Travel Diary : Canyon Ranch

A few weeks ago, as we were laying in bed at night, Trent said to me, “What are your plans Thursday through Sunday? I want to take you somewhere for a few days…” To say I was surprised would be a fairly large understatement. As a couple, we had been doing the thing that all middle-aged couples with busy lives/families/jobs do…we’d been taking each other for granted. The situation had left us both feeling emotionally bruised and battered, and honestly, really lonely.

So Trent decided to take action, and he booked us a three night stay at Canyon Ranch in Tuscon, Arizona. Canyon Ranch is basically a wellness camp for adults, and it was EXACTLY what we needed. The best part was that Trent planned the whole thing himself, and wouldn’t give me a hint to where we were going. Eventually, I figured out we were headed to Tuscon (hard to keep a secret when you’re holding a boarding pass!), but even after our flight landed, I still wasn’t sure where in the city we were headed. It wasn’t until our car reached the front gates that I saw where we were.

I actually hadn’t heard of Canyon Ranch before this trip, but it’s pretty popular among wellness and health conscious people as a prime destination. It’s an all-inclusive resort that boasts amazing whole foods, a plethora of exercise and workout opportunities, medical care, spiritual guidance and even metaphysical services. Our activities were all across the spectrum, from yoga to mountain biking through the desert to tarot readings and massages. I meditated in a pool of warm water, received my first craniosacral treatment and hiked a mountain. Trent even got his very first pedicure! We swam and ate delicious food, and in those three days, we worked on rediscovering who we are as a couple. It was wonderful.

I highly recommend Canyon Ranch to anyone looking to get away in an environment where health and wellness are the number one priority. The resort had no alcohol or soda, which was a huge bonus for me. I don’t know if I’ve ever been on a vacation where alcohol wasn’t available and it was really lovely to not have it in front of me all the time. I’m so grateful to Trent for making this trip happen and for finding such an amazing place for us to spend time together!

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Jord Wood Watches

Gifting for Guys : Jord Wood Watches

Jord Wood Watches

If you’ve met my husband, Trent, you might note that he’s a BIT of a watch fanatic. He started collecting them a few years ago, and these days he has a watch for every day of the week…plus some! And with the holidays coming up, plus his Christmas Eve birthday (yep, poor guy!), I’m always keeping my eyes out for a new, unique watch that is unlike any he already has.

Enter JORD Wood Watches! This incredible brand makes beautiful watches out of wood that are not only unique, but effortlessly cool. The sleek designs make each piece a statement in any wardrobe, but what really makes these watches is the wood finish. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen, and trust me, I’ve purchased a few men’s watches in my day! I love how the wood finish gives the men’s watch a rugged, chic look.

Jord Wood Watches

Now, one more thing I must keep in mind when I buy my husband a watch is….”how will this look on me?!” Yes, I steal my husband’s watches. I mean, he’s got so many, he won’t miss one! But seriously, I do love the look of a larger, more bulky watch, especially because I tend to wear delicate rings and bracelets, and I love to have a statement piece on my arm. So before I handed over his new Frankie Zebrawood and Navy watch, I “borrowed” it for a little photo shoot. Now the question is…do I have to give it back?! Maybe I’ll just get one of my own from the JORD women’s watch line!

Jord Wood Watches

Jord Wood Watches

I’m super excited to share I’m hosting a giveaway where you can win $75 to use toward your very own JORD watch to either gift to a loved one, or keep for yourself! The contest winner will get a $75 e-gift code to the JORD shop. But get this…everyone who enters this contest will get $20 e-gift code, just for entering! To enter this awesome giveaway, click here. The contest will close November 27th at 11:59pm. Both the $75 and the $20 codes will expire on January 1st, 2017. Good luck!


Watch Gift Ideas

This post was sponsored by JORD Wood Watches, but all opinions and content are my own.

Harry Potter Halloween 2016

A (Sort of) Harry Potter Halloween 2016!

Harry Potter Halloween 2016

Halloween 2016 is in the books, and even though it wasn’t as epic as last year, it was still a pretty fun night full of candy, fun, candy, friends…and candy! Last year Halloween was on a Saturday, our street had a block party AND our Kansas City Royals were in the playoffs, so everyone had TV screens out in front of their homes watching the game and cheering while the kids went door-to-door. We stayed up late and got to sleep in the next morning, which helped a bit with the inevitable sugar crash. Also, since the big day was on a Saturday, school parties were held earlier in the week, which helped the whole day to be less overwhelming.

Halloween 2016

This year was definitely much more mellow, since it was a Monday night, but the kids are still calling it “the best Halloween ever” so I think that counts as a success. Now, the sugar crash and having to wake them up for school this morning was decidedly less fun than last year. I feel like I need to send all the teachers a spa gift certificate for what they must’ve gone through today!

Ron Weasley Halloween 2016

Last year we did a pretty awesome family costume, and the plan was to do a Harry Potter theme this year. However, we ran into a snag when Lucy decided she couldn’t be her favorite character (Ginny Weasley) because in the end (spoiler alert for all you weirdos that haven’t read Harry Potter yet!) Ginny marries Harry…and if Tate was going to be Harry, Lucy just COULDN’T be Ginny! Gross! But we thought it would be a bit weird if we went as Harry Potter characters without Harry Potter…so Lucy decided to skip out on the family costume and instead dress up as a “cat person” which is something she made up. Apparently it’s half person, half cat, and she explained this to every adult who dared to say, “Aw, and you’re a kitty this Halloween!” No, she is a CAT PERSON. Totally different.

Cat Person Halloween 2016

Trent dressed up as Luigi from Mario Brothers for his work Halloween, which of course meant he had to shave his beard into an insane mustache. It was hilarious, but when he left the mustache for his evening costume change, he ended up looking like the creepiest Ron Weasley I’d even seen! The photo of the three of us cracks me up, because I think this is exactly how Hermione would feel about Ron with an insane mustache.

Harry Potter Halloween 2016

Harry Potter Halloween 2016

Now, if you need me, I’ll be off stealing mini Twix bars from my kids’ candy stash! Happy Halloween!

Christmas 2015

2015 Holiday Recap : The Quarantine Christmas

Well looky here…it’s the new year! I took a much-needed break from blogging over the holiday, and it turned out to be a pretty good choice. I wish I could say I unplugged completely, but I’m definitely not perfect and still sneaked in some work here and there. This holiday didn’t go exactly as planned, and I’m so grateful I have a flexible job where I can dedicate time to different outlets when needed. Over the holiday we had a bit of a quarantine situation going on…and it wasn’t pretty! We had (in no particular order) pink eye, the flu, a croup-type cough, an ear infection and head lice. Yep, it was a doozy! I was fairly lucky to be free of all of these ailments so that I could spend my time and energy helping my people heal, but of course today I woke up with a massive sinus issue, so I think my body has finally decided it’s my turn!

Christmas 2015

Due to all the illnesses floating around, we had a pretty low-key holiday. We were legitimately under a doctor-ordered quarantine until Christmas Day, and the kids were pretty bummed we had to cancel Christmas activities with our extended family. Luckily, by the 26th everyone was feeling much better (and we were no longer contagious) so we were able to celebrate a little late. And honestly, as much as it stinks being stuck at home, it was kind of nice snuggling in for a simple, quiet holiday. Though I wouldn’t wish the amount of laundry and cleaning that comes with head lice on ANYONE. Holy wow.

Christmas 2015

I made about a zillion baked treats over the break, planning to take them to Christmas celebrations with the family. Since we were unable to attend most of them, the kids and I ended up delivering bags of sugar cookies and tins of cinnamon rolls to our local fire stations and police stations, to thank them for working over the holiday. It wasn’t our original plan, but it turned out to be a great way to give back and make the best out of a crappy situation. Lucy even chased our trash collector down the street to deliver him a bag of cookies, which is absolutely one of my top 10 holiday memories!

The kids head back to school tomorrow and Wednesday, and I can’t wait to get back in to a regular routine. As per our silly family tradition, we keep our Christmas decorations up until Three Kings Day (just like when I was growing up) so we still have a few more days of twinkle lights ahead of us. And while I should probably be excited to put away Christmas until next year, I think a few more days of twinkle lights is probably the best medicine for a quarantined Christmas.

10 Year Anniversary

Love Wins

10 Year Anniversary

Ten years ago today, I married a man. Well, barely. I mean, he was technically a man and I was technically a woman…but mostly I was a girl and he was a boy. We weren’t so young that getting married seemed crazy, but we were young enough to have no idea what we were doing. When we married, I had just turned 23. I had been out of collage for one year. We had been living together for almost three years, so getting married didn’t seem like a huge change. For us, the bigger challenge was ahead, as we became parents to our beautiful baby girl. Becoming a parent was a way bigger life adjustment than getting married, or so we thought. At the time, getting married felt like the official merging of bank accounts. Not because I didn’t love him and he didn’t love me, but because we are of a generation where “getting married” isn’t the stamp of relationship approval. Many of our friends lived with boyfriends or girlfriends and never had plans to marry. That felt normal and simple. While we were excited to get married, it was never a “must” for us, so it didn’t feel as life altering as it might have otherwise.

10 Year Anniversary

I remember my wedding day for it’s simplicity and ease. I’m so grateful for that. I planned much of the affair alone, but my friends and family stepped up in a big way in the week before our big day. They arranged flowers and created playlists and made tribute videos to surprise us. They DJ’d and MC’d. My sister ordered my bridal gown for me and I tried it on in her bedroom about a week before the big day. It was perfect. I didn’t realize it at the time, but my family and friends held me up when I couldn’t do it all. This is something I have spent my whole life attempting to repay them for.

10 Year Anniversary

I think back on my wedding day and barely recognize those people at the front of the room. But we were happy. We really, truly were. Up until I woke up that day, I wasn’t sure if I would be. I questioned our decision to get married at all. I worried that people would talk and gossip because we were pregnant (sidenote: they did, we survived). At the time I was a co-dependent, scared little girl, and I was terrified that my sweet husband was only marrying me because he “had” to. I bring this up not because I’m unhappy today…but because I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. I wish I could go whisper in that bride’s ear that it was all going to turn out okay in the end, but I believe in the journey. The hard, fun, dirty, honest journey of marriage would not have been possible without that particular beginning, at least for me.

10 Year Anniversary

I think one of the conundrums of marriage is that you commit to being with one person for the rest of your life, but as humans, we change on a daily basis. We grow and learn and adapt, sometimes quickly and sometimes it’s so subtle you don’t notice until it’s too late. That is certainly true in my life. I am not the same person I was when I was 23. At 23, I was proud, sarcastic, quirky, strange, stubborn and afraid 90% of the time. Outwardly I was confident and smart, but inside I felt like a total fraud. Actually, I can’t believe Trent agreed to marry me, because I was sort of a mess! There was also a lot of good in 23-year-old me. I was kind, I was a good friend, I took care of everyone around me, and I made people laugh. I also had a 23-year-old butt, which was probably pretty alluring.

10 Year Anniversary

But in 10 years, I have changed. My butt certainly isn’t a 23-year-old butt anymore. I still try to be kind and make people laugh, but these days I attempt more often to let people take care of themselves instead of being superwoman. I still have a sarcastic streak, but the constant feeling of fear deep in my gut has subsided. I am growing and changing and learning on a daily basis, and while most of the changes are positive, it’s true that I’m not the girl I was when we got married.

10 Year Anniversary

This is why marriage is a miracle. For me, marriage has been a 10-year-long class in the study of being human. And for once, this perfectionist is not a straight A student! I screw up a lot. A LOT. Marriage has taught me humility. It has taught me that no one is really ever “right.” Most discussions/debates/arguments happen on a spectrum, and while Trent and I may fall on opposite ends sometimes, we work the best when we find our way to the middle. This doesn’t mean we give up what we believe in, it just means we are trying to remember we love each other despite our differences. In fact, these days I’m finding our differences one of the most alluring things about us as a couple. I used to think for a couple to be a team, they had to agree. Now I’m learning that the most successful teams are comprised of people who bring different talents and ideas to the table, but respect each other enough to listen.

10 Year Anniversary

A few years ago, when Trent and I were in a really rough spot, I was worried we weren’t going to make it. I tried to envision my life without him, and it wasn’t pretty. Not to say it wasn’t possible. It is. That’s one of the biggest things that propelled us back together. I am not the kind of girl who believes that a man should save me or that soul mates can’t live without each other. I realized I could survive without him in my life. But I simply didn’t want to.

10 Year Anniversary

I had to reach a place where I took my marriage, like so many other things in my life, one day at a time. I’d wake up in the morning and make a tangible decision to do my best to love my husband today. Maybe it sounds sad that I had to make that decision, but I find it to be glorious. I wasn’t loving him because I had to or because it was expected. I was choosing, deliberately, to love him no matter what. If we argued, if I was upset or if he was upset, I made a point to still love him. I reminded myself that most often people aren’t trying to hurt each other on purpose, but rather they are just trying to be heard.

10 Year Anniversary

Sounds simple, right? It wasn’t. There were times where it was difficult. But slowly, day after day of waking up with the intent to love, I found myself loving without trying. I found a natural rhythm in looking at my husband and seeing all that was good in him, instead of looking for flaws. I learned to accept who he was, instead of who I thought he should be. And with this came acceptance of myself. Because as we all know, when we are looking for issues or problems in others, the truth is we are ashamed of those issues within our own hearts. Once I accepted myself for who I am, it became so much easier to love and, in turn, be loved.

10 Year Anniversary

Life is not perfect today. I don’t wake up smiling with rainbows and butterflies above my head. Life is lovely, but it’s not without challenges. The difference today is the intent is pure. I love my husband. He is smart and kind and easy on the eyes. He is the hardest worker I know. He cares about people and wants them to succeed. He is fascinated with science and the workings of the universe. He is a Doctor Who fan. He has grown into the very best father. He’s not perfect, and he screws up, but there is no one I’d rather take on the weirdness of life with.

10 Year Anniversary

Ten years later, I could not have guessed where this journey has taken me. If I could take one lesson away, it would be to choose love no matter what. The biggest and best developments in all areas of my life have come from the ability to choose love on a daily basis, and I owe that ability to my husband. I love him, just as he is. And I love me, just as I am. Life goes on, the world turns, things change…but having this partnership in my life has made me a better person. Love wins.

10 Year Anniversary

10 Year Anniversary

Thanks to all the photographers who have captured our family throughout the years, including Nicole Coleman and Christina Gepner, who provided some of the images used in the post above.

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