"In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps."

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Parents Only

Nick and I have always heard that its important for us to have date nights and make sure to keep some “couple time” away for just the two of us.  My parent’s pastor recommends 2 weekends away a year if you can manage it!  However, we have been terrible at keeping this up since moving to Russia.  We already have Agnessa stay with Isla (in our apartment in another room) two evenings a week while we are in our Russian lessons, so we just don’t have the heart to leave her with someone yet another night a week. And actually we didn’t do very good at keeping up with it in the US either – we just don’t like being away from her, we were too broke to hire someone to stay with her, and we didn’t have parents nearby.

So as soon as I found out we would be returning to the US for a while over Christmas, I told Nick that I wanted to try to plan a small away trip for just the two of us and leave Isla with one of our parents.  As it turned out, Nick had to go to Scottsdale, AZ (right next to Phoenix) for a skill development course so we combined the two trips. Best part – part of the trip was on Nick’s company and because of this we got to stay at a beautiful resort right near where his class was.

Before I visited Phoenix I would never have thought that I was a desert person or a sunset person, but oh my goodness Phoenix is a beautiful city.  I would live there in a heartbeat, and they have the most gorgeous sunsets – they just light up the whole sky!  (I stole this picture from HERE).


The beauty of combining our trip with Nick’s work is that he was gone during the day so I had the days to myself in quiet – completely undeserved, but I loved it.  I got the idea from “The Power of a Praying Parent” to set aside some time once a year to meditate and pray over your children (I also added my hubby) to ask the Holy Spirit to reveal specific things that you should be praying about for them throughout the year (in addition to standard things).  I loved that.  So I spent my days praying, relaxing, and working out.  It was lovely and I have some very specific things to pray over for the two of them for the next year.

We had three evenings to spend out.  The first was the night we arrived in Phoenix, we had to eat out and we found out that there was a Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse very nearby and I have always wanted to go there.  Nick of course has been because he gets taken out to all kinds of fancy places working for an Oil and Gas Company and I had been dying to go.  I basically made him take me, but I realize now that it was a mistake.  Nick does not like taking me out to fancy restaurants, even though he is completely delighted when other people take him out (and pay for it).  It puts him a in a bad mood and he is totally unable relax and connect with me.  Not to mention that it annoys me how he is constantly trying to get reorganize our orders so that we get out of there as cheaply as possible! Ugh. Big mistake.  I should have known better.

So our first night out wasn’t such a hit. However I learned from my mistake and I recommended we go to Red Lobster the second night – Nick’s kind of place… yum cheddar biscuits.  And we had a blast! Our self portrait from dinner.

Nick and Stori at dinner

I have always, always, always wanted to go to a really cool Putt Putt Golf place, you know, the kind with windmills and crazy weird courses.  I have only been to Mountasia in Houston when I was a kid, which is totally lame IMHO.  Since we have never been to one that I can remember, we decided to go to one there after dinner.

So. Much. Fun. I can’t believe we have been together almost 9 years (in April) and have never done this!

This is kind of random, but I loved that our balls were pink and blue. Smile.


My favorite spot was a Haunted House putting green!  Oooohhh I love scary things.

Nick Haunted House

My blair witch pose! So scary.

so so so scary

Yes – this place had WINDMILLS!

Nick by windmill

I just liked this particular one – I love that they had a US themed course (there were four total). It made me think of Frontierland at Walt Disney World.

USA girl

Although it turns out that I am not a terrible putt putter – the evening was not without mishaps!  Ooops.  Thank goodness for my gallant knight and ball rescuer.

uh oh

We played two courses and had a lovely time, although the second course had a lot of uphill ramps that were very frustrating and by the end of that one, we were ready to head back to the hotel.

Our third and last night in Phoenix, I really wanted to go to dinner and movie.  We only went to the movies about two or three times a year before we moved to Russia, but since we cannot go to the movies there (they are all dubbed in Russian), I now really get the urge to go when I am in the US.

We started the evening by going to a Cuban restaurant.  I was so excited about this!

Cuban Nick

I heart black beans and fried plantains.  Yummo. I love it so much that I even took a picture of my food. Is that weird?

Yummy Yummy

After dinner we realized that there was absolutely nothing out in theaters that we wanted to see.  I really wanted to see either Moneyball or Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which were only available at a far away dollar theater.  Normally we would be all over that… but then we realized that we could see both of those movies on pay-per-view from the comfort of our hotel room, snuggled up in bed.  Most people who know me, know that I am vehemently against TV in bedrooms… but, it is kind of nice when you are on vacation. 

So after dinner, we returned to our hotel for dessert, went back to our room, changed into our PJs and watched Moneyball together.  It was excellent by the way – I don’t normally like anything to do with sports, but the whole idea of using statistical analysis to build your Baseball team was AWESOME and completely appealed to my inner engineer.

The next night we were on a plane back home to our baby girl. It was a delightful trip.  I treasured the time alone with my husband and we had such lovely talks.   That time alone was much needed – we have had quite the year!

And in case you were worried about Isla – there was no reason to be.  She had a blast with her Cookie!

Isla saw all three of her cousins from my side while she was with my mom.




Isla and Aiden


Isla and Kendall

Also – this video – sinful!  Seriously.  I was horrified when I got it and I texted my mom back that I would never have let Isla do this if I had been there.  Also, I am pretty sure that my mom and Nana would never have let me do this!  Old age is making them soft I tell ya’.

Ok, I was only a little horrified because it is kind of funny, but I still would never have let Isla do this!

I think everyone had a great time during our time in Phoenix, but we were so happy to be reunited with our girl when it was over!

1 comment:

  1. grandparents are definitely different as grandparents than they were as parents!

    glad you had a nice idea!


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