And we're back!
Although I'm kinda doing pouty lips. It was so insanely gorgeous there, we hated to leave! The weather was just painfully beautiful and complete with delicious fresh air, lots of long winding rivers and rolling trees, it was the perfect place for a time out.
I also hated to post this awful picture! But it was the only one I took! Shock! I know. What kind of blogger am I!!!
This was at the very end too, where the entire Strong Bonds group went outside for a group photo. I just kinda grabbed a couple, asked if we could get a photo and this is what we got:) The wind was crazy breezy and SugarCube was having a premature melt down at this point, so I just took what I could get; A "See we where here" photo;)
The SunCadia Lodge was breathtaking and FULL of amenities! We had a very luxurious room with a full kitchen (granite counter tops, stainless steel fridge, microwave etc) awesome beds, beautiful views, an indoor water park, a high-end day spa, a 5 ***** restaurant, very swanky bar, horse back riding, ATVing, guided hikes and fishing and a golf course to die for! You name it, they had it! Of course, all for a price. R and I had thought about using the free daycare on Saturday, after seminar, to go ATVing but YIKES! At $190 a person for 3 hours, no thank you! We've decided to make a trip back there, post deployment, with some cash in hand;)
I couldn't imagine NOT having gone to this retreat. Everything was taken care of which helped make the weekend easy and fun. We were served every meal free of charge, our rooms were paid for and the childcare was free even when we weren't in seminar! We had a fabulous, relaxing, team building, discovering and rediscovering time. We both came away so encouraged and feeling more connected then we have in a while. So, for any of you military couple's out there, if this opportunity comes you way, TAKE IT! It's an all expense paid vacation!
I'm not sure if they use the same material at every Strong Bonds gathering but they should! We sat through and thoroughly enjoyed the "Laugh Your Way To A Better Marriage" video seminar by Mark Gungor. If y'all have never heard of him (which R and I had not) you NEED to look him up!!! He's is a genius when it comes to comedic delivery, understanding men vs. women and explaining why most marriages struggle either a little or a lot! We also completed his online section called "The Flag Page" which really is a 3 step questionnaire (so simple yet EXTREMELY accurate) and results in understanding truly what motivates you, your spouse and what keeps you both happy in life. All of this put together, is POWERFUL stuff y'all. Let me say! R and I have started implementing the things we learned about one another and have, in just 3 days, seen very positive improvement. I was so impressed with Mark Gungor that I found his videos on YouTube and sent them to one of my married sisters. As a gift, I also purchased a flag page for her and her spouse too, and although they are not all the way through the videos and flag page, their already coming across huge self realizations while seeing improved connection. Really good stuff:) If you'd like links and more info, send me an email and I'd be MORE then happy to help!
But back to the retreat! One of my biggest concerns in going was having to put SugarCube in child care. We received an itinerary via email right before we left and I was panicked to see that once we arrived, we had a few hours before the first portion of the seminar. I figured I'd at least have the evening to sleep on it and get comfortable, but nope! The bad thing was, SugarCube was going in right around her bedtime. I figured that could either be a good thing or become a disaster.
After handing her over, which was a knife to my heart, and about fifteen minutes into the seminar, I get a text saying "Alyssa's getting fussy. We've tried her bottle and her diaper is clean but she won't calm down." I had told them it was her bedtime when I checked in so I knew her dilemma and was confused as to why they hadn't tried laying her down. I text them back and ask if I need to come get her, but added, "she is just extremely tired and needs to lay down." Apparently they remembered it was her bedtime, as I was typing, and responded that everything was fine once they laid her down. PHEW! Now to get myself calmed down, AGAIN!
Over the course of the weekend I became more comfortable with leaving her and actually got to where I wasn't dreading it every time. Having her in childcare was a neat experience because we learned some new things about her! SugarCube is actually very social and uber curious about other babies! She doesn't suffer from separation anxiety nor does she tolerate loud talking. And sad as it is, she actually could care less that we're in the room when she's being fed snacks, haha! It definitely sucked being without her at times, and I definitely missed her this weekend, but I'm glad to see she wasn't stressed out over the situation which allowed me to focus and truly get something out of my time there.
So the moral of the story is, we had a great time. We're recharged. I'm encouraged to see my daughter CAN be left in someone elses care and not freak out. And the big one being, after this weekend, R and I are feeling much more confident in ourselves, our marriage and getting through the hardships of this up coming (boo) deployment.