Ten Years

Friday, June 24, 2016

Today is our ten year wedding anniversary. TEN YEARS! 3653 days! I honestly can't believe that Loren and I have been married that long...especially since I haven't aged at all! :)

It's been a wonderful adventure and I'm so grateful to have Loren to experience life with. Obviously, it hasn't been all puppies and rainbows but to know that I have someone to always stand with me, truly calms my heart and gives me peace. They say that the first year of marriage is the hardest, but for us going from year nine to ten was a real doozy. Learning that you can make it through tough times, slight nervous breakdowns (mine not his), health scares, and a total life upheaval and still smile at each other at the end of the day is really a major thing and something I think I took for granted. I'm so happy to have a partner who can see through my "fake it til you make it" BS. While no one is perfect, Loren is perfect for me.

I started thinking about all the things we've experienced since getting married and it was so fun to think about. If my memory is correct (which is able a 50/50 chance) we've visited 11 countries, 22 states, bought and sold our first home, bought our second home, became parents to the best dog ever, Loren got his master's degree, ran A LOT of races, and so much more.

Thanks for reading my mushy post. And Happy Anniversary to my most faithful reader! :)


Weekend Recap

Monday, June 20, 2016

Is it just me or did Monday arrive way too quickly?! My parents came to visit for the weekend and we had such a good time with them. A good mix of getting out and about, relaxing, and getting a few things done around the house. They're good helpers. :) 

It was my Dad's birthday so we had celebrated that and Father's Day by heading to the Chicago Cubs game on Saturday night. It was the first time any of us had been to Wrigley Field so it was pretty exciting...especially for my parents and Loren who really like baseball. And the Cubs won! 

So many blue shirts. The bus ride getting back to our house was a bit of a fiasco so we didn't get home until after 1:00am which I think through Sunday off for us a bit. But after sleeping in and having such pancakes for breakfast we all worked on a few house projects. My Dad and Loren hung up a few things for me and Mom and I worked outside getting flowers planted and the front porch cleaned up. Amazing what a little power washing can do! 

It was a great weekend and I'm glad I was able to spend it with them. I think it's been ten years since I saw my Dad on his birthday! Hope you had a nice weekend too! 


P.S. We also went to see the new Kevin Hart movie Central Intelligence and thought it was hilarious! Check it out if you need a chuckle! :)

Loren the Spartan

Monday, June 13, 2016

I like to use this blog to give a peek into our lives, which means sometimes it's Loren's time to shine and today is one of those days. Yesterday, Loren completed the Spartan Sprint Race here in the Chicagoland area. I'm so proud of him for finishing this race! I went and watched it might be the one and only time I've cheered for a Spartan.

The course was insane. An approximately five mile run with 23 obstacles along the way. And some of them are apparently so "intense" that you have to wait until you get there to know what it is. (Loren was following the red route)

Honestly, having to get over a wall just to get to the start line would've made my eyes well up with tears but Loren was still smiling as he waited for the run to start.

The viewing areas for spectators wasn't great for the beginning of the run so I didn't see Loren until he was arriving at the 16th obstacle. He was already covered in mud and now had to carry a weighted bag through this wooded area.

The next obstacles I saw him complete were the Herc Hoist and Spear Throw.

I hustled over to the finish area to catch him there. A couple walls to get over, a jump over fire, and he was done.

So muddy.

Like I said, I'm so proud of him for doing this run. It looked incredibly difficult and I totally would've chickened out. He's a tough cookie! Love you sweets!

Thanks for reading and feel free to leave Loren a congratulatory comment if you want! :)


Girl Time

Friday, June 10, 2016

I meant to share this post earlier in the week but I've been out of town and didn't get it wrote up. Last weekend one of my dearest friends came to visit and spend some time exploring our new home base. I'm still working on getting a good, quick itinerary for showing people fun things around the Chicago area but here's what we got up to. :)

Friday we spent some time catching up on our back deck just enjoying the sunshine and chatting.

We decided to head in to Downtown Naperville and explore around there while we waited to pick up Loren from the train. There's so much to do downtown and this was really my first time exploring a bit. We had a tasting at Tasting Devine Cellars.

A photo posted by Kristen Ayotte (@kristenayotte) on

They had some nice wine but I was able to walk away without buying a bottle! Not an easy thing for me to do, but our wine collection is getting a little out of hand. We grabbed dinner at a Mexican restaurant that I don't remember the name, probably because the food wasn't very memorable either.

Saturday we took the train into Chicago and wandered around the city for the day. We took our tourist photos at The Bean (aka Cloud Gate) and had a brief photo shoot with some new sculptures.

Next we hit up Navy Pier. It was a somewhat rainy day so we decided against riding the newly opened ferris wheel and just roamed around a bit. For lunch, VerQuel wanted to have some deep dish pizza so we ate at Giordano's.

Giordano's is always yummy but I think I'll try to go during lunch from now on. They had a lunch special that gets you pizza in 15 minutes! Can't beat that! After stuffing ourselves, we took the trolley back to Michigan Ave and browsed the shops along the Magnificent Mile for a bit.

Our final stop of the day was the Signature Room Lounge at the Hancock Center. Going here when we have visitors in town has definitely become a staple but the views are beautiful and instead of paying admission, you pay for a cocktail! Seems like a much better value to me!

VerQuel had to leave on Sunday to head back home so we were pretty low key. We went out and grabbed breakfast and then got our nails done. Perfect Sunday activities, I think! It was such a fun visit and I love having friends over. Can't wait to see this silly girl again soon! :)

Thanks for reading about our shenanigans!

Love, K


Wednesday, June 1, 2016

I'm back! I wasn't feeling myself the past couple weeks so I took a little break (practically a life break...seriously, productivity was non-existent) but I'm feeling better and we just returned from a quick little trip I wanted to share with you.

Loren and I went on our first cruise over Memorial Day weekend! We've put off going on a cruise for years. It just never really seemed like our cup of tea but since moving our usual trip to Vegas became more expensive and the additional travel hours didn't seem worth it. We started searching for some new long weekend alternatives and found a great deal on a Norwegian 3-night Bahamas cruise. Perfect amount of time, and on this cruise the cocktails are included! We were excited about that since we've always heard that's where the cruise ships "get ya". Enough with all that lets get to the fun stuff! :)

We flew to Miami the night before our cruise so we'd have a little bit of time to explore the city. The hotel we stayed at was the Royal Palm South Beach based on a recommendation from a friend and from one of my favorite bloggers Cassie, at Hi Sugarplum.

The hotel was gorgeous and I actually wish we would've had longer to stay and hang out there. It's right on the beach so we did take advantage of that perk...and ended up with some crazy sunburns. But the views, they couldn't be beat.

After sunburning beaching it up, we grabbed our bags and headed to the cruise port terminal. I was so nervous and excited all at the same time. I think I've seen Titanic too many times because the week leading up to the cruise I had several dreams that involved water filling our room and us having to make a run for it. (Obviously I would've shared my door with Loren if it came to that...Rose was so selfish!)

We boarded pretty late in the day so it wasn't long before we were off. The first night was pretty tame. Loren went to the onboard casino for a bit and I read by the pool. The sunset was gorgeous. One that gives you all the feels about life. I was happy to have caught it just in the nick of time.

We woke up Saturday in Nassau!

Loren and I had decided to skip the super spendy Atlantis excursion option and headed to Blue Lagoon Island. It turned out to be the perfect choice for us. Lots of beach chairs, food & drinks, and nice Caribbean water. Of course, it rained briefly while we were there but it wouldn't be vacation for us without getting caught out in the rain! We spent the day alternating between swimming and lounging under our beach umbrella.

We had some FRESH coconut water and man, it was delicious! I don't normally like coconut water but that was some tasty stuff. Loren tried the Bahamas Goombay Punch, I think mostly because the can was funny, but it tasted just like fruit punch. We were able to roam around Nassau before heading back to the ship. The parts available to us seemed like exactly what you'd expect for a tourist area in a beachy locale. We picked up some rum, took a few pics, and called it good.

This is my Kenny G hair style, haha! Saturday night was the White Hot Party on the ship. Loren and I both agreed that we had WAY more fun than we expected to. There was face painting, glow necklaces, and decorations, what's not to like?! We danced it up and had a blast! It seemed like everyone was having fun and it was one of my favorite parts of whole trip.

Sunday morning it seemed like people were slow to rise (us included). A little too much White Hot Partying the night before, perhaps? Sunday we docked at Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian Cruise Line's private island. Much like our time at Blue Lagoon Island, we just swam and relaxed on the beach. Since the island is owned by the cruise line, lunch and drinks were still complimentary all day. That was really nice! And even though there appeared to be two ships worth of people on the island there was plenty of chairs/space for everyone and waiting for food and drinks was pretty painless.

Sunday night was our final night on the ship. We went to a few shows on board including karaoke. The sweetest little girls were so brave and sang "Let It Go" in front of everyone in the audience and it was too adorable. I cried. Haha!

Final thoughts on the trip - Norwegian Sky was a perfect starter cruise for us. I'm not sure that we're "cruisers" in the sense that we'll want to go every year or anything but it was a good time. The shows were much better than I expected, the food was tasty, and the drinks were plentiful. Throw in the sun and sand and it doesn't get much better (well, maybe not having a sunburn). If you're looking for a cruise intro I'd recommend this one for sure.

If you made it this far, thank you! Haha! Hope everyone had a fun Memorial Day weekend! Happy Summertime!

Love, K
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