Celebration Time, Come On!

We stepped up onto the wrap-around porch of our bed and breakfast and traveled back in time: 120 years back, to be exact. The ornate Victorian mansion was beyond anything I had expected or dreamed. Inside we were greeted with an intricately-decorated Christmas tree and all kinds of decorations that looked like they had teleported out of the pages of Romantic Homes. The air was filled with the homy aroma of cinnamon (that started to make my nose run, actually, so it was probably a scented candle), and the inviting presence of Debra, our gracious hostess. She asked for our breakfast preferences, then gave us the grand tour: the ladies' parlour (with the 120-year-old Steinway and an open invitation to play on it), the gentleman's parlour (complete with a stuffed fox eating a quail, and a couple of stuffed pheasants on the wall above the fireplace), the dining room--already laid for breakfast, under the watchful eye of Queen Victoria--and tomorrow we get to see some of the guest rooms in the house (besides ours).

Five years. It has been almost that long since Jason and I have had a romantic getaway. I was 35 weeks pregnant with Noah, and we decided to use up a hotel certificate I had earned for all my hard work selling kitchen tools with The Pampered Chef for a weekend getaway to Banff--a much-needed respite before adding a new baby to the mix. It was the end of January, but we had a blast anyway. Banff is still a wonderful place to visit, even in the middle of winter, even on a tight budget. Jason splurged on a gorgeous bouquet of flowers and some new lingerie and a cozy robe, which were waiting for us when we got into the hotel.

For souvenirs, we got some good memories--and I got hit with food poisoning on our way home. Between all the road-side pit-stops so I could empty my stomach, we somehow managed to pick up Jude from my uncle and aunt's in Calgary and get all the way back to Red Deer, but by then I was dehydrated enough that I was beginning to have contractions. So, I got to spend the night in the maternity ward at the hospital, being re-hydrated by I.V. The contractions eased off, and I was able to go home the next day. Just another day in the life.

This time, we are not squeezing out whatever we can get for free or cheap out of our holiday. If Jason splurged on flowers and slippers before, this time the whole holiday is a splurge. This is by far the most luxurious holiday we have ever had. We are at The Empress of Little Rock--a restored historical mansion with mind-blowing attention to detail. Our room includes a shower spa, a jacuzzi tub where you can sit and watch the fireplace, and had a fruit basket, champagne, and cozy robes waiting for us. The finishing touch were the rose petals strewn over the bed. Upon closer inspection, these turned out to be silk, but still beautiful and fragrant.

Tomorrow, we will be trying to squeeze in a few different "touristy" things, possibly including a tour through the Clinton Presidential Library and the State Museum, but definitely including the play of It's A Wonderful Life tomorrow night. How great is that?

After finding out that we preferred tea over coffee with our breakfast, Debra asked us, "So what are you celebrating?"

With huge grins on both of our faces, the reply was "We're DEBT FREE!"

Definitely a reason to celebrate.