Celebrating Ten Years

My sweet Prince Charming and I on our wedding day.
This July, Prince Charming and I will hit our tenth anniversary. It's crazy how fast time flies, isn't it? Shortly after we had our first child, I talked to him about how I thought it was really important for us to take time to just be a couple, and we decided that every fifth anniversary we would take a few days for a getaway trip.
This trip has been a comedy of errors from the planning stages. Original plans had to be scrapped when the sister I had traded babysitting with learned that her husband would need to train for a new job, and they would most likely be moving by the time I took my trip. After assuring Bekah it wasn't the end of the world, we hadn't set up any reservations yet, we set up with my other sister to watch the children. She agreed, as long as we told her the dates in advance so she could get off work.
While we had hoped to do the trip over our actual anniversary, that changed too. My parents are finally taking a second honeymoon trip of their own this summer (Happy 35th, Mom and Dad!), and the best time for them to go was going to be the week of our anniversary. No problem. The dates of the getaway aren't as important as just getting away. We tentatively planned for the week before our anniversary.
My wedding dress
Not long after that change, my brother-in-law called to say he was engaged. That's wonderful news! A week later he called again. He would be getting married the day we planned our trip to end. Time to go back to the drawing board again.
My poor Prince Charming, who likes to have everything set up well in advance, was starting to get a little nervous. We looked at the end of July/beginning of August. Too close to the start of school for my sister to be able to take off work to watch the children. At which point, we started looking at June.
After three phone calls and telling everyone we knew they absolutely could not make any more plans for the summer (mostly joking, but for real, people!), we settled on the second week of June. Reservations were set and when my own brother called to say he was engaged, I asked, "Do you have any idea of dates?"
"No, not yet."
"But not this summer, right?"
"No."
"Good, because we are booked solid!"
 I have to admit, readers, I nervously looked forward to our trip. Between having to change locations, dates, and everything else so often, I was starting to worry that our ten year trip wasn't going to happen. And in my mind, that just wasn't even an option. But other than a few little changes (having the children at my parents' house and getting a sitter for Dante, rather than having my sister come to us, for example), our trip went pretty well as scheduled and it was wonderful.

Kansas City and Chateau Avalon

Our very first plans had been to go to the Anniversary Inn in Salt Lake, close enough to Bekah for her to watch the kiddos and still something which would be fun and different. But, when we needed to change that original plan, I started looking for something which would be similar. That's when a friend pointed me to Chateau Avalon.
Chateau Avalon
 Like the Anniversary Inn, Chateau Avalon specializes in romantic getaways in themed suites. And the attention to detail is amazing! While our first choice room had been the Camelot suite, it wouldn't count for the Stay and Relax spa package we wanted. So we opted for the mysterious Mayan Rainforest and honestly, we loved it! A large mural ran the entire length of one wall, the stone facade around the room really made you feel that you'd walked into an ancient temple, rather than an upscale bed and breakfast in Kansas City.








As you can see from the pictures, the room was amazing. Little details everywhere from the "flaming" torch in the bedroom to the statue bedside table to the bas relief god near the bathtub to branches across the entryway.
Prince Charming and I at the K.C. temple
We had ordered a romance package with rose petals on the bed, sparkling cider, and chocolate covered strawberries. The berries were hand-dipped, so the chocolate was still slightly warm when they delivered them to our room.
After checking in, Prince Charming and I headed to the Kansas City, Missouri Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I absolutely love going to the temple with my husband. Having that spiritual boost along with precious time spent with my sweetheart is the best thing ever. The peace and quiet there is also a nice retreat from the busy, sometimes loud, everyday things of life. The Kansas City temple is beautiful inside and out. There is a wheat shock theme that goes throughout the temple in the architecture, art, and furniture. Makes this midwestern girl's heart smile.
After enjoying some quiet time together just sitting and enjoying the serene beauty inside, Prince Charming and I decided that it was high time we got something to eat. The temple session had started at 6:30, so it was well after 8:00pm when we left the temple. Options were rather limited, especially since we absolutely did not want to have anything fast food. And we didn't particularly want something we'd already had before. Prince Charming, the Master of Google Maps, searched around and found a few different options.

Strawberry Ginger Fizz at Trezo Mare
We decided to try out a new restaurant, Trezo Mare. And oh my goodness, it was worth every single penny! Delicious, made-from-scratch Italian seafood and wonderful service.  We started off with a bread basket with an Italian white bread and an herbed bread. Both were delicious, especially dipped in the parmesan and olive oil our server mixed up for us. Prince Charming ordered a lobster mac and cheese (we both giggled about it, to be honest) and I ordered El Feugo, a spicy soup with a delightful assortment of seafood. Both of us got the non-alcoholic Strawberry Ginger Fizz. So, so good! In fact, everything was delightful. The only disappointment was that we didn't have a refrigerator in our room to take leftovers home to! If you're going to be in the Kansas City area, it's definitely worth the trip.
Without anything left on our to-do list, Prince Charming and I headed back to Chateau Avalon for the night.

In the morning, we enjoyed a fabulous breakfast. A pot of hot chocolate, orange juice, yogurt and granola parfaits, and cinnamon rolls. Everything tasted so good! We got our stuff packed up and taken out to the car so we wouldn't have to worry about packing after our final experience at Chateau Avalon:
A massage!
For both of us, this was a first time experience. Or rather, it was the first time either of us had gotten a professional massage. While Prince Charming chatted with our masseuses for nearly the entire time, I remained pretty quiet. I was simply enjoying the quiet relaxation of the room. Essential oils fragranced the air and soft music played. A similar mural to the one in our room graced one wall of the spa room. It was heavenly! When finished there, it was time to check out and continue on our adventure.

The Flint Hills of Kansas and Clover Cliff Ranch

Clover Cliff Ranch outside Elmsdale, Kansas.
After a stop at Cabela's, because we're outdoorsy, and a stop for lunch, Prince Charming and I left the big city behind. We drove around backroads for research purposes (sorry, readers, can't say more yet!) as we meandered our way to Highway 50 and the Clover Cliff Ranch just outside of Elmsdale, KS. 
Oh my goodness, readers, the stories I could tell there! Originally built in the 1860's, Clover Cliff is the most charming Kansas estate I've ever seen. Susie, co-owner with her husband Warren, gave us a grand tour of the entire house since Prince Charming and I happened to be the only guests for the week. While I didn't get pictures of every room, I fell in love with the entire place and am definitely planning a return visit. Three of the bedrooms are named after the three previous owners, the Blacksheres (original owners and builders), the Donahues, and the Prathers.






Sunset at Clover Cliff Ranch
We stayed in the Lincoln Honeymoon suite, which is where the above pictures are from. Each room is furnished with expertly restored antiques. The attention to detail and authenticity of Clover Cliff is astounding. Even with all the pictures and all the time spent looking around, I know for sure I missed things. After checking in, Prince Charming and I enjoyed a quiet walk outside. The sunset was gorgeous over the Flint Hills and we were delighted to see there was a disc golf course. While I don't play myself, I could see where it would be a lot of fun to learn. And each course marker had a scripture on it, which just made it that much more wonderful. We went inside and enjoyed a quiet, snack-type dinner (after so many restaurants, we were feeling a little overstuffed!
Breakfast is served!
The next morning we enjoyed a delightful, homemade breakfast with a berry crisp, sausage and bacon casserole with cheese, hashbrowns, and eggs, and a wonderful cinnamon roll. Any and all diet goals were thrown out the window, and believe me, friends, I didn't mind in the slightest! Everything was perfect. We enjoyed talking more with Susie and learning about the area. She was everything a good hostess should be and it was a joy and pleasure to meet her.
All too soon it was time to pack our bags and return home to our little ones. Prince Charming and I talked and planned during the majority of the drive. We enjoyed all our experiences, and I will admit, there are a lot of story ideas floating around in my mind.
Despite a rocky planning stage, our anniversary trip was an absolute joy. The opportunity to spend time just as Jonathan and Jess, rather than as Dad and Mom, was so needed and so appreciated. Many thanks to my family for being able to watch our kiddos for us. We're glad all of you survived the encounter, and even still love each other. A big hug and thank you also to the Eastman girls, who watched over Dante during our trip and kept him happy, fed, and loved. We sure appreciate you!






















































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