N I N E YEARS! wow. Aaron is my person. 9+ years ago we both were in the right season of life when my sister casually set us up on a blind date while we were in college at BYU in Utah. I had been studying late at night for an anatomy exam when my phone vibrated with a call from him (he later told me he had just called my sister beforehand to make sure he would pronounce my name correctly, lol) asking if he could take me out that evening. Um ok! Hot tubbing? Yeah, fine. <run to the bath to shave legs>. It was the first date in a long time where butterflies swarmed my tummy. I had signed up for Facebook a few days before, so I typed his name into the search bar. Hmm.., he’s pretty cute but also had that ‘playboy’ vibe. <1st strike>. The doorbell in my college apartment rang a few minutes later and he walked me out to his fast, sporty blue car. I’m certain he was feeling proud of his sweet ride and unfortunately he played into the ‘playboy’ vibe I had previously noticed. <2nd strike>. Recently I had come out of a sad divorce and was 110% weary of dating and wanted to steer clear of boys all together. But we had a fun night out with friends and the evening ended with me still thinking he was a bit too flirty for me. A couple mornings later he took me out for a yummy french toast breakfast at Kneader’s before one of my classes. I REALLY started to like him, and after that morning, to say we were equally twitter-patted would be the biggest understatement! We became obnoxiously in to each other. Together, we started inhaling all that was good and exciting and beautiful in terms of falling in love. Our conversations felt natural and they grew real and honest as soon as they started. We shared all of our fears, struggles, and desires for our lives. Every single detail of ours was lining up on parallel roads. His affectionate and flirty nature had me wrapped around all sorts of ways. We bungee-jumped in to love with each other. Aaron and I both felt the spark that ignited the flame of seeing each other’s forever potential…and we wanted to be a part of it all together. So, naturally I hit the breaks and broke it off. Let’s quit while we’re ahead, right? Fast forward 3 months and surrounded by our dearest friends and family we were married in the Houston, Texas temple.
Looking back over the past 9 years, our highs have been heavenly sweet, while our lows have been heartbreakingly low. And still, I’m thankful to experience this deep sense of love by feeling the refiner’s fire of shaping and molding my patience, temper, and selfishness through marriage. Every year when another anniversary rolls around we find ourselves exploring how the past year has changed in the way we chose to love one another. Because we’ve seen that love is just that; a choice. It’s offered when a heartfelt apology is expressed. It’s shown when we bake their favorite dessert for no specific reason other than to share a piece of our heart. Or when we choose praise and gratitude instead of criticism. Love is chosen when we focus on the good intents instead of easily resorting to the pet peeves. Because those pet peeves always seem to be blasted with neon signs, am I right? This anniversary Aaron and I reflected on how we best show our love and we saw that it’s been important to not seek the foundation of our happiness from each other. But rather, when we first find happiness within ourselves we’re then able to give without “needing” to take. What a beautiful and worthwhile thing it can be to chase a life of re-defining love in marriage. It’s certainly not always butterflies and unicorns but it’s an amazing feeling to find the secrets to growing in a relationship as you pass the storms and trials together. I whole-heartedly believe that God saves our marriage. Or more so, he uses our marriage to save us. I think Richard G. Scott said it best when he shared, “Marriage provides an ideal setting for overcoming any tendency to be selfish or self-centered.” 4 babies later, along with all that life has thrown at us, I’m more in love with this hunk than I ever could’ve imagined. I adore the way he chooses to love me every single day. And I’d say yes all over again.
And I’d say yes again to this special anniversary weekend spent close by at the brand new Renaissance Dallas at Plano Legacy West Hotel. It was our first time being truly alone as a couple since in the last 6 months (without baby Avery). The weekend together was oh so needed! The hotel is uniquely trendy and combines the Asian zen with the Texan south. There is SO much history behind the designs throughout the entire property! Everything from origami longhorns to an enormous gong with the Plano roadmap plastered across the front. It’s breathtaking to see the designs come to life. Especially in a time like now, it’s beautiful to experience 2 completely different cultures come together to celebrate one another’s lifestyles. But first, we had to stop by Shake Shack for Aaron to try their famous burgers and shakes. I’d been to the Vegas and NYC locations, he was definitely missing out!
Upon checking in and receiving a fun tour, we had the best macaroon’s we’ve ever had, delivered from Sugar Ray’s Bake Shop. Melt in your mouth treat! If you’re driving by Preston and Spring Creek in Plano you definitely won’t want to miss out!
We started the evening with dinner at the hotel’s signature restaurant, Oma. The entire experience was fabulous! They offer an Asian-infused menu that was spectacular! Our server was seriously quite possibly the most fun, attentive and incredibly friendly we’ve ever had! The food had a Texas theme with Asian-infused ingredients, which you’d assume might be quirky, but we 110% would go back for everything! We started off with the BBQ meatballs over a bed of sweet onion watercress salad (I mean, total yin-yang!). We splurged on Dublin craft sodas, refreshingly sweet! I also had the Rio Fresh Kale Salad that was drizzled with the yummiest lemon and garlic dressing. My husband Aaron couldn’t accept that it was kale because it was so DELICIOUS! The perfect crunch without any bitterness! I’m going to have to work hard trying to create a copycat because it was bomb.
For our entrees, Aaron chose the BBQ shrimp and I ordered the fillet mignon special, with a side of mac n’ cheese. (Side note: Finding the perfect mac n’ cheese ranks high on the list of my life goals. If it’s on the menu we always try it. No joke. Well… I think that goal has officially been crossed off the list!) the best mac n’ cheese ever! Our server said it has manchego cheese farmed right here in Texas! I HIGHLY recommend it if you’re diehard mac n’ cheese fans like us 😉 We rounded off the meal with Chocolate Ricotta Beignets served with banana poppyseed ice cream. It was all fabulous. The head chef came out to greet us and ask how we enjoyed everything. More like, he came out to have his ego boosted, since my filet mignon was cooked perfectly tender. My hat was clean off to him! After dinner, we strolled through the hotel and happened upon a gorgeous party in the ballroom. Apparently, it was the birthday party of Sam Moon’s (the hotel owner) daughter. Aaron and I goofed around and danced to the clubbin’ music while watching the arial acrobats serve drinks to the guests! It was SO rad! Aaron and I love to dance, certainly haven’t done it much since college. We found our way cozied up in the cabanas on the upper deck by the pool. The perfect scene to end the night.
Good Morning! It’s always a good morning when you sleep in until 9am for the first time in years! The ironic thing was, my glamorous mama life still woke me up to breast-pump. HA! The room service menu looked on point. Aaron order the West of Zen Eggs Benedict; the smoked brisket paired with the kimchi pancake and roasted serrano hollandaise sauce looked TOO good to pass up. I ordered the Challah Bread Pudding French Toast; the lemon chia marmalade was delish! I also snagged the market fruit and a tasty smoothie while Aaron also order 3 huge chocolate chip cookies. Haha, boys will be boys. And I love him for it. At this point, it was SO weird to not be bombarded with our kids. We were soaking up the easy life of just being the 2 of us. It felt a bit dreamy to have our conversations uninterrupted. For our marriage to thrive, more of this needs to happen! We slipped into our swimsuits and headed up to the pool deck. It sure doesn’t feel like you’re in Plano, Tx with those views We floated in the pool, enjoying each other while also chatting with the other guests. Ordered some diet cokes and chips with queso and brisket. Sipping our dranky dranks poolside was exactly what we needed. It was such a great afternoon! A little bit later we grabbed some lunch, I loved the grilled chicken cobb salad while Aaron got the mahi mahi fish tacos. Both were delish! The pool bar staff were incredibly friendly and fun! We went back to the room for me to pump, I was really starting to miss Avery right about now. We were incredibly blessed to have Aaron’s parents drive 5 hours to stay in our home with our kids while we spent our anniversary weekend together. It means everything to us! We never had to rush back home for an emergency and the kids absolutely adore their Grammie and Grandad. Knowing that our kids were having more fun with them than they would with us made it easy to enjoy just the 2 of us. BUT, I thought the kids would have a blast here in the pool and it would still be relaxing for Aaron and I since Grammie and Grandad are so hands-on and helpful with the kids. And so they packed up the kids in their swimsuits and drove over to our location. I LOVED IT! The kids were thrilled to see us but were probably more excited to play in the pool!
After an hour, they packed up and headed back home. While we stayed at the hotel. (Awesome) Again, this weekend couldn’t have been any more perfect. We went back into our room to shower and head out for dinner and to stroll along the Shops at Legacy. We were in the Asian Style Bath Luxury room and the room features a large, gorgeous bath/shower room with therapeutic lights that you can customize to your mood. (Add that to our wish list for building a custom home someday.) It was brilliant! We stopped by a reflexology spa and had a 70 minute massage done for $30 each. Massages are our favorite guilty pleasures. A refreshing shake and few scoops of gelato from Paciugo rounded out our evening and bellies fairly nicely! The Mediterranean Sea Salt Caramel was our favorite scooped flavor. I also really loved the cookies and cream + minted cookie mixed together in the shake. We went here years ago and can’t believe it’s taken us so long to return, it was SO yummy! All in all, it was a MUCH needed vacation for the 2 of us.