Stitch Fix Review #1

Happy March everyone!

I know this is a bit different from my typical blog posts but since infertility treatments are on hiatus you get a nice little Stitch Fix review. Are you lazy like I am when it comes to fashion? I hate shopping and I always end up hating what I come home with. It’s hard for me to think of what goes together when I’m not in the comfort of my own closet.

If you haven’t already heard of Stitch Fix here is the low down: You sign up and build your style profile at stitchfix.com and set up a delivery date for your box. You then pay a $20 styling fee and one of their stylists hand picks 5 items for you and include style cards with ideas on how to wear the items. They carry clothes, jewelry, accessories and handbags and I believe you can choose to receive just clothes if you’d like. Oh I don’t want to forget to mention that you don’t get charged for any of the items until you go back to the website and check out to tell them what items you sent back and which ones you kept. And the $20 styling fee is taken off your purchase. If you get all 5 items then you get your $20 taken off as well as a 25% discount! Woot woot! You can even send them the link to your Pinterest page or other social media sites to give them an idea of your style. I used my Pinterest and followed the Stitch Fix page, so I got to pick out dream outfits for them to see as well as pin my favorite Stitch Fix items in stock. And if you decide you’d like to do this for yourself then I’d love to be your referral, if you order a box then I get a $25 credit! Here is that link if you would be ever so kind to use it: https://www.stitchfix.com/referral/4745150

I was excited all week in suspense of receiving my Fix. It was like Christmas morning tracking it and receiving it on Saturday.

Stitchboxstylist card

First, I opened the Market & Spruce Aleah Heather V-Neck Dolman Top- $48

v-neck dolman

I liked the top a lot. The fabric is soft and a good quality. I like the length of the shirt and it’s very versatile. It can be worn to the gym for yoga or to dance class, it can be worn with jeans to the store, with a skirt or nice pants for work and it can be dressed up for a night on the town. I am also obsessed with navy blue clothes. My only complaints are that the arms are a little strange I feel like it made me look bigger than I actually am.

Dolman top

Next is the Pixley Larson Crystal Fringe Statement Necklace: $52

I pinned this on Pinterest and my stylist sent it to me! I adore this necklace. But I had no idea that it was so pricey. Now it feels like it’s good quality, I just have never spent over $20 on a necklace before. It was also missing a diamond so I don’t want to buy it. I sent them an email asking what they do in cases like these, can I buy it at a reduced cost or can I get a new one sent to me if I decide I want it?

fringenecklace

Next is the 41Hawthorn Filbert 3/4 Sleeve Popover Blouse: $58

popover blouse

This is one of my favorite styles in a shirt. My husband commented about how this is my style and I completely agree. On the downside it’s $58 and the fabric wrinkles easily. It is awfully cute, though.

Dolman top 2 Dolman top 3

Next is the Market & Spruce Alan French Terry Asymmetrical Zip Cardigan- $68

zipcardigan

I also pinned this on my Pinterest and I was thrilled to see my stylist sent it to me in black. The fabric is thick, soft and durable. It is incredibly comfortable and it has freakin pockets! It is cute zipped up and unzipped and it can be casual or fancy.

asymmetrical cardi 2                           Asymmetrical cardi

And last but not least are the Margaret M Emer Polka Dot Print High Waisted Cropped Pant: $98

emerpolkadotpantIt took me a while to love these pants. The material makes a swish sound when you walk. It reminds me of the episode of Seinfeld where Costanza bought a cheap suit thinking he got a good deal, only to realize he made a swooshing noise when he walked. They also don’t have any buttons or clasps, they are pull on with a stretchy waist band and I thought that was odd. I got Mediums sent to me and they may be a tad too big because they are longer than I’d like for them to be and a little more loose in the waist and in the calves than I’d like for them to be. I love them now after trying them on with several different things but here are my qualms: I don’t 98 dollars love them. If I’m going to spend a hundred bucks on pants they better fit me to perfection. And I worry about the polka dot print, I’m a psycho and would only want to wear solids on the top if the bottoms are textured/printed. I just don’t have that many tops that would go with them.

polka dot pants 2 polka dot pants 3 polka dot pants

My overall review, I loved my first fix! I hate that I loved it so much because I only planned on buying one item and now I can’t decide. Which ones are your favorite? Please send me any and all feedback, I need help!

Oh and I promise I’m not getting paid by Stitch Fix to say these things. But please do use my referral link to order your own box! Here is that link again: https://www.stitchfix.com/referral/4745150

No Disease or Divorce

First of all, sorry the title isn’t all chocolates and roses. It will make sense later, I promise. 🙂

I hope everyone had a wonderful Valentine’s Day! It came at the perfect time for Josh and I. We were starting to get into a slump. I don’t know if it’s just because we are in a weird period in our lives right now (with not being in a cycle or having much hope for a baby), if it’s just too cold and dreary outside, if Josh is just incredibly busy with growing his business or if it’s just normal for marriages to ebb and flow. Though I am pretty sure it’s a united mix of all the above. Needless to say, I was slapped in the face with the reality that I wasn’t doing enough as a wife to show my love and appreciation for my favorite person on Earth. Side note: sorry for all the anecdotes in this post, but I promise they are relevant!

First, one of my blogging friends started her new blog that will chronicle her new single life after infertility. I got her first post recently and that hit me hard, I really feel for her. Mostly because it terrifies me that this will happen to Josh and I. She seems to be doing pretty great and seems to have come to an understanding as to why things haven’t worked out for her in the past. She has met a man who has the same wants and desires as her and her life seems to be falling into place. Of course I am happy for her but I always worry and wonder if this is why Josh and I don’t have children yet. Are we still childless because we aren’t supposed to be together? I love Josh and I feel he is the perfect man for me but I pray that God doesn’t have other plans.

A few years ago, my cousin and her husband had difficulty getting pregnant and she had some exploratory surgery to figure out why they weren’t conceiving. And that’s when the doctor found her cancer. My belief is that had she not had infertility she wouldn’t have caught her cancer so quickly. Infertility may have just saved her life. And if you don’t know Guiliana Rancic, she and her husband tried for years to have a baby. When they went to do IVF with a new doctor he required her to do a lot of testing to be sure she was healthy enough to have a child, one of those tests was a mammogram and they soon found out she had breast cancer. So infertility may have just saved her life as well. I also hear of a lot of other stories where a husband and wife are infertile, they split up and end up easily having children with their new spouses. That is bittersweet, tragic in that they split up but serendipitous that they both ended up happy in the end.

Lord, whatever plans you have brewing up there, please no disease and please no divorce!

The aforementioned new blog is probably the reason for my nightmare the night before Valentine’s Day. All the details have faded away but the gist was that Josh wanted a divorce and he hated me! I woke up all sweaty and crying, it was so vivid and I was for sure it was real until I was awake for a few minutes. Needless to say, I was determined to make Valentine’s Day very important. I had this great idea that truly belonged to Josh: a few weeks ago I was looking at these cute Valentine’s decorated Rice Krispie treats online and I showed them to Josh. A few days later I came home to this cute basket full of all the ingredients I would need to make the scrumptious treats I so desired. treatsI was a bit lazy and only decorated a few but Josh had made a few comments about how much he loved the ones with icing on them. The rest went bad sitting there for a week, so I woke up super early Valentine’s Day (8am is early for me on a Saturday) and got the ingredients to make more for Josh. I made them and put them in my car for most of the day until I could sneak off into the closet and cut them out with cookie cutters and decorate them. Here is the finished product:

valentines day

I knew he would love the taste of the treats and the thought put into them. But I knew he would mostly appreciate me being chill and relaxed for our Valentine’s date. I love to control things, like…a lot, so it was quite unbelievable that we headed out to our Valentine’s dinner with no reservations. Eeeek! But all ended up working out well. We went to our favorite restaurant but it had an hour and 45 minute wait so we left. We drove around to a few more places and no one had anything available for an hour or more. We came up with the idea to go to a little gem called the Bistro. I called in and it sounded promising and when we arrived another couple had just left the bar so we got seated immediately. They had a Valentine’s Day special: choice of soup or salad and bacon wrapped filet medallions with gorgonzola butter sauce and mashed potatoes and a dessert to share. It was delicious and perfect. And things can work out when they aren’t obsessed over in every single detail, go figure.

Josh got me some beautiful flowers (that looked a lot like my wedding bouquet), cotton candy, cherry Chapstick and Skittles. The man knows me well, y’all. When I woke up that morning I could also see that he planned on making a cute scavenger hunt out of it. My gifts, a card and post its were strewn all over the counter top and my skittles had a note on them that said “this is the first of the riddle, to find your next present, go find the griddle” and he was asleep on the couch with a half eaten bowl of Beefaroni. I could just see it and his attention deficit, he set it all out, wrote about the griddle and realized he was hungry, made food and fell asleep. When he woke up that morning he just went “No, Dammit!” It was the thought that counts anyway.

flowers

So I’d say we had a successful Valentine’s Day and I hope to continue my appreciation and thoughtfulness in our marriage. And I will continue to be thankful to God, give him the control and pray that He has the best laid plans I could ever imagine.

Best wishes,

Kacy

 

 

Empathy vs Sympathy

So what exactly is empathy?

I was reminded of a video called “The Power of Empathy” by Dr. Brené Brown that I’d like to share with all of you. It is a great description of how to use empathy with others. We talk a lot on these infertility blogs about people being insensitive but I think that people truly do care, but just don’t know how to show empathy. This may be a good way to educate our friends and family about how to be there for us.

I hope you enjoy and learn something new.

Best wishes,

Kacy

 

Parent Guilt

The Monday after Christmas my brother-in-law came over to the house to watch a football game. Our dog, Izzie is always incredibly excited to see her Uncle Jordan and she runs around in circles and yelps in excitement. This time she did just the same and when she jumped on the couch she began to wail in pain. I rushed to her side and noticed she wasn’t touching her back right foot to the ground. She was no longer in pain but limped everywhere. Josh took her to the vet the next day and they told us she tore her ACL. Damn it.

We were told she would need surgery and it would cost roughly $2,000. As if the money wasn’t a big enough issue we were also told that she wouldn’t be able to walk excessively, run, jump or climb stairs for at least 8 weeks, ideally 12. She went in for surgery that Friday morning, it was successful and I praised God for that. I constantly have anxiety about something bad happening to my babies so I had convinced myself that something was going to go terribly wrong.

We were given some pain medication, antibiotics and a sedative to keep her calm and “quiet”, meaning she has to be pretty much still outside of potty breaks. She also has to wear a cone due to her being lick happy on the 9 staples she now has on her knee. The first few days were okay, I hated that she was so out of it but it was easy for her to keep still since she was still recovering from surgery. But come Monday she wanted to be able to follow me around all over the house again and chase every noise outside. It has been really difficult to have an eye on her every second. I also never realized until this past week that she is constantly moving around and she always has to be wherever I am. Which means I just carry her everywhere now. I don’t have the heart to leave her in her cage for most of the day. The surgeon also said not to do that if she thrashes around in the cage because it can do just as much damage. Which she does. Lucky us.

But it seems like I can’t do anything right with her. If I sit her down for a second to put my shoes on to take her outside she slips on the tile and falls. If I give her slack on the leash outside she takes off running. If I take my eye off her a second to answer a phone call she jumps off the damn couch. If I even so much as pee I have to put her in her cage or give her to Josh to watch. Josh does this all day as he works from home, by the way. I told a friend that we basically have a newborn that can get up and walk. Not to mention the emotional pain from forcing my once active dog to be still and calm when all she wants to do is be a dog. She doesn’t understand why she can’t do anything.

I feel so guilty about everything. I have even wished I didn’t have her as a dog because she has had so many health issues. And it doesn’t help that Josh is pointing out everything that I do wrong with her. Is this what being a parent will be like all the time? If so, I don’t know if I want to or can do it. That’s the thing about having to spend thousands to have your own kiddos, you really think a lot about whether or not it is worth it. I can’t help but wonder if this is why we haven’t been given our own children yet. Maybe we would be really bad parents. It has only been a week and we are already criticizing each other non-stop and wanting to strangle each other we are so stressed. One week down, 7 to go.

cone

Pray for us,

Kacy

 

 

December Photo Challenge Completed!

Decemberphotochallenge

I must admit it was pretty difficult to complete this challenge. December is insanely busy. In retrospect I should’ve chosen a more boring month, like January or February. But it’s neither here nor there. Here are my pictures for the month!

Day 1: Me!

Me

Day 2: Peace. I am just obsessed with my Christmas tree and ornaments!

Peace

Day 3: Heal. I chose this one because I was lifting weights while lying down and this silly goose came and stood on my stomach. I was cracking up and just completely happy.

Heal

Day 4: Tree

Tree

Day 5: Party. I chose party for the day because I knew my work Christmas party was today. Josh and I had a great time!

Party

Day 6: Family. I just love them.

Family

Day 7: Season. Tis the season to decorate the mantle! Seriously, it looks so naked now that the decorations are gone.

Season

Day 8: Favorite. I love when winter comes because then little gem gets to come out! It has to be my favorite smell.

Favorite

Day 9: Festive. This is my neighbor’s house and he does a great job decorating it every year. The lights change colors, sometimes they are green, sometimes red, sometimes multi-colored and some days each light changes colors, like on this day.

Festive

Day 10: Gratitude. I am so thankful for this handsome, loving man. This picture is from the Christmas party, so I cheated a little.

Gratitiude

Day 11: Sweater. Look at my little shoogie in her sweater.

Sweater

Day 12: Heart. I know that Izzie gets on here two days in a row but it just so happened that her birthday is December 12th.

Heart

Day 13: Give. I love buying presents and I love wrapping them to be incredibly pretty!

Give

Day 14: Merry. I get so excited to work around Christmas and other holidays because of art projects. I love going to Michael’s and getting crafts for half off!

Merry

Day 15: Sparkle. Just some more Christmas decor.

Sparkle

Day 16: Lights. Here is the outside of our house. Josh can put lights on a bush like no other.

Lightschallenge

Day 17: Calm. I worked with these 3 wonderful ladies for my first full-time job out of college. It has been 5 years since I have worked with them but we try to meet up quarterly for dinner. And we can talk for hours and hours. They are some great, supportive friends and I will cherish them forever. They all have the heart of a social worker and for that we are soul mates. 🙂

Calm

Day 18: Home. We didn’t buy it brand new and we didn’t build it with our own hands but we built it with our dreams and hard work.

Home

Day 19: Night. I love walking the dogs at night this time of year. It doesn’t matter how many Christmas lights I look at, it will never be enough.

Night

Day 20: Silver. Okay so it’s white gold but it looks silver. I still get butterflies every time I look at my ring. Josh picked it out with the help of my cousin!

Silver

Day 21: Decorate

Decorate

Day 22: Tradition. I have to watch this movie every year for Christmas. I usually watch it while I’m wrapping presents. “I feel it in my fingers, I feel it in my toes.”

Tradition

Day 23: Patience. I have to take Provera for 10 days and wait for my cycle to start to meet with the doc. Infertility is always about waiting.

Patient

Day 24: Jolly. Here’s my cousin, my Aunt, my Mom and I on Christmas Eve.

Jolly

Day 25: Christmas or Holiday. I can’t believe I didn’t take one picture of family on Christmas day.

Christmas

Day 26: Cozy. I feel the most cozy cuddling with my girls or Josh on our sectional in the living room.

Cozy

Day 27: Boots.

Boots

Day 28: Winter Wonderland. Lucky for me it snowed the day before.

Winter Wonderland

Day 29: Celebrate. The snowman is definitely celebrating something.

celebrate

Day 30: Resolution. My resolution for 2015 is to dance more and give more time to hobbies.

Resolution

Day 31: New Year’s Eve. I did pretty good and then I forgot all about the New Year’s Eve picture! So here’s one from the internet.

2014, you were a pretty difficult year, our most difficult yet. You were a huge hurdle our life. There were still many positive things about you but I am very glad we are moving forward.

goodbye-2014-welcome-2015-568x426Have a Happy New Year, all!

Kacy

December Photo Challenge

Decemberphotochallenge

Please join me and Laura at Making Baby Provence in our December Photo Challenge! I will be doing it daily and posting it on my Instagram account (1stcomesloveblog). I will also share it here on the blog periodically, similar to how I did for the October Photo-a-Day Challenge. I understand life gets busy sometimes so I may also share a few days at the same time. I don’t like to be on social media on a daily basis anyhow. So, if you would like to join please feel free to do so in any way that you choose. Just use the word prompts for the day as literally or figuratively as you wish! Some days you may feel more creative than others. But I would love to see what you all come up with. So follow me on Instagram or send me your blog posts if you post them there! I tried to make it universal to all religions and holidays but I am only familiar with Christmas traditions.

What to Say When Someone Loses a Child

I just wanted to share this blog post from Scribbles and Crumbs. I know that my loss may not be comparable to those who had a child that was born and died or to those who miscarried in later weeks but there are so many of us out there who can relate. And I know of many caring people who would want to know how to best love a person who has experienced such a tragic loss.

I Am Still Thankful for My Infertility + BlogHop Thanksgiveaway Winner!

Thankful Chalkboard Sign

I hope everyone had a safe and blessed Thanksgiving!!!

It’s hard to believe that I started this blog over a year ago. One of my first posts was called I Am Thankful for My Infertility and it is one that I am the most proud of having written. I am proud because it has changed the way I think about events in my life. Every time I get a negative ovulation test (which is every day), every time I have got a negative pregnancy test and when I got that dreaded call from my doctor telling me there was no longer a progressing pregnancy, I did the only thing I could think of to do. I made a mental list of all the things I am grateful for. There are every day things I am grateful for, the things I take for granted that many others pray for daily. I have a wonderful handsome husband and two precious little pups. We live in a beautiful home in a safe and attractive neighborhood. Both of my parents are still alive and I have great relationships with them. My job pays well, is rewarding, exciting, flexible and always keeps me on my toes. There are very few days that I dread going to work… and I never thought those words would come out of this lazy girl’s hands. Not to mention my co-workers and supervisors are all very supportive and understanding. I am also thankful for having the most caring friends imaginable.

It has become easy to think about everyday things that I am thankful for, the most difficult challenge is when I have to be thankful for the hardships in my life. I try every day to be thankful because of my infertility, not in spite of it. The theory behind Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is that our thoughts become our feelings. So if you can change negative thought processes to be more positive then one can change their emotional state as well. I think I am genetically and behaviorally predisposed to being a Negative Nancy so I have to try extra hard to think those positive thoughts.

I know that having infertility has continued to strengthen my marriage. When I married Josh, I never thought I could feel so much love for a person. I am bonded to him more than I could ever be to anyone in this world. My feelings for him transcend romantic love, so much so that I feel I have no words to describe it. This man shows me unconditional love on a daily basis. He probably doesn’t even know that he sets a great example for how to love. I may get grumpy and complain that he doesn’t spend enough time with me, that he plays too many video games or that he procrastinates and has trouble finishing tasks (seriously, my chandelier has been halfway hung since last December and the leaves have been raked into piles for two days now). But I am learning how to appreciate him for who he is and learning to love how video games recharge him and how task jumping keeps him motivated to do so many productive things. I learn by imitating him and he never complains about me. And I can guarantee it isn’t because I am perfect and there is nothing to complain about: I can never make up my mind, I get bored with life easily, I am NOT good at entertaining myself and I complain about everything. But you will never hear him say that to me or anyone else.

I am also thankful for my continued and ever improving relationship with God. I always kind of doubted Christianity, probably because of my Native American origin. I don’t know if I was raised to be more spiritual or if it’s just natural. If I had to sum up my beliefs it would be that humans, animals and Earth are all connected and that nothing happens by accident. The concept of Christianity always seemed so magical and unbelievable, but then again so are my core beliefs. And I always wondered why people turned to God in times of need. I thought you should just be angry at God if you don’t have what you need. But I see now that we can’t all have what we THINK we need. If so this world would be full of overabundance and superfluous things. And if I got what I prayed for I would be married to Jason from 2nd grade and have a pony. I still believe in the connection of everyone and everything, I just see it more from a Christian perspective. And I see that He was here for me all along and it was me that had to go to Him. I still lose my way from time to time and continue to think that I have control over anything. Putting all of my worries into God’s hands has made me a new person. It is still hard sometimes and I still feel like a total phony talking about it but I am continuing to grow in my faith.

And last but not least, I am thankful for the people it has taken out and brought into my life. For a while I thought infertility took my friends away from me. But I see now that it just brought my real friends to me. I never expected to form the relationships that I have now but I am so grateful for them. I am still blown away by the support I get from my friends from real life on Facebook and friends on this blog. The negative, doubtful side of me just gets angry that I didn’t appreciate them sooner, but I know that all things are supposed to be as they are. So thank you to everyone who sends me kind messages of support, comments on my blog and even like my Facebook posts. I may not always acknowledge you but I see you and appreciate you more than you know. I am just not very good with showing love and care.

But enough of my blabbing, let’s get to the winner of the Bloghop Thanksgiveaway! It was difficult to match all the commenters to those who follow my blog so I decided to just put all the names of the commenters and those who followed my blog in the past week into a list on random.org and let it choose the winner at random. I wish I could give all of you something! I am so thankful for all of you who commented and followed my blog!!!!!!

thanksgiveaway

And the winner of the beautiful Prayer Wish Box necklace is…….

giveawaywinner

To claim your prize, send an email to cvasallo.etsy@yahoo.com to customize your necklace and give shipping information. For those of you who didn’t win my blog prize, head on over to the other blogs to see if you won there!

Making Baby Provence

Dreaming of Dimples

Infertile Myrtle

Miss.Conception Coach

You can also go to the Fertile Gems shop and get a discount! The code is for 25%OFF anything in the shop is : BLOGHOP14 and it expires Nov 30th.

Thanks again for entering!

Kacy

Blog Hop Thanksgiveaway

thanksgiveaway

It’s time for the Blog Hop Thanksgiveaway!!! Here is your chance to win your very own piece of Fertile Gems jewelry!

Again, here is the necklace that I received from the giveaway I won on the Fertile Gems Facebook Page:

Hope

This particular piece is the Original Always & Forever Necklace by Fertile Gems and was designed with two healing gemstones: Rose Quartz and Freshwater Pearl. Inside the package I found information on the necklace and its stones: The Rose Quartz is known as the stone of the heart that symbolizes unconditional love and fertility. It aids in reducing stress and improves hormones so one is able to heal from loneliness and heartache. The Freshwater Pearl is known to contain the power of love and symbolize a pure heart and mind. It can heal the negative inner voice a person may experience, remove negativity in one’s life and assist in healing struggles (it’s also my birthstone). And it includes a swarovski crystal of our baby’s birthstone. He/she would’ve been born in May so I chose the Emerald birthstone.

It also came beautifully and thoughtfully packaged, it even included some baby dust!

Fertilegems

So you’d like to win one for yourself you say? All you have to do is comment below telling me a bit about your story and where you are in your fertility journey. Also, follow my blog (for those of you who don’t know how to do that, go to the right side of the page and follow to the category that says Follow and click the button) You can also enter your email address and Follow by email. All it does is send you a notification anytime I add a new blog post. And lastly, go like the Fertile Gems Facebook Page. Here is the necklace that Crystal at Fertile Gems has so kindly agreed to give away. It is the Prayer Wish Box necklace. You can pick the two desired gemstones and choose between a round and square prayer wish box.

prayerwishbox

And that’s not all.  You not only have one chance to win, you have FIVE chances! I have teamed up with these other wonderful bloggers in this Blog Hop Thanksgiveaway and they all picked different pieces of jewelry to give away on their blogs to their followers.

Dreaming of Dimples

Making Baby Provence

Miss.Conception Coach

Infertile Myrtle

You can also enter into these giveaways by going to their blogs and following their instructions to enter in their giveaways. Also, take some time and look around, they have some great blogs! We will announce the winners on Black Friday (November 28th).

Good luck!

Kacy

Our Week in the Mountains

After our miscarriage I just had to get away. I felt like running away, going anywhere and forgetting about who I was for a while. I told Josh that I no longer cared about saving money and that a vacation would save my soul. And it did, for the most part. Here’s the story of our wonderful week in Branson, Missouri.

Day One:

We set off on our 3 1/2 hour journey around 6am on a Saturday morning. What a great start to a vacation!

sunrise

We dropped the dogs off at Camp Little Paws in Branson to stay for the day while we went to Silver Dollar City. We had to go Saturday because park closed for an entire week on Sunday. We couldn’t check into our hotel until 4pm that day so we needed a place for the furkids to stay. It is a little off the beaten path,  but I highly recommend them, they accommodated us well and it only cost us $40 for the day for both of them. It is just 5-10 minutes away from Silver Dollar City. The girls also seemed to be fairly happy when we picked them up that night (and they hate being left alone).

sdc

Silver Dollar City was celebrating its last Day of the National Fall Harvest. They were closing down to get ready for Christmas. It was holiday confusion on crack, there were Halloween decorations mixed with pumpkins and cornucopias for Fall. The park was also adorned with American flags for Veteran’s Day as well as Christmas wreaths, trees and lights. The whole town of Branson seemed to be in Holiday Limbo. But I did love getting to see so many Christmas lights in October. 🙂 A very nice woman came over us when we got to the entrance and asked if I’d like to use her guest pass that she gets with her Season passes. That was a great money saver, in fact when she approached us I was frozen due to sticker shock. I really enjoyed Silver Dollar City, I love how all the employees get into character, down to their bonnets, overalls and traditional dresses. Josh and I walked around the shops and rode a few rides. Josh’s highlight of the entire trip was the Giant Barn Swing  Giant Death Swing.

giantbarnswing

Okay, so it probably isn’t as dramatically scary as I’m making it sound. But right before you get on the swing you are told to stand on a number and I was given the number 13. I’m not normally superstitious but I have a bit of an issue with amusement park rides. My Dad often complains to me about how he would stand in line with me for 30 minutes to get on a ride and I would chicken out when it was my turn. So Josh traded me spots, then I became convinced that I just gave us both bad luck. Then the ride operator yelled at Josh to put his hat and my purse in a cubby and he barely made it back in time to strap in before the ride began. So you see, I was already mildly arrythmic before the ish even started.

funhouse

Me inside of “Grandpa’s Mansion”

Josh also talked me into going down into “Marvel Cave”. You have to walk down 600 stairs to get to the bottom of the cave. It takes an hour just to get to the other side where you ride a cable car back up to the surface. Yes it is dark, cold and there are bats. And I’m not sure if the tour guide was joking or not, but he says that the cable car doesn’t work sometimes so those tours have to walk all the way back, resulting in a 2 hour tour. Here are some pictures down in the cave.

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We stayed in a gated golf resort community in Branson West called Stonebridge, about 5 minutes from Silver Dollar City and about 10 minutes from Branson’s main street. The property is 3,200 acreas and includes different sections, or neighborhoods. There are homes ranging from $150,000 to a million bucks or more, some small condos, cabins and hotel rooms. Some of the homes, condos,  cabins and apartments are for rent, some are timeshares and some are owned. We were given the option to attend a timeshare meeting and get 50% off our next stay but that was Sunday morning at 9 and….just no. No one pressured us at all and we were pretty much left alone to our cabin. The property is so huge it took about 5-10 minutes to get from the entrance gate to get to our cabin, the community even has its own water tower and an alternate entrance near Silver Dollar City. Here are some pictures.

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Day 2: We went shopping at Branson Landing and Tanger Outlet Mall. I really enjoyed Branson Landing, it includes a Bass Pro Shop, Charlotte Russe, Kirkland’s, Build-A-Bear and numerous restaurants and specialty stores. I was especially surprised to see a Tervis Store and pleased to find The Cardinal’s Clubhouse where they sell only St. Louis Cardinals memorabilia. We sat outside on the patio and ate at Cantina Laredo, we even got to watch a fountain show right from our seats. The food was great but I enjoyed the atmosphere even more.

We also stopped in at the Shepard of the Hills Inspiration Tower on the way back to our cabin. I kept seeing it from a distance and was really curious as to what it was. It is a 230 foot tall observation tower. It costs $10 a person to ride up glass elevators to the top where there are panoramic views of the city and Table Rock Lake. You can even see as far as the Boston Mountains in Arkansas.

I stole this photo off of Google, but I wanted to give proof that people zipline off of this tower! It’s called The Vigilante and it’s absolutely, positively crazy.

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hillsThe view from the parking lot was pretty great too!

Day 3: Josh golfed and I enjoyed nature and the sights at The Ledgestone Golf Course at our Resort. From what I understood from Josh and our golfing partner, the course is pretty tough and it kicked Josh’s butt. But there are some great views of the mountains, hills and Stonebridge homes. It was a perfect 70 degree day and I got a little picture-taking happy. We also went hiking on the property for a few miles. We got pretty high in elevation and got a pretty good workout.

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That evening, we went to Level 2 Steakhouse at the Hilton at Branson Landing. It was a very fancy restaurant decorated with red ceilings rafters, black chandeliers and dim lighting. I remember specifically that their chairs were incredibly comfortable, like mini recliners. We asked our waiter at Cantina Laredo to recommend the best steakhouse in town and this is one of the places he referred to us. I had to Tomato Basil Bisque which melts in your mouth and a Caesar salad which was a tad too fishy for my taste. Josh ordered a Tomato Basil Bisque and a Kansas City Strip with Whiskey Sauce and Brandy Peppercorn Sauce on the side. He also got mashed potatoes to go with the steak. Sides don’t come with your meal, all of the dishes are a la carte, very large and meant for sharing. Your waiter brings a whole tray of knives to your table and gives you a description of the knives for you to choose. It was pretty interesting, you are also given a stainless steel knife stand. I didn’t even know that there were so many different types of knives and that it made a difference on which one you used to cut steak. I just chose the dainty looking one with serrated edges. We shared the steak and I snuck in some bites of the mashed potatoes (since they aren’t on my diet). I loved the steak with the Brandy Peppercorn sauce. I also thought the mashed potatoes were heavenly, but I’m often deprived of potato love. We both had steak left over when we split it between the two of us, so it was pretty large and filling. Here is a picture of my salad. This, my friends and followers, is what I call food art.

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Day 4: We slept in and then went to Dogwood Canyon Nature Park about 45 minutes away in Lampe, Missouri. The park has a very scenic, paved and level walking trail. It was $13.95 per person plus $2.95 per dog per day to go hiking. The paved trail is 3 miles one way and crosses over the Arkansas border. We only went 2 miles in for a total of 4 miles. There is also an unpaved, nature hiking trail that goes pretty high in elevation, we didn’t take that trail due to it not looking as scenic on the map. There were things to see in every direction. There were streams and waterfalls all along the trail, along with beautiful trout swimming in the water (that Izzie was terrified of).

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Day 5: We ate at one of the cutest places in town, The Bradford Eatery located at the Bradford Inn Bed and Breakfast. It is only open Wednesday- Saturday from 11am-2:30pm but trust me, it’s worth it to carve it into your schedule if you are visiting. Josh ordered the Chicken Pot Pie with the Bradford House Salad and a Strawberry Lemonade. I got a Spinach Quiche with a Bradford House Salad and a Coke. We shared our meals and loved each of them equally. We also shared a piece of Strawberry Rhubarb Pie a la mode. It was delicious. From what I hear, they run out of dessert fast so get there early! They were running low when we were there and that was at noon. We ate outside on the back deck, which has a wonderful view of Branson. We were the only ones on the back porch, which was surprising since it was fairly nice outside. There were a lot of people inside and several waiting for a table, I figured it was a pretty lucrative business.

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Afterwards we drove down to Ridgedale, Missouri to visit Big Cedar Lodge and the Top of the Rock. This is Johnny Morris’ (the founder of Bass Pro Shops) property. We didn’t actually visit the hotel, we went through the Lost Canyon Cave and Nature Trail. It costs $20 a person to ride in a 4 person electric car through the trail. There were some good views and it was pretty well worth the money. They were doing construction and it kind of ruined it for me, mostly due to the fact that I could see them making the waterfalls. I wanted to at least pretend that they were real.

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You can also board a shuttle to go to the Par 3 golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus and visit The Osage Restaurant, Arnie’s Barn, The Buffalo Bar, The Wine Cellar or the golf pro shop. There is also a wedding chapel and honeymoon suite on site, overlooking Table Rock Lake. If Josh and I ever get married again, this is where we are going.

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That evening we attended The Revollusionists Magic Show at Music City Theater. You have to go to a show when you are in Branson. So many of them look cheesy and have mixed reviews. Josh was interested in this show and every review was pretty positive. Josh called and bought tickets in the front row! I was worried they were going to call us up on stage, but luckily we had an outgoing audience full of willing volunteers. My favorite part was when one of the magicians made a motorcycle appear and then disappear on stage. They had 4 different magicians that night, each specializing in different types of magic. There were a lot of mind-boggling tricks that I had never seen before. It was Revolutionary. Haha. The real stars were the female assistants. They were in almost every act and had to put themselves in many less than desirable positions, yet they don’t get much recognition in the show or on the promo posters. I don’t even think they introduced them by name. Out of 5 stars I would give it 4, just because the theater was less than desirable. It looked like a dollar movie theater inside. Of course I really have nothing to compare it to as I’ve never been to a show in Branson before. But I definitely recommend the show. And the cotton candy. 😉

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Day 6: We packed up and headed home. We stopped at Natural Falls State Park in West Siloam Springs, OK on the way home. The cost was $4 per car. The park features a 77-foot waterfall cascading through rock formations. You can walk through the Dripping Springs Trail to a railed observation platform that allows hikers to overlook the falls and there is another observation deck with seating located at the foot of the falls. There are several short hiking trails throughout the park and you can travel down the the valley where there is a crystal blue lake (more like pond) where the water from the falls pool up. We took the Ghost Coon trail, which is 1 1/4 miles. It wasn’t very scenic, however there were some hills and tough spots, but mostly enjoyable for a beginning hiker. Our dogs had a great time as well and weren’t panting too hard.

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And then on home. I got to feeling pretty sad when we got home. Not because I don’t have an amazing life. My life is pretty great and I had a lot to come home to. But I was smacked in the face with the reality that I am still coming home with empty arms. We didn’t talk about fertility on our trip at all. We usually talk about what we’d do when we bring our children back but this time we just focused on what we could do as a couple and with our furkids. So maybe it was just because I hadn’t thought about it much that whole week. Maybe it was because as soon as I got home my neighbor asked where our baby was. WTF?!? Truth is, vacations are great but they can’t heal grief. It can help you forget about it for a while but it’s always there. But I was recharged and ready to get back to work. Which is just what I needed.

Best wishes,

Kacy