Prepare for and plan for the best

photoJustin and I are going on our first vacation sans children in a couple of weeks.  It’s a work conference for myself, but we are adding a day so that we can spend some quality time together. It will be a great way to strengthen our marriage.

I’m terrified.

We haven’t left the kids yet, but for a night away here and there.  Link tells me he misses me when I leave his room at night!  How will he handle 5 days?  And sweet Eloise, who doesn’t sleep… what will she do when she can’t snuggle with mommy all night?

I know they will be fine. But I worry – I am a worrier.  It will be so good for Justin and I, and it will be great for Link to learn that we leave AND come back.

I did get my will finalized, so if we end up in the Indian Ocean or anything, the kids are protected.  I didn’t put a directive for Alabaster – so hopefully someone will take him.

All this being said, God has us in His hands.  We will all be safe, and loved, and protected.  But say a prayer for us anyway… please.

When it’s not fair

There are many things in life that are not fair.  It’s not fair that one person is wealthy and another is not, when they are both hard workers.  It’s not fair that one person is healthy and another is not, when they have the same genetics.  It’s not fair that your sandwich tastes gross and mine is delicious when it was made by the same person.  Life isn’t fair.

It’s also not fair when one person is trying harder than the other at the same relationship.  But that’s often the way it is.  I’ve mentioned this before: the dance.  Relationships are a continual dance – one person leads, one follows.  Then it switches, and switches again.  But the key there is that one person is leading.  If no one is leading, the relationship will fail.

When working on my own relationships, I try to remember this concept.  If I feel like I am working hard on my marriage, I certainly hope my husband is also, but he often is not.  And when I can tell he is working hard at it, my actions may not be reciprocal.  This can lead to a few things.

First, lack of intimacy.  Not just physical, but emotional intimacy is necessary in a marriage.  I am not sure how my relationship with my husband would succeed long term if neither of us were focusing on creating intimate moments.  So even when the kids have been hanging on me all day, and the last thing I want to do is be touched, it’s important to give him a kiss goodnight.  When he looks at me and sees distress, it goes a long way if he asks how he can help.

Next, complacency. defines this perfectly: “a feeling of quiet pleasure or security, often while unaware of some potential danger, defect, or the like.”  There are times when all of a sudden, J will say, “let’s just fight about this and get it over with!” or asks, “are we okay?”, and I have absolutely no idea that there has been a problem.  I bet this happens to moms and dads a lot.  The mom is busy focusing on keeping the kids healthy and on track, the house clean, the refrigerator stocked, and meals on the table while hopefully fitting in work and a shower.  All along the dad is feeling completely ignored and unnoticed.  Not good.

Last, distance.  When two people aren’t working on their relationship, or one is trying much harder than the other, a divide grows between them.  This divide, sucks.

But this is why you keep dancing.  You keep trying.  You keep telling your spouse that you love them, that you notice them, and that you want to be with them.  Aside from God, they should be number one.  Because after all, my person gave me the greatest gifts I’ve ever received, and I want to help him be as happy as he has made me.


The greatest gift

I mentioned last time that parenting was a second incredible challenge in my life.

Loving my children is not a challenge.  Even if I wanted to resist, I have no choice in this matter: I love them with my entire being.  They made me who I am; who I was meant to be.

It’s the parenting them part that is the challenge – and mostly worrying that I am not doing it right, or that they will remember each mistake I made.  Or worse yet – that each mistake I make will harm their development!

Lincoln is just over 2.5 years, and is a very happy little boy.  He is not a big boy – if you call him that, he will correct you.  He is very smart and speaks and understands well beyond his age.  He loves dinosaurs as much as anything, and in turn has become a little bit aggressive.  We have toned down letting him watch dinosaurs on television, and are working on helping him understand who he can rough-house with, and when it’s appropriate.  This weekend was wonderful.  He was so incredibly well behaved and loving.  If we aren’t good parents, he isn’t well behaved.  It’s a vicious cycle, and hard on sleep-deprived mommies and daddies of two.

We do our best, and we can always do better.  When we do better, he is better parented.  Like I said, a cycle.  A dance.  I absolutely love this 1(1)

Not a walk in the park

There are two things in my life that are a huge challenge: marriage and parenting.  They are the greatest challenges I have ever faced.

Today I want to talk about marriage.  J and I have been married 5.5 years now and had dated 5 years prior to that.  We didn’t live together before marriage, which is something that was important to us.  He moved in the day of our wedding and the next day we headed out on our honeymoon.  When we returned, I realized that this boy, and all of his stupid boy stuff, were not leaving.  I went in my closet, cried and called my mommy.  I was basically told to buck up, and thus the marriage began.  Even though we have known each other longer than a decade, we are learning who we are each day.

Communication in marriage is key.  If we do not talk, we cannot grow.  We have learned that especially since having children.  We barely talk during the week, except for quick conversations during dinner and checking in each night about the plan for tomorrow.  There are many couples who realize, once the kids grow up and leave, that they have no interest any more in this person who has shared their bed for years.  They had focused on the kids, instead of each other.  I will not let that happen to us.  I love J with my entire self, and part of my goal for giving up during Lent, was to take up my marriage.

This morning was a typical morning that involved making breakfast, potty learning, and getting ready for work, school, and daycare.  J stayed up a bit too late last night, and was a bit of a grouch (sorry honey).  I wanted to yell at him, but I am trying not to do that, especially in front of the kids.  Instead I said, “how can I make your day better?”  He didn’t have an answer to that, but I hope that I was showing him I care.

I want to live a God-filled, loving marriage.  I want my son and daughter to learn how to be a husband and a wife, and to see what a healthy relationship looks like.  One day at a time.

As having nothing, and yet possessing everything

During Lent, many people give up certain things as a form of penitence.  I have been taught in my Christian journey, that although is is important to give up, it is also important to take on.  Some years I chose to do one or both, and sometimes I did neither.  I am Lutheran, and wasn’t raised with this being a requirement during Lent.  In recent years I was either pregnant or nursing, and I felt that I was making a large enough sacrifice as it was.  This year, I wanted to put Jesus first, instead of me.

So I decided to give up Facebook.  That sounds trivial to a lot of people, but it had become an idol in my life.  I would check it while driving if I saw I had a notification (mostly at red lights), I would check it while nursing Eloise, and I would check it while playing with Lincoln.  My smartphone would be on at the dinner table, in the car, everywhere.  It was my idol.

Giving up Facebook is a true sacrifice in my life, and one that I am hoping leads to taking on.  I will be taking on more time with my husband.  I will be taking on precious moments with my little girl who is growing up so fast.  I will be taking on wrestling with my adorable toddler.  I will be taking on God.

I am so excited.

in the beginning

My life has been blessed.

I grew up with amazing parents, a wonderful sister, and an extended family that is truly the crème de la crème.  I live in a beautiful place where I’ve met true friends, my forever love, and Jesus.

I’ve had my share of sadness.  Depression and I have a persistent dance, but I’m usually leading.  Marriage is always a challenge, but one that I find exciting.  My faith is strong and steady, although sometimes muffled by the everyday.

Then I had you.

My world was the same, but so incredibly different.

And then I had you.

My world, no… the world became better.

My life is blessed.  I am no longer who I was, but who I was meant to be.  And I am so excited to see what is next for us.