Zipping Over the Gorge

I’m a big believer in experiences as gifts. A coat will go out of style, small appliances break, we lose interest in toys and electronics but are memories are forever. So my husband and I gave our five children (Josh, 24, Jordan, 21, Joel, 20, Andi, 16 and Joey, 14) an experience gift for Christmas 2014. We booked a beautiful cabin at the Red River Gorge in Kentucky and took all but Jordan, who was pregnant, ziplining last June.

Photo by Josh Stegner

Photo by Josh Stegner

We had planned this trip well in advance so there wasn’t much we could do when we found out it would be pouring down rain all weekend. We weren’t going to let rain and cold stop us though. Ziplining with Red River Gorge Zipline Tours over the Gorge was breathtaking. I won’t lie… the rain hurt my face and I was shivering at times but it was worth it. The tour offered five ziplines anywhere from 330 feet to 1900 feet and lasted about 2-1/2 hours.

We stayed at Red River Gorge Cabin Rentals – A Ma Zing Grace. The four bedroom, two bathroom cabin could easily sleep 12 people so the seven of us were more than comfortable. We stayed out of the rain some by playing board games, pool and watching movies. The kids even embraced the rain with a dip in the hot tub.

gorge hottub

gorge rest

 

We had an amazing view from the cabin.

gorge fog

gorge view

No trip to the Gorge would be complete without a stop at Miguel’s Pizza. It  is just a little family owned business that serves great pizza, bottled drinks and has a cool outdoor area. I definitely suggest checking it out.

gorge pizza

On our way back to the cabin from Miguel’s, we decided to checkout a nearby waterfall.

gorge waterfall j

gorge fall

Natural Bridge is basically next door to the Gorge so we checked it out as well. Some of us had been there a few times but it was a first for some of the kids. They couldn’t believe the gorgeous view. You can hike up to the bridge but we took the Sky-lift.

gorge skylift

We had fun exploring.

gorge tunnle

gorge andi

We stopped on the bridge for a family photo.

gorge natural bridge

All of us loved every aspect of this trip and suggest staying at the cabin I mentioned, enjoying the nature all around the Gorge, checking out Natural Bridge and taking a zipline adventure. This was our last trip before our blended family started to expand. Nick and I couldn’t be happier that Jordan has found Chad and has a gorgeous baby girl. It was nice though to have this one last experience with just mine and Nick’s kids. But I can’t wait to have Chad and Eden join us on our next adventure!

Taking a Break from the Worry

As parents I think we forget to take time for ourselves. My family has been a lot over the last six months (See Catching Up).There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t worry that the LCH is going to reactivate in my son Joey. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t worry how both kids are adjusting to our “new normal,” how Joey’s recovery is going or the endless amount of medical bills that have come along with this disease. In addition to that, I worry about the normal things like the mortgage, my job, laundry, cleaning the kitchen, carpools, my friends’ kids (especially one particular one right now – See Pray For Clay), if the kids are eating healthy enough, etc. It seems to be an endless amount of worry.

My worry was so intense two weeks ago that I literally had a migraine for six days. I would wake up and go to bed with it.  Nothing seemed to help. I tried pain relievers, lots of sleep, prescription medicine, acupuncture, massage and chiropractor. Everything would help or dull it briefly but nothing took it away entirely. I know it was a result of grinding and clinching my teeth, which was a direct result of worry.

I try to do little things for myself like get a pedicure every three to four weeks, hang out with friends or have a glass or three of wine. But I never do much more than that. Honestly, I’m very anal and like to have everything in my life planned. Yes, I’m one of those… a PLANNER. It even drives me crazy. I take months and months to plan vacations. I will review hotels for weeks before making a decision. My planning addiction is what makes me volunteer for everything – Girl Scout Leader, Soccer PA, Fundraisers, etc… I am in control if I’m the one planning it. If I plan it, I know what to expect. Yeah, I have issues.

Last Saturday I woke up with a dull headache but had to do a live interview for my employer. So I dragged myself out of bed, got ready and headed to the studio. I had plans to meet my friends Amy and Christine for a pedicure after. On our way to the salon, Christine mentioned there was going to be a meteor shower that night and how she would love to see it. She also mentioned that she had never been to Red River Gorge. Next thing I know, we are heading home from our pedis to pack our bags, grab our puppies and head to the Gorge. I maybe spent 10 minutes packing. I didn’t even take a flashlight.

We loaded the car and were on our way. Once we got to the area, we started making calls and found a cabin. We went on a hike that evening and the next morning. We spent the evening watching the Meteor Shower and seeing at least two dozen stars shoot across the sky. It was amazing. We also enjoyed a soak in the hot tub and just relaxing on the deck of our cabin while our puppies played. Although my children and everything else was in the back of my head, it was so incredibly relaxing.

I felt completely reenergized after that 30-hour trip. My migraine was finally gone and I even felt like a better mom. This little trip reminded me how important it is for parents to take time for themselves. We need to get away from the stress, take a break from the kids and recharge. I am going to try to make a point to do something for myself every couple months. It might not be an overnight trip every time but it will be more than a pedicure. What have you done lately to recharge?