Saturday, April 30, 2016

Marriage Check In's

Keeping your marriage in check is an important part of keeping a strong relationship.  Keeping those lines of communication open just build a stronger and closer relationship together.  There's no earthly relationship I value more than the relationship I have with my husband and I want to make sure he always feels valued by me.

Marriage also seems to ebb and flow. We've had moments where we couldn't feel any closer and we've had other moments were there just seemed to be some distance and we weren't clicking. We've recently come out of one of those "off" moments. It wasn't a long phase by any means but when our primary focus is keeping our relationship close, it was definitely noticeable.  I think one of the biggest areas of growth over the years has been in communicating quickly, honestly, but kindly when things are out of sync.  

So after feeling a bit our of sync, we decided it was time to check in with each other and see if we could resolve what felt like a barrier between us.  Sometimes these conversations can be difficult because you hear things that might not be the easiest to hear.  The last thing I want to hear is that I have been hurting the person that I love.  Before we even married we went through the hugely popular book The 5 Love Languages.  We had this idea early on of what our primary love languages were because of this, Either we had this idea and they are actually different or quite possibly we have changed and evolved over the last several years.  So through this conversation it was becoming apparent that our primary needs were not being met and that what we thought was important to our spouse might not have been their primary gift after all.

We couldn't even figure out exactly what the most important things were to us (So how could our spouse possibly know), but we found this handy survey online (and there are several of them out there) to help identify which language is our primary language and gained some new insight. Where as I thought his primary language was physical touch (and while that might still be very important to him), the most significant to him is words of affirmation.  Well that certainly explained why some recent frustration I harped on came across to him as a personal attack.  I never meant to hurt him but my words cut him deeply.  He needs me to be his encourager and share grievances in a more gentle way than I tend to.

And while my husband has continually lavished wonderful gifts on me lately that do mean a lot and and that he continually does acts of service for me, we learned that the most important thing for me is also the hardest for Peter to give - Quality Time.  We're pulled in so many directions and sometimes Peter just wants some (much deserved) time to himself at the end of the day, but for me, after a day with the kids I really need some focused time with him in order to feel connected to him.  

I see so much growth in us over these last couple years and I am proud of it!  But we're not perfect and we are always striving to make things better. I see more and more divorces all the time for people our age and we want to maintain that strong relationship we've always had with one another. I count ourselves fortunate that we've never had any marital problems but I put a lot of the credit for that to the fact that we've always put our marriage relationship on a tall pedestal and both of us has valued it and always wanted to make it better. I highly recommend taking some time to check in with each other as soon as issues start to send things on a downward spiral.  We're still learning and certainly are not experts, but love and value your marriage's! Just in a short few weeks, being armed with this new information has been SO helpful.  Knowing that the words I say to my husband are very powerful, I want to make sure I am encouraging much more than discouraging him. I want him to always know I have his back and am his number one fan because he's a pretty darn amazing guy!  I've seen my husband, knowing how important his time is to me, set down his phone, turn off the tv and really invest in time with me and listening to my ramblings. There's been a lot more flirting and a lot more joy and happiness around here. I feel loved, he feels loved and we're one happy couple together!  

Monday, April 25, 2016

Sabrina turns 4!

Well we have wrapped up crazy Birthday week around our house with the our four year old girl's birthday!  Wow, I just don't even have words for how quickly these past four years have gone! 

I will never forget that surprise pregnancy test, the long and hard 9 month journey. The fear of her coming far too early, the long days and weeks of bed rest.  Weeks upon weeks of contractions keeping me awake at night, the middle of the night walking to try and get them stronger that never worked. 3 trips to the hospital, scheduling an induction after 2 months on bed rest, the quick and easy delivery, hearing my husband announce we had a girl, getting to just hold her and enjoy her for well over an hour immediately after her birth!  

I will never forget how she was the easiest baby ever, sleeping through the night at just 3 weeks old.  How she has been a joyful little ray of sunshine since she first smiled at us!  I always thought I would enjoy being a boy mom most, but she transformed my mind and has helped me to love everything unique about having a girl.  The pink everywhere, the pretty dresses, lip gloss, baby dolls, and the long moments of quiet where she is just content to be still and calm.  But there's more than that in her - she's tough, stubborn, but very tender hearted.  She can throw a punch with the best of her brother's and loves to dig around and find bugs and worms more than anyone else in this house!  She's been a delight and a blessing since the moment I knew she existed!  

Finally, it was her birthday. I say finally because while her dad and I could have held off on her turning four for awhile, she was quite ready for the big day!  Our day started off with some yummy birthday cake pancakes, just what she wanted! 

Then it was off to the toy store to pick out what presents she wanted from mom and dad! It was fun to get to spend some time cruising the girl section! 

She was very strategic and picked out some very well thought out gifts! 

Then it was off to find her some mac and cheese, her most favorite food!  

And then off to see a movie!  She picked out a really cute purse at the toy store and daddy put her trusty Poodle inside it and she carted him around everywhere all day. It was seriously too darn adorable for me to handle! 

After a fun movie, she wanted to play some video games and well, it was her birthday so who were we to tell her no. 

And then a yummy, free oreo flavored ice cream cone! 

And along with mac and cheese, our goal absolutely loves donuts, so a donut cake to end the day for a win!  

And this past weekend we celebrated our princess with a very pink and very poodle filled birthday party! 

Oh sweet baby girl, how has four years gone so fast?!?  I have loved every single day of getting to be your mom, and I have wished time would go just a little bit slower with you. It feels like you've grown way faster than I could have wished or imagined.  I didn't know how badly I needed baby girls in my life and we are so blessed to have you as the "big girl" of the house!  You love to mother everyone, including your big brothers.  You have that same love of babies that your mama has!  You are so sweet and so tender hearted and as a fellow "softy" I know that the world needs people like us, who will always love big.  I think back almost 5 years ago and I didn't even know I needed you in my life, but I loved you fiercely and counted you as a blessing from the moment I knew you were growing inside me, and oh how I longed for you to be a daughter!  God blessed us abundantly with you joining our lives.  You have your daddy wrapped completely around your finger and you make us laugh all the time at all your silliness. You've taken the "Princess" nickname (and meaning of your name) to heart!  Happy Birthday baby girl, you are dearly loved! 

Thursday, April 21, 2016

A Walk Down Memory Lane - Chapter 5

Chapter 1 - Dating
Chapter 2 - Engagement
Chapter 3 - Wedding
Chapter 4 - Year 1

After a fun little getaway, we were back to the grind.  I continued working and Peter was soon off on his final year of college!  We had settled nicely into marriage by this point. We had a good routine and were just excited to get through this final year of school.  Fall brought lots of tax recruiting and Peter was very busy with interviewing along with all of his other responsibilities.  When the interviews ended, we were then left with some tough decisions regarding which job offer would be the best for our family. It was exciting to have options but also a little bit scary to have to make our first big decision together. Within a couple months of starting his senior year,  he had accepted a position at a Big 4 accounting firm! Life was going really good!  

We had a fun opportunity to go to San Francisco before the end of the year and cheer our team on in their bowl game!  It was a great little getaway to end the year!  

After an uneventful spring, we were on the fast track to graduation.  Getting Peter to graduation felt like a huge accomplishment for us, and it was!  It was the main hold up in when considering whether or not we could get married at 20, and it was the reason we had to work so darn hard in those early years. I was super proud to see how hard my husband worked to not only get through school but provide for his family at the same time.  It was no easy task for him to be taking a full class load, working 30 hours a week, and taking 2 community college classes each semester! He never complained about it all either, and he still never complains about working hard for his family!

To celebrate this big accomplishment we went away for a week of R and R to Jamaica!  It was just what we needed and we had such a good time together! Sleeping in, relaxing in the pool all day, eating lots of yummy food, not a care in the world!  It was so much fun and we have many wonderful memories of that trip!  

This still remains one of my most favorite memories of our marriage together. Think quiet, peaceful beach, right at sunset.  Nobody else around, being served a special dinner, and just enjoying the sound of the waves as the sun drifts away and all that is left is the light of the candles on the table!  It was a beautiful evening!

Even though we were quickly approaching our second anniversary, my desire to have a baby had not diminished by any means!  Peter was doing everything in his power to help me hold off as long as he could!  Enter our first little puppy, Juno. Peter fell in love with her picture online as she was a boxer with a rare genetic condition and therefore was born without hair.  She had to wear clothes because she got cold, sunburned in the heat, had numerous allergies, and was the most high maintenance dog I have ever met. But she was ours and we loved her!  

And she gave us a few opportunities to practice real life parenting skills!

And then another year had passed. The stress of college now behind us, the job hunt over. It sure felt  From where we were sitting that the next year of marriage was going to be great!  Peter would finally be starting his career and I had high hopes that maybe, just maybe my dream of being a mom wasn't too far off. 

2nd Anniversary in the engagement spot! 

 One of the most memorable moments from our 2nd anniversary was experiencing a pretty good shaker of an earthquake in Disneyland. The park instantly became quiet and as every ride had to shut down to be inspected, the park became quite chaotic.   Maybe, just maybe we would have taken this anniversary day earthquake as a sign that this next year might get a bit shaky, but we had no way of knowing that from where we sat on our 2nd anniversary, and maybe that was for the best. Hard days were coming, but we would continue to lean on one another to get through it all!

Saturday, April 16, 2016

6 Years Old

Yes it is true, my sweet baby boy is now 6 years old.  Wow, time flies when you're raising a house full of littles! 

Gone are the baby days and we're now in a world of taekwondo loving, sports transporting, lego building boyhood!  Its been a very fun transition but especially with him, he just grew up so fast.  I hate that I missed those first almost 4 months of his life. I wish I could have been there to snuggle him every night.  Then when we did have him in our arms, we only had a short 6 months with him before he became the big brother, and he didn't want to be the baby long either. He was walking by 9 months, talking up a storm soon after and has always been the one eager to learn and try new things. Yep, sounds like a typical oldest child, and he pulls off that role amazingly. But I just want to bottle him up just the way he is right now because he's perfect!

Last weekend we had a fun birthday party for my guy!  He wanted a Rescue Bots party and so that is what he got!

Then today was Malachi's fun day!  Starting with the breakfast of his choice, maple bars!

Little Sis loves donuts too! 

Then it was off to his first excursion of the day, a few rounds of bowling! 

I love both of these guys with all my heart!  

Then another birthday cheeseburger for the burger loving boy! 

And a stop for some free ice cream, of which we finally convinced him to try something besides vanilla and he loved some cookie dough! I think I got him hooked on my fav! 

He picked out some great stuff as our gift to him too! There was a very strong Star Wars theme to everything again this year! 

And at his request, Apple Pie for dessert. Sometimes he just takes my breath away with how much he's growing up! 

Oh sweet baby boy, how have you grown up so fast!  I think back to 6 and 7 years ago and how badly I was longing to know who you were. I wanted nothing more than to be a mommy and to be given the gift of walking through life as your mommy has been more than I could have ever hoped.  You are the most amazing big brother a mama could ever hope for. You're so kind to everyone, gentle in spirit, happy and loving.  You're the smartest little cookie and work hard in school.  You're fast and busy and full of so much energy!  You are talkative and outgoing and put us introverts to shame with how friendly you are to everyone we come across. You're funny and everyone loves to listen to the things you come up with!  All around buddy, you are a wonderful kid!  You were so worth the wait we had to endure to have you in our lives!  I know your journey to us doesn't come without hurt and pain that will always exist as you mourn the loss of your first family. How I wish I could take that pain away or answer the questions you long to know.  But I also know God wrote a wonderful story when he brought you into our lives.  We couldn't have asked for a better son or leader of the pack.  You're one of a kind and I've known since before I even saw your face, that God has plans for your life!  I can't wait to support you, love you, and watch you continue to grow into the amazing little boy and someday man that I know you will be!  You are a blessing!