October 16, 2014

Update

I've spent more on co-pays lately than groceries (no really, I have). From CT scans to weird hearing tests, to meetings with audiologists and my ENT, I feel like I've been living in their office. The good news is that it's not a brain tumor and there are no blockages in my arteries or veins. So yay for that! The bad news is...well, it's complicated.

The official diagnosis is something called Superior Semi-Circular Canal Dehiscence Syndrome (SCDS for short). Essentially, there is a piece of bone in my skull, which has either broken off or has simply worn away, causing a gap between my ear and brain. My CT scan results showed a pretty clear difference between my right and left side, and some subsequent testing I've had done has confirmed it.  My doctor has recommended I move forward with surgery to fix the broken bone. ::Deep breaths:: It's not a simple or easy surgery and there are only 3-5ish specialists in the country who do this type of surgery, the best ones being at UCLA and Johns Hopkins.

There is a surgeon in Colorado who has some experience with this surgery (how much, I'm not sure yet). So I have an appointment with him on Monday to just ask questions and get a feel for his confidence. I also have a consultation set for January 15th (I'll go in sooner if I can!) at UCLA with a neurosurgeon and neurotologist. Then we'll figure out when to schedule surgery. That's about all I know at this point.

I'm doing pretty well all things considered. Last week was a hard week. Really hard. I felt like fear and discouragement were suffocating me.  But this week has been better! And it certainly doesn't hurt when your sweet husband brings home flowers and candy and takes you out on dates every other day. He is the best!

I'm trying to keep my eyes focused on Jesus. I've been praying a lot for God's peace and comfort. He is so quick to come to our rescue when we are troubled! He's been so faithful to me up to this point. He has brought me through so much, I know He'll continue to strengthen me and support me through this too!

October 1, 2014

This & That

It's been a while since I did one of these bad boys...here we go!


  • I'm still struggling to adjust to life after Cayman ("awww poor baby" I can hear you all say). It's getting better, but I just still feel disoriented every now and then. Getting back into the routine of work and life has been no fun. I find myself asking very existential questions like....why do I need to work? Why can't we all just lay on beaches and play in the ocean? What's the point of laundry? 
  • My mom, sister and I took a quick little trip to Telluride when I got back from Cayman, making my transition into reality even harder. Going from one paradise to another....it makes reality very unappealing. Telluride was amazing! We hiked, 4-wheeled, ate good food and stayed in an awesome condo. Telluride will always hold a special place in my heart after David and I went there after we lost our baby. There's something about that place...it's good for my soul.

     Pretty little sister!
     Jenny and I dragged my poor mom up a pretty steep hike that she wasn't exactly loving. I kept saying "just a 1/4 mile left to go! Just around this corner! Just over this ridge!" She did all 8 miles, we were all so proud! Way to go mom!
  • I've developed a weird little health problem. I can hear my heartbeat in my ear. Yes, you read that correctly. I can hear my heartbeat in my right ear. It's a like a whooshing noise that never goes away. It's been going on for about 8 weeks now. My optimistic husband said "well, at least it's audible confirmation that you're alive!" (thanks babe!), but in reality, it's no fun. I started seeing a specialist who is having me go through a series of tests to try and figure out what's going on. I had a CT scan yesterday and an MRI is on the horizon. I don't like to get ahead of myself, but it's kind of hard to ignore your doctor when he says "we need to rule out the possibility of a brain tumor and/or obstructions in your arteries and vascular system." Awesome. So there's that....
  • We bought another car! Before you go making judgements on our rock-n-roll lifestyle (2 cars and like 18 vacations in one year?! These people must be loaded!), you must first know that we are maybe the most frugal people that ever lived and we squirrel money away like it's our job. Not that I have to explain ourselves, but our actions this year have been a little....out of the ordinary and people are starting to wonder....I've already had one person ask if we won the lottery ;)  Annnnyways, my little Corolla has been creeping slowly up towards 200,000 miles and we both knew it was time to trade it in before it bit the dust one of these days. Plus, I really wanted a car with All-Wheel Drive so that I feel a bit more in control when it snows. I drive an average of 30,000 miles/year, so being safe is super important! Eventually we settled on a Subaru Legacy. It's perfect for me! It gets great gas mileage (up to 36 mpg), it's full of air bags (9 of them, if I remember correctly) and it has full-time AWD so I'll feel better in the snow. I don't actually have the car yet, it's on backorder because they're selling so well, but I should have it in a few weeks. Weeeee!
  • While we're on the topic of buying new things.....David and I are talking about moving (keyword: talking). Eeeek! I know, it feels like we just built this house. Although it's been almost 4 years, it feels like we haven't been here long. But, we think it's time to probably sell and buy somewhere closer to his job. Poor David's commute to work is getting a little out of hand. What should be a 20 minute drive has turned into 35-90 minutes each way due to the amount of stupid new people moving to our area and crowding the roads with their stupid cars  growth our area is experiencing. As much as we love our home, it's slowly becoming impractical to live here. David will likely spontaneously combust if he has to keep this commute. Thankfully, our area is pretty popular and home values have gone waaaaay up, so we should make enough on the sale of this house to fund a move further north. We're not 100% sure where or when we're moving, we just know we have to get closer to his work. We probably won't do anything until after the new year, but we've definitely started researching and exploring! It's fun to dream and scheme....
  • I did decide to sign up for a fall class at Denver Seminary. I settled on Ecclesiology & Eschatology, taught by an amazingly gifted professor. So far, I'm way over my head. I'm one of 3 women in the class, surrounded by 5th year M.Div students. It's all quite complex and overwhelming, which just makes me grateful that I'm auditing and not taking it for credit :)
  • Fall! Fall is here my friends!!! Colorado has been pretty out of control in terms of fall beauty this year. Goodness, it's been magical!

     David and I took a little fall hike this weekend. One of our favorite traditions is taking a fall drive, combine with a little hike through the aspen trees. We used to go to Rocky Mountain National Park each year, but the crowds have gotten beyond what we can bear on the weekends, so we opted for a less popular area. Still beautiful, just less tourists. Yes!!

    We saw less than 10 people on the trail during our hike. There was a cold front that had settled in on our state, so we had crisp fall air to hike in. It was cool. It was quiet. It was peaceful. It was beautiful. It was perfection! Happy fall! :)

September 18, 2014

Cayman

Grand Cayman is a keeper for sure. We had the trip of a lifetime! It was so peaceful, relaxing and beautiful. It's hard to believe we've been back for a week already!

When we first arrived, I wanted to keep track of everything because I thought I would do a day-by-day blog post that outlined what we did each day. And then I realized all of our days were going to look the same: drink coffee on the beach, relax on the beach, float in the ocean, take a walk, read on the beach, eat yummy dinners at awesome restaurants. Repeat. So I scratched my day by day plan in favor of just a big summary.

In summary, Grand Cayman was awesome! We did everything I mentioned above for 2 weeks and it was glorious. About 5 days in, we both sort of slipped into a island mentality where nothing really mattered except what time happy hour started at the beach bar and when the tide was coming in.

We stayed at a precious little boutique hotel called the Grand Cayman Beach Suites. It's hurricane season the off-season in the Carribean so we got a killer deal and managed to pretty much have the resort to ourselves. There were maybe 10 other hotel guests staying there with us, it was nice and quiet! Our hotel was right on Seven Mile Beach, so we were able to walk to lots of restaurants enjoy lots of beautiful Carribean sunsets.

One day we felt really adventurous so we took a catamaran snorkeling trip and got to see a ship wreck and some beautiful coral reef. I'm a certified diver, but due to some current health issues I had to stay above the surface. It was still neat to see everything below! There were only 4 other people on the boat with us and the captain seemed a little annoyed with his crew so he let David drive for a while. ;) That was about all that happened on our big adventure day.

We rented a car (let's talk about how fun it is to drive on the left-hand side of the road while also maneuvering round-a-bouts!) so one day we drove around the entire island. It actually took a long time considering it was an island. We headed out to a place called Rum Point and Starfish Point. Neither of us had rum at Rum Point or saw any starfish at Starfish Point. Oh well, still lovely to see!

The rest of our time was spent in a somewhat vegetative state on the beach. It's amazing how listening to the ocean waves 8 hours a day an change your whole mentality! We literally spent all day reading, napping, floating in the calmest and clearest water I've ever seen, and taking long walks on the beach and enjoying the sunshine together.

To be perfectly honest, I'm still struggling to adjust back to life at home where everything feels so fast paced and stressful. I just feel all outta sorts, ya know? I don't even feel like I can write a proper blog post, this one feels so choppy. Blech. For real though, I'm happy to be home, but I definitely feel overwhelmed by being back in reality. Taking a 2 week vacation in the middle of wedding season wasn't my brightest idea. I came home to about 350 emails and roughly 15,000 photos to be edited. Thankfully once next week is over (5 weddings in one week for my company. Eeek!) things will slow way down and my off-season will begin. Until then, I'll just be scrolling through our photos of Grand Cayman, pretending that I'm sitting on a beach listening to the ocean waves.

(Considering I'm operating at about 23% mental capacity right now, I don't have the energy to deal with Blogger's photo formatting issues. Sorry the photos aren't aligning properly!)




 I found my one shoulder dress! It was ridiculously short for my comfort level, so I wore it with leggings. Still a win!
 The best part was celebrating our 8th wedding anniversary together. We went to the BEST oceanfront restaurant, Lucca, which was a 10 minute stroll down the beach from our hotel. We ate lobster and steak and some yummy lemon dessert stuff. It was a great way to spend our anniversary! Marriage just seems to get sweeter as the years go by. I absolutely adore this man, I can't imagine life without him! I think it's pretty awesome that we can travel for 2 weeks together and be by each other's side 24 hours a day without wanting to strangle each other haha! God sure did bless me with a great travel partner!
Always the adventure seeker....

 Rum Point had a fun sign about all the different hurricanes that came close or hit the island






 David sailing our catamaran. I think he was tempted to head towards Jamaica :)
Hahahah, the most random snorkeling selfie ever. I promise we didn't mean to take this picture, but I like how it turned out!




August 19, 2014

Paradise Essentials

Again, if you're prone to jealousy, this might not be the post for you! Just sayin....

With our Cayman Island vacation just 9 days away, I'm in full on prep mode. I wish I could just be one of those people who was like "oh yeah, I guess we're leaving for vacation tomorrow. I suppose I should pack." Yeah, that's not me. Maybe it's watching too many episodes of the Bachelorette (or most recently, Bachelor in Paradise...what a train wreck of a show, but I'm hooked!), but I find myself wanting new outfits, special sunscreen, handpicked books and magazines (and lots of them!), some perfectly pink lip gloss and of course, a sunhat to protect me from evil sun rays. I've been diligently saving our pennies to fund our pina colada obsession and I'm currently researching all the restaurants on Grand Cayman so I can make reservations for our evenings out. Our 1:20am flight next Thursday will be here before we know it!

A few of my favorite finds for our trip...

1. Sunscreen. You know me and my abhorrence for animal testing, so finding some cruelty free sunblock was a high priority. After lots of research, I actually felt pretty bummed at the lack of options. They're out there, but you gotta hunt! Sadly Banana Boat & Coppertone, Neutrogena and Aveeno, some of the top brands for sunblock, all test on animals (ie. they force sunblock into bunnies eyes to see how long it takes for them to go blind. How nice!). So those were immediately crossed off my list. Eventually, I landed on these options which are easily available at most stores: No-Ad, Kiss My Face, Up&Up (Target's generic brand), Alba Botanica, Ocean Potion, and Hawaiian Tropic (I'm 95% sure). I bought a bunch of all of them. No-Ad is the most economical because the bottles are enormous! If you want something that's really kind to your face and has some anti-aging magic in it, Supergoop and Coola are also amazing!

2. Flip-flops. You've got to have some awesome flip-flops for paradise! My favorite find were these bad boys. I loooove the cork and gold detail, so fun! Mine are black, but you get the idea....
3. Ocean floats. I went to the Cayman Islands when I was a kid and I remember seeing all these people floating around in the ocean on little rafts. I was so jealous, I wanted to do that! The Caribbean Sea around Cayman is so crystal clear, so calm and so blue, it's like you've got a warm pool to float around in all day. Assuming the weather cooperates and the tide is calm, we'll be floating around in something like these. I found some blow-up ones that pack down pretty tightly into our suitcases.
4. GoPro. Thankfully, I was able to expense this bad boy to my photography business, I even used it at my last wedding! We may do some reef diving while we're in Grand Cayman, and we thought it would be a pretty cool way to document our underwater adventures! Thankfully, the GoPro comes with waterproof housing, so you can take it with you underwater to take pictures and video of the beautiful fish and coral. I don't think I'm going to be taking along my professional camera gear since I'm scared of getting sand or salt water in the sensor, so the GoPro and our point-and-shoot will have to do!
5. Bikinis. Ok, confession time.....I've lost 20ish pounds in the last year. I've worked really hard, stayed very committed and I'm finally for the first time in 7 years, comfortable in my skin. Even then, it was only at the urging of my sister, that I decided to upgrade my swimwear. I don't know what my original plan was, considering I only have one hideous tankini. I guess I thought I'd just wear t-shirts or something? Who knows, the point is I got some cute bikinis. For bikini standards, they're modest and I got them all on sale, so that helps too!
6. Clothes. With my weight loss came the realization that none of my clothes fit me anymore (in a good way haha!). My precious husband has been so good to me, he urges me practically every week to go shopping for some new summer clothes. I've finally given in and bought some shorts, jeans, a few dresses and some cute shirts too. I'm still on the hunt for a particular one shoulder dress, so if you know where to find something like this bad boy, let me know! Oh, and preferable not $500 ;)
7. Good reads. My in-laws are such a blessing to us in so many ways. But one of my favorites ways is that they pass along good reading material to us. They keep us well supplied with good books and magazines. They have about 7 dozen (ok, I might be exaggerating a little) free magazine subscriptions, which they get each month, which they graciously pass along to us. I've been hoarding copies of Southern Living, Real Simple and Martha Stewart Living for weeks now. Combined with a few fruitful trips to the library, I'm set for 2 weeks of reading on the beach!
8. Booze. Last but not least right?! ;) Soooo the Cayman Islands aren't exactly cheap when it comes to eating out. For all the money I saved on airfare, I will surely make up for in buying cute little drinks with paper umbrellas in them. The currency exchange rate is not great, $1US=.85 in Cayman currency. So a mojito is like $14. For real. Needless to say, David and I will be stopping at the duty-free shop in Miami to stock up on tequila and Malibu rum :)

I might sneak in another post before we leave, but if not...I'm sure I'll plenty of pictures to share when I get back! So weird that we're leaving in summer and when we get home, it will be fall :)

August 11, 2014

Spontaneous Joy

We are fresh off one of our best weekends of the summer!

I'm the least spontaneous person that ever lived. It's so hard for me to roll with last minute invites, cancellations or quick ideas. I need a solid 24 hours to think about things. So when my friend Jenn sent me a last minute text to come hang out Friday night at their fire pit, it took me a minute to get on board. David and I had both had looong weeks and we were just starting to unwind. Turns out, accepting their invite was a GREAT idea. We relaxed all night (when I say all night, I mean aaaaallll night. We went to bed at 3am haha!) with our sweet friends, talking about life and drinking wine. It was perfect! And can I just say that I love that these friends happen to have 4 children, but are so incredibly faithful to continue reaching out to David and I to build and maintain our friendship. In the midst of us navigating how so many of our friendships seem to have changed recently, these guys most certainly will never sail away from us, and I'm so grateful for them!

Saturday, we were supposed to head to Copper with another couple so we could spent the weekend together. We had reserved a 2 bedroom condo for the weekend so the boys could hike a 14er while the ladies spent the day in Breckenridge. But at the last minute, our friends cancelled on us and we were left wondering what in the world we were going to do. David lost his hiking partner and we were both feeling a bit lost as to what to do. We had already paid to upgrade our condo and there were no refunds, so we decided to just roll with it. It dawned on me that it was my sister and brother in-law's one year wedding anniversary this weekend, so I thought they might like to escape to the mountains to celebrate. Thankfully, they accepted the invite and we spent an awesome weekend with them!

Sunday, we rolled out of bed and strolled Copper Village. Grabbed coffee and breakfast while soaking in the mountain air and sunshine.

View from our balcony
 Haha, I made my sister and her husband get in this giant chair for an anniversary picture ;)
 While my sister and brother in-law hiked, David and I took the chairlift to the top of the mountain. We wandered into this beautiful field of wildflowers and decided we should probably just sit in the middle of them and soak in the beauty. We didn't move for a loooong time. Just enjoyed the beauty.

We headed back down the mountain with no clue what our plans were. And then we stumbled upon an awesome concert and so we spent the entire afternoon relaxing on a patio and listening some awesome music in the village. I can honestly say it was the most relaxed I've been all summer! David and I both enjoyed it so much, neither of us wanted to leave. Yay for spontaneously enjoying good music!
 
Eventually we had to leave our little slice of free music heaven. Somewhere amid all our fun this weekend, I also managed to photograph a wedding and an elopement, so duty called and we left the concert so I could run around the mountains with my clients. David fished while I worked, so he had a pretty good evening too!
This was where I took bride&groom portraits...crazy beautiful 
Seriously!!! How incredible would this be as the backdrop to your wedding photos?! Hands down, some of my favorite pictures I've taken. I'm a lucky girl to get paid to take pretty pictures in places like this! It's a little bit ridiculous.

All in all, it was an amazing weekend thanks to our ability to throw plans out the window and be spontaneous. Rolling with unexpected punches, while really hard for me to do, often has pretty big payoffs. I loved getting to spend time with my sister and brother in-law and I really loved my time with David. This weekend was proof that I need to try to be more open to last minute changes, because who knows what lies on the other side of saying yes! This weekend was full of joy I didn't expect, spontaneous, family-filled, laughter-filled, beautiful, amazing joy.

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Hi friends, my name is Becky and this is my journey through running a photography business, being a loving wife, 4+ years infertility, traveling and adventuring with my dear husband, following hard after Jesus and seeking out joy in every area of my life. I'm glad you're here!

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