Categories
Mom Life Pennsylvania Travel

A Quick Guide to Visiting the U.S. Senior Open With Kids

This post is sponsored by USGA.

Being able to spend a day on the golf course was exactly what my husband wished for this past Father’s Day but experiencing the U.S. Senior Open was a total dream.

We recently had the chance to visit the 42nd U.S. Senior Open in the Lehigh Valley with the family. The golf course views were absolutely stunning. The USGA along with Lehigh Valley Reilly Children’s Hospital had an entire junior experience set up that Milan and Jovani thoroughly enjoyed. We were able to see some of the best professional senior golfers while also spending quality time together as a family.

Visiting the U.S. Senior Open With Kids

Did you know? The U.S. Senior Open was first played in 1980. The championship for golfers age 50 and older is open to any professional and amateur golfer with a Handicap Index® not exceeding 3.4.

Visiting the U.S. Senior Open With Kids

If you’re thinking about attending the 42nd U.S. Senior Open Championship, here’s a quick guide to visiting the U.S. Senior Open With Kids:

Before You Go

  1. There are a variety of ticket options currently on sale:
    Weekly Tickets (one (1) ticket for each day during championship week, Tuesday – Sunday),
    Daily Tickets (tickets start at $25, and fans can purchase a daily Gallery or 19th Hole ticket.), and
    Flex Book Tickets (perfect for fans who want to attend the championship but are unable to commit to specific days in advance).
  2. The U.S. Open is a family FUN event. Admission is complimentary for youth 18 and younger!
  3. A variety of food and beverage is available to purchase at the 19th Hole (which is an upgraded ticket area that includes various interactive activities in an outdoor festival-like setting)
  4. Parking is available, but you’ll be shuttled to the location so don’t forget anything in the car.
  5. Most importantly – Wear LOTS of sunscreen!
Visiting the U.S. Senior Open With Kids; putting on the course

Experiences to Check Out

  • The Junior Experience has a scavenger hunt on practice round days that will take juniors and their parents all over the golf course – super cool!
  • The 19th Hole – an outdoor festival-like setting located in the middle of the three finishing holes (16, 17 & 18) of the championship Old Course
  • Golf simulators presented by X-Golf Lehigh Valley at the 19th Hole
  • Coloring and other art activities at the Junior Experience
  • Live music at the 19th Hole in the late afternoon during practice rounds (Tuesday and Wednesday)
  • Golfzilla inflatable targets
  • A junior-only grandstand overlooking the 15th tee
  • A variety of lawn games at the 19th Hole such as cornhole, bean bag bucket toss, and more.
  • Kid’s Hour on the 19th Hole Putting Green each day (Tuesday-Sunday) from 10 – 11 am with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms mascot, meLVin.
Visiting the U.S. Senior Open With Kids; junior golfer putting with her dad
Visiting the U.S. Senior Open With Kids; Jovani and Milan at the Junior Experience
Visiting the U.S. Senior Open With Kids; Milan putting at the Junior Experience
Visiting the U.S. Senior Open With Kids; a Scavenger Hunt
Visiting the U.S. Senior Open With Kids; sign of the Junior Ticket
Visiting the U.S. Senior Open With Kids; coloring pages and scavenger hunt

We seriously enjoyed ourselves just as much as the kids because all of the activities kept the kids active & excited about golf. So, don’t forget to grab lunch & have a mini picnic while you refuel for the rest of the championship.

For more information on the 42nd U.S. Senior Open, visit ussenioropen.com/2022

Categories
Lifestyle

Less Resolutions, More Intention

Every year around this time, I look forward to seeing the annual “New Year, New Me” status changes along with everyone’s resolutions. Let’s be honest with ourselves, though – those resolutions are usually forgotten by the third week of January. And if the past two years during a pandemic have taught us anything, it should definitely be a fact that life doesn’t always go according to plan.

Chantelle Roberts, NJ Influencer in the Snow; Less Resolutions, More Intentions for the New Year

For me, the New Year is all about mentally starting fresh so that I can regain focus. This time around though, I’m more invested in the journey. Rather than getting disappointed with failed resolutions, I plan to just be consistent with my evolution – even if that means starting small.

So, I’ve decided to set less New Year’s resolutions and instead mindfully set my intentions for the year.

How to Set Your Intention for The Year

Change Your Mindset

For me, changing my mindset involved some soul-searching. Ask yourself some questions about your desires and what makes you happy, then it’ll be easier to visualize you reaching your goals.

Here are some questions that you can ask yourself to dig deep & change your mindset:

  • Why is this goal so important to me?
  • What will my life look like when I achieve this goal?
  • What would my life look like if I didn’t achieve it?

Create a Vision Board

I usually create moodboards for my brand design clients before we begin their project because it sets the tone and depicts the design direction of the brand we’re creating. It reflects the words they want their customers to use to describe them. Creating a vision board for my life helps me manifest and sets the tone for the life I want. I pick a theme and I use images from Pinterest to depict the vision I have for myself. I keep it on my phone so I can see it everyday. You can easily create a vision board using Canva and print it out or set it as your wallpaper on your devices.

How to create a Vision Board on Canva:

  1. Create a Design (Search: Desktop Wallpaper or Phone Wallpaper)
  2. Decide on a Theme for the Year, think about the areas your want to focus on (travel, finances, relationships, wellness, etc)
  3. Save some photos from Pinterest that reflects your theme for the year
  4. Upload those photos into a collage, and move them around as you see fit
  5. Download and save it as your wallpaper

Start Small

We don’t have to jump into January with big goals like losing 100lbs in 2 months and quitting anything sweet out of your life forever. We mean well, but that type of drastic change probably won’t happen. And while I know that getting out of our comfort zone breeds change, I also know that accomplishing bite-sized victories is still a win.

If there’s a big goal that you’re trying to reach, break it down into smaller steps or habits and then work on those. For example, if your goal is to post on social media consistently – try to break it down by forming a habit of sharing a “good morning” video to your stories. It won’t seem as daunting as committing to sharing the perfect photo and caption every day.

I also like to set monthly 10-minutes or less tasks that aren’t overwhelming that feel like an easy win. Things like:

  • cleaning out my purse (because the bigger the bag, the more receipts I hold on to for some reason)
  • deleting unused apps from my phone
  • unsubscribing to emails I don’t read
  • recycling old magazines & catalogs

Fun Tip: Play beat the clock: set a timer to keep yourself on task. No pressure if you don’t finish it all in one sitting.

Share with a Friend

Find an accountability partner like a close friend or a mentor that you can check in with on a regular basis. It’s always helpful to be able to share success stories and bounce ideas off each other especially if you’re on the same journey. When you find yourself thinking negatively or are struggling to stay in the present, your accountability partner can help you stay on track.

Reward Yourself

Shhh! This is my favorite part. Rewarding yourself and celebrating the little victories along the way will help you stay on track. Add in some self-care or a quick day trip to that place you’ve pinned on Pinterest, and you’ll have something to look forward to during your journey.

Most importantly, when all else fails – keep going. You got this.

I hope 2022 brings everyone reading this post lots of success and transformation. I’m a firm believer that in order to attract better, you have to become better. We can’t do the same things and expect change. But it all starts with you and how you feel about yourself.

Happy New Year!

Categories
Lifestyle Mom Life

Wait, What? We’re Moving to New Jersey!

FAMILY UPDATE: ??‘?? ?????? ?? JERSEY! ⁣? —

The orders are in and we can finally share with everyone our next duty station! My husband has accepted a broadening assignment and we’re off to make New Jersey our home for the next couple of years. We are so excited to be back on the East Coast, but man, it has been a roller coaster of emotions! ?

We're Moving to New Jersey #foolinwiththeroberts

Traveling while black, during a pandemic, with an SUV full of kids and luggage was STRESSFUL to say the least. Add in the fact that the military had a few travel bans so we weren’t sure if this PCS move was even happening until a WEEK before we left the state. Can you even imagine the frenzy?

Moving During COVID-19

I’m thankful for the military and move.mil with providing quick reference guides & checklists for an already stressful time. Our moving company was chosen by the military as usual, and the company provided our survey to plan for the shipment of our household goods virtually. So, that was one headache that I didn’t have to worry about. But if you’ve ever hired a moving company, you know like I do how much paperwork can be involved during the move. I wish that part could have been done virtually as well.

The movers packed and loaded our belongings onto the semi-truck with a military inspector present to monitor their safety practices. But of course, the move did not come without hiccups. We had the option to move everything ourselves, but honestly, that was the furthest from our minds. My only advice is, if wearing masks isn’t already mandated in your state, have some handy if you have any immune-compromised family members present.

Road Tripping While Black

I think this was the scariest part of our journey. Planning a route that would allow you to stop for gas in areas that aren’t afraid of our skin color, that you wouldn’t have to worry about being stopped & possibly not make it to the next destination… shouldn’t have to be the norm. But this is our reality as a black family. My teenagers googled every nearby city, and warned us if that was an area they read about in the news or on social media. They didn’t want this road trip to our new home to be the start of a new hashtag, and I didn’t either. Especially during this time. Thankfully, we only ran into friendly faces and a few wild animals along the way.

We're Moving to New Jersey #foolinwiththeroberts

Starting Over

The sad part about being a military family is starting over when our PCS season comes. We lived in Colorado for over 4 years. We had such a beautiful community of friends and military family in Colorado, that it felt like home. ?

We’ve learned so much about nature, about ourselves, and about life while living in CO. Like – we’re from Florida so we didn’t see mountains on a regular basis and didn’t know how much we were missing out. I’m still terrified of driving through the mountains (fear of heights) but I’ll always love looking at them. Also, I didn’t know how much I enjoyed being outdoors until I went on my first hike in 2016. And if you love the outdoors too, you’ll definitely love the countless number of things to do and see while in Colorado.

Luckily for us, we’ve crossed off a bunch of things from our Colorado bucket list. If you’re moving to or PCSing to the Colorado Springs area soon, my top 3 places to see/do are:

  • Garden of Gods: for a hike, of course, but also take a drive through the path and soak in the views. It’s a great spot for family pictures too!
  • Cripple Creek: visit some old Gold Mines, and then try your luck at the casinos. Thank me later.
  • Pueblo Lake: Grab a boat and some friends & have a good time 🙂

For more ideas on things to do and places to visit throughout the state, check out the Colorado Tourism Office.

We're Moving to New Jersey #foolinwiththeroberts

Honestly, as much as I love Colorado, I knew that it wouldn’t be our forever home due to his career. If I had to choose, though, we’d probably be staying put. ? But for now – duty calls, so we are super excited to see what’s next for us in New Jersey! 

We're Moving to New Jersey #foolinwiththeroberts

Stay tuned for more updates 🙂

Photos by Colorado Springs Photographer, Amanda Hughes Photography LLC (also, a fellow military wife)

Categories
Marriage Mom Life

5 Things No One Tells You About Being a Military Wife

As rewarding as his career choice can be, there are negatives to every positive. It can be an experience that pulls on your heart and makes you question if you were built for the lifestyle. Although, I was once in the military myself – being on the supporting side of this life has made me question my friendships, goals, and even my career interests.

Don’t get me wrong: Being married to a military servicemember has its perks:

  • You get to travel and move your family to places you would have never thought to relocate to.
  • Your spouse has a career that invites random people to stop him just to thank him for his service (and sometimes they do it to you too).
  • And of course, the health benefits and housing allowance is a plus as well.

But no one tells you about the other side of being a military wife. There’s something about moving miles away from what you called home to create your new normal that can be terrifying! I saw this hilarious post on Facebook via How to Milspouse and it prompted me to write about what I wanted to know as a new military wife.

Military Spouse Hack (via How to Milspouse)
Military Spouse Hack (via How to Milspouse)

Here are five things that no one told me (but I wish they did) about being a military wife.

As soon as you learn to love it, they’ll replace it.

Every time we get settled in and finally fall in love with his duty station, it’s time to PCS. AGAIN! And then we’re back to finding a new home, new friends, new schools, and new routines.

It. Never. Fails.

The beauty of it all is, we get to see new places and make friends all over the world. Sure, I’ll have a few damaged pieces of furniture after the move and we’ll end up with new license plates to match the new state… but we’ll have our family together. We will have crossed another state off the list or added another stamp to the kids’ passport books. My advice: always approach a new location with a positive outlook because it’s what YOU make of it that counts. It really is an adventure.

@xochantelmarie and her husband

It can get lonely.

Before you move to a new location, look for a job and then research the area to find places of interest to explore & hang out. It’s easy to start feeling alone and like a prisoner when our spouses are gone.

Also, don’t feel guilty about wanting local friends. There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting someone other than your husband to hang out with and binge watch Netflix, or even just to do playdates with the kids. Find something to keep you happily busy and then find someone to chill with. Having healthy friendships and a good support system is important.

So, if you are lucky enough to find your tribe of friends that stick with you no matter where you PCS to; hold on to them! If you haven’t been able to find any genuine friends yet, find a military spouse group that’s local to your area and engage! Most importantly: Get. Out. Of. The. House. Meet people and keep yourself busy.

Finding friends is tough, but finding a new job is the real test.

When you move every 2-3 years, your resume can start to look sporadic. Trying to level up in your career field becomes difficult because you don’t get enough experience at one job before it’s time to move again.

There are lots of military-friendly employers who take pride in helping military veterans and military families be gainfully employed. Then some employers secretly discriminate against and refuse to hire military spouses. They’ll say, “Thank you for your service,” until it comes time to hire a spouse. “Well, you have everything. You’re well off and you have benefits. Why do you need to work? You’ll be moving soon anyway, right?” Many wives, myself included, have encountered this.

In those situations, I have to stress the importance of using the benefits you have as an advantage. Benefits like using the MyCAA program, volunteering with the community service centers on base and keeping your resume updated will help you apply for remote jobs and careers that are portable.

Everyone will think you’re rich.

For some strange reason, people assume that military families are wealthy.

People will purposely prey on military members and their families because they see their income as a guaranteed paycheck. They’ll ask “What’s his rank?” not just for conversation but to see how much they can get out of you. I’m speaking in regards to businesses, of course, but the same can apply to friends and family. People will either think you act like you’re better than them or they’ll ask to borrow money.

There are benefits that military members have that many civilians don’t. But having a large family and being a military spouse can have its ups and downs. So, you might be wondering where is all of this “rich” money that people think we have. If you don’t learn to budget your family’s income and take advantage of the benefits given as a military family, you’ll have a hard time – period. Resources like Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace Military Edition may help families who need it.

And last but not least…

Don’t forget to date & communicate with each other often.

There’s an abbreviation for almost every part of my husband’s job and to me, everything is like “the camo one or the green one?” I am prior Air Force and my husband is in the Army. They are not the same. And I often feel like I don’t understand the Army. But just because you can’t relate to what your spouse is going through doesn’t mean that you can’t support him/her. Sometimes they’ll want to talk, other times they’ll want to talk about anything but the military. Always communicate with each other. Spend as much time together as you can. Before you know it, it’s time to tackle the next deployment or mission-essential training.

@xochantelmarie and her husband at Seven Peaks Music Festival in Buena Vista, CO

Find a show to watch together that you both can watch whether he’s home or away, and then talk about that. Play board games or card games together, and talk about who is the better player. Go on playful dates as much as romantic dates. Make regular days feel like special occasions because you’ll start to notice that anniversaries, birthdays, holidays, etc are just another day in the eyes of their superiors. So, make traditions together.

Falling into the routine conversations of, “Did you pay for this and that? What’s for dinner? Are the kids okay?” can become mundane. Have conversations about your goals, his goals after the military, and your future together. You both go through so much, so be sure to establish a strong foundation in your relationship by keeping the communication open.

Whether you were married before your spouse joined the military or you joined forces later in their military career, it can be a struggle to adapt at any phase. Honestly, despite all of these things that I wish I would have known; being a military spouse has been great for me. I have grown so much as a person over the years and been able to experience some amazing things I would never have.

Categories
Lifestyle Marriage

How a Marriage Retreat Helped Our Relationship

Marriage. Is. Hard.

Do I need to repeat it for the people in the back?

Whether you’re newlyweds celebrating your first year anniversary or a seasoned couple on year 15 – MARRIAGE IS WORK! It’s two people raised in different ways, sometimes different cultures, and with different experiences in love. Adding children to the equation, financial differences, temptation, and pressures from everyday life can put a strain on the love you once had.

Marrying into the military lifestyle, however, comes with a different set of stresses and worries. Being married to a servicemember who has to deploy to dangerous areas or leave for training often, while adding all of the above is definitely work. Not to mention – the divorce rate for married military couples is super high because so many servicemembers marry for the wrong reasons, but trust me, it can work if you want it to.

Our Marriage Story

My husband and I met in 2009 through mutual friends, while we were in two different states. Our dates consisted of Skype video calls, phone calls, and text message interactions for two years. We became best friends but didn’t meet in person until the summer of 2011. He deployed in 2010 and came to visit me during his R&R (which stands for rest and recuperation, or a break during his deployment) and we spent a short time together before he went to see the rest of his family. He asked me to marry him a few months later and then we got married February 2012.

@xochantelmarie and her husband

Every year since we got married in 2012, though, he’s been gone at least 5 months out of the year. And every time that he leaves we have to figure out how to get back into the groove of marriage and parenthood, and co-existing with someone who’s been out of your house for a while.

Learning to communicate with each other, despite our distance and different time zones, was imperative to make our marriage last. But we really struggled with reconnecting once he returned because it was hard moving forward without feeling like we were in each other’s way. He didn’t understand the routine that the kids and I had without him, and I didn’t understand the damage from seeing things at war and the PTSD that was affecting him.

I once suggested counseling to my husband and he quickly shut that idea down. Unfortunately, the word COUNSELING triggers a belief that your marriage is failing to many people, including my husband. So, I searched for a marriage retreat that could help and found out about the Army’s Strong Bonds retreat program.

This marriage retreat was exactly what we needed. Little did he know, it was a lot similar to counseling except in a group setting.

They provided us with childcare, a hotel for a staycation, and we received counseling in a fun group format that didn’t seem invasive (so, my husband didn’t even realize that it was a form of counseling). The marriage retreat gave us an opportunity to open up through games and interaction.

Drawings from our table of what we love... can you tell which one is mine?

What We Learned at the Marriage Retreat

We learned about a book called The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts and it completely changed our outlook on our relationship. I remember seeing an interview on The Steve Harvey show about this book, but we never really tried to apply it to our marriage.

It was a game changer.

It taught us that sometimes we show our love and appreciation based on what our love language is, assuming that’s what our partner wants, but it isn’t their love language. The five love languages are basically the way people speak and understand emotional love. My love language is words of affirmation, while my husband’s love language is acts of service.

Here’s a little infographic I found online that shows the five love languages & how to speak your partner’s language:

How to Speak Your Partner's Love Language
Source: The Ladies Coach, https://theladiescoach.com

We also learned about our personality types (I’m INFP, by the way) and effective listening. We had to listen to each other tell a story without interrupting, and that was honestly so difficult for me. My husband kept laughing because he knew I would do that. I just like to ask questions, but I realized that the more I asked him questions during his story – the more his story changed to accommodate my questions.

Yeah, I still ask questions … but mindfully lol.

Personally, I don’t think a perfect marriage exists. However, if both people are open and willing to work toward the common goal of happiness, marriage is a pretty wonderful and special thing. But if you ever feel the need to enhance your marriage by way of counseling, try out a marriage retreat. Here are a few resources to help lead you in the right direction to find a marriage retreat for you and your spouse:

For military couples, check out Military One Source’s article on marriage enrichment programs by branch: https://www.militaryonesource.mil/family-relationships/relationships/keeping-your-relationship-strong/marriage-enrichment-programs

If you are not affiliated with the military and in search of a marriage retreat or enrichment program, I would suggest doing a google search for marriage retreats in your area.

Hope this helps!