wife to Jake, mommy to my 3 crazy munchkins, Lily (7), Jonah (5.5) and Kate (4). Taking this crazy blessed life one day at a time.

11.20.2013

One thing marriage has taught me.

Growing up, I had it in my head that there was "the One". 

The one person in the whole entire world that I was meant to marry. 

I remember asking my mom "how do you know that he's the one?" And she replied, "you will just know." 

That answer always frustrated me. Now,being on the other side, I completely understand. But before you first experience that deep love, "you just know" is a hard answer and left me with more questions than answers. 

Growing up, I was kind of boy crazy. 

I remember my first real crush was is first grade- Kyle. 

I remember having my first "boyfriend" in 6th grade- he passed me a note during lunch asking me to go out with him, even though we didn't really know each other. .

In high school, I would go out of my way to bump into a guy I liked. I would pretend I was cold so I could borrow his jacket. We would pass notes during geometry. I would go running in the park and just happened to run by his house. The list of stupid things I did because I was boy crazy could go on and on. 

I'm sure I thought I was being so smooth and clever. But I am even more sure that it was totally obvious to anyone that was watching. And I am sure that if I could have watched myself doing these crazy things, I would have been really embarrassed. 

I liked a lot of boys over the years. That's what made the answer "you just know", so frustrating. But how will I know?! 

Going into college, I still had the mentality that there was one guy out there for me. One guy that God had picked out for me from the beginning of time, destined to be my husband. 


Once I met Jake, I finally knew what "you just know" meant. I had never felt love like that before. 

After being married for a while, I came to a big realization. 

JAKE WAS NOT "THE ONE" 

Now hear me out: 

I realized that There is no such thing as "the one". 

While its kinda fun (but also a bit stressful) thinking that there is one person you are meant to love and be with forever, it just isn't true. 

MARRIAGE IS ABOUT COMMITMENT.

MARRIAGE IS A DAILY CHOICE TO LOVE YOUR SPOUSE.

Marriage is hard. Really hard. It is not an easy task to take two individual people and make them one couple. 

What makes it easier is the love we have for each other and our commitment to each other.

Jake and I chose each other. We made the decision to stand by each other "till death do us part".

Honestly, I could have married someone else. And we could have been perfectly happy together. It may have been a harder marriage, with more issues to work out.

But, I didn't choose someone else. I chose Jake. And he chose me. And every day we wake up and make the choice to love each other.

We have been married almost 8 years. Many days we do a great job at being loving to each other- remembering what makes each one of us feel especially loved- whether it's a sweet card, or flowers, or a surprise visit at work, or a surprise date night. And sometimes we fall short and our buckets are not as full at the end of the day.  (We read a book in our family called "How Full is your Bucket" - I recommend this to everyone. Even though it's a kids book, it works for adults too and is a great way to get across how our words and actions affect everyone.)

 What I have learned about marriage is that you shouldn't be searching for the ONE person in the world that will make you happy forever. Because there are probably lots and lots of people in the world that could make you happy.

Find someone that you love with all of your heart, that loves God will all of his heart, that loves you with all of his heart, that treats you the way you deserve to be treated, that makes you feel safe and secure and that you feel deep down will truly make you happy.

I wish that someone had told me that a long time ago.

Marriage is a choice and once you make that choice, give it your all. Every.single.day.

It's so worth it.


11.15.2013

she is four.

Oh, my Kate. 

You are four. 


I don't think I have ever seen a child so excited for their birthday. 

You woke me up at 6:15, excitedly telling me that there was only one more day until your birthday.


We went out a few days ago to pick out a few things for your little family party. You were extremely indecisive about which party plates you wanted. After going back and forth a few times, and spending quite a long time in the party aisle in Target, you finally decided on the butterfly plates, cups and napkins. 

You are our little miracle child and you bring so much joy to our family. 


You are very feisty.
 very loud.
 very expressive.
 very funny. 
very loving. 
very silly.

You are such a fun child filled with so much joy.

I truly can not believe that is was 4 whole years ago that we were so afraid for your little life. And 4 whole years ago that God delivered you to us, tiny, but safe. 


Four years. 

Daddy and I really do miss you being a tiny little baby. You were just the sweetest little baby. 

But now you are the sweetest little four year old. 

We just love you so much munchkin. 


I can not imagine what our lives would be like if we had actually listened to all of the doctors 4 1/2 years ago.  

I will forever be grateful that we didn't listen to them and that we chose to trust that God was protecting  you and me. 

Thank you, Kate, for being such a awesome girl and giving so much to our family. 

We love you more than words can express. 

Happy happy birthday my munchkin. 

-



11.12.2013

More thoughts on homeschooling.

Never in my life did  I think I would the words "we are seriously considering homeschooling" would come out of my mouth. 

Yet here we are, seriously considering homeschooling our kids. 

The last time I wrote a post about homeschooling, some of my words were taken the wrong way, and a relationship we had has been broken. 

So, this time, I am going to be very careful with my words. 

Over the summer, we thought about homeschooling and if it would be right for our family this school year. The idea of it was slowly growing on me, but in the end, a job opportunity for me won out over homeschooling. So this year, the kids are at the elementary school right down the street from our house. 

But now that Jake has a new job, and a schedule much different than before, we are back at the homeschool question. 

First, I am going to say that we are seriously considering homeschooling because it feels like it would be best for our family, not because we want to shield our kids from the world.

One reason is scheduling. Jake's new job does not have normal hours. Homeschooling would allow him to be home with the kids a lot more, and he would be available to  help with the schooling. We would also be able to adjust our weekend to Sunday and Monday, since Jake doesn't work Mondays, but does work Saturday mornings. 

Another reason is having the ability to adjust the curriculum to each child. For example, Lily is definitely above a 1st grade reading level, and appears to be ahead in other subjects as well. We would be able to work with her and go at her pace and challenge her more than where she is now.  Or if one of the kids is taking longer in one area, we can take the time to work on it. 

One thing I love about homeschooling is that you can go at your own pace. You don't have to be in a classroom all day. You can learn so much more by experiencing what you are learning instead of only reading about it or doing worksheets on it. I love the idea of spending a lot of time outside the "classroom" (our house) and learning by experiencing, something being in school most of the day can't always give you. 

Now, let me say that Lily and Jonah are both loving school this year. They are both doing really well, love their teachers, have made new friends, and haven't really had any issues with school so far. So, this decision is not based on any negative experiences with their school- we have had no bad experiences there. 

There are other reasons why we are looking into homeschooling, too, but these are the biggest ones.

I think the biggest reason why we are making a decision yet is because we would lose my income, and we don't  know yet if we can survive without it. But the next few months should give us that answer. 

I know that I got a lot of great advice the last time I posted about homeschooling, but if you have any encouraging words or advice, I would really love to hear it. 

I never, ever thought that I would be at this point, but honestly, it is really feeling like the right thing for us. And aside from being overwhelmed with curriculum and wondering whether or not my kids and I would drive each other totally crazy, I am feeling really excited about this! I think that if we don't end up homeschooling, I will actually be pretty disappointed. The idea that I can educate my children myself is really very exciting to me.
It snowed in Maine this weekend! 

11.08.2013

one year.

For the past month or so, I have been looking forward to writing Kate's birthday post. 

Partly because it's a fun little way to celebrate my special girl, but also because I was really excited to share a big milestone with everyone. 

But I am pretty disappointed that we didn't actually make it to the milestone we were trying to get to. We came really really close, but missed it by a couple of weeks. 

Kate went almost ONE entire year with no cyclic vomiting episodes. 

Almost a whole year of no vomiting (for Kate, at least) and almost a whole year of not having to think about CVS at all (although it was always in the back on my mind). 

Earlier this week, Kate seemed to have an episode. We are not totally sure that's what it was, since it was a bit different than others she's had. But I think that's what it was. We don't want to admit it, because we want to hope that she is done with CVS forever. But, in my gut, it feels like that's what it was.  

Kate did make it over 1 year since her last active episode, but I was really hoping she would make it to one year since her very last episode (which was on the day of her birthday party last year), which we were able to abort (no vomiting).

I am so thankful that she went so long without an episode, but I am also really sad that this thing appears to still be hanging around and can pop up when we least expect it. 

I am praying that she can go another long stretch before another episode hits, because it is so heartbreaking to have your child vomiting for so long without any reason. 

Like I have said in other CVS posts, I am incredibly thankful that Kate does not have a bad case of it right now. I am also thankful that her episodes are not usually very long, unlike others whose episodes can go on for days and days or even weeks. 

But I pray and pray that it will not get worse for her over time, which is likely when she hits puberty,  and that hopefully, she will outgrow it- the sooner, the better! 

She seems to be past this episode, and hopefully will not have another one for a long long time. 

Her dream come true- riding a real horse! 






11.06.2013

Goodbye toys.

Toys.

I have been meaning to write a post on this subject for a while now. 

Kids have an abundance of toys. Mine included. 

But not anymore. 

A couple of months ago, Jake and I looked around the playroom and were just overwhelmed with the amount of stuff the kids had. To us, it was too much. And most of it, they didn't even play with. It all just ended up in a huge mess on the floor, and then caused everyone to fight when it was time to clean up. 

So, we decided that we would get rid of it. 

And I mean, almost everything. 

It has felt SO good to get rid of  so much. 

And the funniest part? 

THE KIDS DON'T EVEN KNOW IT'S GONE! 

They didn't even notice. 

I still need to go through the playroom once more to get rid of the last few things, but it's mostly done. 

We are BIG into toys that encourage independence and creativity. 

Here is what made the cut: 

Inside toys:

 LEGOs: 
Legos would make a great gift- all of my kids LOVE playing with Legos- always a good gift in this house! 

WOODEN BLOCKS:
Of course, these are timeless and always provide lots of fun for the kids. 

WOODEN TRAINS and TRACKS:
The kids love using the train tracks and wooden blocks to create elaborate cities, with every building imaginable.

DRESS UP CLOTHES:
This would also be a great gift for the kids, since we are lacking in good dress up clothes. Not just princess dresses, but other great costumes as well- firefighter, police officer, anything- it shouldn't be just girly stuff! My boy loves to dress up too!

VEHICLES:
We have a small bin for little cars/trucks/tractors that the kids love to include in the cities they create.

BOOKS:
Even with books we are being really intentional. I donated all of the books that we didn't like (like Disney or Dora.... books like that) and are focusing on getting more of the classics- good quality books. 

ART SUPPLIES:
My kids love to do arts and crafts. They will take recyclables and create all sorts of things. 

PUZZLES:
They don't like puzzles as much as they used to, but I think they could make a comeback, especially during the winter :)

OTHERS:
We do have some random select toys, that don't fit into a category, that we decided to keep. The kids have their own cameras, wind up flashlights, a wooden cash register and maybe a few other small things.

LOVIES:
And of course, my kids each have a few special stuffed animals and their special blankets that they have in bed.  We are definitely not adding to our stuffed animal collection though, because somehow, they seem to multiply overnight. 


Outside toys:

We have even gotten rid of almost all our outside toys. Here's what's left:

T-ball + baseballs
soccer balls
our awesome wagon 
bikes

Jake just finished building the kids an awesome tree house+ play house with a zip line. So, that's basically what the kids love to play in when they are outside. 

Our kids have really great imaginations, and when they don't have so many toys to get in their way, they really play so much better. 

Plus, there is less for them to clean up! It's a win win! 

I understand that this makes it hard for people to buy gifts for our kids, but we are really trying to be intentional about what is in our house. 

We LOVE gifts that are experiences even more than toys- passes to a museum or a zoo or a game, or helping to pay for kids' sports or activities. 

So unless it falls into one of the things I mentioned above (something that encourages creativity), please don't buy my kids more toys- they really don't need them and are honestly happier without  them! 

If you ask these kids what they want to do as a family on a Saturday, they will all say "Go for a  hike!!"  So much better than video games :)