The Decade

Wedding picture

Our Wedding Day 10/24/2004

Over the weekend Kyle and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. It is hard to even express how much this anniversary year meant to me. Probably because to be quite honest I never really thought we would make it this far.

I’m not going to beat around the bush here, marriage is hard!
If you asked me in the early days of wedded bliss I would even tell you that I wasn’t quite sure I was cut out for married life. I can list a whole host of witnesses prior to saying ‘I do’ that had heard me say at least a hundred times that I was NEVER going to get married.

But alas, my prince charming came along and I was swept away by the love bug.
Kyle and I had a sort-of whirl-wind courtship. Deciding early on that we didn’t bug each other and that if we were ever to do this marriage thing we would probably be able to tolerate each other. But, we also figured we had better hurry up before one or both of us chickened out (And our parents seemed to agree.)
So, from our formal “were together” announcement to our wedding day we had a total of 10 months to be sure we were right for each other.

(The romance of this story is nauseating, isn’t it?)

I share this only because, as a foundation to our marriage we have to admit it was a shaky one. So, this begs the question how on earth did we manage to make it a whole decade?

Well, it wasn’t easy. We have had many ups and downs as couple. And I would love to say that we never talked about divorce, but the truth is we did… annually it seemed for several years. Because the fact of the matter is when you live with someone day in and day out they will eventually bug you.
I can laugh about this now, because after 10 years, we know we will bug each other from time to time. But, we also have reached the place where we understand that love, at its root is not feeling. It is a choice. The choice to put someone else’s needs above your own. The choice to forgive even when the other person hasn’t said they are sorry yet. The choice and decision to love outwardly must begin internally.

Of course, we have had a little help over the years. I am eternally grateful to all of the people who kept us facing each other over the years. Our parents, our pastors, our friends who were ahead of us on the journey, and even those who were behind us and still so nauseatingly “in love.” We have been truly blessed that in our worst days, when we wanted to turn our backs on each other, or probably more accurately, run as far away from each other as possible. Those people would stand in our way, grab us by our emotional shoulders and stick us right back toe to toe with each other. Let me just say– it is very hard to not work things out when you know you are stuck facing someone you are having a conflict with. It is also hard not to smile. And if you smile, you are at risk for remembering something you like about a person.

So, there you have it, our great marital secret: No Escape!
I don’t know if this method would work for everyone, but I am thankful that it worked for us. I can even say that not only do I love my husband but I even like this man I am stuck with.
As the years have gone by I can also thankfully admit that we don’t mention the “D” word anymore, I don’t even think we ponder the idea. You see, all those times of being forced to face each other has developed a habit of us facing and working our problems out.

But eventually there would be (and there was) a conflict that I am certain no person could help us resolve. No, the only answer to those dark days was to hand our hearts over to God. These were excruciatingly hard times. But I learned during that time what it truly meant to let Christ be the center of our marriage. We had to surrender ourselves and let God bind our hearts together in a deeper way than anything else could. Learning (often at different paces) that our relationship must be rooted in God and his word. Not in each other or in some unrealistic ideal.

The good news is, that in the mix of it all, I remember that the good days have always outnumbered the bad. Kyle is truly my best friend and closest confidant. He knows me in ways no one else does. And that is such a good feeling. I love that after 10 years the best part of our marriage is that we still like each other (most days) and that our conflicts have changed in that they are less against each other and more about how to conquer life together. I would much rather argue about how WE want to get from point A to point B, than how I want A and he wants B. We are bound more as a team and less as individuals, yet without feeling like we have totally lost ourselves. Kyle has offered me more grace to be me than I ever thought possible. And I hope I have been a help and encouragement to him in some way over the years.

We also have three beautiful reminders that we have loved each other. Our children by far are the best bi-product of our marriage. And now when things get itchy we have these living breathing examples of our love and commitment to one another.

Of course I realize that even though we have grown a lot in the last ten years, we also have a lot more growing to do. Nothing in life is certain. We are just as human as anyone else. We are aware that if this marriage is going to succeed in the long run there is still much work to be done. We have to be vigilant to care for and protect our marriage. Lucky for us we both seem to like the adventure. :)


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Surprise! We have a new baby

10-26-14 002 10-26-14 019 (960x1280) 10-26-14 021 (960x1280)We have added a new addition at our little house this weekend!
I don’t think I have been this excited about an animal in a long time. Just in time for Kyle and I to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary we got the call that a there was a calf ready for us from a local dairy farm. Of course a little haste was made to gather our supplies and get a nursery ready. But, who does not enjoy a little nesting on the fly?

And here we can introduce “Buster Brown” to you. He is a little week old Jersey calf. Who of course has a purpose beyond cuteness, but at this stage we need not dwell on those particulars. As of this moment his job is to grow and get rowdy.

Oh the joy of  FINALLY having something around here that will MOO! I never would have guessed that I would miss it. But quite honestly I have craved that sound for a few years now.

Of course I’m not the only one tickled with our new arrival. I think everyone is pretty happy about him being here. Well…. almost everyone. 10-26-14 008

Not to worry, I predict that by weeks end we’ll have to drag this little girl away from him.


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This Moment

This Moment~ Joining Soulemama in a Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment.
A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

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Goodbye Diapers… for now

26 months is apparently an important age in our house. For it seems (three times now) that this is the age in which my children decide the are ready to leave diapers behind.

Each and every time this happens I cannot tell how surprised I am. For, it is my belief that the whole potty training thing is best left until later. Mostly from the perspective that the longer we wait the more ready they will be and the less work I will need to do.

But, nonetheless each time it seems like there is one day I can ignore the signs no longer and together we make the leap.

Still beyond the commonality of age each of my children have had very different paths for potty training. And while I could ad a post to the plethora of others out there, listing  all the things that could be done to achieve potty training success. I think instead I will just share the three most valuable things that I have learned during this process over time.

#1 – Simplistic as it may be: Don’t listen to anyone else’s potty training story. Even ours.

Just like when your child first rolled over or crawled. When he or she was ready to eat or take their first steps. Potty learning need not be a competition. Nor should you feel like your missing the mark if your child is not out of diapers by X age.

#2 – Starting late is easier than starting early.

By this I mean really, it is okay to wait. Experts will agree that you should look for the signs of readiness. I like to wait for A LOT of signs. The more of these little helpful ques the easier the job in my opinion. Not to mention, those first months of potty learning seem to be more about you learning the ques than your little one really deciding they know they are ready. Oh, and method? Each of my children have needed a slightly different approach, so I would suggest not getting stuck on the idea there is one “right” way to success out there. You know your child, have confidence that you will find the method that works for both of you.

#3 – Have a sense of humor. Potty learning can be as quick as a day or it may seem to take years for your little one to really get it (true story.) But, no matter what, you can rest assured your little one will get it.

So, there is my contribution to the vast array of information out there about potty training.
Oh, and don’t forget that on that glorious day it is perfectly acceptable for everyone to do the potty dance!

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How I Really Feel About This Pregnancy

????????????Ever since I started blogging I have dreamed of blogging about one of my pregnancies. Taking you unsuspecting readers along for the ride. After all for the last 8 or so years pregnancy and birth have been such a pivotal part of my life. These experiences have shaped and molded me both emotionally and spiritually (and to be quite frank, there have been a few physical changes as well – ahem.) Still my dream of chronicling it all has eluded me as each time I realized all too quickly that I am just not that kind of pregnant lady.

You know the one. She who can do morning sickness and still count it all joy.
She who sails into her second trimester in victory and awe of the miracle within her.
The girl who eagerly anticipates the arrival of her sweet bundle of joy and does all the preparation and nesting while still finding time to exercise and write.

Oh, how I admire that girl.

But, like I said, I have realized that I am just not that girl. And slowly I am coming to grips with it. At first feeling really sad that I just couldn’t live up to my own “ideal pregnant lady” standard. Truly, I am no perfectionist. I hope I never put on that kind of air. I know God has made me to be me. Long ago I set the goal to be real before being good at anything. If I ever share anything, I want it to be honest. Good…or bad.
But, for some reason I just couldn’t seem to let go of the idea that I had to have this perfect grace during pregnancy.

The fact of the matter is… When I’m pregnant, I’m sick. Like, been-on-the-boat-too-long,  puke-your-brains-out-sick for the whole first trimester. During that time, I loathe the child within me. I mean, I love him/her, but mostly I loath what is happening to my body.

As I crawl back to land… er, get into my second trimester, I fret. I worry about everything. How the baby is growing, how the kids will handle yet another sibling. How I am going to cope. How I am going to have the strength to push another living thing out of my body… You get the idea.

And as I round the corner into my third trimester I cry. Hysterically apparently. Just the other night I started laughing for no real reason…and then collapsed into a heap of tears that brought raised eyebrows from my poor helpless husband and fear from my daughter. Yes, I really was that crazy pregnant lady. Oh, and at my last Midwife appointment my dear sweet midwife who congratulated me on making it 2/3’s of the way, then had to console me as I sobbed… about nothing.

So, why share all this now? Because despite all the misery and the tears, I know. I mean I really do know (this 4th time around) that it will all work out how it is supposed to. I know I cannot guarantee there won’t be complications. But I also know it is not worth it to dwell on them. I know I have done my homework. I know this birth will be as different as can be from the others.

In the next few weeks I will write a birth plan, because I know it pays to be prepared. But, I will also  once again include under the section for ‘Complications’ my typical request, “In the case of complications, please just keep us in the loop. We’ll get through it together.”

And, I’ll continue to pray, and seek Gods strength to get through this wonderful/horrible time. I will trust Him to work it out. One day I will have no doubt that it was all worth it. It always is.

Oh! I have learned one thing that I think has a direct correlation to my emotional state this time around:
When having a December 25th due date, one can expect to have slight anxiety at the thought of a new baby and needing to finish Christmas shopping all on the same count down. :)

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Some times I feel as though I have lived twice my years and at other times I wonder where the time has gone. Truthfully I enjoy having birthdays. I’m not afraid to be “in my thirties.”
Honestly, I feel like to be thirty-something means that I am in the prime of my life.

I personally was quite  relieved to leave my 20’s behind. Though I will also admit the thought of 40 seems a bit daunting (thankfully I have a few more years to adjust to the idea.)

Yes, thirty-three feels pretty good to me. And for posterity just in case I ever want to remember, or the kids ever wonder, this is what I think of this birthday:

1. I’m thankful to have made it this far. I truly feel it is an accomplishment to be this age.

2. I love that in my thirties I feel pretty comfortable with myself. I feel neither old nor young. Kind of that just right phase of life.

3. I’m a little surprised that life is still hard. For some reason, I thought my 30’s would include having everything figured out. I guess that just goes to show that life always has its surprises.

4. I’m happy that today at thirty-three I can say this is my natural hair color. I even like the few gray’s that are starting to peek out.

5. I never thought I would be pregnant at 33. But, again God’s plans are often different from our own. Though no less a blessing.

6. I still prefer a cherry pie to a traditional birthday cake. And at 33 I didn’t even mind that I had to make it myself. A treat is a treat after all.
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7. I’m thankful for a husband who knows that while I don’t mind making my birthday pie I was not overly crazy about making my own birthday dinner. He wisely agreed to take us all out.

8. He really is the handiest guy, as my last wish of the evening was to write for a bit. He is wrangling the kids.

9. Only on my birthday do I realize how much this whole social media thing is really a blessing. One day a year I can see the well wishes from all of my friends and family. It really does warm my heart. So, thank you.

10. And the very best reason to be happy about turning 33.

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Really they are the ones who have helped shape me the most. They love me exactly as I am. They offer me living grace on good days and bad days. I cannot think of a more wonderful crew to live through these prime years with.

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Little People

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Every day I want to create something. Though I admit that it is far too rare that I sit down and do it. Too often letting the chores of life and the reality of all it takes to make home and school and food for this wonderful group of people I live with get in the way.
And yet, as the season turns and the color comes to the trees, I can no longer ignore the pull to make something. But what?

Supplies are limited at the moment, and though I see many things that inspire I have found few that would fit in my limited time frame each day.

I do notice that lately there is a busy little girl, who loves all things little. In the book case, or in a box. There are little houses being made. Little nests being formed and assortments of little people are everywhere.

This little house making brought flash backs to my own childhood. Where I remember my Grandma had two little dolls nestled in her book shelf. I adored these little dolls and played with them often. They were simple but pretty, and they evoked my imagination.
As I watch the little girl play, I keep remembering these little dolls with their cute cotton dresses and yarn hair. I wonder if this little girl would like them too?

I figured I could actually muster the materials. Some old-fashioned clothes pins, fabric scraps, and maybe some wool roving for hair instead of yarn. So on a quiet evening I set to work, and soon I had two little helpers to design a family of little people.

There is something that is so wonderful about creating with your children. I forget the preciousness of that time. I forget how much they just want to be part of the process. I must remember this and make more of an effort to create with them. Perhaps I can let go of the idea that it is time I need to carve out for myself. Instead embracing the idea that time to create is a time of togetherness, a time to share.
What does it matter if in the moment the little girl fell in love with the jar of buttons more than the little dolls they were meant for? So what if it was a little more hectic and messy than than I am used to (or like.) It all cleaned up, and the realization that the memory and the request “to make something everyday!” is far more valuable. Even more precious is the joy of finding a little girl making little beds and little houses for her beloved little people.

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