So. Much. Love.

So… our schedule has become topsy-turvy the last 2-3 weeks or so.  I just wrote not that long ago, about our Fall routine simplicity and how beautiful it was to serve my husband and son so early in the morning, even sacrificing sleep with an infant, and the reward of getting to know (and sometimes hear even though I try really hard not to listen lol) that they’re talking about things my husband thinks are important for our son.  It’s the only time of day (when he’s not off for the whole day that is) when our son gets to see his dad.  So their time is critically important and so beautiful to orchestrate and watch from a distance.

Go figure that once we’re nicely settled into a good routine, flowing beautifully, a yucky wrench gets thrown in that makes life a lot more difficult.  It’s starting to be funny to me how life is just like that; at least unforeseen things keep us on our toes and understand our place as mere humans ❤

So I’m sitting here in the morning, and in such awe of how much love I have when hearing them talk – hearing my husband gently but authoritatively guide our son in direction, answer his questions, listen to his problems or stories.  This time together is so precious!  I’m so grateful that even though our schedule (my husband’s schedule) has changed again, it still allows for this to happen every morning.

It’s just So. Much. Love.

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The Old Days…

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I was having a kind of sentimental mood earlier, and went through a bunch of our old pictures… mostly from our college and dating days.  It is amazing how fast time flies and that we’ve already been married for 10 years!

Reasons why I fell head over heels for this guy are almost endless….

He teased me constantly, in a good way.  We had the best time going back and forth flirting even before we were ever officially in a relationship.

He was so passionate and fun, and always just did his own thing (still does actually).  He’d go a little wild for the sports games at our college and paint his face which I thought was crazy and teased him about.  Then he’d tease me about painting my face and getting me to come with him sometime.  ❤

You can tell his incredibly energy in the old picture below where he went out with a bunch of friends (I didn’t know him yet I think).  He’s the one on the far right with the laughing smile.

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Another cute pic from before we were together, (nope that girl’s not me lol).  Look at his face!! LOL

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This one below was when we were on a date ice-skating.  He skated like a pro!!!  Which is rare for people in Texas lol.  This was because he played hockey before though.  I, on the other hand, kept falling on my butt!  Looking at my smile, I’d say I still had tons of fun.  Everywhere we went together, we just had so much fun and we still do! ❤

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I adore him ❤ ❤ ❤

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2nd year of marriage at one of those live country concerts in Texas that are full of really fun people and dancing.

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When our oldest was an Ewok for Halloween… we’re big Star Wars nerds 😉

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Being all country at the rodeo when our oldest was little…

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At our 8th year anniversary before going out.

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Yea it’s been wild 😉

Black & White

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So I always thought I was a cat person.  I had no idea dogs – especially puppies – were such wonderful creatures.  I had a dog growing up but since we lived in the country, I spent very little time with her, we never trained her, so she was pretty wild and independent.  We never had a real bond between us… she wasn’t an inside dog, and I never played with her outside very much.  Maybe it started with that little dachshund making it’s way into our garage and us keeping it a few days, trying to return it to whoever lost it.  It was so sweet – so different from a cat – I couldn’t get over it.  No one in the neighborhood claimed her, but she ended up being wanted by an awesome lady who works with my husband!

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But this dog… this little dal… is soooooo sweet.  He has become my new best friend – seriously!

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He goes everywhere with us… loves kids (chases little kids though because they run away… lol must work on that).  He’s friendly!!!  Wants to please!!!!  And oh-so beautiful.

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It was the most beautiful day yesterday to be outside!  We spent a lot of time during the afternoon in the garden, getting dirty, removing more weeds, putting down some top soil in places that needed it. We’ve had a couple of weeks of rainy days off and on, sometimes with the occasional flood warning.  When it rains… it pours here, so we were more than happy to experience a bright, sunny day.  Even as I write looking out into our patio & backyard, the rain has returned yet again overnight, bringing with it a deep gray color, as everything looks damp and darkened, with only the greenery of the grass and plants heightened – the silver lining to the dark clouds.  It is incredible how diverse one day can be from another.

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Another rainy day… at least it makes the sunny days all the more bright.

Mother’s Day Reflections

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To my boys…. Sitting here, alone in the dark as I type this and reflect on this Sunday being Mother’s Day, I’m overwhelmed with joy at being your mother.  Both of you boys, both of you, are so wonderful, and give me so much joy.  I watch you both sleep, so peacefully in your beds, and I’m amazed and so humbled that God has given you both to me.  It brings tears to my eyes to know how much God has entrusted me with, and I don’t want to fail you.  I want to be the best mother I can possibly be, and I am sorry for all the times I fall short.  I promise to always admit my mistakes, to let you know that I’m human, too, and to treat you both with fairness.  You are both my treasures, and I want you to feel it in the way I interact with you everyday.

To my mother, thank you… we may not have always agreed in the past, but you were and still are, an amazing woman.  I find myself thinking about the things you said when I was a child in your house all the time since I left 8 years ago.  You single-handedly planted so many words of wisdom, so many biblical truths that I still cling to in my heart where they took root, and have blossomed into a garden of wisdom that has guided me so well in these past years.  You planted those seeds, you nurtured them when they were tender young shoots, and watered them for years – never giving up on me, even when I was rebellious and pushed you past your limits, you still loved me and always fought for the best for me.

You helped me become the woman God is making me to be, the mother I want to be to your grandchildren.  You were able to admit your mistakes, you were always ALWAYS so honest with me about every question I had concerning life.  And I am SO GRATEFUL to you.  We still don’t always see eye to eye, but I am so much more in love with you than I’ve ever been, and the love just keeps growing for you.  You did so well, Mom, and I am so proud that I can call you my mom.  Thank you for setting such a wonderful, godly model, even in your imperfections, you were able to teach me humility and wisdom in knowing that I will never be the perfect mother.

To my husband, thank you!!!  Thank you for making me your wife, and giving me these children to raise!!!  You have given me so much joy in being your wife, in getting to support you emotionally and be there for you physically, I absolutely love being your wife, and try to never take it for granted.  You bring me so much happiness everyday with your carefree atttitude, and addictive, teasing playfulness.  You bring happiness to our boys as they simply adore you!

I’m so honored to have had your children.  You were there with me the day an Ob-GYN told me I would likely never be able to have children.  The shock of hearing those words at the young age of 22 was jarring.  But she was wrong.  So very wrong.  God’s blessed us with 2 healthy, beautiful boys – thank you for being the kind of man I want them to grow up and become.  You are already teaching our oldest so many things about being a man, about true masculinity, you set such a great example for him to walk in your footsteps.

Thank you for your sacrifice, for providing so well for us that I am able to stay at home with them for this short time….  Because of you, I’m able to see every smile of our babies’, every milestone they hit, capture it on camera or video for you, and really enjoy this time with them before they go to school.  So thank you, again, so much, for this gift of being the mother of your children.

It really is, such a happy, happy Mother’s Day. ❤

Children are a heritage from the Lord,
    offspring a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
    are children born in one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
    whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame
    when they contend with their opponents in court..”

Psalm 127:3-5

Secrets of Happy Mommies ~ And the Importance of Being CONTENT!

I love being a mom.  I’d say that even with all the housework, tantrums, and even in being pregnant and hormonal – I’m definitely happy the majority of the time, and grateful for this life I’m living & for getting the privilege to be a mommy.

My son loves me so incredibly much – even after having a couple of time outs today, he cuddles up with me at bedtime, throws his arms around me and tells me that I’m “such a sweet mommy,” and that he loves having me for a mom.  *cue the tears*

I tell him all the time how he is a gift from God, and how much I love having him as my son.

Recently I’ve been digging in to the history of feminism, where exactly it came from, who the women really were, and what the main causes for “feminism” were.  It had slowly been revealed to me in reading these women’s stories, and one author even goes so far as to say this right out, that feminism was built on a woman’s discontentment with her life.

If you’re Christian, this should raise a red flag.

As a Christian woman, contentment in our life is something worth learning how to experience – its greater than a mere virtue, its crucial to a happy life in general!  To read the honesty, to see it played out in the lives of these women so long ago in how they let their discontentment rule the day (and their children’s and husband’s lives), shows the value of being content as a mother… as a wife… as a single, if you’re single.  Contentment is part of the Christian life – no matter how hard your life experiences, you must embrace that like Paul, you can do all things in Christ, Jesus.

 

I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything.

I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. 

For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.

Philippians 4:12-13

 

I read this article with glee in seeing that I do/have done pretty much all of these – so yes, they really do work!  Put them into practice and start working on building contentment into your life!

From Parent’s Magazine: 17 Habits of Happy Moms:

1. Ask for help

Happy mothers are not afraid to ask for help from family and friends. While morose, martyred moms miss those out-of-town weekends and movie nights with their husband because they can’t find a babysitter or a willing relative, Very Happy Moms just say, “Please.”

2. Leave the house — now

Have you been outside today? Fresh air, sunlight, and nature are believed to be critical mood enhancers for women, and moms can get this little lift while pushing strollers or swings. Look around that playground. Who looks happy? Go talk to her, right now.

3. Plan some big fun

In my research, I’ve found that VHMs work really hard to find time and money for vacations. Take away the alarm clocks, the homework, the deadlines…bring on the sunsets, the sand castles, the card games. Suddenly you remember why you spend so much time doing these people’s laundry.

4. Get your groove on

You call him “honey,” and he calls you “sugar” — but are you giving each other enough sweetness? Happy moms like getting busy. It’ll put a smile on your face. And it’s nice to have a Very Happy Husband hanging around.

5. Eat, sleep, and be merry

Being sleep-deprived may be a badge of honor for those with young babies, but the sooner you can figure out how to get your eight hours back, the more delirious with joy you will be. Follow that well-deserved rest with a bowl of oatmeal and a banana instead of three cups of coffee and the remains of somebody’s Pop-Tart, and see what happens.

6. Have a six-pack

I thought the main habit of Very Happy Moms might be popping Prozac, but I asked around and not a single happy mother mentioned drugs. Not even margaritas. Sigh. What they did mention, in droves, was exercise. And of course they’re right: Just about equal to how good regular exercise makes us feel is how insidiously the gloom creeps in when we weasel out of it. Fortunately, to a mom, exercise can feel almost self-indulgent — after all, you’re doing something for yourself, in the company of other grown-ups. And that’s part of the buzz.

7. One is not the loneliest number

Carving out time away from the kids is crucial, whether it’s poker night with the girls or just a long bath with a magazine.

 
8. Be nice to thy neighbor

You would think that moms would be tapped out in the giving department. But most happy moms make doing things for others a regular part of their lives, whether it’s baking a lasagna for a family with a new baby or offering a ride to an elderly friend. Remember: Your helpfulness is another deposit in the karma bank.

9. Love the one you’re with

The happiest moms don’t compare and compete. Neither they, nor their kids, nor their cars, nor their houses have to be the smartest, cutest, newest, or neatest. The green-eyed monster has chewed up the happiness of many a mom. Around A.D. 89 the philosopher Epictetus offered advice for Very Happy Moms: To be content is greater than riches, so love what you have.

10. Hang with your gal pals

Very Happy Moms have close mom friends. Knowing that others are in the trenches with you is key. From the super-petty issues to the deadly serious crises, I don’t know how I would have made it without my friend Theresa. Over the years, she has patiently listened to long stories involving extremely important topics, such as Pull-Ups, car pools, and her favorite: the vice principal of the middle school.

11. Plan a little fun

Very Happy Moms sometimes buy themselves flowers, just in case no one else has thought of it. They meet their husbands for lunch, get a facial, or have the car detailed just because.

12. Play with the rules

One of the best things about being the person who makes the rules is bending them. With each of my kids, I allow certain treats that have a slightly wicked feel. With my 4-year-old daughter, it’s taking a bubble bath with our miniature dachshund. With my teenage son, it’s stopping for really expensive sushi on the way home from a doctor’s appointment. Very Happy Moms know when to turn the mundane into magic.

13. Pick and choose

Separate the siblings and enjoy some one-on-one time with each kid. No interrupting, no juggling, no sibling rivalry. What joy!

14. Look ahead

When your happy buzz threatens to slip away altogether, remind yourself that “This too shall pass.” It works both ways: Either you get through the terrible stuff by knowing it’s not forever, or you put it into perspective by reminding yourself that the good stuff — the sticky kisses, the cute little tutus — will also soon be gone.

15. Forgive and forget

We all want to live up to our parenting ideals and do everything right all the time, and here we are, losing our tempers, being inconsistent, and bribing kids with candy on a daily basis. Unfortunately, all the time you spend brooding and punishing yourself for this is more time when your best self is not there for your kids. Very Happy Moms know that even the best of us have days from hell. They let those days go, and get on with exercising and vacation planning.

16. Pee in your pants laughing

Kids love to see their moms smile (mine actually comment on it, if that tells you anything), and research is starting to show that just crinkling your eyes, turning up the corners of your mouth, and laughing can produce the happy brain chemical serotonin. At least it will make you look really ridiculous, which will make your kids laugh. And laughing really hard with your kids is one of the best Very Happy Mom secrets of all.

17. Cuddle up

Though I consider myself a Somewhat Cranky Mom, I share this with the Very Happy Moms I surveyed: I have a hug habit. “Hugs and snugs and snoodles” is how my 4-year-old, Jane, and I refer to our smooching sessions. Happy moms cuddle their kids every chance they get, which is smart since those chances diminish through grade school and then disappear altogether by the time your former cuddler gets her driver’s license. So take Janis Joplin’s parenting advice: Get it while you can.

Inspiration

Its amazing what the power of a smile can do.  Brighten a grey day, lift up a sad face and heart.  Even the muscles in your face (when you force yourself to smile) affect your body to the degree that it changes the blood flow circulation! 

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So smile….  It makes you beautiful.  It makes you happy.

Happiness is more of a decision that an actual circumstance, anyway, so decide to be happy, decide to go out and do good in the world.  To make one person’s life better in even a small way, can have a ripple effect.

(Image: Shalom Harlow, Gisele Bündchen, and Carmen Kass from Caroline Trentini backstage at Alexander Wang)