Friday, September 5, 2014

French Lick, Indiana

Travel blog entry!  For our 5th anniversary this year, we crossed French Lick off of our Indiana bucket list.  There are two historic grand hotels there: French Lick Springs Hotel and West Baden Springs Hotel.  Hank, Sadie, and I packed up and drove about an hour south from Bloomington down Hwy 37 through beautiful farm land and small Indiana towns, past Paoli Peaks, until we could spy the huge dome of the West Baden Resort peaking out through the trees.  I didn't expect the sheer magnificence of seeing this hotel after driving through such small towns.  It's crazy big!

We drove past West Baden on to the elegant French Lick Springs Hotel, and I think elegant is the best way to describe this resort.  It was beautiful and just gorgeous with all of their Christmas decorations still up.

There are mineral springs that run through this area, and these resorts were first founded back in 1845 as health spas.

Yes, the pond is totally frozen.  January 2014 was a super cold one!

Located in the Hoosier National Forest.
Indiana limestone tunnel they used in the construction of the hotel.

The ceilings were incredible!

Sadie was so tiny here!  She's twice as big now.  That's what I get for taking months to post this;)

French Lick has such an awesome candy store!
The pool:)

A beautiful anniversary gift in our room from the hotel:)  

The hotel also has some amazing restaurants.  We ate at the famous 1875:The Steakhouse for our anniversary dinner.  It was so fancy and delicious.  Then we had an awesome breakfast at The Grand Colonnade Family Restaurant, which is the former ballroom where FDR received the nomination to run for President in 1932!

It was a great way to celebrate 5 years married to my dream cowboy:)

Monday, June 9, 2014

Our Year:)

What an amazing year.  Full of ups and downs, laughs and tears, lots of sleep deprivation.  But the one consistent this year has been the above ray of sunshine!  It has been pure joy watching her grow into the beautiful little girl she is.  Each month has brought a whole new level of fun to our household!  Sadie is full of energy; quick to laugh, always chatting away about something adorable;)  She loves books, loves "reading" to us, playing peek a boo, "walking" around outside, being the center of attention, playing with other kids, cuddling with us.  My favorite part of this year has been watching her heart for other people develop.  She loves people.  Her heart is huge, sympathetic, and sensitive to others' emotions.  She is concerned when someone is hurt, sad when they cry, happy when they smile, and quick to hug no matter what.  I'm so impressed by the little person she's become, and I learn so much about Christ's love from her every day.  Excited to see her grow even more over this next year!  Happy one year, baby girl:)  We love you more than we can express.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

My Baby Story Adventure

I was beginning to think my due date would never arrive.  It was the middle of May as I stared at my calendar, thinking about all the things the Lord had brought me through over the past 9 months.  
Early contractions, shingles(that left me with a nice scar on my forehead), 9 months of nausea... I just didn't know pregnancy could be like this.  But here I was, finally due...

...and thinking of any and every way I could help jump start this thing!  Let's do this!  So I tried Zumba!  (Had to have been hilarious to watch this big belly shake her thang;)  Annnd...nothing.  Spicy food, eggplant parm, daily walks, "running" stairs... I watched the days tick by.  After two weeks of this, the doctor said those beautiful words, "No matter what, you're having a baby tomorrow!"  Thank goodness.  It was Thursday morning, May 30.  I went back to work after the doctor because, well, why not.  Our bags were packed.  We were as ready as we'd ever be.  Finished out the work day, went home, turned on Parks and Recreation(love that show!), and waited.  Finally 8pm and time to check into the hospital.  They monitored me overnight to see if I'd start labor on my own.  Silly doctors, of course not.  Between me and Hank, our baby is waaay to chill to come on her own;)  7am Friday morning May 31, a seriously angelic nurse comes in and starts me on pitocin.  And labor starts.
I now have to give a shout out to my most amazing coach ever, Hank.  Walking with me, rubbing my back, best foot massages of all time!, breathing with me, running and getting me water, ice chips, yoga ball(which I stayed on until...), epidural.  Now y'all, seriously, I believe epidurals are the Lord's greatest gift to modern woman!  Holy night!  If you haven't been through this, imagine the most intense pain coming in and out every minute, and then all of a sudden it starts coming in less and less.  My eyes opened, cold washcloth on the face, Hank brushed my hair(I guess I'd been grabbing at it, and it looked like a bird's nest. Literally.), laughter coming from me, and then the most peaceful sleep.  Doctor comes in, I'm almost there.  Baby's heart rate starts to drop a little, nurses turn me on my side, heart rate comes back up and is just fine.  Hank holds my hand and reads me scripture.  Sleep.  Doctor comes in, time to push.  Say what??  Hank's eyes get huge and a smile creeps on his face.  I tell him, "It's time for the "Push It" mix!"  I think he's a little embarrassed, but I made this CD myself just for this moment.(Thank you to everyone who suggested songs on Facebook:)  First song, Push It by Salt 'n Pepa.  My doctor and the nurses start laughing and continue to laugh at my extremely diverse choice of songs.  But it was doing its job, keeping me awake and as energized as possible.  After 12 hours of labor, with one hour of pushing, it was time to meet our baby girl.  This is where I take a more serious note.  Baby girl came into this world perfectly, with 10 fingers and 10 toes and a head full of beautiful dark hair.  They laid her on my stomach to let Hank cut the umbilical cord.  Silence.  Our wonderful doctor quickly cuts the umbilical cord and rushes her to the side table.  What?  I look at Hank and look over at the table.  I can't see past the nurses surrounding her.  I hear one nurse start counting the minutes while another starts giving oxygen.  I can't tell what's happening.  "Why isn't she crying?"  No answer.  My heart stops.  "Is she okay?"  Still no answer.  Hank tells me it's okay, but his eyes are questioning right along with me.  2 minutes.  I grab Hank's hand and start praying, "Lord, help our baby girl cry.  Give me a scream.  Anything."  3 minutes, and I reached a point I thought I'd never reach.  Praying, trembling, I remember saying, "Lord, she's Yours and not ours.  You gave her to us.  You give and You take away, may Your name be praised."  I cry just thinking about that moment.  4 minutes. . . A little whimper.  The tiniest most beautiful sound I've ever heard in my life.  Then another and another.  Still so quiet and so incredibly beautiful.  Praise Jesus, maker of all things.  I used to ask people what was one thing they wish they'd known before they got pregnant.  Well, this is mine.  Sometimes it takes some babies a little longer to take that first breath.  Even 4 minutes longer.  As long as they're moving, their PH levels are good, the oxygen in their blood never drops... they are just fine.  Yes it's scary and the medical staff won't talk to you because they're focused on getting the baby breathing, but the baby is just fine.  I had gotten to the point of thinking she'd be brain dead when there was absolutely nothing wrong.  Sooo, yeah.  I wish I'd known that.  So our cute little thing quickly got pink and started singing a beautiful cry, and then I finally got to hold her.  Talk about surreal and singing endless praises to the Lord in my head.
God is good.  All the time.  Even when things seem darkest, He's in control.  And now we have the most healthy, smiley, bright eyed baby girl.  We named her Sadie Ann after her great great grandmother.  She is 7 weeks old and growing up so quickly.  She brings unspeakable joy to our hearts on a daily basis.  The Lord brought me through a hell of a pregnancy and gave me the most healthy and beautiful baby girl, and I will forever be grateful.

Here are some more pictures:)

See how Sadie has grown. From the size of a lentil...
 to this beautiful baby girl.
 "Stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God." Job 37:14

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Lost Valley Ranch

This post for the Travel Blog is about one of my favorite spots of all time.  It's a place very close to my heart because it is where the Lord led Hank and I from different backgrounds and locations to meet.  It's a special place filled with wild west adventure, hospitality, music, food, and good friends.  And if you've ever had the dream of being a cowboy or cowgirl, it's a place where you will quickly feel right at home.  So if you're looking for a dude ranch experience of a lifetime, you have to take a trip to Lost Valley Ranch
Lost Valley Ranch, Colorado's premier dude ranch, is tucked back in the Pike National Forest.
Lost Valley
The Hayman Fire passed through here back in 2002, and you can literally see where the Lord's hand just covered and protected the valley from that fire.  Because of the fire, you now have uninhibited and gorgeous views of the Colorado Rockies.
Welcome to the ranch...
where every morning you are met with a view like this...
And every day you have so many activities to choose from:
You can see Pikes Peak in the background.
Horseback Riding

Horseback riding will take you to some amazing views like this.  This spot always reminds me of a John Wayne film:)
except I don't think Hank meant to end up in the water here;)hehe
with our awesome chefs! haha
my cowboy:)

me and my cowboy
Fine Dining
with other guests who quickly become friends
 The ranch is great for seeing wildlife:
All while being served and hanging out with the most fun and loving staff:

Wranglers assigning horses for the day. (Hank's on the left:) Did I mention the cute cowboys??hehe
So if you are in need of a break from the city or just looking for an unforgettable vacation for you and your family, you have got to check out Lost Valley Ranch.  Their website lists even more activities for adults and kids.  Hank and I loved working there, and it will forever hold a special place in our hearts.  As I sit here waiting on our baby girl to be born(she was due yesterday), I thought it was fitting to write about where our little family first got its start. :)