Photographs

Today I received the lens mentioned mentioned in this post.  It is an exciting lens for me and though I’m the most amateur of amateurs when it comes to photography I am aware (hopeful? haha!) that practice makes perfect, and eventually my photos will be straight up awesome.

This new lens is a 40mm macro lens so these photos were mainly me practicing with the lighting (as always) and aperture.  Any constructive criticism is welcome, you’d be doing me a favor! 🙂

DSC_0034(a)

DSC_0041DSC_0048

I always have qualms about sharing things because I’m such a private person so I really hope you enjoy what I have to share now and in the future.

Thanks for stopping by! ❤

ps. feel free to follow my (most likely obnoxious) photo instagram at abutlercharliephotos

Touch

This chapter was interesting to me as my husband and I have recently begun working with the book The Five Love Languages (more about that later).  Touch is something I have personally become more aware of since bringing that book home.

When Will and I began dating we would hold hands in the car every moment possible.  We would cuddle watching movies rather than sprawl out on opposite sides of the sofa.  Sometimes we don’t even share the same blanket!

This chapter was about rekindling the physical aspect of your relationship with your spouse.  Becky Thompson is very specific about it being “all encompassing” in the physical world: holding hands, hugging, cuddling, etc.

Of course when one touches a loved one they experience an increase of oxytocin which is the happy hormone.  This really, truly, simple task makes everybody happy and calm, which in turn makes the relationship happier, right?  So simple. 🙂

9781601428103

Task 1 | Task 2

Kindness

Do you find yourself speaking less kind toward your spouse than you would when you had first met each other?  I do.  In Becky Thompson’s book Love Unending she targets this as the second task to improve.  Love and marriage is her knowledge territory therefore I’m all about taking her expertise and practicing it in my life.

Being aware of, and improving, your own flaws is the best way to enhance any situation.  In my journey of 2017 I’ve been refining all of my relationships.  Some people had to go because they were nothing but negative, others had to be censored a little to help avoid the toxicity, and other relationships simply need more positive attention.

Luckily my husband and I don’t have a tough relationship but I’d rather put preventative work into it than have to re-mediate a situation.

I’ve witnessed people throwing their significant other’s belongings out the front door while demeaning and absolutely tearing them down; if they had worked on their relationship before things had gone sour it would be easier sailing.

I’ve also seen couples who never argue, ever.  These couples are aware of the best way to approach an issue and they use those techniques throughout their relationship.  (The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman is a good book to help couples with this area.)

We aspire to be like the latter.  Since reading this second chapter in Becky Thompson’s book we have noticed that outside stressors cause us to become snippy with each other.  These stressors can be in the form of the toxic relationships mentioned previously or common stress-causing situations in day to day life.

We have seen this task improve drastically because I don’t find myself being treated poorly by others and then mirroring said behavior onto my husband.  I have more patience.  I’m behaving how I naturally would (and did when we first met), without censoring myself and becoming strained by not being comfortable.  I hope you can also notice any shortcomings you can work on to better the environment you live in. ❤

Purchase Becky Thompson’s book here and begin improving your marriage now!  Watch out for more posts as we continue our journey through her recommendations.

9781601428103

To read the previous task click here

Improving marriage

In most aspects of life my family lives by the motto “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it,” however within our relationships at home and surrounding our home, we don’t want things to break, ever.

With the extra energy I’ve gained since removing toxic relationships I’ve been able to focus on improving the positive relationships in my life.  In order to do this I first had to recognize where I was lacking as a spouse, mother, or friend.  I cannot try to improve these relationships by dictating what others should improve, as that would have the opposite outcome, I must focus on and refine myself.

I purchased a book called Love Unending by Becky Thompson and began reading it this morning.

In her story, Becky describes her father as her inspiration.  He is patient and so obviously loving.  She seeks his relationship advice, which is to love your spouse as though it’s your first day of marriage.  She then goes on to say that her ideal relationship point to aspire toward was actually not then, but prior to her and her husband’s marriage, which I agree for ours.

When we got married we had already been living together, our roommate was a drunk who was sleeping with one of my sisters, my husband was working about 80 hours a week (many of them overnight shifts), and I was working part time and a student full time.  Talk about never again.  It was stressful.

Prior to our engagement we were both college students, living on campus, with a lot of free time and a healthy amount of responsibility.  It was perfect, the only thing that was better then than now was that we had predictable schedules.  Now, he never knows when he’ll be home from work, whether it be 3:30 or 10:00; he’s gone for weeks on end, and almost all of our attention is focused on the girls.

The first task in Becky’s book is to greet your spouse how you would greet them in the prime of your relationship.  I was happy to see Will simply for him 5 years ago.  I’ll have to admit that today I’m happy to see him more for his ability to help me than for his own presence.

That will change.  The next time I greet him I will greet him as I did for during the firey part of our relationship.

I am immersed in this task, and we will walk in love. ❤

9781601428103

To read to the second task  click here

He’s home

Elizabeth missed her dada so much while he was away.  In fact I didn’t really notice how badly she missed him while he was gone.  She wasn’t fussy or asking about him in any unusual ways; sadly it’s common for them to miss each other even when he does come home after work.  He simply leaves for work before she’s awake in the morning and comes home after she’s in bed again; to her, he wasn’t home that day.

dsc_1318

I had no idea when he was going to be coming home; in fact I thought it was going to be the following day.  Out of nowhere I saw him pull into the driveway and told Elizabeth “let’s go outside, dada’s home!”  Instantly she ran toward the front door which was conveniently open as it has been beautiful mid-70’s weather lately.  Later in the afternoon while we were at dinner to celebrate dad being home Elizabeth would not let him go.  We set her up in a booster seat, which is also a first, but she just wanted to be held by him and cuddle.  When Elizabeth cuddles she rests her chin on your shoulder and pats your back; it’s seriously the cutest thing.  Being held by dada was the only thing she wanted the entire evening, and the following day.  It was so sweet to see, and I cannot get over it.

Since then, she has gone back to the normal routine of sometimes seeing him during lunch, sometimes not at all, we’re so unbelievably blessed that she is easy going and not really bothered by the unpredictable schedule yet.  She is arriving at the age where she will be impacted by his being gone for days, weeks, and God forbid, months.  We’ve been very self-sufficient in maintaining the home and our lives together (with Alodia, too).  Not much changes in our routines and habits when he leaves nor when he returns.  As a family we kind of just fit him into the rythmic works of our everyday lives.

As heartbreaking as it will be to see her sadness when he is absent, celebrating his returns will be worth it.

Finding peace

We must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy. -Albus Dumbledore

I recently made a decision to clean my life.  Actually, clean doesn’t really explain it properly.  I scrubbed and disinfected my life.  I began this process shortly after Elizabeth was born about a year and a half ago; I finally realized that I wasn’t as happy as I could be.  However I remained unable to pinpoint exactly what changes needed to be made to ensure that I was as happy as I should be.

I began my pursuit of happiness by purging belongings of mine.  This was helpful twofold: 1. Minimalism is freedom, and 2.  We move very frequently, therefore fewer belongings is simply fewer things to pack, move, unpack, etc.  I was relieved, but it wasn’t removing the weight from my shoulders that inspired the purge.

At that point, I decided to attempt to change personal habits.  I did this by making sure to clean up immediately to reduce stress throughout everyday life and also to set a more concrete schedule for waking, eating, etc.  Like minimizing, this too improved my life, but still fell short from removing the weight I was aiming to dispose of.

The last attempt I made was concerning relationships. Only recently did I became aware of the impact toxic relationships have had on me my entire life.  It is difficult to notice things you are so used to.  It’s like the smell of home: you are capable of noticing the smell of others’ homes, but are desensitized to your own, although it is there.

I decided to clean my life of relationships that involved 100% negative emotions, and 0% positive.  These relationships were with people who I dreaded talking to because I was constantly insulted, discredited, humiliated, or just plain old bullied.  With these people, I would experience something wonderful (pregnancy, for example) and absolutely dread informing them because I knew it would result in a snide comment.  These people caused me to become a worse person when I was thinking of or in the presence of them.  The last thing I want is for my family to suffer through the same things I have, especially with me being the toxic person; and they definitely were while I was preoccupied over these awful relationships.

Obviously that led to a bit of drama from some third parties, but the amount of support I received was truly eye-opening.  The immense weight lifted from my shoulders was, and is, immeasurable.

There have been so many improvements to my life which I never could have envisioned being bound to this one simple stressor.  I feel uplifted, peaceful, and relaxed in ways I never have before.  Letting go has been one of the most freeing things I could have ever done for myself and my family.

I can only hope that it is just as peaceful for the other people.  Without the awfulness they associated with me (as I’ve been so constantly informed), I genuinely hope they are as happy as I am.  Some things are simply not meant to be and forcing them is where situations become catastrophic.

Know that it is okay to let people go if both parties are suffering because of a forced relationship.  Be at peace with finding, rekindling, or utilizing loved ones who truly do love you.  Do not put up with any form of abuse for any excuse whatsoever.  Stand up for yourself so you can be at peace, it’s well worth it for you and those who sincerely love you. ❤

Allow yourself to be happy so that you can be the best you for those who need that.

6th move since November 2013

Boxes everywhere.  2017 has been so crazy!  It started off, as usual, with a birthday and anniversary back to back.  Then we traveled to Arlington for an interment of a loved one which was a beautiful ceremony and a nice see-you-later.  That was a quick 2 day trip.  After that we signed the lease for a different house in our neighborhood and had 5 days overlap to empty the old one and begin moving into the new one.  Since then we have been slowly working toward making this new house home, then celebrated another birthday.  I can’t even begin to explain how ecstatic I am that my daughters have birthdays in July and October!

The new house we’re in is a single story with a large front yard.  Across the road is a small wooded area which leads to a river.  The sunsets are phenomenal.  This house has been updated since it’s birth unlike our last house.  Because of this it has much better aesthetic.  Oscar and charlie have both mastered their annoying quirks in this home: Oscar digs in the back yard and Charlie figured out how to escape through the fence, and Elizabeth absolutely adores having all of the square footage on one floor so she can run twice as much as before.

I have completed two small decor DIY projects for his home, one which has been on my mind for two years now!  Posts about those projects to come.  ❤

I hope your new year has been going as successfully as ours has here!