Our Anniversary Celebration and Some Goals

October 18th was our 10th Anniversary. We went back and forth for weeks what we wanted to do to celebrate. Initially Steven wanted to fly to New York for the weekend, but the flight times didn’t give us much time on the ground and they were sooo expensive. We looked at going to Lexington to see Les Miserables, We looked at going to one of the resorts at local casinos, eating in the restaurants and maybe taking a few pulls of the slot machine. In the end we decided it would be really cool to just stay in town and do some of the things that we haven’t done in years, or have never done together.

We got a room at the Marriott Rivercenter in Covington with a view of downtown Cincinnati. I have to say that it was the best experience! All the employees at the hotel were wonderful and so professional. When we checked in we were greeted so warmly and they congratulated us on our anniversary. They gave us a voucher for 2 free breakfast buffets in the restaurant 10 West the next morning. When we got up to our room there were a few surprises waiting for us:

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The chocolate covered strawberries and sparkling wine were from the hotel staff. And it just goes to say whenever you are celebrating a special occasion be sure to tell them what you are celebrating. Businesses often look for ways to go above and beyond for their customers and make you feel important. We saw this again at dinner but I’ll share that in a minute.  The chocolate covered strawberries were especially delicious and a very nice treat before we headed off for dinner.

The flowers were a present from Steven. 10 sunflowers, 1 for each year of marriage; 4 red roses, 1 for each child and 1 white rose for our angel baby. I’m not kidding ya’ll, I almost broke down in tears right then and there! It was awesome!

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Another wonderful thing about our hotel: the view! We decided on a king size room with a balcony and a view of Cincinnati. I know I might be a little biased but I believe Cincinnati has one of the most beautiful skylines in the world. Especially at night. And it lived up to the expectations.

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We made reservations that night at Ruth’s Chris on The Banks downtown. The Banks is a project that has been a long time in the making in Cincinnati. They have been trying to build the banks of the Ohio River up with restaurants, upscale apartments and nice parks. The transformations being made there are awesome and we enjoyed our stroll across the suspension bridge (in the right side of the above picture) and taking in the energy of The Banks before time for our reservation.

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It was a first experience for both of us at Ruth’s Chris. And it was amazing! From the red rose petals sprinkled on our table because it was our anniversary, to the steaks (ermergherd!!!), to the picture souvenir we got before we left the meal was magical! It’s definitely not a place we can eat at often but we really enjoyed the experience.

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And yes, we’re matching! Don’t hold it against us! lol- It’s just something we do!

After dinner we strolled back to our hotel and snuggled up in our king size bed (ahhhh….) to watch a movie. It’s not often we get to watch a movie uninterrupted and Steven said one thing he really wanted to do that weekend was just veg. So we did! I packed the laptop, grabbed a couple of movies that we hadn’t seen out of the $5 bin at Walmart and grabbed some of the dollar boxes of movie theater style candies. We decided to watch Little Red Riding Hood with Amanda Seyfried and Billy Burke. I’m not gonna lie, it was a little weird. And I was way tired so I kept drifting off. But it was good and nice to just lay there snuggled up with my man.

We slept in the next morning (ha! Yeah right! He slept in! I woke up at 6:30, 7:30, and 8:30. After that I just gave up!! lol) We got dressed and went down to breakfast at 10 West. They have a wonderful buffet breakfast with lots of options. I had french toast, bacon, fresh fruit, scrambled eggs, coffee and orange juice. It was a rainy, cold fall Saturday morning but it was nice to sit in the restaurant and watch the rain fall on the river.

After breakfast we went back up to the room and decided to work on a project I had come up with for us to do. You may have heard of the 101 in 1001 Project where people come up with 101 goals to accomplish in 1001 days. I thought it might be cool for us to come up with 180 goals to accomplish in 1825 days or by our 15th Anniversary. These goals can be anything from travel goals, marriage goals, family goals, financial goals, or just for fun goals. I’m not gonna lie, it’s been hard to come up with 180 goals! But we’re chugging along and I’m adding more each day. It might take us a year to just get 180 goals thought up though! lol

What’s on our list? (Hello List It Tuesday readers…I bet you were wondering when a list was going to appear in this post weren’t you?? lol) Well, so far we have things like

1. Go camping without the kids.

2. Pray a decade of the Rosary every day as a family.

3. Have Bible study and prayer time each evening as a couple.

4. Write a love note to each other once a week.

5. Have a weekly date night.

6. Have a monthly date with each kid.

7. Start Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover.

8. Take the kids to Disney World.

9. Take ballroom dance lessons.

10. Spend our 15th Anniversary in Italy.

11. Get our marriage blessed by the Pope.

12. Learn some conversational Italian for our trip.

13. Install crown molding on our kitchen cabinets.

14. Install crown molding in the master bedroom and bathroom.

15. Build steps off of the sliding door into the back yard.

16. Have family time at least once a week.

17. Stovetop travel the world by cooking a meal from a different country every week (ala Global Table Adventure)

18. Hold dinners with extended family at least once a month.

19. Go away for the weekend alone at least twice a year.

20. Take the kids to a new Kentucky State Park each summer and camp.

This obviously is just a portion of some of the goals we came up with. I look forward to coming up with more goals and reaching them together.

Since it was raining we had to scrap some of our initial plans for the day and decided to spend the day at The Cincinnati Art Museum. It’s been years since I’ve been to the Art Museum. I forgot how much I liked it! We strolled through the museum for hours, holding hands and actually taking the time to stop and read plaques and study pieces of art. It was glorious! And something we hadn’t done in years! (one of the last museums we went to just us was the Contemporary Art Museum in Chicago when we got engaged and it’s just not up our alley! lol) You know the best part about a lot of art museums..they are free because of the generous benefactors that donate to them. And we have one of the best in the country right here. We need to take advantage of it more often, especially their family programs.

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One of Steven’s favorite sculptures. Marble is amazing!

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Two of my favorite sculptures by Degass. They made me think about Brianna!

We ate lunch at the little cafe called Terrace. It was cozy and delicious. Afterwards we went to the second floor and continued our leisurely stroll through the museum. It was a wonderful day and I enjoyed spending it with my love. We went home after that to just Brianna and Eli. Steven’s mom decided to keep the boys another night. We decided to take Brianna out to dinner at Panda Express (Brianna’s choice) and then went home and watched the 2nd movie that I had bought for the weekend, Soul Surfer. It was so good! I think we all sat here and cried. Brianna loved it and I think she found an inspiration in the main character.

All in all it was a perfect wedding anniversary celebration. I’m looking forward to many more celebrations to come.

Linking up to List It Tuesday at Many Little Blessings and Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

Throwback Thursday- Honeymoon Edition

Hey there everybody! It’s time for another Throwback Thursday. Since I spent all this time counting up to our Anniversary (which was awesome by the way, I’ll be sharing more later!) I thought I’d share some pictures from our Honeymoon in Hawaii, since 10 years ago we were there! And man, do I wish we were there right now. It’s FREEZING today!!

We spent 6 days in Waikiki and loved every minute of it. We hiked Diamond Head, chilled on Waikiki Beach, went to the Polynesian Cultural Center, wandered through outdoor markets and just reveled in being in love. Hawaii is definitely the most beautiful place I have ever been. We hope to go back for our 20th anniversary and take all the kids so we can share it with them. By then Brianna will be 18, Jonah 16, Micah 14 and Eli 11. We figure at those ages they should appreciate it! Better start saving now!! lol

So without further ado…

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We took so many pictures in Hawaii! I obviously only chose 3 because I can’t possibly share them all. If you’d ever like to see the scrapbook I made let me know. I’m trying to scan all my pages and digitize them. Maybe that should be my next project!!

Next up on Throwback Thursday…Brianna is getting ready to turn 9! I think it’s time for some baby pictures! Have a great one!

Throwback Thursday- Let’s Get Married!

Tomorrow is the big day! Have I mentioned recently that we are celebrating our 10th anniversary?!? lol- For today’s Throwback Thursday I thought I’d share some wedding photos. I know I’ve shared some before that were taken by our good friend Dionne Newton. Today I thought I’d share some of the professional photos taken by Kim Schmidt who has since died from cancer.

I know that every girl thinks her wedding was the best wedding ever. Well, mine was! The ceremony was beautiful. The reception was a blast! People were on the dance floor the whole night. The food was delicious. The cake was amazing! There was none left at the end. Luckily I ate 2 pieces! lol- I was exhausted by the end. It was the best day ever! I look at the cost of weddings today and it blows my mind. I heard the average wedding is now costing $25,000. Our entire wedding, including our 6 day honeymoon in Hawaii was a fraction of that. And I wouldn’t change a thing!

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I can’t believe it’s been 10 years! And then I go back and look at the pictures and I believe it! Especially when I see Michelle, Steven’s little sister. She turned 20 last week!! (Yep, the little blonde in the pictures is now 20!!) It’s incredible to think of all that has happened this past decade. One thing that hasn’t changed though- how much I love this man! I am so glad that I said yes when he asked me to be his wife. It’s been a journey but I’ve never regretted it for a minute!

I love you Steven, and I’m gonna love you forever!

SHMILY

Throwback Thursday- Christmas 1999

Steven and I met when I started working at Thriftway on Alexandria Pike in Highland Heights in April of 1999. By November of ’99 we were dating. Thriftway closed in the summer of 2000 and the building has been torn down since then. We drive by the spot where it was often as it’s on our way to church and it sits at the entrance of NKU. Sometimes when we drive by I can still see it sitting there.

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A few things to note: 1) Once again Steven’s Sun-In blonde hair!

2) The Rachel from “Friends” haircut I am rocking. Oh yeah! Rocked that look for years!!

  3) Those high waisted, stonewashed jeans. Yeah, that’s a good look (said no one ever!)

Once again, good, good times! We are now 15 days away from the big anniversary! I hope you all are enjoying this trip down memory lane as much as I am!

Throwback Thursday: Photo Booths

One of the things that Steven and I loved doing when we were dating was getting pictures done in photo booths. You always end up with some pretty funny pictures when you get in those things. They are always a tight squeeze so half of someone’s head ends up missing or you are all scrunched down so it looks like no one has a neck! But they are fun and we ended up with some neat memories being captured in those booths! And who knew they’d become all the rage and that people would end up having them at their wedding receptions just a decade later! Below is one of my favorite “Photo Booth Photo Shoots” taken somewhere around the end of 2000, beginning of 2001. I would have been around 18/19 and Steven would have been around 22/23.

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Good times! Just 2 weeks more until that big 1-0 anniversary! Keep coming back for more Throwback Thursday episodes!