Tuesday, August 14, 2012

10 Years...

As of August 9th, James and I have been married 10 years...10 crazy years. It's hard not to look back and think of all that we've been through during that time. Getting a crazy puppy named Obadiah -- a dog that has been there with me through EVERYTHING. Moving away to Germany for 3 years to start what now looks like a career in the Army. Excitedly starting our family, only to then say goodbye to our first son, Jacob, as we prepared for our 1st deployment. Visiting various countries and exploring countless cities while living overseas. Losing what we thought would be our rainbow (Jordan) almost as soon as we found out we were pregnant -- all the while trying to adjust to our new home in WA as we prepared for our 2nd deployment. Getting out of the Army and finally finishing my degree in psychology, while also buying a house in our hometown. Almost immediately turning around and getting back into the Army, resulting in the attempt at selling a house in a terrible market. Preparing for our 3rd deployment when we were surprised by the insanely exciting news of our pregnancy with our daughter. Later experiencing the horror of losing Olivia while James was away in Afghanistan. Trying to cope with the crazy grief that is what life's like when you have 3 angels in Heaven and nothing more. Moving to GA in hopes of a fresh start and break from deployments. Immediately being shocked by the news of our 4th pregnancy, bringing a whole new level of anxiety and fear yet incredible hope. Enjoying the fact that because of the move to GA and job in TRADOC, James had finally been home more than he'd been away in our whole marriage. Getting further into photography and actually making it more than a hobby. Experiencing the indescribable feeling of joy when I heard our son, Samuel, cry for the first time. Finally getting to live life with a child here on Earth -- in our arms! And now living in TX and enjoying life with the little man that is ever changing as each day goes by...

All the deployments. All the field problems and other various months away thanks to the Army. All the road trips and various vacations. The good times. The sad times. The incredibly tragic times. James has been there by my side through it all. I am so thankful for the relationship that I have with him -- one that will never break or fall apart. One that only gets stronger through each experience that we face together. I love that man and I couldn't imagine my life without him in it!

So with that being said...

James got a 4-day pass and we decided to get out of town with the boy. Due to the heat, we sent Obadiah on his own vacation at a local doggie daycare -- otherwise he would have joined in on the fun, too! As usual, the only hotel we booked in advance was for Obadiah. We just packed some clothes and a cooler of water, got our atlas, and drove. That's our preferred method of travel when doing road trips. If we see something interesting along the way, we stop and check it out. That happened to be the case this time around with Tombstone, AZ. We hadn't even thought to go there, but when we saw the exit for it, we thought what the heck, why not?

I suppose I should also mention that with our anniversary on the 9th, we continued a little tradition of ours. On our wedding night, after all the festivities had ended, we were starving and decided to order pizza. For whatever reason, we have continued that each year. We still like to go out for a nice dinner out, but on our actual wedding anniversary, we always continue our cheesy little tradition. This year was no different. On our way out of town, we stopped at our favorite place in Las Cruces, NM and enjoyed some NY style before continuing on. Good times.

So with our traditional dinner knocked out, we headed west. Samuel thought it was AWESOME being able to run around the hotel room and explore every nook and cranny. He even did his crazy dance in excitement.

(like this...)


The next day, we checked out Tombstone, AZ, had In-n-Out in Tucson, AZ (a first for Samuel!), and agreed that we have to come back to Phoenix at some point after having a quick stop and seeing all that they have to offer -- I mean, come on...they have an Ikea among other things! Ha. We continued on towards Sedona, AZ, but ended up making an unexpected stop at the Montezuma Castle National Monument first. It's so fascinating to see such historical marks! After we learned a little more about that area, we arrived in Sedona, which was BEAUTIFUL! (Thank you to those that recommended us stopping there!!!) After taking a little hike through one of the state parks within the Sedona area and letting Sam run around, we ended our night in Flagstaff, AZ. Considering the fact that the only place I've visited in AZ before now was the airport, I never realized all that it has to offer. Flagstaff reminded us somewhat of a mix between the PNW and the town we went to college in. We loved it!

With that under our belt, we headed on to the Grand Canyon the next day and spent the morning there. Since I still haven't gotten around to taking Samuel's 1 Year pictures, it also turned into a mini photo session for the boy. Talk about a beautiful background! We really lucked out, too, as the rain didn't hit until after we were heading out...

Since we couldn't just stop there, we headed on north towards the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. However, before getting there, we checked out Bryce Canyon. As we were walking up to the first scenic view, James said, "Is it bad that I almost think this is more beautiful than the Grand Canyon?" Ha. I couldn't help but agree with him. Talk about indescribable beauty! We probably spent more time there than anywhere else. We loved it!

The Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument didn't end up providing as much entertainment as expected since we didn't bring the truck. Apparently, you can only get to most of the points of interest by a dirt/sand road that is impassable when wet. So considering the fact that we didn't have our truck and the storm clouds kept coming and going, we didn't want to risk it. We tried at first, but ended up facing a flooded road, so we turned around. The last place I want to get stranded is in the middle of nowhere! It was still beautiful and provided a connection to the next best thing -- Capital Reef National Park.

I feel like a broken record talking about the beauty behind all of these national parks. Utah should just be deemed as one massive national park -- that's pretty much all you do is hop from one to the next! We thoroughly enjoyed each park, and I'm so glad we decided to hike to Hickman Bridge while at Capital Reef. Minus being a genius and hiking in sandals that lack any kind of grip at all (resulting in a cut up knee and toe after slipping on a smooth rock), it was a great experience to get up there with Sam. James refused to use the Ergo so as to avoid a scene that bordered looking like abuse since Sam flips out if he's confined in any way shape or form, so he had the pleasure of carrying him all the way up there. We got such a kick out of watching Sam enjoy the ride, as he laughed and talked all the way there -- as if to say, "This is fun guys! Let's go further!" Then on the way back down, he slowed down and eventually fell asleep on James' shoulder -- it's hard work being carried! The sweet boy.

I wish we would've had more days to explore, as we would've gone even further north into more national parks...such is life. We'll just have to go back! We had a wonderful trip and created many great memories with the little man. I'm so glad we were able to go there as a family. While Samuel won't remember any of it, he definitely enjoyed himself in the moment!

I posted pictures to my Facebook page here, but if you're not on FB, here are a few...

Sam's favorite part about being in a hotel -- the phone. He kept picking it up and saying, "Ah?! Ah?! Ah?!"


Loved Sedona!


Sweet Sam while in a park in Sedona...


Appreciating the view at the Grand Canyon...



And the freedom after being in the car! Running in any direction we'll let him...



This might substitute as Samuel's 1 Year picture. It was crazy bright and sunny, but it's the closest we'll probably get to a posed picture for awhile ...



Loved the view...



Samuel counting the states that he's been to...



The happy couple...



Bryce Canyon...





Sweet boy...



By far, the best part of the trip!



On our way back after trying to get to one of the arches in Great Staircase Escalante National Monument...



Love it...



Samuel enjoying a break...



I sure wish that boy would be willing to keep his hat and sunglasses on for longer than 30 seconds...



Some of the many cows that blocked the road throughout the trip...



A family picture...



Father and son while in Capital Reef National Park...



Loved the hike to Hickman Bridge...



Enjoying being the only ones in the area...


Another family picture...


Enjoying the view and the new toy...



It just doesn't get any better -- the view, the peaceful silence, time with family...



Love these boys!



What an amazingly memorable trip with my boys. I'm so thankful that I have them. I'm thankful that after 10 crazy years, James and I get to celebrate together vs. over the phone like in the past thanks to the Army. Now on to the 11th year and many more experiences to come -- hopefully more happy than sad. The last year was full of so much joy -- I hope it stays that way for awhile! Heck, we're in a non-deployable unit, so we've got a few things going in our favor right now...

Anyways...here's to 10 years of marriage and many more to come!!!

4 comments:

  1. What a great trip!!!!! Congratulations on 10 years of marriage!

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  2. Really enjoyed reading your blog and seeing these pictures! Samuel is adorable! And a very happy 10th anniversary to you & James! Priscilla, I still think of you and remember you as a little girl with tons of beautiful curls and your ever-present pacifier!

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  3. Congratulations on your anniversary:) It's amazing how you have stayed together after so much.

    I live in Phoenix and you should stop for sure next time;) We love it here!

    Also, your pictures are AMAZING! Do you have any tips for the lense or settings you used for your landscapes?

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  4. Thank you for your sweet words, everyone! :)

    Melissa, I'm sending you an email. :)

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