2021. It felt like a drawn out sequel to 2020 and left us missing 2019 with a deep ache. The Spring was blessed and beautiful with many gifts, but the fall was hard and heartbreaking.
We know in life we must stay in the present and look to the future, but with illness, suffered losses, new fears unearthed and old ones exposed, our fall + winter stretched us and wore us down quite a bit.
We are entering 2022 with a deeper faith, a higher appreciation for family, love, togetherness and life's beautiful moments. God was good through it all (isn't He always?) and showed us miracles both great and small that we will never forget.
I shared a bit on social media, but I'm finally sharing a real and raw recap of the highs (and lows) of our 2021 year and some of our favorite photos. I also am looking forward to 2022 with big visions and my word for 2022 - one that isn't about me but puts it all in His hands. As it always should be.
We entered 2021 hopeful and optimistic with a darling two-month old daughter and 4 year old son. We rang in the new year at home with our mother-in-law who renovated our farmhouse alongside us and lived with us. We took the kids to the zoo and played outside many days. It was a beautiful start to the year.
More outdoor adventures and Valentine's Day parties with friends. The newborn phase was so, so kind to us and my hormone and physical health felt incredible. I basked in the glow of that joy and I'll never forget that redemptive time in my life.
Lexi Kate turned four months old and Grey was now four and a half. Days were spent with close friends and lots of recipe creation at home with my little side kick, Grey.
In April we enjoyed a beautiful Easter with family. My sister-in-law hosted a Easter egg hunt and dinner. Doug bought Grey his first real worms to play with at the camp store. Lexi learned to eat real food and sit in a big girl high chair and we bought our first RV AND took our first trip in it to Lake Pleasant. Grey also graduated Pre-K and we had such a fun party for him at Luci's at the Orchard with our closest family and friends and it was a PERFECT day. Spring 2021 was a highlight for sure!
Miss Lexi turned 6 months old and we had a little party for her with cupcakes - which looking back I'm SO glad we did because my Mother In Law wouldn't be at her first birthday. Grey also started Kindergarten early, on May 30th because we just couldn't wait for fall! YAY for homeschool.
My 37th birthday and lots of adventures. I hosted a girls brunch for my birthday that was sweet, simple and so special. We visited LoLoMai Springs for 5 days and it was exceptionally beautiful and WeKoPa Resort in Fountain Hills hosted us for four days again. We enjoyed lots of yummy food and pool time.
We hosted a fun BBQ party for the fourth of July and everyone was so festive! It was a great way to break up the crazy hot summer. We took another trip in our RV up to Williams and enjoyed Route 66, Bearizona and our campsite. And we surprised Grey for his birthday early with a trip to DISNEYLAND! We took our niece Jillian along with us again - and it was Lexi's first trip to Disney! It was pretty perfect. So thankful we decided to do that trip.
Grey turned FIVE and it was his golden birthday! We had a fun Minecraft themed party with some of his best friends and our family.
In September Grey, Lexi and I joined a women's bible study with such a great group of women and Doug and celebrated ten wonderful, God blessed years married. We had dinner and dessert at home as a family. We ended up with the virus this month and things got scary for a while. Doug was quarantined away from us for two weeks and he got really sick. Thankful for the doctors who used a protocol to keep him here with us and ALL of God's miracles those couple of weeks. We also saw our friends be the hands and feet of Jesus for us and I will never forget how they helped me make it through some of those days. Being reunited with Doug after those 2 weeks showed us what we needed and what was truly important.
In October we unfortunately lost our sweet mother-in-law Sandi to the virus and my mom went into the ICU. It was a hard, sad time. We tried to keep the holidays festive for the kids - as Grey was grieving alongside us. For Halloween we took them trick or treating and decorated a spooky gingerbread house. We also found a local Police and Fire festival - which made his whole month. It was good to find pockets of joy where we could find them. The highlight was our sweet Lexi turning ONE. It was bittersweet as we couldn't give her a party or have our moms see her turn ONE but we made it as beautiful and special as we could for our darling girl with a day at the park, pizza, cake and a Peter Rabbit party at home.
In November my sister-in-law hosted a beautiful Thanksgiving at her home and it was the first official big holiday without Sandi. We felt her presence missing. We also did a balloon send off to heaven for her birthday and we held a beautiful memorial service at our church for her. We also decided to decorate the house for Christmas on November 1st because #joyseeking.
Another sad loss came with the sudden and terrible loss of our miniature schnauzer Charlie. He developed a rapidly spreading cancer that took him within hours of him going to the hospital. Our hearts needed to just lean into Jesus and the magic of the Christmas season to heal and breathe and seek joy. Christmas with our babies will always hold some of the most special memories throughout our lifetime. We went over the top to bless them this year. We made gingerbread houses, saw lights, showered them with love and gifts and magical moments. We also took off to the beach for a week and visited Sea World and Balboa Park. Although it was cold, it was perfect.
As I look back over the year - I can see all of God's mercies and his beautiful blessings and grace for us. He gave us miracle moments and provided in so many ways for us.
2021 may have had it's hard but it also had so much beautiful. And that's what I'm looking forward to in 2022. No matter what God has in our story this year - I'll continue to look for, and celebrate, the beautiful. If we've learned anything its that. To not take anything for granted. Don't take it all too seriously. Just LOVE, LAUGH, and LIVE.
In tradition of sharing my word of the year, its simply GOD. Letting Him lead. Everyday.
Friends, what were your highlights of 2021? Do you have a word for this year? Would love to have you share in the comments below!
I’ve been thinking a lot about friendship lately.
As my mom tribe grows, I long to serve them and give back to them as they lift me up daily and encourage me to be the best mama I can be to Grey. This in turn got me thinking about the best ways to give back to them – whether that be through gift giving, spending one on one time with them without the littles or just speaking words of encouragement into their hearts...
I can honestly say, that one of the most beautiful things I've been able to witness in this life is the relationship between my husband and our son.
As Grey gets older he looks more and more to Mr. Charming, not only as his best buddy (my husband can get our little guy to laugh like no one else can), but as a sense of comfort. Watching him snuggle his daddy in the mornings, and kick his little legs when he hears him come in the door after work, makes my heart burst with joy.
These special pockets of time got me thinking about the concept of quality time and how we can best use the hours we have as a family of three.
As a self-proclaimed "attachment mama", many of Grey's early months were spent nursing on me, being worn by me or sleeping with me. I definitely wanted to make sure he got special one on one time to bond with my husband as well, and as he's gotten older and no longer in the newborn stage, its been fun to see their relationship blossom. My husband takes bath time most nights while I work and he also shares in feeding Grey dinner.
I've started to take on clients and go to events alone as well, which allows them time to head to the camping store or play with the pups at home. They are even trying to work out the nap time deal without mama present. (This scenario is still taking work, haha)
My darling husband is such a supportive, patient, hands on parent that I wanted to celebrate him and thank him in a beautiful way. JORD's new watch line for men offers gorgeous detailed timepieces that compliment not only my husbands fashion style, but his lifestyle as well. With a little guy who likes to get his hands on everything, the smooth Zebrawood and Dark Sandalwood finish of this Conway Series piece allows Grey to explore daddy's new gift in the hands-on manner that seven months old live for.
When it comes to making the most of our time, we are starting to plan more travel adventures for this Spring and Summer. So far we have Sedona, AZ, Seattle, WA, Anaheim, CA, Orlando, FL and Palm, Desert, CA on the agenda.
We know that Grey won't remember these trips when he's grown, but allowing him to explore more of our country's sights, sounds, tastes and smells will allow him to grow and expand his little mind. Which is invaluable at such an impressionable time in his life.
It's also helpful for my hubs to have a reliable watch when changing time zones so frequently.
In celebration of hands-on dads who put in time to make the most of their relationships and time with their littes, I have partnered with JORD to give away one CONWAY Series men's watch (valued up to $250).
The contest will run until 4/9/2017 when a winner will be chosen.
All entrants who do not win will receive a consolation gift card code to use towards a purchase of a watch. You can also find a coupon code to receive 15% your purchase of any CONWAY Series wrist watch below.
I'm excited to share the memories these two make together and I adore finding new ways to spoil my husband and show him that he is so appreciated for the commitment he's made, and continues to make, to our little family. I knew he was always a great friend, a devoted partner and a respectable, loving husband, but seeing him as a father has caused me to fall more in love with him than I ever thought possible.
If you're looking for a special way to show the man or woman in your life just how appreciated they are, a JORD watch is a classic and cherished gift that not only stands for quality, but it is a gift that can be passed down and held onto for generations. It's important not only to invest in the relationships in our lives, but in the material things we choose to make part of our daily routines and memories.
For more on JORD:
The CONWAY Series Watch Mr. Charming is wearing in Zebrawood and Dark Sandalwood
A special coupon code for Nosh and Nurture readers to save 15%: Enter j17noshandnurture15aa upon checkout.
I really don't care for the cliche phrase of the "New Years Resolution", as I believe we should be able to set and achieve goals all year long, but I have set forth a goal for Mr. Charming and I for the new year. So, I suppose it can best be summed up as a New Year's resolution.
Tomato, Tomato. (that doesn't work so well in text does it? haha) I guess it should be... Tomato, Tomahto.
Although I am a HUGE Gilmore Girl's fan (my post on my thoughts on the revival and the Gilmore Girls party I threw coming soon!) I promise that the "Friday Night Dinners" we are planning for 2017 do not resemble a tension filled night in the Gilmore mansion. Quite the opposite actually.
I'll be the first to admit that when life gets hectic (IE: new mom life, running a household, marriage, travel and juggling multiple careers) our social life gets put on the backburner. Sometimes even farther back than the backburner.
Like, it's not even in the kitchen anymore.
So, I wanted to be more intentional with spending time with those we truly love and care about. The other couples we've connected with. Our oldest friends. Our church friends. Our family. My mama friends. Mr. Charming's guy friends. All the relationships that mean so, so much to us that we haven't cared for the way that we should.
Enter my Friday Night Dinner plan for 2017.
During the holidays Mr. Charming and I planned to sit down and write down all of the people who we want to spend quality time with. We wrote them all down on strips of cardstock and added them to a jar we plan to keep in a space in our home that we will see everyday.
Our plan is to draw a name, couple or family from the jar and get a Friday night scheduled with them. Whether its the next Friday, or a Friday two months from now that works with our schedules, we will get it on the calendar and plan to host them for dinner. Being able to connect one on one and set aside a night to really connect.
Once we've broken bread with everyone in the jar, it starts over again. A plan I hope that will keep us connected and getting real face time on a regular basis.
This doesn't replace neighborhood group, family events, parties we throw, etc. So it's not like it's the only time we see these special people. However, it does allow to conciously schedule quality time with those in our tribe when time can fly by lightening fast, sometimes putting months between conversations, meals and just good time spent with friends and family.
What intentional goals are you setting for the New Year to help you live your most authentic life?
A Guest Blog Post by Yvette Lewis of https://yvettelewis.wordpress.com/
The Intimate Act of Intercession: Three Reasons My Husband Loves It When I Pray for Him
“Will you please pray I fall asleep?” This whisper in my ear is a familiar one. It comes from my husband, who is pulling me close to him, requesting that I intercede for him as we settle into bed for the night. He likes to hear me pray Bible verses about God giving us rest, and he often falls asleep while I’m still praying. But sleep is only one of the many things my husband likes for me to pray about on his behalf. He just loves it when I pray, and he always has.
Prayer has been a vital characteristic of our marriage since before it even began. After we first met, the man I would eventually marry prayed about approaching me for almost 18 months before he ever asked me to go out with him. And I prayed for two months before I agreed (bless his patient heart)! Once we began to date, prayer became a consistent part of any time we spent together as we sought to understand if marriage was in our future. Of all the sweet things he said to me when he proposed three months into our courtship, this one remains vivid in my mind after twelve years of marriage:“I want to share life and life decisions with you.” To him, that means staying close to God and each other through a life of prayer.
Don’t misunderstand. We are in no way super-spiritual prayer experts. We’re not full-time church ministry leaders. We’re regular people who simply believe what the Bible says about the importance and power of prayer in the lives of believers in Jesus Christ. We certainly don’t have a perfect prayer life, but we do have a persistent one, thanks in large part to my husband’s commitment to daily prayer and his passionate desire to hear me intercede for him.
Recently I asked my husband to articulate what it means to him when I pray for him. His answers didn’t surprise me, but they did reinforce my belief in the importance of praying for one’s spouse. Your spouse may not seem to perceive prayer as an expression of love the way mine does. He may never have communicated a desire for you to pray for him as overtly as my husband has. Nevertheless, I think you may find these things are true of your husband as well when you act as his intercessor.
Below are the three reasons my husband loves it when I pray for him:
My intercession for my husband gives him a great measure of comfort. When I asked him why he likes it so much when I pray for him, his first answer was, “I have faith in your prayers because you have faith and fruit in God.” In other words, he trusts me to seek God in faith about the things that concern him. He trusts me to be his companion in prayer. He confides his thoughts, hopes, worries, and dreams to me, knowing I will keep his confidences and share their weight as we carry them to the Father in prayer together.
He draws comfort from being able to trust me like that. He draws comfort from my willingness to come alongside him in prayer. Moreover, he is encouraged in his own faith by seeing the fruit of faith in my life and by hearing my prayers of faith on his behalf. Though his ultimate source of comfort and peace is Christ alone, much of the beauty of the God-given gift of marriage, for him, is the comfort of having his wife at his side to seek the Lord with him.
To my husband, my intercession for him is a form of help that he values deeply. As you might have deduced from our story, both of us take decision-making seriously, knowing some choices we make can have far-reaching, long-lived consequences, for better or worse. Above all else, my husband wants to follow God’s will for our lives, so we pray fervently for God’s guidance when we are faced with circumstances requiring such decisions. Concerning this, my husband told me, “You understand me and you understand God, so your prayers help me align to God's plan and will for me.”
By that, he means I try to pray for God’s will by praying in line with God’s Word. When my husband hears me pray God’s Word over him or over our circumstances, he says it helps him see God’s perspective a little more clearly. As his wife, I know my husband’s strengths and weaknesses intimately, so I am in a unique position to cover him in prayers that encourage him and help him to remember the principles and promises of God that speak to the decision or the circumstance that concerns him. The Holy Spirit is the true Counselor, but when the Spirit uses me to help my husband through biblical prayer and counsel, my husband truly appreciates it because his heart's desire is that we please God as we share life and life decisions.
The final reason my husband gave for loving it when I pray for him is that “it helps us both grow closer to God and then closer to one another.” I agree with him that praying for each other and with each other is a key factor in the intimacy of our marriage. Of course, we know the same is true of our relationship with God. When we draw near to him in prayer, God promises to draw near to us to listen and to speak. We cannot have a growing relationship with Christ if we never pray.
Likewise, praying together in marriage binds us to each other (as well as to God) in ever-deepening intimacy. It is difficult to feel distanced from my husband if I am hearing his heart and mind laid bare—and if I am pouring out mine to him—as we share requests and pray regularly. It’s impossible to maintain a hard heart toward my spouse if we are earnestly interceding for each other’s needs while keeping God and his Word our focus.
Song of Solomon 2:15 exhorts us to “catch…the little foxes that ruin the vineyards,” meaning marriage partners must deal decisively with the small problems that can make big mischief in a marriage. Praying for one another is a powerfully effective way to keep the “little foxes” out of our marriage by keeping our intimacy vibrant with God and each other. My husband feels closer to me and to God when we are praying together and when he knows I am interceding for him. And since our prayer life is reciprocal, I experience the same benefits my husband loves so much.
How to Become an Intercessor
Maybe you wish your husband wanted these things. Maybe you long to be valued as a prayer partner and to be prayed for by your spouse. Maybe your marriage is so far from ideal you can barely imagine having a civil conversation, much less ever having a prayer life together. I can assure you that my marriage is far from flawless, today or any other day, and I can encourage you that we have come through disappointment and heartbreak verging on despair in our marriage several times.
The truth is, God’s design for marriage begins with Christ in the supreme place in our hearts and lives, and our marriages only thrive when we are each seeking hard after God and being obedient as individuals. It’s also true that God desires to do a work of grace in our marriages beyond anything we could dream or imagine! But above all and before all, we each must look to Christ and find in him all the love, all the grace, all the comfort and help and intimacy our hearts need. A loving, praying, God-honoring spouse is a good thing, but Christ alone is more than sufficient to meet our every need regardless of the state of our marriages at any given time.
Change begins in us. You can become an intercessor and benefit from a powerful prayer life, whether your husband is a person of prayer or not. These are my top three tips for becoming an intercessor in your marriage:
Stop and pray. If your husband voices a concern in conversation, stop in the moment and pray aloud if possible. Touching him while praying adds to the intimacy and is certainly biblical! If you cannot pray aloud with him, pray silently and then let your husband know you are praying for him and will continue to pray about what concerns him.
Initiate prayer. Ask your husband in the morning if you can take a moment to pray for him, and intercede for his day briefly. If he can’t stop to pray, ask how you can be praying for him today, then let him know that you prayed for him with a text or a note, or in conversation once you are together at the end of the day. If nighttime is a better time to ask for his requests, ask how you can pray for the next day.
Schedule time to pray. If your husband is willing, choose a set time to pray together so you can make it a habit. If it’s easier, start with once a week and try to slowly work up to daily time. My husband and I don’t always manage to pray aloud together each day. Especially since having children, some days spiral out of control first thing, or we drop into bed too exhausted to stay awake and pray together. However, scheduling a time to pray makes it more likely we will actually do it.
Schedule time for your personal Bible study and prayer time as well. Find tools to help you grow in your prayer life, small step by small step. The goal is to make prayer for and with your spouse a habit. Remember, God has not made any of us the prayer police, so give grace and stay positive, even if you are the only one praying at first. Be encouraged by God’s promises and become an intercessor!
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:11-13
These are my three favorite books to have on hand when I pray. Each one has helped me grow in my prayer life by teaching me how to pray biblically on a variety of topics.
The Power of Prayer to Change Your Marriage by Stormie Omartian; Harvest House, 2009
Prayers That Avail Much: Commemorative Edition by Germaine Copleand; Harrison House, 2008
Praying God’s Word by Beth Moore; B & H, 2009
Today we celebrated my husbands first Father's Day.
And I can't tell you how much my heart was BEAMING. Since Father's Day falls the day before my birthday, we decided to make this weekend all about him. There wasn't anything specific that he asked for or wanted to do, so I was on my own to plan the day and gifts. And YAY, because I love surprising and being surprised.
I planned a little road trip through town to take him to some of his favorite places before settling down to dinner and his special Father's Day gift. First on the list was Game Stop. One of the ways we've been passing the time lately to relax at home and save money for baby is blogging, gaming and hosting dinner nights with friends to game. Plus it's so hot out in Arizona already we really don't want to go out and do ANYTHING.
At Game Stop I got him the new Uncharted 4 and then it was off to our next stop!
One of his absolute FAVORITE stores is Cabela's. Your one stop shop for all things gun, archery, camping, fishing, boating, etc. And I actually have a lot of fun there too because there is SO much to look at and it has a home section and an adorable General Store upstairs that looks like it is straight out of Mayberry.
While we were there I told him he could pick something he'd been wanting as his second present and he picked some awesome tactical pants. Which I know are for total function to carry all of his cool camping stuff, but it doesn't hurt that I thought they looked super cute on him too. Haha :)
We perused Cabela's for quite a while because there is SO much to look at and then baby started getting really active and after sitting in a nice camping chair for a while we started to get hungry. I had scoped out Gluten Free eateries in the area just to see if anything new had popped up in our neighborhood (Glendale/Peoria is pretty horrible for healthy, clean eats) and I was surprised to find a cafe called Fresh Healthy Cafe had opened up nearby with a menu FULL of vegan. gluten free goodness! Score!
Dinner was planned.
We headed to Westgate City Center in Glendale to try Fresh Healthy Cafe and filled up on a healthy sandwich (for him) and salad (for me and the babes) as well as green smoothies and kettle chips.
At dinner I gave him his first Father's Day card (!!!!!) which was just so special and just let him know how thankful I am to be taking this adventure with him, how God blessed I feel everyday to be his wife and then I gave him something I've wanted to give him for a very long time.
Before I tell you about that though, how cute is a man who puts your baby's crib together? I mean.
Ever since we got married five years ago I've wanted to upgrade his wedding ring to something more bling-fabulous ;) He spoiled me when he gave me mine and I wanted him to have something that sparkled instead of just a band.
Neither of us are "jewelry" people by any means and it takes a lot for one of us to want a piece of jewelry. Which is why this felt like such a big deal. Vacations and memories are more our jam, but with this amazing life moment upon us and being married to a man so deserving, it made my heart happy to give him something that was a little more fabulous.
We finished the night the best way we know how, snuggling our pups, giving them the gluten-free treats we picked up at Cabela's and gaming with our leftover green smoothies.
How do you celebrate Father's Day for your spouse? I'd love to hear in the comments below, as I'm a newbie and would love your tips! :)
This weekend has been absolutely blissful. Sure we had a lot of organizing and cleaning to do to continue to prepare for Baby P's arrival and I had a lot of seminar prep to finish, but the in between moments were celebrated with my husband and his side of the family for Mother's Day.
My first official Mother's Day.
I know some women don't celebrate their "first" until their little one is here. But year after year I've waiting to celebrate being a mom and so today, as this little life swims and kicks around inside me I celebrate my bond that's already growing between her or him and I.
I've started to feel some of the uncomfortableness I believe is imminent with the third trimester, so I haven't gotten dolled up in a while. I was SO EXCITED to go out to dinner last night with the whole family and get dressed up for me and Mr. Charming.
Dining at a nice steakhouse, we all exchanged cards and gifts and we gifted my mother-in-law one of baby's sonogram photos in a special frame. Not leaving the restaurant until nearly 10, we all got a chance to catch up and talk baby's and the baby shower and birth and it was so lovely.
Today, on Mother's Day morning Mr. Charming and I woke up early and he treated me to gluten-free pancakes, eggs and sausage. Heart shaped pancakes. Total swoon. This man is too good to me.
And I may or may not have eaten four of them. Because. Mother's Day.
After breakfast he gave me the sweetest card with messages from him, the baby and of course our fur babies, Charlie + Princeton - who even signed with paw prints, haha.
Then he told me I needed to open my gift outside.
My guesses were, doves in a bag that needed to fly free. Or a miniature telescope. It was neither of those things. It was so much better and very much unexpected. It was a beautiful Tennis Bracelet.
Those who are close to me know I don't splurge on fancy jewelry or purses or shoes. Like, ever. Unless it's a gift, I'm Charming Charlie all the way, haha. But this was so special and such a perfect and beautiful way to commemorate my first Mother's Day. Along with my engagement ring and wedding bands, this is the most beautiful piece of jewelry I've ever received. Again. So good to me. I'm going to have to step it up and do something epic for Father's Day.
So, any advice from seasoned wives, throw me your best ideas! ;) haha.
Wishing you all a blessed & beautiful Mother's Day! How did you spend your day? Share with me below how you spent your day!
#GBTB: April Edition
1 // You're expecting a baby soon, what are you most looking forward to?
Finding out if its a girl or a boy!
2 // You're a handy husband, what's a dream project for you to build?
It's a tie between our Tiny House, or an old car, such a Shelby Cobra or a Mustang.
3 // If you could start a weekly meal tradition, what would you start?
Steak and Baked Potatoes.
4 // Favorite Nosh & Nurture recipe?
Mandi's Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free Lasagna
5 // One of your biggest goals in life?
To be a good husband and a good dad.
Mr. Charming's April Fools Creations
If you've spent anytime on Pinterest, or in the world in the last decade, you've seen the many posts on the infamous Bucket List. Ever since Jack Nicholson + Morgan Freeman appeared in the film that would make the phrase a worldwide sensation, everyone's been eager to make, and widely publicize their lists on social media.
I myself am not a fan of the word Bucket, but I do have my goal lists. I've been making life goal lists since I was 5 or so. But with baby on the brain lately, I've been thinking of all the things I want to do not before I'm elderly, but before this little one makes their appearance. Namely, the activities I want to squeeze in as a wifey with my husband pre-babies.
Mr. Charming and I spent yesterday at the Renaissance Fair that came to town and had such a great time.
Yes I was tired.
Yes we had a million home projects to work on.
Yes that $40 budget could have been added to the savings we're trying to amass.
But we also make our marriage a priority. It's crucial. And dating each other, enjoying life and enjoying travel and activities in town are things that are important to us. And should be a priority in any marriage.
"Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun—all your meaningless days. For this is your lot in life and in your toilsome labor under the sun." Ecclesiastes 9:9
As archery lovers and lovers of all thing new and different, we had a blast! The Festival felt much larger than in past years, and though it was over an hour drive from home each way, it was fun to be out in the sunshine, exploring, shopping and having lunch together outside. The festival employees were wonderful, as Mr. Charming called ahead and let them know about my food concerns and they allowed me to pack and bring my own lunch. (The website said this wouldn't be allowed, so always call to speak to someone in this situation!) so I packed a Paleo Turkey Wrap, carrot sticks, organic apple slices and a Nana Berry Vanilla Cookie Bar for a treat. And plenty of water!
When we are "adventuring", for the most part Mr. Charming will eat clean with me. Dining at all my vegan restaurant finds along the way and exploring healthy dishes right alongside me. But I always let him know that if he wants to indulge in a specialty item, to go for it! We live a clean lifestyle and if I could splurge more here and there, I probably would because, guys, #lifeisshort, and sometimes a bratwurst or a funnel cake just looks dang good. So he got a traditional brat and we people watched while we had lunch. People watching is a really fun thing to do for a date night that's free, and doing so in a location where people dress in CRAZY costumes makes it super enjoyable.
Some of my favorite highlights of the day were seeing all of the handmade goods, from the archery bows to the jewelry from recycled electric wiring, the glassblowing show we saw and just being out in the Spring sunshine with my hubs.
Below is a list of Pre-Baby Date Night Ideas that are fun for Spring & Summer & safe for mama's and our growing bellies!
Did you have a favorite pre-baby date night? Or are you planning anything fun + exciting to celebrate your pregnancy? Share in the comments below!
I previously started a series on our wedding and it began with Our Wedding - The Morning Of. You can start there by clicking the link.
Our wedding was easily the happiest day of my life. Aside from when we found out when were expecting Baby P. I feel like the entire day I floated. Just floated. Trying to capture and soak up every single moment of what was happening around me and within me.
When Mr. Charming and I sat down to plan our wedding we talked of what we dreamed of it being. What we had to have, what we didn't need to have and all the in betweens. Luckily our visions existed together beautifully and he was hands on for the entire process (more on that later, he was really hands on.)
What started as a ceremony at the beach with a small crowd, morphed into a fancy wedding at Hotel Del Coronado, then to somewhere we never expected, and something so much better. When I was deep in the initial stages of wedding planning, I let the fancifulness, money, and our own hearts desires get the best of us. So I went to the source I knew would handle this SO much better than us. God. I prayed and picked up the book Inviting God To Your Wedding (And Keeping Him In Your Marriage) and it was the best move I could have made. It shifted everything and led us to have a wedding that was so God and love filled it blew our dreams and expectations out of the water.
Mr. Charming's cousin has a beautiful home on a expansive piece of lush green property in Arizona that transports you to the oaky parks of California and I fell in love. With her backyard for the ceremony and reception. I fell in love with her crisp white interior for photos and cocktail area. And I knew that Arizona would be the right place, so that all of our friends and family members could enjoy with us. All 175+ of them.
As I stated earlier, Mr. Charming was really hands on with the wedding. We drove to Sedona to harvest our own Manzanita trees for our centerpieces (which resulted in a bad hand injury, a lot of blood and Mandi applying first aid in the forest to her fiance'. That was scary and I don't suggest.) He also built, by hand, our head table which is now our dining table from gorgeous Poplar wood, as well as the arbor we would stand under to be married. It was a dream.
One of my very best friends, Paul, flew in to be a groomsman and helped Mr. Charming set up the ceremony early while I got ready with the girls at the hotel. After the boys had gotten ready and had their photos done, the girls and I arrived at the ceremony locale in a stretch black SUV. After a fun photoshoot in the parlor room of Mr. Charming's cousins house I retreated to a room to spend time with my dad and hide from the groom and guests!
The guests arrived and enjoyed jazzy 40's music to be seated and it was near showtime! Standing in the doorway to the backyard, my dad holding my hand tight just as he did when I was a little girl, the butterflies flitted about and my soul beamed. The sense of peace and love I felt in that moment just may exceed any other moment of calm in my life. God walked with us that day.
Walking down the aisle to my husband to be, surrounded by family and friends that we love so much, was indescribable. I don't remember the walk very well, I don't remember speaking my vows, I don't remember much. I do that. I never remember my best concerts. It's like I float in these moments, and then they are gone from my memory. The happiness remains, the peace, but the memory of exactly what went down, it exists back in that picture perfect moment. Thankful for video and photos, haha. I'm weird I guess.
We wrote our own vows, which was so special and adored the pastor we hired to perform the ceremony. My girls looked beautiful, the men, so handsome, and it was just the perfect ceremony.
I felt like I had waited so long to confess to this man, in front of God and our loved ones, how very much I wanted him to have my forever, it was a moment of such elation.
I'd marry him again and again. Every day for all of my days.
Take a peek at the other posts in the series as the become available:
What was your stand-out ceremony memory?