay there once you arrive, but that it's super crowded. Regardless, I would really love to make it there once in my life.


When it comes to the U.S, I'm still hoping to visit Hawaii. It's at the top of my list as a possible travel destination for next summer. I think Eli would have a blast on the beach, and it would be a relaxing trip without sightseeing in places where I'd have to try to keep him quiet. Hawaii is obviously a longer flight and a bit more expensive, but I'm thinking that if we are going to take Eli, we need to do it before he 2 and we have to pay for him. We could go without, but I'd want to be able to stay for a while!


Another place I've always wanted to visit, but haven't quite made it to yet is Phoenix, Arizona. Aaron and I have been to Arizona before to see the Grand Canyon, but we did it as a part of a Southwest trip. We didn't have time to add in a drive to Phoenix. I'm thinking a great time to visit would be in the middle of the winter when it's freezing cold here in KC. In December, sunshine, sitting poolside, and hitting some other highlights from this guide to the Valley of the Sun sounds pretty nice!


We just hit Seattle this July, but we were only there for a few days, so we didn't have time to drive south and visit Oregon at all. I was blown away by how perfect the temperature and weather were in the Pacific Northwest during July, so I know that Oregon would probably be just as awesome. The outdoors are also breathtaking in this area.


In that same vein, Montana is another gorgeous, slow-moving destination that I've only admired in pictures so far. The mountain views are breathtaking, and I can see myself relaxing outdoors with the cooler temperatures in the middle of summer. Although I've been to nearly every other state in the continental U.S. at some point in my life, I haven't made it to Montana yet. It sounds like an awesome place to visit.


At some point, I think it would be awesome to do an Alaskan cruise and explore the highlights of the state. This is also a little farther out and harder to get to, even from the Midwest. It may be something that we do in 10 years or so for an anniversary trip where we leave our kids behind.

The Bahamas 

We've been to a few awesome all-inclusive resorts in various tropical destinations, but one place that we haven't made it yet is the Bahamas. I've seen lots of amazing photos from gorgeous beaches in the area, and I just have to make it here at some point. I think the best way for us to visit would be going on a cruise and hitting multiple islands within one trip.

I look at this list and I get so excited about all of the adventures to come for us. Traveling is one of my favorite activities, and I would much rather go on trips and make memories than spend money on things that fill our home. Are any of these destinations on your travel bucket list? Do you have any other destinations that I've missed? Have fun exploring!


Monday, August 7, 2017

Visiting Baltimore with Kids

Now that we have a baby, I've already started to think about what traveling will look like with kids. Eli has already taken four flights and done a 10-hour road trip, but I would argue that traveling with a baby is actually easier than traveling with bigger kids. He just goes wherever we go and does whatever we do, or sleeps through it. He also flies for free right now, but eventually we'll have to be a little more strategic about entertaining older children. What better place to do that than Baltimore?

A couple of our very near and dear friends just moved to Baltimore, and we visited the city briefly on our Northeast Road Trip in the spring of 2016. It's a great, walkable, kid-friendly city with an awesome Inner Harbor area, which is a perfect place to find great hotels for your stay. Here are some places you should visit in Baltimore with kids.

Fort McHenry National Monument

Known as the birthplace of the National Anthem, Fort McHenry is a place you can't miss in the Baltimore area. Give your kids a little piece of history and let them enjoy exploring the cannons and fort area. This national park also offers great reenactments and special ranger talks!

An Orioles Game at Camden Yard 

What better way to spend an evening than partaking in America's favorite pastime, a baseball game? Camden Yard is a beautiful park and the Orioles really make it a fun evening for the entire family, especially sports lovers. The park's location in downtown Baltimore is also convenient and easy to reach.

The Maryland Science Center

This center includes fun exhibits, a planetarium, and an IMAX theatre. There are several special programs designed to stretch kids' minds, too. If you have a science lover, don't miss this stop.

American Visionary Art Museum 

Visionary art comes from self-taught individuals. What better place to inspire your kids than the American Visionary Art Museum? Exhibits deal with fun topics like the history of food. Kids under 6 are free, and tickets for those a little older only cost $9.95. Check out the museum's website for more info.

Port Discovery Children's Museum 

This Children's Museum offers great ways to keep kids entertained indoors. They can climb from floor to floor while engaging both their brains and their bodies in fun, educational and sports activities and exhibits. This museum is sure to please young children.

A Fun Baltimore Festival

There are lots of great, family-friendly festivals to check out in Baltimore. A couple of the best options are the Chocolate Festival and the Fells Point Fun Festival, which both happen in October. For the full list, check out this website.

Baltimore is a beautiful, kid-friendly city that adults can also enjoy. These recommendations provide just a small glimpse into all it has to offer. We are definitely going to make a trip out soon to visit our friends and hopefully catch a baseball game this fall. Enjoy your trip!