Thursday, February 11, 2016

On Love, Marriage and Unmet Expectations...

Since Valentine's Day is this weekend, I have some thoughts I want to share with those who are still crazy kind enough to read what I have to say. I decided to write this post because I know there are girls like me out there. Girl's that need encouraging. I've been married almost 10 years (oh.my.gosh) and it has been wonderful, but also rocky at times. I feel like I can write this now because I am finally at peace with where the Lord has us. He has grown and stretched our marriage in the last 2 years in ways I never expected. There was a time that what I'm about to say would embarrass me, it would hurt too much. But not any more. And so, because of that, here's a part of my story...

Mr. Clean and I have known each other since I was 15. We were friends for a while before we dated. We had a great foundation, we knew each other. We knew each others strengths and, of course, weaknesses. Our friendship is one of my favorite things about our relationship. But, and there is always a but, we are very different. Very, very different. Besides the fact that I'm a mess and he's OCD, that I'm carefree and he's careful, I'm a dreamer, a hopeless romantic, I love giving gifts to people and I'm nuts about surprises! I'm a GIRL! My husband, bless him, is...well....he's none of those things. He is practical. In almost every area of his life...except for cars. He loves cars. He's a GUY!

Because of the differences I listed above, you can probably guess where I'm going with this. Every night before my birthday, or Valentine's Day, every night before our anniversary, and yes, Mother's Day, I would think up what wonderful things my husband could do or might do for me. I'd build up these thoughts and expectations in my mind. The special day would come and nothing. Not a thing. I'd see girls post on social media their beautiful flowers, stunning jewelry, and the gushy, lovey dovey notes their significant other would leave for them telling them how amazingly beautiful, and wonderful they are. #Blessed. I would be pea green with envy and my husband would have to endure the wrath of ME!!!!!!!!! Didn't he know how amazingly wonderful I AM?????? Didn't I deserve a daisy or 2, for cryin' out loud?!?! A dedicated Instagram post, at least?? For a while I tried to treat him the way I wanted to be treated and shower him with notes and candy, with nothing in return. It hurt. So I quit.
Before you write my husband off as a jerk, don't (I did that for years after every holiday). You see, I spent many years telling him that I don't care about gifts and that I wanted time. I want to do things. I want dates. I want trips. I'm not one of "those girls" who needs little tokens of adoration. So those statements, combined with a practical husband, matched with the expectations he didn't even know were going on in my head, was a recipe for disaster. When those little day dreams I had in my head didn't play out, it was an unhappy night at my house. Never mind the fact that we always did "celebrate" by doing something even if it was a month later due to money or bad timing, it just was never quite what I had imagined. Unmet expectations.
A lot of things came to a head in our marriage over the last year or so, and this is one area that I had to face head on. The area of unmet expectations. The Lord is good and gracious. He knew who I would marry and while it's ironic to me that I would marry someone who has no clue what to do in the romance department, it's not to Him. While talking through and working through some big problems we were having, it dawned on me that I do like gifts and I needed to tell him that. He's not a mind reader. And it's not superficial or greedy, it just is. Once I was able to communicate that, it has been a big ol' lifted weight. I also needed to be reminded that my hope and happiness is not in a man, it should be in Christ. He never fails, He is always good and He is who I can count on, His ways and gifts are far greater than my imagination could ever dream up. That is my hope.

And you know what else? My husband may never buy me flowers or cutesy gifts, or surprise me in the ways I have dreamed in my head (I have a huge imagination), it's not natural to him. I will tell you what is natural to him though - and it wasn't until recently that I could truly appreciate it - I have come to realize that there has never (I mean never) been something that I have asked for, that I truly wanted, that he hasn't done everything in his power to make happen for me. It may not come in the form of a surprise, or with a big bow, but it comes. Does that mean he shouldn't try to be a little more romantic? No, and he knows that. But boy, have I been ungrateful?? He is beyond supportive of my goals and is my dream catcher. How have I been so blind?

I say all of this to say, if you are a girl who has expectations that are constantly squashed and are never met, I feel for you. If you are someone who is pained by these Hallmark holidays because you know you'll be disappointed, I feel ya. I encourage you to search your heart and try to find the root of your issues. Then, remember that it is Christ that never fails, not our husbands. Pray about it and then talk about it with your loved one. And then, I encourage you to think the best about them. Show grace. 
For the girl who's husband/boyfriend tries and always seems to give you something that may not be your favorite? Be thankful he tried. Men have it tough. They can never live up to the men we see in Nicholas Sparks books and movies. And then think the best of them and show grace. 

 And to the girl who has the guy that all girl's wish their guy's were more like, you are one of the few. Thank them and then thank their mother...or whoever trained him in the ways of being romantic, and then remember when you share his wonderful ways to the world that there is a girl who's hurting. And show them grace too. 

Happy Valentine's Day to you, and if you are so blessed to even have someone to share this holiday with, even if you get diddly squat from them, be thankful. My practical husband and I will be killing 2 birds with one stone this weekend by celebrating both Valentine's and our anniversary... 2 months late.


Monday, January 25, 2016

Our Girl is 3!!!

As I was sitting on the couch over the weekend, for the second day in a row, post oral surgery, I thought I'd take a peek back at my little spot on the internet...my very public diary, if you will. I have very little time to string words together these days, but our girl turns 3 this week and I can't let it go by without documenting it here, along with all of birthdays that have come and gone in my babies lives. Our girl is 3 today.
Our girl. Our girl loves babies, puppies, kittens, rabbits, birds, mice, hamsters...any animal really, and ice cream. She's nuts about her daddy and loves to play "puppies" with her Bubby. Maybe someday we'll get her a real dog and she won't have to drag her brother around all day.
photo credit Rachel Illiadis
Our girl. I spend my days dressing her and re-dressing her, usually giving up because the girl loves her some naked Monday's...and Wednesday's....and Thursday's...naked any-day-that's-a-non-school-day...and even then, I've been told she tries to make it Naked School Day. What can I say? The girl loves to be free. And when she does put clothes on, it really must be a dress.
Our girl. She likes to get into things. Like, a lot. Most of the time I don't mind, I call it "being creative" and then there are times when it's not so creative and just plain messy. But making messes is her love language...it's mine too, so I can't get too mad. 
Our girl. Our girl has a mind of her own. Which is why she is almost 3 and still doesn't quite have the hang of the potty thing yet. It's why she has a finicky appetite, but always has room for dessert. It's why she wants what she wants when she wants it. It's why she's stubborn, but will eventually come around...which is also something we have in common.
Our girl. Our girl is strong willed, but sensitive. She is tough, but has a heart as big as the sea. She can be as serious as a heart attack, but as funny as her namesake. 
Our girl. She tells it like is (even when we can't understand her), and can hold her own when she needs to, but she is sweet as pie and prettier than a peach. Mr. Clean has no intentions of ever letting her leave when she's older and I'm cool with that. Her smile? It melts. And those eyes? Oh, those eyes.
Our girl. Our girl has taught me as much as we've taught her...maybe more. Her big little personality has helped to teach me patience. The Lord knew I was lacking in that department, and she has been the perfect tool to teach me. That--and homeschooling.
Our girl isn't a baby anymore-- At ALL. She's our big girl. Our beautiful girl. Our smart girl. Our funny girl. We spend our days saying "I just love her" and "she's just the funniest little thing" and "GAH!!!! She is so dang cute!" We love what she brings to our lives. Here's to 3...I've always said that I love 3.


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

FIVE.


When I was a little girl, the night time brought about a lot of anxiety for me. Still does, for that matter. But my biggest fear was always, growing up. I wanted to stay little forever. I didn't want my parents to get old. I didn't want to get old. The fear of aging, dying and death gripped me in the dark of night for a long time. What a futile thing to worry about, I know. Growing up is a Fact of Life. And since that fact has come to fruition, and continues to do so everyday, I realize just how silly it is to worry. The Lord has blessed me with so much, that never in a million years would I want to go back to that time in my life. That time in my life that I was so afraid of letting go, even if it was the best childhood ever. I could have never imagined up how my future life would unfold.. The grown up one I have now. Growing old doesn't keep me up any more.
So what does keep me up at night now? Worry, of course. Worry about my kids drowning, about them choking, about the accident they didn't have, but easily could have that day, but by the grace of God, didn't....and them growing up. When I think of how quickly time is flying by, my heart begins to race, my eyes begin to well up, and I begin to physically ache. I get told daily by sweet mommas in different seasons of life "don't blink, it goes by so fast." Well, you know what? I believe them. I so believe them and it freaks me out. I spend so much time hoping and praying that I am making the most of my kids being little  and searching for a pause button, that I need to learn from my past. I spent so much time worrying about an unknown future and worrying that nothing (on earth) could be better than the life I'm currently living, that I have been missing out on looking forward to the future. This is a sweet life and while there are hard times, sad times, scary times, by and large this world, this life, is full of wonder, amazing grace and hope! But as a Christian, my hope is and should be beyond the realm of this earth. The "good things" that the Lord dreamed up for me are just the beginning, just a taste. As I couldn't fathom my life today, my future will follow suit. And when I lay in the dark of the night, this hope is what gets me back to sleep until morning.
So if my biggest fear is of my kids growing up, to the point of making me ill, another problem I have is being overly nostalgic. I am on old soul that enjoys retrospectives, looking back, remembering. so, here we are, my baby is turning 5 tomorrow. He goes to school in a little over a week. And these 2 things have made me cry, daily, for the last few weeks. I see him sleeping? I start crying. I see him eating? I cry. I see him dancing and singing? I cry. If I even think about any of those things, I get a lump in my throat, it's hard to swallow and if I'm caught, I pretend I'm crying because I stubbed my toe, or a commercial was sad. I think about how the life-clock gets bumped to "super speed" once your kid starts school, and that thought alone makes it to where I may need counseling. What's my cure for that problem? 2 words: Hybrid Homeschooling. Having my kid home 5 days a week and going to school 2 days a week should help slow time down, right? I kid. That's not WHY we chose this route for schooling...but maybe it will help?? Please, oh please, tell me, THIS GETS EASIER....it has to.



But enough about me, eh? Let me talk about my kid and the awesomeness he has brought to our lives for the last 5 years. Cooper is a light. He has greeted me every morning with a smile so bright, it could light up the darkest day. He is precocious. Smart. And very funny. He has an imagination I'm actually pretty jealous of. He has a big personality and I never know what will come out of his mouth. He loves sweets, so much that it has gotten him in to big trouble on more than one occasion. And he loves music, dancing, beat-boxing, and playing harmonica. He loves learning about dinosaurs, insects, sharks and currently, car makes and models. He wants to be a scientist that works at church when he grows up. He doesn't like cake, but loves cheeseburgers. If candy is sweet, my boy is sweeter. He has some areas that need lots of work, which requires patience and grace on my part, but who doesn't? He is one of my favorite people and I pray big things for him. He tells me all the time: "I will always be your little boy, until I'm big. And then I'll always be your big boy. But don't worry, I will call and visit." Oh my heart. I'm so thankful to the Lord for blessing me with this kid. What a joy and honor. To the boy who made me a momma, happy birthday. I love him to infinity and beyond.
Believe it or not, we're not having a big birthday blowout this year, but we have a few things up our sleeve in celebration of this kid. I think not having a party is harder on me than him! But we'll do it up right anyway! As for today, one last day with my almost 5 year old. One more day...

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Bibbidy Bobbidi Boo! Lucy's Royal Celebration Recap...

After every holiday or birthday party I swear I'm never doing it to that scale again and yet, every holiday or birthday I do. It's like childbirth, after days of pain, hard work and wallet drainage, I'm only left with sweet pictures and all is well and forgotten. But after Cooper's Pirate blow-out last summer and around 75 people (no exaggeration) left my home, I knew I needed a lesson in moderation and sometimes less is more. Mr. Clean has always been a good sport and hasn't pulled the reigns...until "PirateGate '14" and I had him building a life size pirate ship and not telling him until the day before that we were expecting upwards of 70 people. My gig was up.
Enter 2015, and a new, more moderate me! On the tails of Christmas hosting, I had lost the will to do anything for our sweet Lucy's birthday. But then guilt set in and I decided that this would be my first act in doing something "low key" and that's just what I did. And I gotta say, it was the best party I've ever thrown. Everyone else might have been bored to pieces, but I had a great time. I invited just the grandparents, our siblings and she had one friend. I ordered good pizza and cupcakes and wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am.
 While I simplified the guest list and menu, I did have some fun with the decorating, because at the end of the day, that's my jam. The creative aspect of anything is where I like to be. It's like my love language, born with it. I didn't construct a castle out of paper mache or anything, but I really did try to keep is cute and simple. I had dreamed up a Cinderella theme a while back, so I tried to bring it to fruition!
I used primarily tissue paper and plastic table cloths! I also Loooove butcher paper. I love making banners to hang. It's a cheap and easy way to make a party special and unique. I borrowed the little tissue paper tassle banner and glitter pumpkin from a friend and it fit perfectly into my theme!

 I made the pink cake stands for a baby shower a while back out of plates and candlesticks from the dollar store. They really dress a table up on the cheap.
 Lucy loved this party, but I think I loved it even more. I stayed on budget, kept it low key, and simple and I was so relaxed! I even forgot to take pictures with my camera, so please excuse the poor quality! Drives me nuts actually, but I guess I'll be thankful I have them at all someday!
I think the little girl wished for a trip to see Cindy's Castle. 
A dream is a wish your heart makes! 
Thanks for stopping by!



Thursday, January 22, 2015

2 Years of Loving Lucy...


As another birthday approaches, I get all sentimental and nostalgic...especially thinking about our Lucy Girl. Lucy Ann. Lucy Ann Marie. Boosy. Boots. Bitsy Roo. Minnie. Minnie Tonka. Minnie Tonkey. Itsn'Bitsn'. Judy Moody. Rudith Judith. CrabbyPatty. Saucy Susan. Messy Bessy. Little Girl.
So, we might have too many nicknames, but I guess it's fitting, because she is too much!!

 2 much trouble
2 much fun
2 much sweetness
 And makes 2 many messes
The Lord put her in my life to challenge and refine me. Just when I thought I had this whole "mom" thing down, enter Lucy. She is strong willed, incredibly smart, determined, and fearless. 
 She is in love with her daddy, 
crazy about her Bubby, 
 and can nail an awesome "selfie" with her momma,
 
 and she's a lover of all animals. 

She is maternal and caring, but highly opinionated. She loves to watch movies and she would do it all day if I let her. Beauty and The Beast is her current favorite. She loves to wear dresses and "heels,"

 take her babies on walks, and never misses afternoon tea and cupcakes, 
but can get down and dirty with her Bubby when needed. 
 And much like her older brother, she loves to sing and dance. T-swift and Bruno Mars are all the rage right now, along with anything Disney!
She doesn't talk a whole lot, but she says more and more everyday. She is a joy and a delight, as well as a spitfire. She teaches me patience and keeps us on our toes. We can't take our eyes off her for 2 seconds, but who would want to with a face like she's got? 
As we get closer to her birthday, I will hug my one year old a little tighter, because at the stroke of 12 on Saturday night, Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo, Lucy turns 2! Can't wait to celebrate this sweet and spunky little princess this weekend.

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