Recently my husband and I celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary. We have always taken a trip to celebrate our anniversary, and this year was no exception. Since we were married in Vegas (in a suite, not a little chapel, and not by Elvis), on our first anniversary we returned to our favorite city. If you have ever wondered what a wedding for 50 looks like in a Vegas suite…here is a glimpse.
The timing worked out well to have one of our favorite Vegas photographer take some pictures of us while I was pregnant during our first anniversary trip back to Vegas. It was a different sort of Vegas trip since I was pregnant, but we still had a good time by the pool, going out to dinner, getting massages, and doing a little bit of gambling. It was actually our last trip together before C was born a couple months later.
For our second anniversary we were booked to return to Vegas, but since it turned out that was right in the middle of when we were moving from Austin to near Houston, we changed the trip to a shorter and less expensive trip to New Orleans for a long weekend. My parents kept our then 9-month-old daughter, and the long weekend was perfect. Good Cajun food, good music, and a nice room at the W New Orleans French Quarter.
Then last year the two of us went for a weekend to San Antonio. We spent a night on the Riverwalk and headed to the Westin La Cantera Resort. That trip was documented here and here. From memory, by the second day of that trip we were relaxed and enjoying our time together. However, I do remember the first night being a bit “rocky” as we transition from our “normal lives” to our quiet weekend together.
Each year the trips have gotten shorter and closer to home. This year we decided on staying at Bernhardt Winery that was within an hour or so of our house. This winery isn’t known for it’s eleventy billion year old reds that are still aging in barrels made by God himself. Instead, it is a fun Texas winery known for wines that are inexpensive and taste yummy now (as in a “young” wine). My kind of place.
We have been taking plenty of trips recently, and the idea of “getting away” without having to actually go anywhere was very appealing. There were no hotel points to be earned or stay credits to be added to our yearly tally at this winery, but that was okay. We were going to be the only ones staying on the property in a beautiful loft that was built by hand by the owners of the winery. The room was $175 for the night ($150 per night for consecutive nights), but that included not only the room, but a wine tasting, a glass of wine each, a bottle of wine, a cheese plate, snacks, and a continental breakfast. Since the winery is outside of any real city, we were going to be able to sit outside and watch the stars and just hear the crickets. Not my idea of fun for an extended period of time, but perfect for one night to celebrate another year of marriage…or so we thought.
Before I get to what went wrong, here are some shots of the room. It truly was peaceful and beautiful.
From the doors, you can look out at the trees and the lawn where they host many weddings and events.
When we got there, we did the wine tasting and helped celebrate another couple who got engaged outside while we were finishing our tasting. It was a fun and festive environment. We then ate our cheese plate and selected our bottle of wine for the evening.
Some wine, no kids, the place to ourselves, what could go wrong?
I’m not exactly sure what went wrong, but I think the main problem was related to taking two very busy (and sometimes stressed) individuals out of their environment and giving them one evening away to celebrate their anniversary. We’ve had similar problems when we get one night away on other occasions. One night sounds fantastic, and it is, but it does sometimes put pressure to do everything you want to do and talk about everything you want to talk about all within a few hours. There isn’t really enough time to disconnect and relax before you are having to gear up and head home again. I think that this issue is more pronounced for parents who are really trying to maximize the limited time together without the kiddo(s). At least I know it has been more problematic for us since Little C has joined our family.
I’ll spare you the play-by-play, but in the end, we actually ended up heading home and did not spend the night in the loft we had rented for the evening. We picked our kiddo back up from Grandma and Grandpa and got an F on the anniversary score card. Now why am I posting about our botched “trip”? I’m sharing this because most all of the trip reports that are out there about trips that were AMAZING and BEST EVER and LIFE CHANGING. The biggest problems are related to nuts not being warm on the plane or the bed being too firm. I wish I could live on the planet of amazing, best ever, and life changing all the time, but unfortunately I am a permanent residence of the planet where you “win some and you lose some”. I wanted to share this side of our trips too, in case I am not the only who has trips that sometimes don’t go the way you had hoped. Not all trips consist of the breeze in your hair, a nap in the hammock, and hand holding through the park. Some of the good ones do, but not all trips go that way.
We have learned our lesson this time. We have learned the one-night trips away to celebrate events are potentially dangerous for us. We do better either with a full weekend, or with nights away that are “just because”, and not tied to a specific occasion. We also learned that if we have limited time together we really need to talk about what we want to do together ahead of time, so that we are on the same page. I think that is probably good advice for all busy folks who have very limited time away. Again, while I don’t think this issue is limited to couples with young children, I am willing to bet it is more pronounced for couples in that demographic since the “alone time” is much more scarce.
We’ve recovered from our anniversary mishap, and have vowed to learn from our mistakes so that we don’t waste precious time together in the future. So, if you have ever had a trip that should have been “perfect” turn into a “hot mess”, you aren’t alone. If you haven’t yet had that thrilling experience, hopefully you can learn from us and never have a 4th anniversary that goes down in the history books with a failing grade. We would have likely done better picking up a bag of burgers and fries and staying up late hanging out watching movies on our TV at home while the grandparents kept C so we could sleep in. We will do much better next year.
For the record, I still highly recommend the winery (for non-wine snobs). It is very drivable from the Houston area, and is just a little over two hours from the Austin area as well. Maybe we will try our luck there again one day.