Tag Archives: forever

Relationship Advice #8

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“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Luke 12:34

Our wedding day

Our wedding day

Rachel and Jake,

Another year has passed since I last wrote to you about relationships.  If you need a refresher, you can look here and here to see some of my other entries about love and what it takes to make a relationship work.  Now I’m not saying I have all the answers, because I don’t.  Marriage is work and it is hard, hard work.  But with that being said, it’s also the best kind of work.  It stretches you and helps you to grow and see yourself as a part of something that is working for a common good.  It’s a beautiful thing, really.  Anyway, my hope is that by the time you are old enough to read this blog you will have a nice collection of advice from your dear old mom to consider when navigating through the dating world and eventually settling down into marriage–then the real fun begins! Each year I hope to give you one more tip to add to  your Rolodex of relationship advice (not sure what a Rolodex is? It’ll probably be non-existent by the time you can read this, but as your mother I find it most appropriate to talk about the things from yesteryear anyway 😉 )

tim and jake

Let’s talk a little bit about presence.

Ok, ok, I’m sorry, but we’re going to talk a lotta bit about presence, because it is very, very important in any stage of any relationship.

So little!

When you, Rachel, were born, your Dad and I had no idea what the every day expectation of having a newborn was going to consist of.  We knew that we would feed you and change you and hopefully get to rest when you did, but we did not know what our new little family of three was going to look like and how those dynamics of our family would be shaped.  It’s something that you just can’t experience or fully prepare for until it happens! We had lots of conversations about what we thought it would be like, but looking in from an outsider’s perspective before something happens is always different from when you are 100% in the trenches living it day in and day out. By the time Jake was born, we had a better picture of what our expectations were–but again, you can never really be prepared until you are living it.  So once Jake was born, things were shifted and moved around in ways that we could not have foreseen, but it just worked for us.

Rachel and Daddy

Rachel, my sweet little dear, I have a confession to make to you right now.  From the time you were born until the time you were about one week old, I did not change a single diaper.  Your Dad changed every. single. one. until you were nearly a week old.  Every single one.  Every single time.  I still get blown away when I think about that.  There I was on the couch after a tough delivery that left me in pain to move any ol’ which way I tried, and there was your Dad (never having changed a diaper before you, by the way), taking it upon himself to change your diaper no matter what time of day or night without giving so much as an inkling that he felt it should or even could be any other way.  Luckily, when Jake was born my recovery was much easier so luckily for us both, I was able to help out much more the second time around.

daddy snuggles

Before you were born, I thought it was only a mother’s instinct that would cause her to wake up because her newborn baby was stirring in the bassinet beside her, ready to be fed.  And yet, each time either of you woke up at night, guess who was the one to get out of bed and bring you to me before I even had a chance to sit up? Yes, it was your Dad.  From the very beginning of our parenting experience he has been there for us with an enthusiasm and outlook that can only come from love in it’s most pure form.  He’s there because he loves us and he wants to be there.  It really is as simple as that.

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There isn’t a job that he won’t do. He has never handed either of you off to me because he doesn’t want to change a diaper, and he doesn’t ask me what I’m making you for lunch. If he’s playing with you and your diaper needs changed, he changes it! If he notices that it’s time for lunch, guess what? He makes it! And likewise, I do the same.  It’s truly a wonderful thing.  In your Dad’s and my mind–there are no “woman” or “man” jobs, there are only “parent” jobs.  And for those jobs, either one–mom or dad– will work.  Our expectation is that whoever is able to do it, does it. At the end of the day, we clean up the toys together, we put the dishes away and prepare things for the next day.  Oh yeah, your school lunches? Those aren’t always packed by me either–your Dad can cut sandwiches into sailboats better than I can!

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The best part, is that these are things we didn’t even talk about ahead of time.  These examples (and there are many more to go along with them!) are just some of the ways that your Dad has been there for us without ever even giving it a second thought.  Not keeping score, not throwing it all on one person, but really choosing over and over again to be there for us in every way possible.

So…without further adieu, here’s relationship tip #8.

Tip #8: Be with someone whose second nature is to be physically, spiritually and emotionally present in your relationship.

Choose someone who not only wants to be there in those ways–but someone who really does not see any other way of conducting themselves in your relationship without those things.  Begging for support in any of those areas can be totally draining to both sides.  Choose someone who will meet your expectations in each of those areas.  If your expectations are not met, it can lead to resentment and hard feelings–both of which can be toxic to any relationship.  In the entire picture of your life, your relationship should be equally balanced between two people who are willing to sacrifice and give in order to make it work.  BOTH people need to be present in order for those sacrifices to be made and valued.

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In closing, here are some questions to ask yourself when trying to determine if you and your spouse are really and truly present in your relationship.

– Do I offer help with every day tasks without keeping score? Do I see what needs to be done and do it, or do I wait because it’s not my “job”? Do I value my partner enough to go outside of my comfort zone in order to help my partner feel supported?

– Do I know the spiritual concerns of my partner? What can I do to help my partner along in their spiritual journey? What do they feel called towards? How can I help them reach their calling?

– What is troubling my partner today? What is my partner proud of themselves for doing recently? What is my partner’s emotional climate like? Why? What can I do to help support my partner’s feelings and emotions?

Don’t worry–you got this! And if you don’t, your partner will be there to help you pick up the slack! 🙂 Right?

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With all that said, I love you both very much. More than you could ever know.

Love always,

Mommy

xoxo

PS. Let’s just take a minute and cheers to your Dad! He truly is one of the best one’s out there…Cheers to you, Tim! We wouldn’t be who or where we are today without you! Happy Anniversary! Here’s to a hundred, and a thousand more.

Happy New Year!

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Happy New Year! 2012 was, in many ways, the best year of my life. We spent most of the year getting to know our sweet little babe and growing together as a family.  My daughter and my husband are true blessings to me and I hope they know how much they are loved.  I can not imagine life without them!  I am excited for what the future holds for us and have no doubt that many more great things are in store for our family in 2013.

My New Year’s resolution is to focus on what is important and meaningful.  Life is about loving others and being good to those around you.  Too often we can get bogged down by the small things that, in the grand scheme of life, don’t really matter.  Focus on what matters…family, friends and love. Don’t sweat the small stuff!  🙂

Enjoy some of my favorite pictures from the past year.  When I think back on 2012, these are my “happy thoughts.” 🙂 Sorry it is a bit long, I had a hard time choosing only a few happy times!  Guess it’s not a bad problem to have.  Happy New Year, friends!

 

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

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Christmas time is here! We have been busy decorating our home for the holidays and also preparing for sweet Rachel’s first birthday party! I am excited to get together with family and friends soon to celebrate the birth of our sweet babe.  The past few weeks have been  a blur with work, home, my grad class I am taking and taking care of Rachel who has had four ear infections in the past two months! I’m hoping this latest round of antibiotics has put her on the rebound for good.  These ear infections are no fun at all!

This past week brought us Rachel’s first visit from St. Nicholas! It’s a good thing Mommy remembered to put out her shoes so St. Nicholas would be able to come and leave her a treat.  No candy this year, but a book is just as good in my opinion!

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With all the busyness that this time of year brings, my husband thought it would be a good idea to take his girls out on a breakfast date.  This morning we all got ourselves together bright and early and headed out to one of our favorite places.  As you can see, Rachel is quickly losing interest in puffs and baby food and is starting to prefer real and flavorful food.  Can you blame her? This Cobblestone muffin was delicious!

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Have a great week, everyone!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! It is the last of the “first” holidays for Rachel, and with that comes a bit of nostalgia and sentimental sappiness that I seem to get every so often when I realize that my girl is growing up! All in all, Thanksgiving was a great day for us. This year our family has a lot to be thankful for, and a lot of it has to do with our little girl! She has brought us so much happiness and we are thankful for her every day. All the sweet giggles, smiles, belly laughs and kisses from our babe bring us such a sense of peace and contentment, it’s a wonder that life ever felt complete before!

I have been keeping a log of things that I am thankful for during the month of November. While I try to maintain a thankful attitude throughout the year, sometimes we can get so busy with life that we forget to sit and really reflect on things. This November I tried to find one thing every day I was thankful for. Some days were easy, some days were a challenge. Here’s what I have so far 🙂 Sorry if this is a little long…

November 2012 “Attitude of Gratitude” Challenge

November 1st- Today I am thankful for having heat in our house! I am also thankful for a speedy plumber who came to our rescue when our furnace decided to stop working!

November 2nd- I am thankful for our special breakfast spot and the memories Rachel and I are making there each week!

November 3rd- I am thankful for having the opportunity to catch up with good friends to remind me what life is really about!

November 4th- Thinking of where I am in life today and where I was not so long ago, I am thankful for the clarity and acceptance only faith can provide. Psalms 27:13

November 5th- Grades are in! Wahoo! Today I am thankful for officially surviving the first marking period of the school year. Next up- to get all of the report cards stuffed and sent home with students 🙂

November 6th- Today (and many days) I am thankful for supportive classroom parents! It is such a blessing to have such great families to work with. I have been very lucky this year and every other year to have wonderful people helping to create a true partnership in their child’s education process. We are in this together! 🙂 Afterall, a parent is a child’s first and most important teacher! So, a big THANK YOU to any parents reading this (past or present) and know that when I think back on my classes and reminisce, I think of you too! 🙂 You are all wonderful!

November 7th- Today I am thankful for the two lovely ladies who watch my littlest lady while I am at work! It is comforting to know that Rachel is in good hands while I am away from her. If it can’t be me, I’m glad that it is them! 🙂 I know she is very well loved and very well taken care of. That’s all I can ask for 🙂

November 8th- Today I am thankful for the advancement of modern medicine. Putting my girl on this antibiotic for her ear infection has made her seem more like herself! I am sure she is more comfortable too!

November 9th- I am thankful for a three day weekend after a stressful week!

November 10th- Today I am especially thankful for my husband. He doesn’t mind if the laundry isn’t done, never says a word when the house looks disastrous (much like any house with a curious 11 month old in it!) and could care less what I make for dinner. He loves to play with our girl, go for walks as a family and lets me sleep-in most weekends. He is quick to overlook my faults and just as quick to offer encouragement when I need it the most. I love him and am so thankful to have him by my side. Thanks for working so hard for us Tim, you are the best!! ♥ Solomon 3:4

November 11th- I am thankful for all the veterans of our country!

November 12th- I’m thankful for a happy and healthy baby!

November 13th- I am thankful for my grandfather! My “PopPop” has always given me advice when I asked for it, guidance when I needed it and shown me love unconditionally! He is fun to talk to, always willing to help when needed and values the importance of spending time with and loving others. He has accepted and loved my husband since day one and is so sweet with my baby girl. He is a great role model and has achieved so much in the 83 years he has been on this earth! The world is a better place because of him! I love my PopPop and don’t know where I would be without him!

November 14th- I am thankful for the few extra hours I got to spend with my baby girl today! 🙂 Life is good!

November 15th- I am thankful for my dog! We have had some fun times together and some sad times together, but no matter what, he is always by my side! He dances around the house with me when I’m happy, and lets me cry on him when I’m sad. He’ll come running inside if you even mumble the word “cheese” within earshot and he loves to play fetch in the yard. He might not be my “baby” like he used to be, but he’s still the best dog I’ve ever had! For his loyalty and companionship, I am very thankful.

November 16th- Today I am thankful for surprise breakfast dates with my little lady and some wonderful coworkers!

November 17th- I’m thankful to be able to spend the day celebrating with Courtney and Josh as they start their new life together as Mr. & Mrs.! Congratulations to you both!!

November 18th- I am thankful for fleece pants and fuzzy socks. Doesn’t get much better than that… 🙂

November 19th- I am thankful that my husband has no problem jumping in to help out when things start getting a little hectic!

November 20th-I am thankful for my brothers and my little sister! Life’s not always easy, but it’s nice knowing that there are people out there who know your whole story. I love you all and want you to know that I look back on our times growing up together with fondness….except for that time you guys stuffed me in the toy box 🙂 And that one Good Friday episode. But other than that, fondness for sure.

November 21st- I am thankful for my best friend! She always knows what to say to make me feel better and knows when to just let me vent when I need it most. She always puts other people first and will not hesitate to swoop in and save the day just because she can! She has the kindest, most sincere heart of anyone I know. She doesn’t mind if we go weeks without talking, and always makes time to come visit or go on random last minute trips! We may be very different (just take a look at the inside of her car and you’ll see what I mean 😉 …but all in all, we really aren’t! Love ya Kricket! And I am so thankful to have you in my life! Our friendship has come a loooong way since our first class together freshman year!

November 22nd- I am thankful for the most precious gift I have ever been given–Rachel! She has brought so much happiness into our lives throughout the past year and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for her as she grows older! 🙂 ♥

All I need in life is what I already have–a loving husband, a sweet sweet daughter and our love that makes our house a home. For all this and more, I am very thankful. What are you thankful for? Happy Thanksgiving!

Little Red Corvette!

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My father-in-law loved Corvettes. My husband loves Corvettes. So it only makes sense that my daughter would love Corvettes too! From the time my husband was a little boy until the time my father-in-law passed away several years ago, they would spend their time taking care of “their” ’87 and ’69 Vettes.

My father-in-law with his first Corvette

Not only did they spend weekends driving them, or cleaning them (for fun, I might add…strange, I know!) they also would spend time together visiting Corvette shows around the area and even entering the cars into competitions. The ’87 Corvette was usually the car chosen to take to shows and enter in competitions as it was the easier of the two cars to maneuver and drive any significant distance.

My husband and father-in-law circa 2007

However, the ’69 with all it’s loud rumblings and nostalgic throwback feel to it has always been my favorite of the two. She (yes, I call her a “she” because she is so pretty in my eyes, it seems to flow better than “he” in conversation) is harder to start and more difficult to drive so it is always a treat when she makes an appearance. This past week she has been at our house for an extended stay in our garage while my mother-in-law’s garage was getting some new appliances put in. For as much of an inconvenience as it was to have my car moved out to the driveway, it was a pretty sight to see every morning in my garage.

Seeing that old Corvette always reminds me of my father-in-law and I smile to myself because I know how proud he would be of my husband and how happy he would be to see us now. I also think he would be pleased to see our ’04 Corvette sitting right beside it in the other garage bay! I can almost hear the chuckle now. I know he is still around us and it’s times like today when we have the Corvette out and are putting air in the tires and are revving that old engine that I can really feel him around.

I know my father-in-law would love everything about this little babe!

Some people are surprised to hear that we have three Corvettes. Two were inherited and one was purchased as a celebration for getting my first teaching job. Some people have dinner to celebrate, we buy a Corvette. That is what I signed up for, I guess. Corvettes. It runs in the family. It flows through the veins. And instead of tears, the sound of a loud rumble makes my baby girl’s arms start going and her voice start squealing! She is her Daddy’s girl through and through!

…And so the tradition lives on for at least another generation. Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Happy Rachel Day!

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Happy Rachel Day, everybody! We spent our afternoon taking advantage of the beautiful weather here today and took an impromptu trip to a local pumpkin patch that also has a petting zoo! Rachel had a nice time smiling at the animals and watching them with wonder as they came over to greet her.  We ended our visit with a walk through the pumpkin patch for a few more pumpkins for our front porch.  Have I mentioned that I love the coziness that fall has to offer? Seeing pumpkins and mums on the front porch gives my heart such a happy feeling. Pumpkin patches and petting zoos are so much sweeter this year now that I have Rachel to share it with.

I can’t believe that my girl is ten months old today.  She’s in the double digits already! Time needs to sloooooooooooow down! Unfortunately I’ve been told it just gets faster and faster as they grow up.  I can not believe how quickly Rach has gone from a smiley baby to a smiley toddler-like little person! In honor of her newly blossoming “older” personality this blog will be dedicated to some of her favorite things for this month. Who knows what they will be next month!

Rachel has discovered a LOVE for baby dolls! She loves to hold them, pretends to rock them and always gives them kisses over and over (gee, wonder where she learned that?! 😉 ) You can tell her to go “Find your baby” and she will crawl around on the floor and search until she finds her.

Gerber Graduates Arrowroot Cookies- The best shortbread cookie she has ever had (and also the only one!).  These things are  a great after dinner dessert.  Don’t go near her when she’s eating it though or she will literally turn away from you to be sure you don’t try and get her cookie.  A girl after my own heart…

The sound “sssssss.” It is especially funny if she says the sound and you repeat it back.

A game of chase! In the mornings we put her on the floor in our room and she crawls away from us giggling and laughing hysterically.  Then she will turn and look at you as if to say “You’re coming to get me, right?” and when you do, man, you will hear the laughter roar! Sweetest little thing EVER!

Reading stories before bedtime has become a nightly routine now! She even pats the pages as we go and loves to help turn the page.  “On The Night You Were Born” is an all-time favorite.  Most nights I can’t get through the story without getting a little teary eyed and/or choked up.

She loves going for a ride in her new wagon or for an evening run with Daddy in the jogging stroller.  She can often be seen leaning forward and holding on to the stroller tray with a huge smile on her face while they run down the street together.  It warms my heart every time.  When she’s in the wagon, her friend Minnie (a gift from her Nana from DisneyWorld) rides along on the opposite side.  🙂

Puppies! My girl loves to sit on the porch and any time someone walks their dog past our house you can almost guarantee Rachel will give some sort of squeal to try to get to the dog.  Not surprisingly, she will be a puppy for Halloween this year.

 

I can’t believe how fast these last 10 months have gone by! I am amazed at everything motherhood has to offer and am so thankful and blessed to have such a happy and sweet little babe.

“Mama”- The Sweetest Word I Have Ever Heard

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So much of life lately seems to be rushing by me.  It seems as if I am rushing around trying to get everything done and worrying so much about getting in enough “Rachel Time” that it is sometimes difficult to really take in everything going on around me.  Is she sleeping enough? Is her runny nose just from teething or is it more? Should I put her in a sleep sack or just use a blanket? Is she getting too big for her car seat and should I get a bigger one? These are just a few of the thoughts racing through my mind at any point during the day.  Like right now I’m sitting here wondering if her baby food has enough variety or if I should go and buy some more..the thoughts never stop.  I never stop wondering, thinking, analyzing and planning.  It’s a blessing and a curse at the same time.  I am a list person, a planner by nature and nothing about having a baby is conducive to this!  I have been thrown out of my comfort zone to some degree, mainly because I never know what the day will bring.  It seems my days tends to revolve around the successes or needs of my little one’s nap schedule for the day.  But at the same time, since becoming a Mommy I feel more in my comfort zone than I have ever been.  Confusing, right?

Have you ever had someone say something in passing and you know they did not intend for it to be so meaningful to you? It happened to me the other day as  I was talking to a friend about getting our girls together to play.  I confided in her about my return to work and how I feel like I am missing out on so much “Rachel Time” so I try to be sure we get to play together every day.  We talked a little bit about what things our girls like to do when they play and that I was trying to make our time together worthwhile and meaningful.   She mentioned to me that any time I spend with her is meaningful.  It doesn’t matter if we are constructing things to do or playing with blocks on the floor.  What matters is that I am with her and enjoying the time that we do have.  What she said was exactly what my heart needed to hear in that moment! She was so right! Thank goodness for friends who know exactly what you need without you even having to say it!  The planner in me and the list person in me has been going into overdrive trying to prepare for our evenings together.  I have been putting so much pressure on myself that I wasn’t even giving myself enough of a chance to really soak up the innocence and love found in everyday moments.

Since then, I have made an effort to be more present in each moment.  It doesn’t matter if what we are doing is super fabulous or downright boring.  Any time we spend together has the opportunity to be meaningful.  One example of this is when I am changing Rachel’s diaper I make more of an effort to make eye contact and smile.  Isn’t it precious how babies stare at you when you change their diaper? Before a few days ago, I knew Rachel was usually looking at me when I changed her but I never really noticed, it’s almost as if she was waiting and wondering why I was not smiling back at her! While the task isn’t the most pleasant, it’s still a time that gives the opportunity to connect and show love.  Instead of rushing through her kicks and squirms on the table I used it as an opportunity to pretend I was chasing her feet with my mouth to give them kisses.  Which brings me to my next thought–is there anything more innocent than hearing a baby laugh? I can think of few things, if any.  So while Rachel and I are together I want to make more of an effort to soak up every smile, every glance, every look of surprise and excitement across her face, every giggle and all of her sweet little words that come out sounding so amazingly precious.  (Hang on, am I starting a list here?!…I told you! It never goes away!) But in all seriousness, that’s part of the reason why I started this blog, to be present, and to remember all of these moments that happen in the blink of an eye.

That’s why tonight when Rachel said “Mama” for the first time, I stopped what I was doing and reminded myself to be totally present in the moment.  I knelt down on the floor with her and asked my sweet baby to say it again so I could hear her better.  She squealed and said “Mama!” and was quickly followed by the sweetest kiss she has given to date.  What a moment….What a sweet, sweet gift from God is my little blessing of a daughter.  Reminding me again to slow down and smell the flowers! 🙂 She was so proud and I can not think of anything I would rather have been doing than kneeling on the floor, looking into her little green eyes and sharing that moment together.  This is the life…and I am so thankful that it is mine.