Celebration

Last night we celebrated our third anniversary with a progressive dinner in Old Town. It was wonderful. And I’m going to hot yoga today, maybe twice, to pay for how wonderful it was. 
I sometimes hesitate to label us “foodies” because I feel like you need some culinary expertise to rightfully call yourself this. But who am I kidding, enjoying food from all different sources (homemade, restaurant, international, farmer’s market, etc.) is one of the main pleasures in our life. So there you go, we’re foodies.  
I mention this because I’m noticing that most of our celebrations are food-centric. And this one was no different.
Stop One: Wine & Cheese at the Welsh Rabbit

This is one of our favorite Fort Collins digs, by far.

Stop Two: Dinner at Canino’s

I’ve wanted to try this little Italian place out since we very first moved; it reminds me a lot of Savute’s in Wichita. It did not disappoint. Great atmosphere, vintage Italian decor, good wine and the pizza we ordered was delish! 
Stop Three: Dessert at The Chocolate Cafe
We couldn’t have asked for a better culinary ending to the night. This chocolate peanut butter pie was LEGIT.

Here’s to year four & making it the best that it can be!

Anni #3

It has been three good years. A big smile still spreads across on my face when I think about my sweet husband.

How did I get so lucky?

When I look back on the past three years, one word sticks out in my mind: FUN. We have had so much fun together.

In fact, when I started to list all of the adventures we’ve had in our first three years of marraige, I couldn’t keep up. These past 1056 days have been so full of love and laughter and risks and travel and new experiences and lows that make the highs worthwhile and plans and new plans and even newer plans, that there is just no way to keep track of it all, so I will just say this:

There is no other person in the world that I would rather be spending these little and big moments of my life with. There is no one that I laugh harder with. There is no one I would rather talk to at the end of the day.

To put it simply, I love our love. And our love, is a fun love.

"Our Song"

*Note to the reader: This post is a tad bit sappy. Read with caution.
Do you and your partner have a song that you identify as “yours?” It’s a silly trend that started (for me) way back in middle school, but sort of stuck.
The other evening while we were cooking dinner we had the Pandora blasting, as usual and “our song” came on. It wasn’t the song that we danced to at our reception or even one that was being sung during our ceremony, it was one that we had chosen on a desserted dirt road, late one Friday night in high school.
Side note – Mom, yes, that was probably one of the nights I came home pasted my curfew. But it all worked out, right?

When “our song” came on the other night I had to smile a little because I realized that the words were so so much truer today than they were back then. And that, my friends, is a sweet feeling.
It’s Your Love (by Tim McGraw & Faith Hill)
Dancing in the dark

Middle of the night

Taking your heart

Holding it tight

Emotional touch

Touching my skin

Askin’ you to do

What you’ve been doing 

All over again

Oh, it’s a beautiful thing

Don’t think I can keep it all in

I’ve just gotta let you know

What it is that won’t let me go


It’s your love

Just does something to me

Sends a spark right through me

I can’t get enough

And if you wonder

‘Bout the spell I’m under

It’s your love


Better than I was

More than I am

All of that happened

By taking your hand

Who I am now

Is who I’ve wanted to be

Now that we’re together

Stronger than ever, happy and free

Oh, it’s a beautiful thing

Don’t think I can keep it all in

And if you ask me why I’ll change

All I gotta do is say your sweet name


It’s your love

Just does something to me

Sends a shock right through me

Can’t get enough

And if you wonder

‘Bout the spell I’m under

It’s your love

Forgiveness

Everyone has someone in their life that has hurt them. Sometimes, we even have multiple someones. Just like we, ourselves have hurt one or many people over the course of our life, whether intentional or not. 
And while I think it’s important to fully process our anger, sadness and any other emotions that arise, I think the most important thing we can do for ourselves after being hurt is to forgive.
I went through a difficult time in 2010. Not only did the man who raised me as his daughter abandon me only months before my wedding, I was also dealing with the loss of my first job out of college, meeting my biological father and issue upon issue with the group of people Cory & I had called our friends since high school.
Now that three years have passed, I look back & see that this was all part of God’s plan for our life. Every single hardship Cory & I went through together that year made us stronger individuals. The problems that were in our life at that time made our marriage more solid than I could have hoped for & most importantly, gave us the courage to unapolegetically be ourselves.
What I learned from that year is that it may take years to process & forgive, and that’s okay. We may never get the apology we feel deserve, and that’s okay too. But for our souls, it’s important to forgive anyways.
A couple of months ago (gosh – maybe six now?) I heard through the grapevine about something new going on in a person’s life that had hurt me in the past. And you know what my first thought was? It was “good for her!” 
In shock, I tried to analyze why I had such a positive reaction to the good things happening in this person’s life. “Why am I happy for her?” I didn’t understand it at first because our friendship had ended & I truly was happier without her in my life. 
Then I realized that I had forgiven her. Not only that, but in my heart of hearts I wished well for her. And that felt really good.
On that note it’s important to know that just because you forgive does not mean that you are opening a door to let people who’ve hurt you back into your life. No, you’re actually doing the opposite. You’re taking a lesson from the relationship or situation & you’re moving on to be a better person, leaving your recurring thoughts of them behind.
I encourage you to try it. Forgive something that you’re holding on to and keep wittling it down until it’s gone, no matter how long it takes.  
I promise you, your life will be much fuller once you open up space by letting it go.

Loveland

This week Cory & I went snowboarding for the first time as Colorado residents. 
The first time I hit the slopes was in middle school with my youth group, as a skier. It was so much fun – even though we were terrible. I laughed so hard that I cried…and maybe more. : )
After that initial experience, I switched over to snowboarding, which I found much easier & liked even more.  
When I met Cory in high school, we began going yearly or so with our group of friends & continued that during college. Cory even took a job at Wichita’s only ski shop, The Slope (which was helpful when it came time to gear up & buy own own boards & other equipment). After we got engaged, we traveled to Montana & snowboarded together on a small mountain there, which was so much fun!
However, as many times as I’ve been (which really isn’t much – but enough to build on skills), I was never able to conquer my toe edge. 
But that all changed this week. I, Audra Dinell, FINALLY have a toe edge under my belt. Now it’s not strong, but it’s there. And all thanks to my sweet, patient husband who knew just what to say to coach me. 
So even though the forecast looked a bit blizzardous (that may not be a word, but I think it should be), we loaded up & headed out.  
Neither of us had been boarding in Loveland before and we were pleasantly surprised at how snug & cozy it was.
Although it was FREEZING – we had a blast!
Of course, we warmed up by stopping by the ski bar before we drove home. Spiked warm drinks are my favorite!
This month we plan on hitting up Eldora, our closest mountain. Photos to come! 

Life in Fort Collins – One Month In

Life in Fort Collins is good.

It’s hard to believe that we moved a month ago. It feels like longer & shorter all at once.

At first, we just had each other, our apartment & one income.

So we decorated, took our dogs to the dog park, went grocery shopping (one of our favorite things to do, believe it or not), watched movies, went to the gym, hung out at Barnes & Noble, found “our” church, used our new fire place & occasionally went out for drinks and/or dinner.

It was a nice change of pace from our overly busy life in Kansas.

And it was nice to totally to depend on each other for everything.

Now Cory has a job & we’re slowly getting into a little routine. We’re making some new friends. We’ve fallen in love w/micro brews. We found a “small group” full of very nice people. I discovered a favorite coffee shop. We love going down to Denver. We take our dogs everywhere. We’ve enjoyed having Alex visit & meeting our friends, the Jones’ in Denver for dinner.

Life is just good.

This week we’re going snowboarding for the first time since we moved & I’m really looking forward to that. Then in February we get to spend a long weekend in Montana w/Cory’s family & my dad & step-mom plan to visit the following week.

So I have a feeling that our slow, sweet life might get a bit busier, but we’re really striving to keep it from becoming what it was: non-stop.

Month One has been slow & sweet & I look forward to seeing what next month has in store!

This Season of Life

Yesterday in church the pastor mentioned that he was in a full, happy, loud and crazy season of his life, raising four boys between the ages of 3-10 with his wife. This got me to thinking about the season of life that I am currently in, just having moved out of state with my husband of 2.5 years for a big adventure.
Those who know me well, know that I have always been a girl with a lot going on. Starting all the way back in elementary school and continuing to increase to a peak in high school, I was involved in multiple extra curricular activities at once. 
 Dance, girl scouts, cheerleading, youth group, gymnastics, soccer, tennis, competitive cheerleading, national honors society, student council, etc.

(Here I am in high school with some fellow Varsity Cheer Team members. I still keep in touch w/Julie, to the left of me, and consider her a very good friend!)

Being the little over-achiever that I was, burn out was inevitable. When I started college at KU, I joined a sorority & participated in intramural sports, but that was about it. The rest of my time was spent w/my friends & occasionally studying/going to class.  

(My freshman dorms roommate, Jayde & I at a football game. Still one of my best friends to this day, distance & all!)

When I transferred to Wichita State, I worked and went to school. Nothing more. Nothing less. I went through a stage where I didn’t put much effort into anything that I cared about, except for hanging out with my friends.

(Out for my 21st birthday w/Chelsey & Kate, friends from high school that I still adore.)

So post-college, I was eager to jump back in. And jump back in, I did. I jumped into anything & everything that peaked my interest or would help me further myself as a professional. The adult version of me sought balance for my life (instead of going through another burn out, like the college version of me did).

My recent move gave me an opportunity to step back and evaluate what is truly important to me. 

For me, busy is now a bad word. Is my life full? Yes, it is so full. Full of many things including new experiences, being active, cooking, spending time with my husband & puppies, my career, reading and blogging. It’s full of getting in touch w/myself, my goals & dreams. And of course my life is full of exploring my city that I love more & more each day.

But I have room too. Room to grow, room to meet new people & discover new activities. I’ve become protective of who I let in my life & have been even more protective of my time.

(In Denver last week after checking out a wine bar called Cru.)

One of these days Cory & I will have some little babies and life will get loud and crazy again. And while we both look forward to that time, we are also cherishing the slowness & sweetness of the life that we’re making for ourselves here in Fort Collins.