6 Reasons Why My Birthday With the Flu Didn’t Suck

I will admit that when I started getting the first symptoms of the flu I was pretty grim about the whole thing. “How am I going to take care of a sick toddler when I’m sick myself?” “Great, now my birthday is going to suck.” And, of course, “Waahhhh, I’m sick.” Then, I joked with my sister that I was due for a birthday with the flu since my birthday last year was so epic. It’s really hard to top a birthday in Hawaii. After that I tried to change my whole perspective on the day and it really helped. So without further ado…

Reasons why my birthday didn’t suck even though I had the flu:

1. While my 2-year-old has more energy with the flu than I do on a normal day, we were still able to get a lot of extra snuggle time in. I hate that it’s because he is feeling bad, but I can’t be mad about snuggles!

So. Much. Energy.

2. My long-distance, we-met-on-the-internet-but-so-what-we-are-still-close friend had her baby boy yesterday and I was able to keep up to date on her labor and cheer her on via Facebook. Her oldest has the same birthday as Young Master Gray, so it’s pretty cool that this new sweet bundle shares my birthday now! Plus, what a way to put things in perspective. Having body aches and not being able to rest pales in comparison to trying to push a human baby out of you and not being able rest.

3. While refreshing and refreshing my browser to be sure and stay updated on the birth of that wee lil babe, I was inundated with sweet messages posted on my Facebook wall in real time. Each message, text, comment and call brought a smile to my face. They really and truly made my day.

4. I actually laid down during naptime. Now, I was not able to sleep because my brain wouldn’t stop going through to-do lists, but I also wasn’t running around trying to get everything done in that one small window of time as usual. I didn’t pick up the toys strewn across the floor. I didn’t clean. I didn’t cook. I didn’t work (okay, I did do some writing, but it didn’t feel like work). I didn’t worry about posting to any of my social media channels. I didn’t do much other than REST.

5. When Jeremy got home from work I was able to spend time with my little family. There wasn’t a big dinner or cake (I didn’t feel like eating anyway), but we had a quiet night in and we were together. I can’t really ask for more than that. As a bonus, Jeremy cleaned up while I took a hot epsom salt bath. He may or may not have suggested I go rest to get rid of the crazy lady who kept telling him he was putting everything away wrong.

6. While it wasn’t on my birthday (and thank goodness), I can’t leave out our little escape to Eureka Springs earlier this week. Jeremy surprised me with a plan to get away and camp for the night. He didn’t know it, but I had been hoping for a getaway. Of course, in my mind we were going to the beach, but I really love to camp so this was perfect. We talked about going to the Buffalo River, my favorite place to camp, but with limited time we decided to go somewhere close. After our anniversary trip to Eureka Springs in January, we were itching to get back and see some of the things that had been closed during that trip. There was a lot more to be seen, but unfortunately, a lot of places are still closed early in the week even during their travel season. I was so mad at myself for not remembering my camera, but Jeremy said that meant that I would just have to enjoy myself and not worry about my camera. Touche. However, I did take some photos with my phone. Here are a few highlights from our early birthday adventure.

Our lodgings for the night.
Our lodgings for the night.
In our haste we forgot matches, but we still managed to get a fire going.
The Overlook Trail at Lake Leatherwood
The Point at Lake Leatherwood
The Point at Lake Leatherwood
It was a great place to rest and take in all that beauty.

That trip was so necessary. Before our hike Wednesday morning, I got a message saying that Young Master Gray was not feeling so well. He had a fever and I immediately felt guilty for taking that time away. I wondered, “Should we skip our hike and just head home?” We decided to go on our hike and then head home, and I’m really glad that we did. I needed that time to be out in nature and think about heavy things. Of course, when I got home Young Master Gray only wanted mama, but I knew he was taken care of and fine with his grandparents until we made it back. The next day I took him to the doctor and, well, you know the rest.

Winter Getaway in Eureka Springs

This post is sponsored by Eureka Springs Main Street | ESDN and LetsTravelSmall.com. All words and opinions are my own. 

Winter may not be the first season you think of when you imagine a trip to the mountain town of Eureka Springs, especially not after the magic of the holidays has faded. However, that is exactly when we decided to go. We discovered winter in Eureka Springs has its own magic.

Winter is when you can walk down the all but deserted downtown streets and although it’s just for the season, you imagine the place exists only for you. Quite romantic when you are there to celebrate an anniversary like we were.

When the people who are still around are mostly locals–the ones you run into in the coffee shops, hole-in-the-wall lunch spots and watering holes. The ones that have lived there all of their lives or at least a good portion of it. The ones that can tell you the stories that still live on, whether they be truth or tall tales–it doesn’t matter–those stories make up the rich history of this vibrant Ozark gem.

If that is not reason enough to pack your bag and head there right now, perhaps this list will help sway you.

This time of year in Eureka Springs…

1.  Learn local folklore and history while strolling through downtown

Think speakeasies, mafia bosses, prohibition, bank robberies and an underground downtown. We were glad we braved the cold to go on the Hell Raisers, Hoodlums and a Heated History tour with guide Christie Braswell. “Guide” does not really capture the nature of what Christie brings to the tour, I think “story-weaver” is a more apt descriptor. From Basin Spring Park we embarked on a journey through the history of Eureka Springs, from the early stories of Native Americans traveling from afar to be healed in the waters from the spring, to the first (and last) attempted bank robbery in town. Christie knew the stories well as many involve folks from her family’s past and places where she has grown up. I could tell you all of the wonderful stories, but you really should hear them from Christie!

2.  Book a room in a cozy Bed & Breakfast and retreat from the cold 

There is no shortage of places to stay in Eureka Springs, and certainly many Bed & Breakfasts to choose from but only one that I can wholeheartedly recommend. True, it is the only one that I have ever stayed in, but I truly loved our room in the Daffodil Cottage. It is one of the five All Seasons Luxury Properties. The owner, Pat, was such a gracious and accommodating hostess. She made sure we were comfortable and even called around to find a place that was still open for dinner when we arrived Monday evening. Our room was called the Blue Willow Suite and was beautifully decorated with blue and white antiques, a four-poster king-size bed, a sitting area and an antique wardrobe. We also enjoyed modern comforts such as a flat screen TV, an electric fireplace that added warmth as well as ambiance, and a kitchen that included a microwave and a fridge. My favorite thing in the whole suite though was the Jacuzzi tub–large enough for two, but I enjoyed having it all to myself each evening after Jeremy went to bed. With the cook away, we did not get to partake in the breakfast part of the bed and breakfast, but that forced us to go explore the local eateries, much to our delight. Pat did extend to us an invitation to come back sometime for breakfast even if we were not staying at the inn!

3. Pamper yourself with a spa treatment (or two!)

If you must leave the cozy comfort of your room, you might as well get pampered. Located on the 2nd floor of the Basin Park Hotel, Spa1905 is an Aveda salon and spa featuring massage, facials, hair care and more. The staff was tremendously accommodating, especially Ashley, she made sure to ask about our other plans so she could help me schedule treatments around them. After our walking history tour, I warmed up with a Swedish massage. Then, after a behind-the-scenes tour of the Passion Play, I returned for a luxurious Elements Facial. Both treatments were relaxing and implemented Aveda products which I already use and love! Both the massage therapist, Lacey, and aesthetician, Jenni, were caring and asked questions to help tailor the services to my needs.

4.  Go on a private tour

 At least it will feel private because it’s very likely you’ll be the only ones there besides the guide. That was the case on our behind-the-scenes tour of The Great Passion Play. We met Passion Play Assistant Executive Director Kent Butler at the gift shop and began our tour in the Bible Museum. He admitted he is not the one who normally gives the Bible Museum tour, but we still enjoyed seeing many rare and precious bibles from all different eras and in an array of different languages. I definitely want to return when we have more time and peruse the collection again. From the Bible Museum we moved on outside to the amphitheater where the Passion Play is performed. While Kent was very engaged in the Bible Museum, you could tell that the play was truly a passion for him (no pun intended). His enthusiasm for everything from the effects to the soundboard is likely due in part to the fact that over the years he has always had some sort of a role in the play. He started by playing a Roman soldier and now is one of the actors that portray Jesus.

5. Walk on the wild side

When you take a tour of Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, you quite literally walk on the wild side of Eureka Springs. Our tour guide was Megan, an intern from Minnesota who plans to go on to be a zoo keeper in her home state. She was so kind to guide us through the refuge even though it was extremely cold and many of the lions, tigers and bears were keeping warm up out of sight in their dens. We did get to see a few of the cats though, as well as one monkey. She told us the stories behind how many of the big cats were rescued and subsequently brought to live at Turpentine Creek. The stories we heard stirred up feelings of both heartbreak–in hearing of abuse and neglect, and hope–in knowing that the people who are now caring for these animals have their best interests at heart.

I am so glad that Eureka Springs is only a hop, skip and a jump from home because I already made another list…a list of all of the things we didn’t fit into this trip that we need to go back to see and do!