Four Years Ago Today

I was a beaming bride, becoming and beautiful, tan and thin with $100 hair about to marry the man of my dreams.

He’s still the man of my dreams, but now my dreams have changed a bit.

At our wedding, I was looking forward to a lifetime of wonderful, and so far, we have had a whole lot of wonderful, combined with a healthy dose of regular along with a smidgen of bad. Being married is so much more than I ever thought it would be. It’s required more of me than I ever thought it would. I’ve had to change more and compromise more than I ever thought I should. And yet, being married has brought out the best in both of us, and challenged us in ways that cause us to be better people. We are continually working on becoming who God would have us be and our marriage gets better as a result.

Revolutionary books for me:
Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands

Love and Respect

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The Napping House

Where everyone is sleeping.

What a treat, to have a few hours all to myself. Granted, I am holding Brielle, who was sleeping in bed, but woke up twice before she finally settled snuggly into my arms for a long snooze. I figure it’s better to hold a sleeping baby than have one crying in bed.

After several weeks of unseasonably warm temperatures (as in we didn’t even need jackets to go outside), it’s sleeting and cold. It was dark and dreary all day, but Kevin took the day off to spend with me, so it was sunshiny in my heart! (I know, I know, that sounds cliched and trite, but it’s how I feel, so there. Bleh! *sticks out tongue*)

First we put on a high energy search for our lost dining room light remote.The dining room only has one window and is dark even in the daytime, especially on cloudy days. You can’t turn on the lights without the remote. It’s been missing for a couple of weeks. Only, we just recently realized it’s really missing. I cleaned and organized several rooms and closets that have been woefully neglected for ohh, since we moved in, and it still didn’t turn up. We moved the couch and the beds (and vacuumed underneath) to no avail. Finally I had an epiphany and found it upstairs in our spare room inside the overnight bag which was inside the carry on bag inside two other larger suitcases! Kevin had left his overnight bag under the spot where we keep the remote and it must have fallen in and subsequently inadvertently gotten put away. Happy dances all around.

We then attended Aviana’s music class all together as a family. It’s so fun to watch how the toddlers all interact with their parent and each other. Personalities vary across the board. It’s especially fun to see Aviana enjoy herself. She generally participates only if she’s done something before. Otherwise when the teacher introduces something new, she just watches and then will do the song and actions at home. Today we did the Gingerbread Man as a theme.

We stopped a motorcycle store to see if they had a battery for Kevin’s four wheeler. You’d think they never had a toddler in the place. Probably they haven’t. They do however, have a miniature poodle on site as a mascot.

We went to Sam’s Club just to buy a wreath and diapers. We did buy a prelit artificial evergreen wreath for the front door and diapers. We also bought cappuccino and cornbread mix and had to renew our membership, thusly spending over $100. I don’t think I’ve ever been able to leave that store with only what I came for.

Then we went over to the pet store where Aviana got to pet a Wiemerweiner (like Jake) named Magnum and a yet unnamed ferret which the owner had found in the middle of the road the other night. We considered getting her a guinea pig, but thought better of it. We’d rather get a Schnoodle this summer.

And that brings me to now–everyone is snuggled up, asleep.

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I love MOPS

Yesterday I went to the gym, the grocery store and TJMAXX and in each place I ran into a different friend I met through MOPS. It is SO nice to run into people I know when I’m out and about. To feel like I belong. To have friends~!

Today at our MOPS meeting, I wished I could have recorded our small group discussion after our speaker for Kevin. It’s so funny- we all have different husbands, different children, different upbringing, different extended families, different personalities, and yet, we all are exactly alike! We struggle with the same things and have similar fights with our husbands and deal with stressors in our life similarly. So refreshing. Which, incidentally, is our theme for this year.

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The Happiness Paradox

Recently read in Parenting magazine: Psychologists who study happiness report that while having children is reported by moms to be rewarding and richly enjoyable, in reality taking care of one’s child may not be the high on the list of pleasurable activities.

When psychologists ask moms in a general way if they like spending time with their kids, the overwhelming majority say they do because they’re thinking of the fun activities like reading a book or playing at the park. When they’re specifically asked to describe their actual daily routine, they remember the hours they spent struggling to get their child ready for bed or dealing with the tantrums thrown. This accounts for the discrepancy between moms and experts: selective memory.

Children do bring joy. They bring moments of transcendent delight in which one feels so happy it outweighs all the hard work of raising them. It’s just that children do not increase your average daily enjoyment. And ironically, once you stop expecting motherhood to feel warm and fuzzy all the time, life as a mom gets easier. It really helps to realize that it’s okay to feel frustrated, angry, tired or irritable sometimes. You’re not a bad parent. It’s not even a bad parenting experience. It’s just normal.

Another really interesting thing the study the article quotes found is that making sixty thousand more in annual income has less of an effect on your daily happiness than getting one extra hour of sleep a night! Wow!

Other things I need to be applying in bigger doses to my daily life are: Structuring my day so I’m doing more things I enjoy… I enjoy blogging/writing, scrapping, photography, reading, connecting with friends, exercising, and doing fun things with my children. I do not enjoy cleaning, being alone for long periods of time, messy rooms, tantrums, whining, crying and disciplining my children.
Upping my level of engagement as I go about the mundane duties…Be active in my participation in my life and notice things the way Aviana does, “Look, the moon is following us all the way to town!”
Appreciate the moment…Instead of trying to go back to sleep, which I can never do anyway, go to the window and worship God before Brielle awakens and while Aviana watches Einstein. Instead of trying to get the kitchen cleaned up while Aviana has a snack, sit and talk with her and enjoy her perspective of life.
Keep it all in perspective…I would not trade this job for anything. This is a hard job, but I can’t imagine how empty my life would be if suddenly I had no children. This precious time is fleeting and will be gone before I know it.
Reconnect with Kevin… my marriage is one of my cornerstones, and the first three years of a child’s life are the most stressful on a marriage. It’s easy to say that I’ll get to this relationship later, when it’s easier. We need to keep in mind some small manageable things we can do to keep our connection strong. Even going to the store together, or twenty minutes of ‘pillow talk’ would be beneficial.
Say thanks… Always give thanks to God the Father for everything. Ephesians 5:20 Thank You for these precious precious children. Thank You for choosing me to be their mama. Thank You that my husband works so hard to provide for us. Thank You for being in the middle of our relationship. Thank You for the wonderful understanding friends You are providing.Thank You for a terrific counselor who knows You. Thank You that I’m feeling so much better these days. Thank You that we have clothes to fold and carpets to vacuum, an indoor bathroom to clean and meals to prepare. Most of all, Thank you for loving us.

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When the toddler’s away, the parents will

hang things?
Kevin made the quilt hangers. Isn’t he talented? The quilt on the left was made by Grandma for Brielle, and the one on the right was made for Connie by her and Kevin’s great-grandma Meta.
My grandma Leonard made this one for Aviana, my mom made the “Pocket Bunny”, and the dresser was Kevin’s grandma’s. We had it refinished the summer we had Miss A.
And this is the quilt Grandma made for me, way back in 1975!
I have long been trying to get A’s library in some sort of order, and yet have them still be available to her to look through and read, and simple to put away. We hung up vinyl gutters!

In case you’re wondering where the toddler is, she’s spending the night at Grandma Joyce’s, having the time of her young life, no doubt.

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Life with Kids

Generally two sodas a day to remain awake and peppy. Comforting Casseroles a must- quick, easy & homemade. I made yummy “Chicken Hot Dish” for lunch, and made a marinade for steak to grill out for dinner. Random pink striped baby sock.
Basic footwear. Stained jeans from painting when I was transitioning weights after having Aviana, not realizing I would need them again. Silly me!
Helpful reading material and the toilet from Aviana’s dollhouse.
A sleeping baby. One sock on, and one sock off, accompanied by Chickie, Rascal, Lambie and the Thanksgiving turkey stuck in the siderails.
Our unmade bed and messy side tables. I haven’t really had two hands free without a baby in the wrap all day to remake it, which with a king sized bed, is a massive task, but not as hard as when I was pregnant. I’m sure it’ll get done before we get to bed. Humidifier.

A ladder for sink access, the wet washcloths Aviana was playing with earlier, her potty chair & Brielle’s tub.
Oh the mess she can make!
The dining room temporarily converted into a folding/drying arena. Note the swing in the foreground. I could not live without it!!
My silly babies. Aviana thought it would be fun to put her legs inside Brielle’s pant legs. Apparently, she was right.

Utter goofiness!
The piles and piles of laundry. Lord, meet me in the laundry room!(But I’m not getting up any earlier!)
I got the clean dishes put away, but never got around to getting the dirty ones in the dishwasher. Thank God we have a dishwasher!
Grandiose unhappiness. Babies and bumbos and penguin friends on the counter. That’s our new oven in the background. This is Aviana’s second outfit because Claudia, our outdoor kitty pooed on her. It’s Brielle’s third outfit because she spit up on one, pooed on the other, and I dropped a chocolate chip between us while she was in the wrap and it melted.
The best part of life with kids!

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You should be so impressed with me. I got up early again today & made blueberry yogurt waffles for my family, did some laundry and enjoyed the people I love best. Yay me!

The original recipe:
1 1/4 c flour
1 1/2 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
2 cups plain yogurt
1/4 c butter, melted
2 eggs
2 T honey

Fruit yogurt and fruit for topping

Combine dry ingredients then beat in wet. Bake in preheated waffle maker according to manufacturer’s directions until golden brown.

What I changed this morning(as I can never seem to follow a recipe exactly):
I used 1/2 whole wheat flour & 1/2 white, 1 cup of blueberry yogurt & 1 cup of sour cream instead of the plain yogurt.

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Shopping marathon

Today I was up before sunrise (no big surprise there, but I wasn’t grumpy about it). Kevin had to be out the door early to load cattle onto the truck headed for the packing plant. I helped move them yesterday with Gary (FIL). It was kinda fun! Then I got the girls all loaded up and went to a new class at my gym. It’s called Interval Body Works- which doesn’t begin to describe the intensity of the class and how out of shape I am! It’s a combination of fast paced weight lifting (and lucky me, today we were supposed to use our max weights) and step aerobics (I haven’t done step aerobics since 1999!). Needless to say, I was exhausted, but at the same time energized and proud of myself.

Then we went to the grocery, which was surprisingly busy. I would have thought all the normal people would have gotten their groceries before Thanksgiving, but I guess I’m more normal than I thought.

Then I went SHOPPING. For me. I don’t do this regularly for several reasons; the top two being money and not liking my body right now. I got five shirts for me (from Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic, Land’s End, and Polo) one for Kevin (Van Huesen), and two pairs of workout pants. I spent a total of $21! I love second hand stores! Aviana was so fun and helpful. Brielle got tired and grumpy, but wasn’t too bad. It was a great trip. Yay me!~

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I wish I’d read this Monday

I regularly read Relevant Blog and was moved by some of the things she had to say about Marriage. Note the capital M. I suggest reading Mary’s words yourself, but here are my favorite quotes:

The beauty of marriage is two flawed people living under one roof, choosing to be faithful.

There are seasons in marriage. Sometimes passionate, sometimes exhausted, sometimes ho-hum, sometimes oh-wow.

The expectations on Christian women are staggering. Have you ever felt the weight? We need to be industrious, housekeepers, pretty for our husbands, sensitive to everyone’s needs, perfect mothers, Bible study teachers, chauffeurs, gourmet cooks, hostesses, always upbeat. The list is tyranny, folks.

We are walking together, discovering the love of Jesus within each of us, sacrificing for the other, being an example of humility and authenticity to our children, and loving each other despite our shortcomings.

Thanks Mary!

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