We got a puppy!

Friend, meet Blue.  Blue, meet friend!

She is a pure bred Golden Retriever with so much spunk and sass, I’m not certain what we have gotten ourselves into.

We got a puppy!
We got a puppy!

This is Blue at six weeks old.  We started looking for her in October, deciding that getting a puppy around the holidays would be easier with our work schedules being a little more open than normal.  We had known for a long time that we wanted to get a puppy to grow our family, and while she came a few weeks sooner than we had planned, we couldn’t pass up on this beauty.

We drove up to Virginia when all of the puppies were six weeks old.  Blue’s mom had ten puppies, six of which were girls.  We already had our eye on Blue from all of the photos and videos we had seen, but we really wanted to meet all of them in person before deciding.

Blue was always in the thick of the playtime.  She would run and leap into the doggy pile.  If there was a tug of war over a water bowl happening, she was definitely going to be involved.  She was also sweet and loved sitting on our laps being snuggled and giving sweet puppy kisses. We knew she was our girl almost right away.

We got a puppy!

Two weeks later we got to bring her home.  She did great on the car ride back, even though being removed from her mom and siblings was hard at first.  She slept most of the drive and we got to enjoy lots of puppy snuggles before we encountered potty training, puppy nips, and lots of trips outside at night.

I will have a lot of updates coming your way—Blue’s blogs will be two Wednesdays a month while she is young.  There is just so much growing and learning going on at this age!  She gained over a pound in the first week we had her and has learned to sit.  Until that next blog post, here’s a mini photoshoot we had on her eight week birthday.  

We got a puppy!
We got a puppy!
We got a puppy!
We got a puppy!
We got a puppy!
We got a puppy!
We got a puppy!
We got a puppy!
We got a puppy!

Have you ever had a puppy?  I need ALL of the advice!  From crate training, potty training, training her to thrive while being alone, EVERYTHING.  Please leave it in the comments!  If you think my pup is adorable, give this post a like and don’t forget to subscribe and join our family if you haven’t already!

Until next time,
Jamie out

We bought a house!

We are first time home owners!  And we did it all from over two thousand miles away.

What a rollercoaster this process was. I was super surprised that the part I thought I would love—the actual house hunting—was the worst aspect for me. When it got down to the nitty gritty though, we had some amazing professionals on our team who worked super hard behind the scenes to pull it all together in less than 30 days. 

Our realtor was a good friend of mine who has been building me up and encouraging me for almost four years now. She is a rockstar. When we told her we wanted to buy a house in North Carolina, but do basically all of it while we were in Arizona, she didn’t bat an eye. She was down for the challenge. 

My parents, who coincidentally LOVE “window shopping” for houses were game to go look at houses for us. They looked at neighborhoods, the condition of the property, the drainage of the lot—all of the things you can’t change and all of the things you can’t see in the photos.  

Our realtor took us on video walkthroughs so that we could get a feel for the place as well. We talked over all of the positives and negatives. We searched for over a month and we fell in love with multiple homes. We were so ready!

Finally we found The One and we got an accepted offer. It was smooth sailing from then out (for us, not so sure about everyone else on our team, haha!) and we were so excited to close and get our keys just four days after we arrived in North Carolina. 

Since leaving Arizona, everything has been a little crazy for us. We got in a car accident and my car was totaled, but because we were under contract on a house, we could not buy a car until we closed, otherwise it could mess up our mortgage. Luckily we were able to close just a week after the accident and our insurance was understanding so they let us keep our rental car a little longer than normal. 

We were also super lucky because we closed on our house on a Friday and got our keys the same day, which doesn’t always happen in North Carolina because of the legal process here. 

Even though we had no furniture, food, or toilet paper, we booked it to the house as soon as we got the call. Just thirty minutes before the courts closed, our realtor called us to tell us that the house was officially ours! We drove through the rain and pulled up outside just after five. Will even insisted on carrying me over the threshold. It was amazing. 

We spent the evening at the grocery store buying toilet paper and frozen lasagna, and then back in our house to just soak in every foot of its perfections. 

We are so excited to make it our own. To fill it, and decorate it, and host in it. It is our favorite investment, and we are so very happy. 

Until next time,
Jamie out. 

We bought a house! We bought a house!

5 things I learned in 5 months of marriage

Will and I just recently celebrated five months of being married!  We’re basically experts on the topic now.


We were blessed to go through very little long distance time during dating and a lot of one on one time to get to know one another.  We asked each other a lot of hard questions, ranging from politics and religion, to hopes and dreams.  We were very intentional from the beginning about getting to know one another in a safe and healthy way, and to see if this could be the real thing.

Obviously, we got married, so we feel pretty strongly about one another.  We still continue to learn and grow in our relationship, and we’re not here to offer advice.  This is just us sharing us, and the five things we have learned in our five months of marriage.

I am not a morning person!

I do not want to see or hear another human being in the morning.  If I have to speak, it’s even worse.  Text?  Heck to the no.  Give me a shower in peace.  Let me get ready without interrupting my train of thought.  Give me coffee and back away slowly.

I gave Will fair warning on this one.  We even asked some advice from a couple of our good friends who are also opposites in this area.  The husband is the morning person while the wife is not.  He said that it took him a long time to realize that it was nothing personal—that they were just different and it wasn’t a bad thing.  They even get ready in different bathrooms in the morning!

Let’s be honest, we aren’t always on our best behavior, and our spouse sees that side more than others.  This will probably be a constant area of growth for us as a couple, and for me especially once we have kids.  I would love to love the morning time so if you have any recommendations, I would love to hear them!


PooPourri is no joke.

I thought it was, but boy was I wrong.  In amongst all of our wedding gifts, we came across a bottle of “PooPourri” in a lavender scent.  I laughed, “Haha!  What a great gift!  Newlyweds can’t poop around each other.  In fact, women don’t poop at all!”  

If you don’t know, PooPourri comes in multiple scents, in a little spray bottle that you are supposed to spray into a toilet before… well, you know.  It uses essential oils to trap odors.

I set the gift aside and it became an anecdote that I shared with friends and family during wedding week.  I secretly thought it would be great in a guest bathroom, just in case.  

Friends, you don’t need details, but let’s just say that after a bad experience with Mexican food and a very long night to follow, PooPourri will be a staple in our household.  In every bathroom.  Until the end of time.


He might want to order his own fries.

“Joey doesn’t share food!”

From a guy who had never seen Friends before we started dating, Will took to this quote like a fat kid on cake.  I’m ashamed to say that the first time Will insisted I order my own fries, I got a little hurt.  

Okay, maybe more than just a little.  I sat and sulked through the entire meal and continued to bring it up even weeks afterwards.

Just because we expect things to go one way, doesn’t mean that they will.  I realized that my parents always share their french fries.  They order a bigger size to share and I’ve always found it super adorable.  Will, on the other hand, didn’t find me wanting to eat his french fries all that endearing.  

Some issues in relationships can arise from unmet expectations.  If I find myself getting upset, I try to evaluate where it’s coming from, and if I realize I had an expectation that isn’t being met, I know where the emotion is coming from.  I also find it important to communicate with Will when that happens.  

“I can’t eat a small thing of french fries by myself most of the time,” I explained.  “So I feel like I’m wasting money for just a couple fries.”  

We’ve decided that springing for a large to share is a good idea for us.


Laundry becomes a huge thing.

Like… there’s only two of us.  How can washing clothes, drying clothes, and folding clothes become so much of an  exponentially larger chore than it was for just one person?  We don’t even have kids or pets!  

Also, I have never owned my own washer and dryer.  I have been trespassing on the hospitality of my family since I moved out in 2012.  Now that Will and I have been at a hotel for the past three months, I have been using the hotel’s (very inexpensive and stubborn) washer and dryer that work about half of the time.  I often have an explosion of clothing hanging up to dry in our bedroom.  And because it takes about three or four hours to dry three loads of laundry, folding everything gets put on the back-burner and… you get the idea.  


Sleeping in the same bed is my favorite thing ever.

Also, not having to say goodbye at the end of the day is fantastic.

Will and I did not live together before we got married.  He never slept over at my apartment.  Not even once.  And because I lived alone and there was no built-in accountability roommate, we avoided ever being in my bedroom together like the plague. 

Our number one, very favorite thing about being married is getting to sleep in the same bed.  It’s kind of like having a sleepover with your best friend every single night.  

So, for any newlyweds or engaged couples, I guess the only advice I would dare to give at this point is that if you can swing going to bed at the same time as one another, you should absolutely do it.  The pillow talk is great and it is a super special time for just the two of you.  It also gets you on the same sleeping schedule, and that has been helpful for me and Will out here in Arizona.  


Like I said, I feel like I need to have been married for about a decade before I can give solid marriage advice, so I’m not about that life on this blog just yet.  I think marriage advice from me would be the same as me trying to give a mom parenting advice—just bad news.  But I AM here to share our lives and experiences.  

If you dig it, give this post a like!  Have any advice for us, other newlyweds, or engaged couples?  Leave it in the comments below!  Don’t forget to hit that subscribe button and join our family.

Until next time,
Jamie out.

Hiking the Grand Canyon Rim Trail

Ron Swanson said it’s okay to cry at the Grand Canyon.

Hiking the Rim Trail at the Grand Canyon Hiking the Rim Trail at the Grand Canyon

September 1, 2018 | Labor Day Part III

Will and I woke up at three o’clock in the morning—probably the earliest I have ever woken up in my life—to get ready, eat breakfast, and drive from our hotel to the south rim of The Grand Canyon.  We arrived right around five in the morning, parked in a super close parking spot, took a trip to the bathrooms (which was literally the most disgusting bathroom I have ever been in in my entire life—I’ll spare you the details), and then booked it to Mather Point, where we arrived just as golden hour began.

If you don’t know, golden hour is right around sunrise or sunset and the lighting, colors, and atmosphere are spectacular.  

God bless.  It was an incredible experience.  Click here to see the photos we snapped of the sun rising over the canyon walls.

We hung out for essentially all of golden hour, just drinking in the beauty, and then quickly ran back to the car to drop off a couple things before beginning our hike.

Hiking the Rim Trail at the Grand Canyon Hiking the Rim Trail at the Grand Canyon

The Rim Trail

Perhaps the most ambitious decision of my hiking life so far was to decide to hike the Rim Trail at the Grand Canyon.  A thirteen mile trail that follows the rim for almost its entire length, the trial is “easy,” with very few elevation changes and a great deal of it is paved.  

I have never hiked or walked or ran anything close to thirteen miles straight.  I had minimal faith in us completing the entire trail, and in actuality we started at Mather Point, which is not the trail head but about 0.8 miles from it.  Will, on the other hand (remember the guy who can run a six minute mile and crush me with his pinky finger?) is very accustomed to twelve+ mile treks.  He was exceedingly optimistic.

Hiking the Rim Trail at the Grand Canyon Hiking the Rim Trail at the Grand Canyon

We set out around 6:30 in the morning with packs on our backs.  I brought all of the camera gear because when are you ever going to hike the rim trail at the Grand Canyon again?  Probably never.  Will brought all of the snacks and water.  

Literally every turn and bend in the trail had us stopping in awe.  For photos, for staring, for moments of sheer joy and amazement.  God spent a little more time on you, Grand Canyon.  

Hiking the Rim Trail at the Grand Canyon

There are a few great things about the Rim Trail.  Like I said above, the trail has very few elevation changes, so it is a fairly flat hike.  You aren’t climbing down into the canyon.  If you want to do that and you are very fit, the Bright Angel Trail might be for you.  Click here for some other day hikes at the south rim. 

The Rim Trail follows the same route as many of the shuttles, so you get some fantastic (and occasionally crowded) view points along the way.  However, because you’re hiking and not shuttle hopping, you also get the in-between view points that the shuttles don’t stop at.  Granted, there won’t be stairs and railings and information plaques at these view points, but who needs that when you have… the Grand Canyon literally in front of you for thirteen miles?

Hiking the Rim Trail at the Grand Canyon Hiking the Rim Trail at the Grand Canyon

Tip:  get up early to get a parking spot inside of the park, set out exploring before it gets super hot, and even if you’re there during peak season (or Labor Day Weekend, like us), the crowds will be significantly more manageable at ungodly morning hours.

Hiking the Rim Trail at the Grand Canyon Hiking the Rim Trail at the Grand Canyon Hiking the Rim Trail at the Grand Canyon

An interesting aspect of hiking at a place as widely known as The Grand Canyon is that you will encounter an incredible amount of ethnicities in just one day.  In our experience, this was mostly wonderful and exciting.  Occasionally you will encounter cultural differences that may be frustrating, such as a family camped out at a view point taking literally a hundred photos while you are obviously waiting (politely) for them to finish.  But all-in-all, we had great experiences with everyone on the trail.

Hiking the Rim Trail at the Grand Canyon Hiking the Rim Trail at the Grand Canyon

We came across four deer at one point who were not even ten feet from the trail.  They were extremely comfortable with humans. 

We stopped after three miles to eat some granola bars, drink some water, and apply sunscreen.  The sun, having fully risen, was beginning to bathe the trail in its late summer light and my plaid shirt went in my backpack soon after we set off hiking again.

Hiking the Rim Trail at the Grand Canyon Hiking the Rim Trail at the Grand Canyon Hiking the Rim Trail at the Grand Canyon Hiking the Rim Trail at the Grand Canyon

Some view points just get you.  Right in the feels.  Let me tell you, even when you are very tired and your legs and feet are killing you, this view never gets old.

Hiking the Rim Trail at the Grand Canyon Hiking the Rim Trail at the Grand Canyon

We didn’t go to the Visitor Center prior to our hike—mostly because it wasn’t open yet—so it was nice to have certain pieces of information available along the trail.  We wondered about who the first human to even see the canyon was.  Well this guy, Major John Wesley Powell, was the first explorer of the Grand Canyon.  He and his crew explored the Colorado River that cuts through the canyon in their row boats in 1869.  

We later learned that the Grand Canyon was awarded federal protection in 1893, but was not made a National Park until 1919, which was three years after the National Park Service was established.  The canyon was already receiving over forty thousand visitors a year, compared to today’s five million.  If you want to read more about the park’s history, click here to visit the National Parks website.  

Hiking the Rim Trail at the Grand Canyon Hiking the Rim Trail at the Grand Canyon Hiking the Rim Trail at the Grand Canyon Hiking the Rim Trail at the Grand Canyon Hiking the Rim Trail at the Grand Canyon

I pulled out my zoom lens at this point as we took a small hiking break.  We stood and stared at details like these for a long time.  The shadows of passing clouds darkening the landscape below.  The jagged white rocks with tufts of vegetation on their sides.  The red rock, crumbling and sharp in stark contrast to the younger layers of white rock above them.  You can see the erosion and passing of time in front of you.

Hiking the Rim Trail at the Grand Canyon Hiking the Rim Trail at the Grand Canyon

Game time: can you spot Will?

(Disclaimer to Will’s mother.  I’m sorry—it was his idea. And yes, he was terrified.)

Hiking the Rim Trail at the Grand Canyon Hiking the Rim Trail at the Grand Canyon

Second game: can you spot the rain storm coming for us?

Hiking the Rim Trail at the Grand Canyon Hiking the Rim Trail at the Grand Canyon

After stopping for lunch around eleven and then deciding to keep hiking after the comfort of a full stomach, the clouds began to roll in.  At first this was pretty gracious of them, seeing as the sun was high above us and the desert summer was getting hot on our necks.  

We began seeing rain storms in the distance, and even lightning farther away.  It was gorgeous.  It also made me a little nervous.

My legs had slowly begun to fall apart by this point of the hike.  It started with my calves and ankles and traveled slowly from my knees, to my quads, and finally to my glutes.  I was just about out of juice, but we only had a little over a mile left.  We would be done in no time!  Will’s encouragement was all I needed. 

Hiking the Rim Trail at the Grand Canyon Hiking the Rim Trail at the Grand Canyon

Well friends, with only a mile to go, the heavens opened and it began to absolutely pour on us.  We quickly covered my backpack with my rain cover, pulled our hats snuggly to our heads, and clutched our freezing cold hands as we powered through the last mile of our day hike in a deluge of monsoon season rain.  Our hike that had been in the mostly comfortable eighty degree range quickly plunged into the low sixties. 

Hiking the Rim Trail at the Grand Canyon

We did it!  What ended up being 12.2 miles for us took about seven hours.  My legs were falling off, I was limping the last mile, and our shoes were sodden.  But we did it.  We snapped a few pictures, climbed aboard a (very crowded) shuttle, and shivered the entire ride back to the Visitor Center.  We quickly got our National Parks Passports stamped, watched a short film about the formation of the canyon, perused the gift shop, and then basically flat out ran back to our car through the wind and rain to finally turn on the heater and warm up our soaked, frozen little selves.  

Hiking the Rim Trail at the Grand Canyon

I could not walk like a proper human being for several days afterward.  But we did it.  When again in my life will I have the opportunity to walk almost the entire Grand Canyon South Rim Trail?  I’m so proud of us, but I am especially proud of myself.  I have been working out five days a week so that I could do THAT.  And I DID IT.  

Backpacking through Zion here I come.

What is the longest distance you have ever hiked?!  Leave it in the comments below!  If you enjoyed this post, let me know by giving it a “like,” and if you haven’t joined our family yet, hit that subscribe button!

Until next time,
Jamie out.

Read More:
Labor Day Part I Labor Day Part II