I’m Finally Dating Again

I have been married almost 5 years. We have 3 beautiful boys. We have a great house, with a never ending list of things to do. What we don’t have is time, or a sitter, which usually means, we don’t have dates. This hasn’t been a problem this far into our marriage. Our kids are in bed by 7, 7:30 at the latest, giving us plenty of time to spend together, even after we’ve done the nightly list of chores like cleaning the kitchen and vacuuming the living room.

Lately though, I have been itching to spend more time with this man, dating, like we used to. We’ve been together almost 9 years, and know each other pretty well. We love to camp, we love to hang out with family, we love to play cards and have friends over, but now we need to find what else we love. I am setting out to start dating my husband again. I want to break from our mold, and try new things. So far my list is very lame has three things, which I figure is a good start! An at home beer tasting, a night of Rom-Com bingo (you can download bingo cards here), and a DIY project (I am thinking of making some pallet shelves for my kitchen like these.)

First up, which will be Friday, is our Beer and Chocolate Tasting! J was, well to be honest, not excited when I said I was pairing beer with chocolate. He said they don’t go, Pinterest says they do, and the internet is never wrong. So we ended up deciding to try 6 different kinds: a pilsner, a blonde ale, an amber ale, a wheat beer, an IPA, and a stout. I asked J to go pick up a mix and match 6 pack at the local store here, and let him decide what actual beers to purchase. Then I got to do the fun part: figure out what chocolate pairs best with each brew! Now, some of these (IPA) aren’t usually paired with anything sweet or desserts, so that took some creativity on my part, hopefully I didn’t totally miss the mark! Ultimately I opted for: dark chocolate fudge brownies (for the stout), orange chocolate (for the wheat beer), dark chocolate with cherries, cayenne and cinnamon (for the IPA, hope it isn’t awful), a white chocolate (for the amber, and pilsner) and a milk chocolate (for the IPA, amber and blonde). I also printed out a “score card” so that we can keep track of what we liked and didn’t like together.  Now, I am by no means a beer aficionado, and this date night was based on Pinterest and Google, so I am sure it’s flawed. Overall though, it was pretty inexpensive, I bought good quality chocolate and then the six pack, and it was still about $25-30, which is less than we would spend at dinner (or on a sitter, let’s be honest) and it didn’t take too much work on my part. It was actually pretty fun to take the kids to the store and pick the chocolate bars I never buy!

I am excited to try something new, and enjoy some of our favorite things, and planning it has made it more interesting for both of us. I will have to let you know how it goes. 20140112primarybeerchocolate

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Pill Bug

Dear Adorable first born,
I love you. Please don’t forget that as we battle through your 3rd year of life. See, here is the problem, my little love monster, you are so much like me, and like your daddy. We are pretty awesome people, but we didn’t start out that way, so these qualities you have inherited from us, will one day make you a wonderful leader, father, husband and man, but until then, well, you’re not always fun to be with.

You have every bit of daddy’s stubborn, and all of my independence. I am SO THANKFUL for your independence, it warms my heart to see how capable and daring you are. You are a wonderful helper! You are so resourceful. That being said, you aren’t allowed to light matches, wash the dog, carry your brothers, or cook your own pancakes. I know, life is rough. I mean if you had the wherewithal to chat with your toddler buddies, you would realize that we give you a lot of freedom. I mean most two year olds don’t make their own snacks, get themselves water from the faucet, or get to negotiate as much as you do. As for that stubborn streak you have…one day you will be stubborn for the right reasons. You will be stubborn in your love for your wife, your God and you will fight tirelessly for your kids. You will stand for what is right and not be afraid to dig your heels in when it’s necessary. Right now? It means that you aren’t distract-able, and you can be relentless with something you really want, or really want to do.

On top of these two traits, you also have a wicked temper. Now, understand, I will never use that temper as an excuse for you to hurt someone or lash out because you’re angry, but it is a fact. You have a bad temper. You surprise people with it, because you are such a kind and sweet kid, that it catches people off guard when you tantrum and scream and kick for 30 mins. Babe, I have the same temper, when I see you get so emotional, and be so unsure of how to express that excess emotion, that you bite, or shake, and you’re not even mad, I get it. I remember doing that. This too shall pass. You will one day master it, and until that day, I may not always be your favorite person.

Bug, your dad and I are here to teach you how to be a good human. That is our goal. Sometimes it isn’t fun for any of us. I really don’t enjoy taking 20 mins to make you do a 2 min time out, that you did without any fuss just the day before. I know that you are a bright kid who likes to do things himself, and you just don’t get why Mommy insists on helping when you *obviously!* don’t need it. Babe, one day, you are going to be an amazing person, and actually for a tiny terrorist 2 year old, you are pretty great, and we will make it through this year. Let’s just promise to give each other grace and to say sorry when we are sucky humans. Deal? Awesome. Let’s go have ice cream.mama and will

 

It is Finished!

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I did it! While I failed to update weekly, I did complete the challenge. So, take the wins you get right!

I am so glad to have challenged myself to changing how I speak. I won’t even try to say that I succeeded fully and that now I have completely mastered my tongue (James 3:6 has thoughts on how do-able that is), but I will say that I have started to change some bad habits that I had.

“Is it necessary?” This was the question that taught me the most, and where I realized I  needed the most growth. It changed my understanding of this undertaking. At first I thought this challenge was a way to be to truly become the Disney Princess I have always wanted to be! Sweet, soft spoken and kind to everyone and then the forest animals would come clean my house. Is anyone surprised that I was wrong? You shouldn’t be. In all seriousness though, I thought the goal was to become kinder and to “build one another up” like Ephesians 4:29 states (that’s the verse that inspired this challenge). It didn’t dawn on me until I put it into practice, that building another person up, or using language that benefits them could sometimes mean saying the hard things. Actually part of the challenge is saying the hard things in a way that helps that person, and not saying things they “needed to hear”.

All in all this has been amazing for my self growth. I still have the verse up on my whiteboard in the kitchen, I still read it and remind myself to strive for that. Did anyone else give this a shot? How did you do? Was it harder, or easier than you thought it would be?

 

Let go and Let God

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Recently I have received some of the greatest compliments of my life. And each time I have been absolutely baffled by them. Friends with a LOT more parenting experience than my 2 short years have called me “inspiring”, “impressive”, and I have been told that I help them seek to be better parents. I asked my husband what these people are seeing that I don’t, he responded with “You go and do things! You’re always on the go with 3 really young kids. You are always smiling and happy about it too.” I don’t buy that, I for one, am NOT always smiling and happy, some days I am very cranky and unhappy, but more than that, I am not the first mom with little kids to go for walks or go grocery shopping, and yet the comments keep coming. But, I think I have finally figured out what they’re seeing.

When we had Bug, it was after two miscarriages. One on Christmas day. In that time of suffering I finally “let go and let God”. I have this amazing habit of being a control freak. I want to figure everything out myself. That doesn’t go well with living a life that is surrendered to God. I still don’t know why my miscarriages happened, I do know that those two children we lost are in Heaven and that one day I will meet them. I also know that when we had Bug, I was in a place where I was ready for God to fully take control of my life. When brought that little squishy dude home, and we looked at each other and had NO IDEA what we were supposed to do with him, so we gave him to God.

The timing of S and A was kind of insane. I knew I was pregnant, and my family was suffering from wanderlust and had just moved, and Jordan suggested that maybe we join them. He put out some feelers to see what would happen. We liked the idea of our kids growing up with family nearby and in the desert like we had. He had had one interview in Mid October, and then on Oct 28 I went to the doctor for my first ultrasound. That was when we learned we were having twins. It was in that moment Jordan looked at me and said “We’re moving.” So we gave it to God. On October 31, we learned that the interview Jordan had, was turning into a job. We had a month to get our house on the market, and move across the state. So we did. We stayed with family, our house sold incredibly fast, and on March 21, we moved into our new home. April 26, S and A joined our crew, a little over 5 weeks early. As I labored that morning, one thought played in my head “it’s too early, they’re going to NICU”. And they did. So I gave them to God. S spent 2 weeks exactly there, A came home on day 12. Thank the Lord, no breathing problems, no heart issues, healthy! just a little on the small side.

See the reason that I don’t see what others are seeing is because I know myself too well. I am selfish, I am not patient, I can be condescending, and rude. I often don’t act in love. But, I have surrendered my kids, my marriage and myself to God, and He has changed those things in me. I am not a perfect parent by any stretch of the imagination. I have no idea what I am doing, and I am almost positive I have to apologize daily. Understand, you are not seeing me, you are seeing the work that God has done through me, and to me. If I have any success in this endeavor, it is only by His grace. So thank you, to anyone who has reached out to me recently. I hope that we can all support each other through this journey, and that God can be glorified in my life.

 

“I could tell”

Dear Fellow Mama of Littles,

I doubt you remember our encounter this morning, but it’s been on a running loop in my mind since it happened. You couldn’t know the kind of week I’ve had, or even the kind of morning I’ve had. You couldn’t have known that in that moment God used you to speak to another worn down and tired mom of littles. You couldn’t have known what a blessing you were to me.

Here’s the truth of the matter. We have been sick, for weeks. The kind of sick where you’re down and out for 4 or 5 days with a fever. Now we are battling a round of eye infections with the twins, and praying no one else catches anything else!  We have made major changes to our 2 yr old’s tiny life. He got a big boy bed, lost his binky and has really grasped this potty training business in the last week. He has taken it in stride, but he is still 2 so meltdowns happen, often. I am struggling because with all the sickness, I have 3 stir crazy boys, and I am their Master of Ceremonies, trying to entertain the two who aren’t sick while I snuggle and comfort the one who is, all while attempting to not pass this around, or catch it myself! This morning though, everyone was finally well enough to venture out for a trip to Target, and a lunch date with Daddy. And that is where you found me.

There was no judgement as you heard me tell my 2 yr old he couldn’t have my coffee, you didn’t give me any funny looks when you saw me standing there with three heads, and obviously needing more concealer. Instead you told me about your littles, shared your story, and finally, told me you recognized me as a sister in Christ. That was what I needed. My morning up until that point was addled with tantrums, more spit up than I want to think about, a major poop blowout, and a very upset Sammy boy. I was just pleased to be out of the house with clothes on and that no one was losing their mind at that particular moment. And now I have to say ‘thank you’.  Thank you for commiserating with someone you didn’t know. Thank you for sharing your story with me, and thank you for one of the best compliments I’ve ever received.

Your sister in motherhood, and Christ,

Katekate twingo

What a difference a week makes

A week ago I set out to challenge myself to only communicate in ways that fell into the standards set in Ephesians 4:29, basically to be mindful of if what I said was: helpful, beneficial and necessary. Here’s how things went.

I started strong! I was hyper aware of how what I said, or wrote, fit into the parameters. The first day I did okay…I mean ish. How we communicate is a very hard habit to break. I actually had to delete a comment on a friend’s thread because while it helped to move the conservation along and was on topic, it wasn’t nice. And because the comment wasn’t necessary, it wasn’t beneficial. I have also noticed as the week has progressed that in a moment of frustration, I can be short, anyone who knows me right now is giving a resounding “DUH”, but I also noticed that being aware of what my communication goals are, helps me to catch when I am falling short, and I can apologize in the moment. We are big on apologizing around here.

I am blessed enough to have a hubby who agreed to try and do this too, and there were a few times we caught one another. Having someone who is there to keep me accountable is huge for me, whether it be the kids or Jordan, having that person to answer to helps me keep my goals in the forefront of my mind. Also, I learned that while Jordan and I have vastly different communication styles, we were able to correct each other in a way that the other one responded to. Finally! 9 years into this relationship and almost 5 years of marriage and we’re finallllllly getting it! Communication is hard!

My take away for this week is: the “and” matters. I would not have a problem succeeding in this endeavor if I could just tick one or two of the boxes, but that “and” means I have to get all three. That my friends is a real challenge. See you all next week! Is anyone else trying this challenge? How is it going?

Only What is Helpful for Building Others Up

I jumped down a lovely rabbit hole this morning after my Bible study. Normally this wouldn’t have happened this way, but God has a way of working things doesn’t He? I left my bible and my notebook at church on Sunday, so this morning I was using my tablet, after reading my verses in Revelation, I noticed the verse of the day (James 1:5-6, love it, and needed it today!) and then I went to Pinterest to find a cool art rendering of it, for my background picture…you see how this can quickly spiral into something else right? Anyway, to make a long story short-er, I came upon this blog (Smockity Frocks) in my black hole of Pinterest, which has a challenge attached to Ephesians 4:29.  The challenge is to only use language that is: helpful, needed, and beneficial for 30 days. I will be the first person to tell you, this is NOT my strong suit. I am more of an open-mouth-insert-foot kind of gal. So obviously this is something I need. I guess we will see how it goes, I will update weekly, and try and be as honest and candid as I can be. I would love to give the disclaimer that I have a sick 2 yr old, teething and cranky twin 9 month olds, and all kinds of crazy happening, but no where does God give me a pass to not follow His Word because life is crazy…Well, I hear two little boys, so I guess we start NOW!

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#MomTired

 

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An Open Letter, To my fellow mommies in the trenches.

Today is December 21. I have 3 days left of this week, yes, of course I realize it’s only Monday, but it’s the week of Christmas! And this Mama Elf has a lot of magic to make happen, and not a lot of time to work without distraction in the North Pole.

My little guys have recently started to nail down this sleeping all night business, well, to be fair, Alex has had it on lock for a while, it’s Sam who was a little slow on this uptake this time. But last night, Alex got cold, right around midnight when I was finally able to shut my brain down, and was falling asleep. Sam was hungry at 4 am. Everyone hit the ground running at 7:30 and while I thought that the boys could play happily together while I finished up last night’s dishes, they had other ideas. So instead of my to-do list, we had a dance party. Followed by cuddles, cocoa making, book after book after book, a Christmas movie, Will’s favorite game: Pile every blanket in the house on top of brothers until Mom tells me to stop, and trips to the potty every 15 mins to hopefully keep the almost 2 yr old from having an accident.

Nap time came, so my plan was back. Shower! Then kitchen and reward myself with a Hallmark movie and some time to decompress with my new coloring book. Nope. Sammy is up. Oh, so is Will. Wait did Will even go to sleep? Gah. Feed Sam, play with him, pray Will will eventually fall asleep. Oh, good Sam is ready to sleep again, lay him down. Oh, hi Alex. Fancy meeting you here. Andddd Will is still awake. Throw a bottle in the microwave for Alex, check on Will. He cries because he’s been in his room over an hour and is CLEARLY not tired, nevermind what the whiny voice and red eyes are telling me. Sorry buddy, you’re napping. I love you, see you in a bit. Now Alex is crying again. Bottle, booty, and more play time. I did get a shower in, somewhere, even remembered to eat, but that is the extent of my progress of my to-do list.

My point of this soliloquy isn’t to make you feel sorry for me. Actually I don’t feel sorry for me, although I wish I had gotten to my coffee when it was warm. My point is to remind every other #MomTired mama out there, who has a nagging list of things to do, weighing on her mind, that there is a different kind of success  you can have. I experienced some of it today. When Will begged for one more dance, and Sam begged for one more cuddle, and Alex begged for one more book, they showed me just what is really important. My kitchen is still a  mess, I have no plan for dinner, and my kids are barely even dressed, but at least we had a happy, silly day, and I got to spend some one on one time with each little dude, which is very rare with 3 under 2. I am not here to say “Enjoy every moment!” because, let me tell you, I don’t enjoy getting up umpteen times a night because someone dropped their binky, or repeating, for the millionth time “Where do we go potty?????” because someone was too distracted to go to the bathroom, looking at you Will, but I am here to say that when you are forced to put aside what you think is so pressing and important, maybe, like me, you should reevaluate what is really pressing and important. Like dance parties, and books about green ham.

Now. On to cleaning the kitchen and making some cinnamon rolls!

Oh, wait. Sam is up again. 😉

#YesIAmAChristian, and it’s time I acted like it.

Phillipians

Never did I think I would write a blog about this topic. Ever. That being said, I am not sure how the topic can stay off limits. As usual, my disclaimer, I do not have all the answers, so take what I am about to write with a gain of salt.

November 12, Beirut lost over 40 people to suicide bombers. ISIS claimed responsibility.
November 13, Paris lost roughly 130 people, plus hundreds more injured. Again, thanks to ISIS.
And now, our country is facing a decision to help, or not help thousands of Syrian refugees who are trying to escape the very group who is deliberating killing people, daily.  Initially my feelings were like that of many others: ‘No. Don’t let them come. The Boston Bombers were refugees, at least one of the terrorists from the Paris attacks entered the EU as a refugee, I have 3 YOUNG boys, and I am scared. Protect your citizens.’ A friend of mine on Facebook challenged that for me though. She said (and I’m paraphrasing) that she is so fed up with “Christians”, and how we are essentially spewing hate, while preaching God’s love. Um, wow. She’s not wrong.  I really strive to live in a way that when people find out that I am a Christ Follower, they aren’t surprised. And, my Bible does say, many times, that we are to help the poor, feed the hungry, love our neighbors as ourselves. James 2:8-13 It also says that this world, is temporary. James 4:13-17 Our job here is to show God’s love, preach the gospel of Truth, and trust God.

I know what is happening is terrifying. I know that the idea of having what happened in Paris, happen here, is more than you can bear to fathom. It is for me too. I also know that God is in control. Completely. Have we forgotten, that it is God who allows the political rulers that we have, to be in power? Romans 13:1-5 Whatever you might believe about our current President, or past presidents, or the presidential candidates.God has a plan. Whatever happens, whether it be a huge influx of refugees, or the next World War. God has a plan. And it won’t fail.  So, have faith friends. Stay strong. Show love and compassion when it isn’t easy. Be light and salt in the world. And don’t be the kind of “christian” who turns the world away from our God, when we start to do that, we’ve failed in our mission.

I will end with this. Pray. Not just for Paris, not just when you’re scared, not just when a kind of evil we witnessed last week happened. Pray always.  James 5:13-16  Philippians 4:4-7

Changing my view of my husband, day by day

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Irony: Starting a blog about husbands being under-appreciated, and then having this image posted on your wall the very same day.

Truth time. I am so guilty of viewing my husband as my oldest kid. I’ve even said the following (more than once…): “I have 3 boys, and then my husband.” “My husband is 5, on a good day. It’s not a good day.” Slowly but surely though, I am realizing that I am way out of line. This is a very hard trap not to fall into though, we are hit with this from every angle in the media. It is a topic of discussion in all the mom groups I’m part of, and I know that myself and my girlfriends have talked about how frustrating our guys can be. Let’s take a step back for a minute though, and realize what we are saying to ourselves, and what we’re teaching our kids.

My husband graduated top of his class from his tech school. He had multiple job offers before he even graduated. He bought our first house when we were just 22, and I was still in college. Currently he works full time at a job he enjoys, and in turn I’m able to be a Stay-At-Home mom. He is an AMAZING dad. Bed time, bath time, diaper changes, you name it, he does it. He is also a pretty stellar husband.

Now before you start rolling your eyes, or think I have Superman for a husband, let me tell you, that is NOT the case. This is also a man who takes his dirty socks off and leaves them in the weirdest places for me to find later. He is insanely handy and can fix most things, but mostly because he has broken a LOT of things in his life. He never changes the toilet paper roll, and he and I could not communicate more differently if we tried. He’s messy, he rarely cleans up after himself, and he is pretty forgetful. It makes me crazy. He is also the man I chose ‘for better or worse’ and ‘until death do us part’. I picked this dude to be the father of my kids, and to be my partner in raising them.

This may have been an incredibly backward way to make my point, but I do love words, so #sorrynotsorry. In case my point isn’t as crystal clear as I’d like it to be, here it is. We need to decide as women, wives and mothers, to consciously monitor how we see our spouses. When I tell my husband he’s an overgrown 5 yr old, I am belittling him. When  I say he’s my oldest child, I’m teaching my kids that Dad isn’t a figure they have to respect. Sometimes we don’t have to be so overt about it either. We have dear friends who have kids, and every time the husband says anything, the wife immediately says the opposite. How confusing for the kids! Parenting is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, parenting with a person who has a different means to the same end, can make it even more challenging. So my challenge to myself, and anyone who wants to join me: fight that lie we’re being fed from the media. Treat your husband as the man you fell in love with, if you and he disagree about the kids, do it respectfully. Choose to see the best, and understand that different doesn’t mean wrong. I’m still working on it, but my goodness, what a difference it’s already made!