I have a lot of cabinets

It was Wednesday. Our co-op was going to take the next week off, so we had a free week where we did not need to do school everyday. I had two thoughts about what to do with this week.

1. Potty train Micah. I’ve read a lot about early potty training, and I would love to get this kid out of diapers.

2. Refinish kitchen cabinets. We had pretty much decided to do this ourselves, and I knew it was going to take a lot of time so a break week would be a great time to get started.

I asked Bryan what he thought we should do, and he voted cabinets. I should have made this decision a week ago so I could get stuff, but it’s just busy busy all the time here, so I decided to take advantage of this time and roll with it.

Since it had been so busy, I started on Thursday just figuring out what I wanted to do. I opened a Pinterest account despite my general objections to time wasting on Pinterest (I do that on Facebook and Twitter enough) so I could see everything there is to see about cabinets and decide what kind of look we wanted. Then, while the girls were at choir, Micah and I went to Home Depot to check out some options. I brought home some stain and paint choices.

Later that night, Bryan and I talked through our options. I paired some countertops with floor and cabinet colors. We decided to try the Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations kit in the Espresso color. Friday morning, I took the girls to Menards, picked up what we needed and got out of there, over an hour later. Then, I got everyone home, got them some lunch and started tearing stuff up. Saturday morning, I sent Bryan to the store for easy dinners. Thankfully, we’ve had food all this time courtesy of Great Value and Stouffer’s. Everyone misses Mom in the kitchen, but she’ll get back in there once we have a kitchen.

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I’ve been working (not tirelessly) since then. I’m not going to lie. It’s a ton of work. The little guy wants me. The girls want me. The cabinets want me. I’m racing the clock, and I’m not winning.

Today, we’re back to school. The girls did great at finishing their schoolwork. I did well with balancing my time, but I’m really hoping to get the big wall varnished by the end of the weekend because it’s killing me. We have one more wall after that and then the new cabinets (when they get here) to do. After this final push over the weekend, I’m going to be taking it in small enough pieces that I can get a paint or varnish coat done in an hour so I can sneak work in here and there during the week, also so we don’t have so much laid out all over the kitchen and we can work a little easier in there.

The big wall needs to wait 5 hours now before I put any varnish on it, so I have until 7 or 7:30 before I need to do any work. I’m hoping to get the house picked up in that time because things really blow up when Mom’s not on the clock. I throw pictures on Facebook and Twitter as I can and as changes occur, so look for updates there. Once all the cabinets are done, we’ll probably get a post up here. This is Stage 2. Floor was Stage 1, we still have countertops (and sink and faucet), backsplash, and wall color to go, but we’re getting closer. I don’t love home renovation.

How about you? Home renovation, love it or not?

Posted in Family Updates, Frugal | 2 Comments

Does Kickstarter make entrepreneurs lazy?

Remember back in the days when someone would believe in their idea so much that they would mortgage their house, borrow from savings, borrow from relatives, because they believed in their ideas?  They put skin into the game and I think that drove them more to succeed.

When I used to run Rubik’s cube competitions, people would want to secure a venue, and have me come and run the competition.  Since I spent a ton of time before the competition preparing, brought all the equipment, and spent the whole day running the competition rather than competing, I had no problem asking them to reimburse my expenses.  Usually this consisted of just a little bit of money to replace batteries or other equipment, and the hotel if needed.  Someone would always ask, “What if enough people don’t show up?”  I’d tell them that they’d be responsible for the shortfall.  Mostly because it would be a lack of advertising on their side that would cause this.  But you know what happened when they had a risk?  They were driven to succeed.  They advertised and made sure they made it something that people would want to go to.

With Kickstarter or many of the other crowdfunding sites, you seem to have entrepreneurs that don’t want to take any risk.  There are some legitimate reasons you’d need to do crowdfunding. Some people will come up with the product, but need to sell a mass quantity to afford mass production.  But the research on the feasibility of the product has already been done.  That’s cool. Or you have the book written, but need to handle getting it printed.  Perfectly fine.

But here are the things that make me not like crowdfunding campaigns

  • Person does no work upfront.  Doesn’t make a proof-of-concept, doesn’t have a draft written.  Refuses to do any work until they have the cash in hand.
  • Rewards that aren’t of value.  If you’re doing a pre-selling, that’s cool.  If you sell me an item for $10 because I’m backing you and it’d normally sell for $15, that’s great.  If you’re selling me a $1o item for $50, that’s asking for a handout.  If you’re wanting to do a charity campaign, do a charity campaign.  And if you’re selling me a “warm fuzzy feeling” for ANY amount, no.
  • Covering ever single cost.  I like it when people have a breakdown of costs.  That means they’ve actually sat down and figured things out (hopefully).  But sometimes you’ll see those breakdowns contain every little detail.  Not just the Kickstarter fees, but every little cost.  Yes, I see you’ve stated you needed $768 for the plane ticket.  But I see the next item of $8 because “It could be an early morning flight and coffee at the airport is expensive.”
  • Not backing anyone else. The sites show how many other projects the person has funded.  When is says, “0 backed”, I always think, “Really, you want to come and ask people for $50,000, but you haven’t found 1 thing you could spend $10 on?
  • Creating multiple campaigns. Sites also lists how many campaigns they’ve previously had. If you’ve had a previously successful campaign, you need to make a compelling reason why you’re coming back a second time.
  • Asking for so little. I know….$X amount of dollars may be a lot for some people.  But there comes a point when the amount is so ridiculously low that picking up a part-time job for 2 weekends would handle it.
  • Flexible funding. Some sites have this option, which basically means even if the project doesn’t receive all the funding, the person gets to keep all the money.  Seeing this throws a big red flag for me.  If you can’t do it without at least $50,000, what are you going to be doing with $10,000?  My guess is nothing, so don’t take my money.

What are your thoughts of crowdfunding campaigns?

Posted in Family Updates | 2 Comments

The “One more thing” problem

I have always had this problem, but it feels worse since we’ve been homeschooling and now that we have a toddler again. I call it the “one more thing” problem. It happens when a task requires one more thing that I don’t have the time or opportunity to do right then. Maybe I need to schedule a trip to the post office to mail something. I’ll have the package ready and waiting, but I won’t get it mailed for a week or two, and it’s late. A letter will need an envelope that I need to go find, two weeks later, I’ll finally mail it. I’ll need to hunt up a receipt to finish my budgeting. It’ll sit until the end of the month. I need to check the calendar or ask Bryan about an email question; it’ll be a week turnaround rate.

This isn’t because I forget, though. No, these tasks completely stress me out all day while I’m doing other things. However, at the end of the day when I kick back to check Facebook and actually have time? Poof! They’re gone!

Now this is probably actually a good, adaptive thing because if this didn’t happen (and sometimes it doesn’t) I’d run around like crazy after the kids went to bed and not be able to get to sleep because of the to do list swirling in my brain. But it still irritates me no end. I need to use my phone to keep better lists. And get a personal assistant.

Does this happen to you?

Posted in Family Updates | 2 Comments

Random Ramblings

Since I’m unwilling to actually polish and edit one of the 42 drafts sitting in my pile, you get some random ramblings about what has been going on lately here.

School. We’ve started our co-op and school activities have picked up. It’s going well with the little guy, but I still struggle all the time with the whole “my kids are home all day making messes but I’m teaching so I don’t have time to clean the house how I want” thing. We’ve developed a system that keeps things picked up, but my toilets need cleaning and my floors need vacuuming, and well, I have a toddler which someone described as living life with the blender lid off. So true.

Emma is growing up super fast. She’s just awesome at doing stuff now. She is basically self directed for school requiring assistance here and there. She can see what needs to be done and do it. She’s great at hanging with her little brother. It’s sometimes hard to remember that she’s not all ready for everything yet. We’ve started the phase of having long discussion about lots and lots of things. She’s reading the Lord of the Rings trilogy now, and I’m reading it along with her. I’m liking this phase more than I thought I would.

Hannah is still brightening things up with her unique perspective on life. She is a master of function, and asks hard questions. I love to watch her play with Micah. She always thinks up some creative game, and it’s so cute seeing them snuggled up and her reading to him. I’m looking at ways of helping her be more independent in her schoolwork because even though she requires more teaching, it’s just irritating having mom remind you all day long to keep working. So, I’ve ordered a 10 drawer shelf, and we’ll be trying the “work box” method. We’re, in essence, trying “workbox light” today as I put all her books in a bin and labelled her assignments with sticky notes. It’s going well so far!

Micah is great. His little face. I can’t get enough of it. His vocabulary is growing and he echoes words all the time now. One of our recent favorites is when he would say “pobly” after Emma would say “probably”. He’s into EVERYTHING right now and stuff is getting pulled out of everywhere. I feel a little like the mom in “Love You Forever.” He’s starting to do more pretend play, so that’s adorable. He loves his stuffed Curious George and blanket. He’ll ask for Georgie and bankie. So much cuteness. He’s the reason my toilets need cleaning, but I’m keeping him anyway.

Tutoring Essentials is so much fun. I get to field grammar related questions like “Why is it called a Predicate Nominative?” That one allowed me to use my very limited knowledge of Latin as well. Plus, we play math games every week, and sometimes I get to show off my mad skills.

I have had two colds within the past 3-4 weeks. At this point, buying elderberries and making an immune boosting syrup is pretty much a given. Last night, while perusing Facebook, I found a post referring to a well-behaved child as an “angle”. Bryan suggested commenting that this child certainly was “acute.” This provoked a coughing fit that lasted long enough for me to cave and take some Nyquil.

I had a Pumpkin Chai Latte while I was waiting for Emma to finish her field trip for American Heritage Girls at the local grocery store. It was delicious. You should have one to if you like that sort of thing.

The little guy is crying, so I’m just going to end this post by telling you this is why none of my other posts have gotten finished. Because I need to go hug some cuteness.

What have you been up to lately?

 

Posted in Random | 1 Comment

Pondering stoplights

I think about things constantly.  Like elevators. And other things. They’ve been having a lot of construction near our house recently so a bridge is now one-lane.  This causes a lot of traffic to get backed up.

But do you know what I think causes traffic to get more backed up?  The people who try to conserve energy.  For example, look at this illustration:

rect3788The yellow car wants to take a left, so he pulls into the left turn lane here.  Now, what if someone is conserving gas by leaving a TON of space in front of them?  Well, this happens:

rect3789The yellow guy can’t get into the turn lane just yet, even though there is room in for the three cars ahead of him because the red wants to leave a bunch of space in front of him.

Of course, this is just one example.  Another issue this creeps up is where you have two lights close to each other.  You see there’s space for multiple cars, so you pull up and the car ahead of you stop WAY short.  So much that you’re now stuck in the intersection.  You hope the light ahead changes quickly so you can get out of the intersection.  But most of the time you end up either having to pull awkwardly in the other lane and back, or waiting for the person to slowly roll up into their proper position.

Now that guy that’s driving this way is probably saving some fuel efficiency.  But at what cost?  Other people are having to idle longer because of missed lights.  So is the OVERALL system better?  And what happens if EVERYONE started driving like this?  Would traffic engineers need to redesign the road systems to assume each car may be taking 2.5 car lengths?  Will lights need to be timed differently because people want to accelerate at the speed of smell?  Will road infrastructure itself need to be changed to make turning lanes longer?  If that occurred, would the fuel savings be greater?

Now I’m not saying we should be pulling up to the person with 3 inches between our bumpers.  I’m pretty sure traffic engineers assume there’s some space.

Of course, I don’t have all the information to figure out the numbers.  Maybe there would be savings.  But my gut feel tells me that some of these fuel-saving measures come at the cost of others.

What’s your thought on this topic?

Posted in Random | 5 Comments

My stove, helpful neighbors, and repair guys

We just had back to back weeks where grandparents got to visit so my kids need extra hugs and we’re a little behind on things. I was making some dinner and rising my bread when it started to stink like burnt electronics. I thought maybe it was just a smell from the new pan I was using, by when I switched off the burner, the display on my stovetop cut out. While the kids and I ate dinner, Bryan (who had eaten at a Men’s Ministry event) went over to ask the neighbors if we could use their oven to finish the bread. They very graciously agreed. Bryan and the kids headed out the door, and I headed next door to bake bread. After sharing some rolls, I made my way back to try to call or connect with Maytag on the internet. The Maytag website was unhelpful and not great even by my standards, and I’m half Amish, but I finally managed to locate a recommended local repair person and called it a day. Sunday, I bemoaned the fact that I couldn’t use my teapot, but I survived. This morning, I tried calling Maytag’s man, but his phone message said he could get back to me at the end of the day. Figuring someone else could do better than that, I tried the repairman recommended on Saturday by my neighbors. He promptly returned my call and agreed to come after lunch. Hearing about the problem, he had come prepared with one part, but when he found this

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he had to run out for a cord as well. He fixed it up, and we tried it out. Then, he gave me a tutorial on how to clean my oven (nice, but embarrassing, next time I’ll have to clean my broken appliance before calling the repairman). I guess the Brillo pads from the dollar store work just as well, who knew? The best part was when he left his business card and told me about his AM radio show on Fridays. Do you think that would count as home education credits?

But now my oven works, I’m happy, and I want to bake something.

Who wants to come over for muffins?

Posted in Family Updates | 2 Comments

Soda pop jelly

“If nothing else, it’ll make a good blog post,” I quipped to Bryan as we got started.

It seems on Friday at lunch, Bryan and a few coworkers started speculating if one could make jelly from pop. It seemed like it would work, so when he texted me, I agreed to help him out.

On Saturday, we picked up pop and some pectin. I googled a few recipes, sent him back to the store for liquid pectin and jars, and then we began our high fructose corn syrup laden quest.

I can’t emphasize this enough, but jam and jelly making is hot, difficult work. There is a reason I freeze everything, and I have not canned anything since I left my mother’s home. It’s hard. However, we were in high spirits, and we were both capable adults, though one of us was inexperienced and unable to intuit the other’s every need, and we managed to follow our recipes for Mountain Dew jelly and Coca Cola jelly.

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The next day, because it needed time to cool and I needed time to recover, I made some biscuits for us to taste test our creations. Both types of jelly did indeed gel which is a victory in itself. Beyond consistency, they both tasted rather passible on biscuits. The Mountain Dew jelly had a bright, citrus flavor. Someone might have even guessed it was a fruit jelly, though what kind would be tricky. It was Emma’s favorite, and as much as I hate Mountain Dew (which is immensely), it was surprisingly edible. The Coca Cola jelly had a hint of caramel in the flavor. It was Hannah’s favorite. Bryan thought it would be good on pancakes. He’s probably right.

Will we ever do this again? We already have plans to make a few batches for our fall fundraiser at church. Are we crazy? That’s pretty much a given :)

What kind of pop do you think would make good jelly? I’m leaning toward Cherry Coke and root beer myself.

Posted in Family Updates | 3 Comments

When things get busy…..

You know when people complain about being busy, and they advice others give is “Well, something’s got to go.”  Like it’s just that easy to cut something out of the schedule. Yes, looking at other people’s schedule, you can sometimes figure out what to cut.  But you know what, it might matter to them.

These last few weeks have been really tough on us.  First, I was on-call for a week.  This usually entails cancelling all plans for the week except for church. This time, we ended up taking separate vehicles, which was good because I got a call right before I was about to leave. I handled that, but arrived at church late.  After multiple nights in a row of going to be late, handling stuff in the middle of the night, and handling stuff early, it wears on you, and the whole family. My on-call ends on Tuesday morning.

Now, I could go and list all the things we did the following week, but it doesn’t matter.  The things we ended up doing were important to us.  Seeing family, honoring prior commitments, giving the girls opportunity to have fun. Looking back, Amie and I tried to think of what we could’ve cut.  It turns out really nothing.  Is that 100% literally true?  No.  We could’ve shut out the entire world until we were caught up. But the things we needed to do were important to us and our kids.

Without the on-call, we probably would’ve been fine with that week.  I would’ve been a “this is busy week”, but we would’ve managed.  But since we had no time to catch up from the week before, it’s like when you stumble, and you can keep going, but you’re stumbling constantly.  Or you could choose to fall flat on your face and recover.  We chose the first option.

Did we cut anything out?  Yup.  I didn’t get up early in the morning for a while.  We didn’t have energy to pack lunch some days or make dinner, so we ate our more.  The girls were thoughtful of us and asked to have scrambled eggs for dinner one night.  The garden didn’t get weeded as much as it should’ve. We didn’t write on the blog as much.

What, if anything, do you cut when things just get busy?

Posted in Family Updates | 3 Comments

Hope

The news has been ridiculously bad lately, has it not?

Nigerian girls kidnapped at the beginning of summer.

Immigration border issues escalating.

Ebola outbreak in Africa with hundreds dying.

Israel and Gaza unrest, images of broken, bloodied children from there, people using schools as weapon repositories?

Beloved actor Robin Williams allegedly committing suicide.

Ferguson, MO rocked with death, rioting, and militarized police.

Then adding local news which always involves car accidents, crime, and health issues.

Then adding busy schedules, stress, relationships struggles that we all have.

It’s hard even to write sometimes because everything is a fresh, open, gaping wound on the soul.

My gut reaction is to retreat, to hide from the news, to at least work to heal myself.

But I need to remember, that there are so many out there that do not have the hope that I do.

And let’s face it, we need hope. As small as the death of Robin Williams should be in the face of all of the rest of that tragedy, it’s that that’s blowing up my news feed. And it tells me something. It tells me that we’re desperately looking for something, for someone. This man who made so many laugh and smile, if he couldn’t face the world and it’s problems? This man who was a GREAT, if he needed to escape? The question remaining seems to be “how can I?” This question breaks my heart because all of this news, it breaks your heart. The girls, their families have to be aching with their loss. The people of western Africa are mourning and even more are afraid that they could be next to succumb. The families of Israel and Palestine must always be mourning as death mounts upon death. The nation mourned Williams. And Ferguson rocks us all as we try to sort through some very murky mess of crime and death and racism and authority and power and peace.

But who has the hope? Is it hope to say that those who have died are free from the pain of this world? I’m afraid that’s poor comfort to those of us still here. We are scarred and left bleeding by those who leave life whether it’s by force or by choice. Our hope is and must be in Jesus. All of this sin and death and pain and wrongness is no surprise to the living God. He knew it would come way back when a man and a woman in a perfect garden did not think that God was enough. So, God worked through history a plan to bring us back to Him. He sent His Son to live a perfect life and die as a payment for all the sin and death and pain and wrongness in the world. Then, he appointed those who would believe and accept that God was enough to carry the truth to a world that keeps searching for what will satisfy and comfort and save. And the answer is easy and it’s hard and it fights against will and feelings and prevailing opinion. But the answer is Jesus. He is enough. Even though all this world fall away with all the people and the stuff that I love, Jesus would still be enough.

Help me tell the rest of everybody, OK? Because from what I’ve seen, not near enough of us know it. And remind me of it, too, when I struggle because this world is hard and we can help each other remember.

Posted in Faith | Leave a comment

14 (or 15) things I’ve learned in 14 years of marriage

Bryan and I are celebrating our 14th anniversary today! This may surprise you, but we’ve picked up a little knowledge in between then and now. Much of this is common sense, but when you’re irritated with someone, having common sense is hard. So, here’s a few things that I have learned while spending 14 great years with an incredibly funny, brilliant, and handsome guy.

wedding1. Your spouse cannot fulfill all your needs. God can. Even if you have an incredible husband like I do or an amazing wife, he/she is a long way from being God. Lean on God when you have a disagreement or hard time or just feel grumpy. Pray. Get insight from the Bible. Your spouse was never made to be infallible. Let them be human. You’ll love your spouse a lot better if you’re getting filled by God with love so that you can overflow with love for others.

2. You can be right but wrong at the top of your voice. That’s a quote from Emerson Eggerichs in Love and Respect. The more right I am, the louder I am, so this was a good lesson for me which is helpful with my children as well. Your tone matters. You will not win an argument with volume, even if you are right.

3. Focus on the good things. You married this person, you must have seen something in them. I think sometimes when we get married, we change from thinking we have the greatest person in the world to seeing them, as the weird rock/troll/gnome things sing in Frozen, as “a little bit of a fixer-upper.” While there may be things that we would change if we could, you’ll be much more content and happy in your marriage if your main focus isn’t that thing that irritates you but that thing that makes you happy. Then, affirm your spouse. I think the “mommy wars” are a pretty good picture of our culture. Everyone is wrong if they’re not on your side. Remember those good things, the stuff that made you fall in love with them and all the awesome they’re done or been, and tell your spouse about them. Chances are, no one else is. Make them feel worthwhile, important, attractive. That’s what they are to you, and they should know it.

4. Learn about each other’s worlds. I could not hope at this point to know as much about programming as Bryan does, but I listen to him. I read articles that he posts. If I wanted to know how to program something, I would know to Google it. I know that Google changed their ad policy and in app purchases of upgrades are the way of the future. Bryan took a psych class in college since that was my major. He’s read some books that I recommend to him, or at least skimmed them. Learning about the other person matters. Related to that, share ideas. Is there an idea that’s influencing your views on parenting, education, society, politics? Share your sources with your spouse so they know where you’re coming from. If you’re changing because of some new idea, at least your spouse will know about it.

5. You are not the boss of them. Whether we’re a mom or a manager or a team leader, some of us get accustomed to telling people what to do. Ask. Ask your spouse. They are your partner, your equal. Respect their time as a fellow adult and ask. If you have a problem with housework, childcare, finances, have a discussion and figure out a plan, but don’t order or nag or use sarcasm to tell them about your disapproval because that will totally work.

6. Dream together. There is nothing more fun to me than talking about future possibilities and goals with Bryan. I think it’s a great way to invest in each other and cheer each other on. Also, it helps you get on the same page with where your family is going.

7. Having someone in your prayer corner is huge. If I’m struggling, I know I can share prayer requests with Bryan even if I would not want to share them with anyone else, and he will be there for me, interceding. I’ve got his back, too. So, I guess I should add, pray for them. Are they struggling, why not talk to the greatest source of strength, endurance, and power there is? That’s the best thing you can do, but still . . .

8. Be willing to serve your spouse. I’m not saying one person should bend over backwards to do whatever the other person wants, I’m saying that doing things for other people is a great way to show love. Watch the kids so they can go out or work on a project. Make them a meal. Fold a load of laundry that they’ve been meaning to get to. Wash the dishes after they make dinner. Take the kids out if they’re sick or worn down so they can get a nap. They will feel the love.

9. Make time to talk to each other. You know what has been one of the best things for our marriage? Getting rid of cable service. Now, even though we sometimes watch things on Amazon or Hulu or YouTube, even though we still spend time online, we have a lot more time for conversation. I know what’s going on with Bryan’s work. He knows what my challenges or triumphs at home are. You don’t have to get rid of your tv, but shutting it off and talking is kind of a big deal for a marriage.

10. Find something that you enjoy doing together. I don’t program or solve the Rubik’s cube well. Bryan doesn’t bake or sew or read fiction or craft. We’re opposite on a lot of spectrums, but we’ll take a walk together or watch MacGyver or play a board game or go out to a movie or watch stupid YouTube videos or dance in the kitchen. It makes a difference. Related would be laugh together. I think research has proven or something that laughing together makes for a better marriage. If it hasn’t, it should because it’s true.

11. Be an accountability partner that’s an encourager not a nag. Honestly, other people may be better accountability partners for things, but if you are working with your spouse on this and they are on a diet or exercising or reading their Bible or whatever, build up their successes, help them find good rewards, but don’t nag them. Go back to #3, affirm and build up, don’t focus on the negative. Or join them.

12. Don’t argue over the little stuff. Toothpaste tube being mistreated? Toilet paper on the wrong way? Socks on the floor? Keys perpetually lost? Go ahead, offer a suggestion, tell them that it is important to you, but don’t make it an argument. Do you know how hard it is to change a habit? Of course, you do, you’ve tried to do it before. Most of these behaviors are habits. If it’s important to you, you may need to make an adjustment yourself.

13. Tell other people how great your spouse is. Don’t just stop at telling your spouse what you appreciate, tell people at your Bible study, your friends, people at lunch, people on Facebook about the good things they have done. Tell people about their accomplishments, how they’ve hit their goal. Some people think this is bragging, and it is, but it’s about someone else, so go ahead. But DO NOT, please NEVER EVER, share all your peeves and arguments with other people. I cringe when I see a husband (usually always a husband for some reason) being chastised on Facebook. It’s ugly. If you are struggling with something and have one good friend who is a good encourager, go ahead and share your problem with them, but don’t make it a habit to tell everyone the bad stuff about your spouse. These others will think you have terrible judgment, or they may think, well, if someone complained about me that much, I might not treat them very well either. And to extrapolate, don’t have a disagreement with ANYONE over Facebook. Even though it has the word “face” in it, it’s not their face which is the place you should speak your disagreement to.

14. Enjoy parenting together. Parenting can be hard, but sharing smiles over adorable babies across the room, texting the hilarious thing your kid just said, or playing together with the family is good for the family and good for your marriage. I love watching Bryan be a dad. It’s amazing. Having kids does not have to be a marriage killer if you are in it as a team and not forcing each other to compete with the kids for your attention. Also, in relation to that, put the kids to bed early for as long as you can. Trust me. At least in my marriage, it’s easier to connect with my spouse at 8:30 at night than it would be to get up at 5 and connect. People in the 1800s used to go to bed that early, your kids can to. It just takes practice.

OK, here’s a bonus #15. Realize that they probably have good motives. Your spouse, hopefully, really loves you. That means they want to make you happy. They may still be a little selfish, but you probably are, too. When they say something, they are most likely not being malicious. Case in point (forgive me, Bryan), when I was pregnant with Hannah, Bryan asked me why women’s butts get wider when they are pregnant. This was NOT the right thing to say to a pregnant woman, but he wasn’t saying I was overweight or that he disapproved of my shape, he was just expressing a curiosity. As he is still living today, you can tell that I must have been living by the spirit in that moment to realize that he didn’t mean to hurt my feelings. Your spouse probably doesn’t mean to hurt your feelings either or trip a painful memory. They love you. They want to make you happy. Talk with them about it, or realize their motives and let it go, but they are not your enemy.

I’m sure that’s not all I’ve learned, and we certainly don’t have a perfect marriage, but I feel like we’re a lot better off because of the things we’ve learned over the years. If one or two of them strikes a chord with you, that’s great! I hope you’re strengthened and encouraged. If not, then tell me, what’s been working for you?

What have you learned from being married? Being single?

Posted in Family Updates | 2 Comments