It seems that there's a trend of "blogging boldly" lately. I haven't jumped on that bandwagon, until now. Please bear with me as this post will not have photos, recipes, or funny stories about my precious girls. I have spent a lot of time thinking about marriage lately and feel it unfair to keep my thoughts to myself. So, here goes:
I love my husband. I knew he was the one I was going to marry before he did. :) Almost 9 years ago, I stood in front of 124 people (and God) and vowed to love him forever. Through sickness and health. Through good times and bad. Until death parts us. And I meant it. I don't know why I'm still surprised when I hear about people divorcing. It's common now (sadly). What's more surprising to me than anything is that divorce is nearly as common among those that consider themselves "Christian church-goers" as it is for those that are not affiliated with organized religion.
I've said to Brian over and over, "I just don't get it. How do you get to a point that you are willing to walk away?" Now I'm not talking about abuse. I would never condone anyone staying in a relationship where physical violence was involved. That is NEVER ok. But I would dare to say that the majority of marriages that have ended in divorce are NOT due to abuse.
Most folks I know say that they just grew apart. Stopped talking. They say they fell out of love. My favorite is when I hear "it just wasn't working." I don't get that. What wasn't working? The magic marriage fairy? I hate to tell ya, but there is no such thing. No one else is going to make your marriage "work" except for you and your spouse.
(this is the part where I give completely unsolicited advice)
What do you do when that happens? My solution? Don't let it get there. It takes two to grow apart. In silence, two people are not talking. Make your marriage a daily priority. Don't get complacent. There are books about marriage; literally thousands of them. Hang out with people that have healthy marriages. Learn to communicate with each other. (Admittedly this is something we are getting better at, but only after nine years). Speak your spouse's "Love Language." (This is referring to a fantastic book called the "Five Love Languages" by Dr. Gary Chapman). Go on dates without kids. Probably most important, is- pray together. My cousin, who is also a pastor, said that he has never counseled a couple that prayed together. He wasn't calling it a cure-all, but there certainly has to be a correlation. Couples that pray together don't end up in counseling. At least not in his office. So we committed to doing that. I will say that at first it was awkward and even a bit embarrassing. But we persevered and now our day does not feel complete without it. I was also given a great bit of advice before I got married. It went something like this, "Don't ever speak badly about your husband to others. When they see him, they won't remember his redeeming qualities but rather all the complaints you have spoken about him." How true. There is power in our words, which is why I think it's equally as important to make sure my husband knows that I recognize his redeeming qualities, and admire him for them.
Is each day going to be easy? No.
Is each day as a parent easy? Heck no! But we keep doing it because it's what we are called to do. And it's a commitment we made when we had children. And because the rewards far outweigh the stress.
Marriage is not all butterflies and roses. Some days are better than others. That's where the "for better or for worse" comes in. It's a choice to love just as it is a choice to leave.
Especially for those that love the Lord, and trust in God's promises, if you believe the Bible, then divorce is not an option. Fight for your marriage. Some friends of ours attended a marriage conference in Virginia and they were told, "Each day in marriage is a battle because the devil is fighting against it. So put on the armor of God and go to war." Even Pat Benetar said "Love is a Battlefield." (hehe!)
I may be stepping on toes, and you may disagree, but I'm just tired of the tolerance we have taken on the issue of divorce. I'm sure you know great people that got divorced. I do too. I also know folks that fought hard for their marriage and the other spouse just wasn't willing to do their part. But I also know people that got divorced and later regretted it. I also know folks that started fighting for their marriage too late. Don't be one of those (see paragraph 5 above). I know there's more I'm missing and I know there are scriptures to back up my suggestions (and maybe even statistics from research journals), but this much I know: Anything worth having, is worth working for.
I'm stepping off my soapbox now. Thanks for listening.
We've been laying low for the last few days. Skylar's birthday was dampened by a "bug" that went sweeping through our house. We didn't get to go eat at her favorite restaurant, make her pink rainbow cake, or open gifts. After that one cleared, a few of us (myself included) started fighting off a sore throat/cough/stuffy head. I have to say that we have had a VERY healthy cold/flu season so I'm trying to take these two bouts in stride. We're hoping to have a birthday "re-do" this weekend. It's supposed to rain so it's a good weekend to rest, drink lots of vitamin c, take some extra vitamin D (which I plan to write a whole post on later), and celebrate our sweet four year old. In the meantime, here's a snapshot of our outing last week to the duck pond.
I know, two posts in one day! But I almost missed out on this weeks theme at IheartFaces!
This weeks theme is all about "hands on" and doesn't have to include a face. It's just a bonus that mine still does have one! And isn't it the sweetest little face? This is Reagan, at 3 days old. She was a month early so she was teeny tiny. I love how giant her daddy's hand look next to hers....
Head on over to I Heart Faces and see more "hands on" photos!
My sweet Skylar is four today. Not to be cliche, but when birthdays roll around, I always feel like time is moving too fast for me. This past year she moved from being a toddler into a precious little girl. Here's a look back on the last four years.
is my only brunette ...
sucked her thumb for a whole week before realizing the binky was her favorite...
could sleep anywhere...
has always had the biggest, bluest eyes...
has always looked cute in pigtails...
has always smiled for the camera....
is such a ham....
has gone through a major surgery...
loves to be outside...
is so beautiful!
She also climbs on everything and jumps off of anything (but I somehow manage to NOT take pictures of that!). She is a fantastic sister! She is incredibly bright and creative. She's pretty fearless when it comes to trying something new (including food). She is my little sunshine and snuggler and I can't imagine our family without her. She is quite a spunky monkey and we love her so much!!
I have been SO blessed with blog giveaways lately! I plan to highlight a few of them here so you can share in the awesomeness.
The first one is a giveaway I won from Kelly (fellow mom of three and all around super designer). She did a review for Capture Your Memories Stationery and gave away address labels. After looking at Norma's site on etsy, I knew we just had to have the family note cards also.
Norma was a dream to work with!! She contacted me right away and asked me to pick out my "caricatures" for our labels and cards. Within hours she had a proof for me to review. After I sent the "ok" she printed away and I received them three days later!!
Her prices are super reasonable and I think they are GREAT personalized gift ideas. I love to find great deals and love to support those that do creative work from home too!!
Here is the artwork from our cards:
Cute huh?! I couldn't leave the doggies out! :) I even let the girls pick their characters and colors. Great product AND customer service....you can't go wrong. :D
This is not a paid endorsement. I'm just a grateful winner that wanted to share!
A post with (gasp!) no pictures. Sorry. It's not that I don't have photos to share. I'm just being lazy.
We've had a few casualties this week. Three pairs of jeans to be exact. Two of them were Reagan's and one pair was Skylar's. Holes in the knees. *sigh* When my mom was running a clothing business she took a few classes in fashion. I remember her telling me that each piece of clothing has a "lifespan." A certain shirt may have a "life" of 30 washings. So, it could last a couple months if you wear it often, or a few years if you don't have it in the rotation. The problem arises when you purchase or receive clothing that was previously owned (as I often do!). I love a bargain! So I'm not usually surprised when those items end up with holes in the knees after a couple months. But since I don't pay much, or sometimes nothing at all, it's not usually a big deal. But one pair of Reagan's jeans were purchased BRAND NEW (of course not at full price, but that's beside the point), in August. That's six months! What in the world could she be doing at school that she could wear through denim in a matter of months?
So, I did what every thrifty mother does....I told her we could put a patch over the holes and her jeans would be good as new. We're not talking those rectangular dark denim patches our mothers sewed onto our jeans. They have MUCH cuter options now (like hearts, flowers, or butterflies). Her response? "You can put a patch on them, but I probably won't wear them. I don't think anyone else wears patches on their jeans." *sigh* I knew the day would come....I'm officially uncool. :)
On a sidenote: the only brand of jeans that I have been able to hand down from Reagan to Skylar are GAP. I guess you really do get what you pay for.
We don't make a big production out of Valentine's Day at our house. Don't get me wrong, it's nice to be reminded how much I am loved, but our gift to each other in the last few years has been not spending money on gifts that could go to something else. We exchange cards with heartfelt words (that I save, and he tosses a week later). His card for me this year made me cry. Admittedly that's not hard to do, but still...it was special. I gave him a sweet card too but it had to contain some silliness! Anyone watch "Modern Family"?
What Valentine's Day does, is remind me of the weekend that we got engaged. We had been dating for 8 months, but had been friends for almost 2 years. Of course we waited until we were 3000 miles apart to start officially dating. He was working in Virginia and I was working in California. We saw each other about every six weeks (I was a pro with priceline and it was pre-9/11 so it was easier to fly, and he was able to meet me at the gate...I miss that part. But I digress). In our conversations prior to my "Valentine" weekend visit, he had been talking a lot about having me move out to Virginia after my contract was up so we could at least be dating in the same state before we got married. It wasn't my ideal, but I understood his reasoning.
I was not able to get a flight out for the actual Valentine's Day because it was mid-week and I was still working. So I waited until the 15th and flew out to Virginia. We had plans to go to a nice dinner the following night in Shockoe Bottom (a historic part of downtown Richmond) after he got off from work. We had a fantastic dinner (in which we discussed when I would move to Virginia, where I could live, what kind of job to look for etc.) After dinner, we walked through the cobblestone streets and he said he wanted to show me one of the oldest hotels in the area- The Berkeley. I think he made something up about a view or a rooftop deck or something (can't remember). I just know that it had started to rain and it was nice to get inside. He went to the elevators so I followed. He got out on the top floor and walked to the end of the hallway where he pulled out a key and opened the door. I walked into a huge, beautiful suite with roses and a small treasure chest. He said it was my Valentine's gift so I opened it. Inside were tons of little white strips of paper, folded in half. I pulled out the first one and it said "I love you because you're amazing." Each one had something similar on it. "I love you because....". At the bottom of the chest was a piece of paper that said "Will you marry me?" on it. In the shock of it all, I didn't process it right away. We had just spent an hour discussing how we were NOT going to get married right away! So, rather than jump up and down and say "yes" I looked at him and said "Are you proposing?!" Storybook stuff I tell ya! I'll spare you the details of the crazy weekend after he proposed (a water main break, an employee smoking pot in our room, a hotel change, two room changes, and being evacuated from a movie theater because a shoe store was on fire next door).
Nine years later, I don't think I could love him more. He works harder than anyone I know. He's an incredible daddy to our blessings. He loves the Lord and prays with me daily. He lets me be me and loves me in spite of my flaws (it helps that there are so few! hehe). He knows how I take my coffee. He is a great cook! And he makes me laugh like no one else. It's just a bonus that he's so stinkin' handsome too!
The girls decided to make their own "Very Hungry Caterpillar" with chalk
They were covered....
Just fyi....orange chalk....
On clothes, that is.
But they sure had fun!
(by the way...Bailey DID have clothes on, but she had an early bath from a previous mess and was all clean so I put her in jammies to save an outfit. Needless to say, she had a second bath..and a third outfit).
The theme this week over at "I heart faces" is "we heart kisses."
This picture is not recent, but it's still one of my absolute favorites. My girls were being especially sweet to one another. This one just melts my heart.
We are blessed to live in a climate that's mild most of the year. Plus, we are about an hour from the beach. An hour from the mountains. An hour from the desert. An hour from all the attractions in San Diego. An hour from Disneyland. It's the best of all worlds. So last weekend we decided to go "visit" the snow up in the mountains. The girls had a blast! They would have lasted a lot longer if they had snowsuits and waterproof gloves, but they still had fun. Next time we will borrow all the right gear....and a sled.
Bailey just wanted to eat the snow...
I sure do love these girls! What a fun family day!