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. ❤

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To read to the second task  click here

What is a dad?

My dad wasn’t there.  He abandoned my mom and my two older sisters while I was still a fetus, maybe even earlier.  He physically left when I was just six weeks old.  Legally left us when I was about 6 months old.  The divorce was nasty, I found records of it when I was about 20 and while reading through them, I sobbed, I never made it through all of them.

My father figure as I refer to him as, George, was a godsend.  Many of my traits, philosophies, mannerisms, and interests come straight from him.  He has the warmest heart, but carries a big “fuck it” attitude.  He is one of the hardest working people, even when not at work.  When a flood destroyed my mom’s garage while I was an infant, he built us a new one, and he put it in a better location.  When my mom’s cars were in the shop for whatever reason (as they frequently were) he provided a backup pickup for her to use.  When we had basketball or lacrosse games or recitals, he was there to cheer us on.  Christmas mornings, he was there.

He taught me how to work, how to fish and shoot a gun, drive a car, hammer a nail, swear like a grumpy old man, and he taught me to respect myself, most importantly without guilt.  He was also the one to drop me in a snowbank if I wasn’t behaving right.

My husband is the best father I could ever imagine for our girls.  I didn’t grow up with a dad to admire.  I didn’t dream about walking down the aisle at my wedding with my dad (but I did dream about the day I could change my last name for a positive reason).

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My husband isn’t home frequently.  His work is physically and mentally demanding and exhausting.  He holds so much responsibility concerning both people and things, and that’s just talking about work.  It seems like when he is home he’s either doing work or sleeping; he rarely cleans or does projects around the house.  He doesn’t have time for hobbies.  But he does father our children.  He is always able to push whatever he’s busy with aside for one or both of the girls.  Almost nightly, when he’s home, he falls asleep with one of them on his chest.  I have so many photos I could print a calendar with a new photo each day.  He lovingly sleeps in Elizabeth’s room if she’s having a particularly rough night, and he so delicately carries them both so I have “off” time.

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He mentally freaks out when one of them gets hurt or startled, like so many dads-of-daughters do, and he simply cannot say no.

I’m hoping that he will be present for their recitals and sports games, and that he’s able to teach them how to fish and shoot, drive, and use tools.  However in his career path he may not be able to do many of those, if any, but I know he does (and will do) everything he possibly can for them.  ❤  He is the perfect dad.

Sappy post because Elizabeth has been asking for him all day but she’ll have to wait a couple weeks to see him. (Plus he deserves a little praise every once in awhile, right?)

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!

Post Christmas mess

We are officially moving next week.  I cannot believe it’s happening so quickly!  It’ll be like this: my birthday, our wedding anniversary, an interment at Arlington Cemetery for Will’s great uncle, then moving day.  Four days of booked.   It will be so much at once but we can do it.  We’re going to postpone our anniversary celebration until we’re settled into the other house and can relax a bit.  Plus that will give us additional time to plan what we want to do as we really haven’t.

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We began tearing down Christmas decor on the 26th which is early for us.  We had to box everything up so we could move onto permanent decor and other “things.”  Our home looks like it was pillaged last night; there are boxes everywhere in our living area, both empty, half full, and closed up with tape.  By the evening of the 27th everything Christmas was boxed up, in the garage, or in our move-out staging area in one corner of the living room.  Our dining room is accumulated packed boxes and soon we will be packing our belongings upstairs.

I cannot wait to share all of our recent projects with you as we’ve been so busy with the holidays that I haven’t had time to write about them.  I will find time and share our recent fun after we settle in.  2016 has been a tough year for many but it has brought so many extraordinary things as well.  ❤

Breastfeeding mamas

Seriously ladies, are you ever sick of dealing with people’s shit and know that your patience is shot all because you’re nursing?  I swear that hormones are so much worse when nursing than when pregnant.  During both pregnancies I would deal with the hormone changes and cravings, and being just plain moody; but it’s SO much worse when breastfeeding.  Any of you agree?

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Cravings are absolutely insane, my patience is so shot that I actually have to actively remind myself to have some during most situations, and I’m so irritable that you might as well just steer clear unless you want your head chewed off.  Pregnancy wasn’t quite so bad.

At the moment Elizabeth and I are both fighting colds.  Dealing with my own cold is a minor inconvenience.  I simply feel under the weather and move on with life.  Poor Elizabeth is simply broken, it is so sad.  Last night she had a 102 degree temperature when she woke up a couple hours after being put down for the night.  We gave her a little medicine and cuddled her until she began acting like she felt a little better, then I put her down again.  Around 2 she woke up, for the 3rd time, and Will decided to sleep in her room with her.  Thank God she is feeling a bit better today, it’s simply heartbreaking to see a tiny little human feeling awful.

A big sigh of relief for me through this entire everybody-get-sick phase is that through nursing, Alodia is gaining some great immune system boosts.  I am fascinated by how when my body is fighting a sickness it, by breastfeeding, fights sickness in her body as well.  It’s like the breast milk is a shield protecting her!  So cool, right?!

I have experienced a full circle this week all because of breastfeeding.  It’s causing me to be moody but also giving me a big silver lining while almost my entire family is sick because my little 2 month old is healthy and being kept healthy with breast milk. ❤

16 Month old tantrums

Not one parent or caretaker of a toddler can say that they haven’t experienced at least one tantrum.  My dreamy little 16 month old is currently in a hitting stage.  It’s like being hit by a hamster but still, she’s hitting.  This child will protest anything.  As you parents, guardians or caretakers probably understand that for these tiny humans the world absolutely stops for a facial expression they disagree with, food near their face that is in a spoon not held by them, etc.  The most insane things, in the moment it’s *somewhat* difficult to see the humor but I’m always amused by it.

I have strict rules for this girl, and she’s a very well behaved child, but everybody has a moment and toddlers aren’t accustomed to social norms so they will drop and fail and hit with their little hamster hits.  I have found that ignoring Elizabeth, when I’m able to, is the best way for her to get over her issue and begin behaving properly.  Before I realized ignoring was successful, she would begin misbehaving more and more because when she would misbehave she gained my attention instantly.  Now she knows that if she wants my attention instantly she just needs to behaving nicely, rather than be sour.  Also redirecting her is highly successful.  I’m not going to be the type of parent who gives her fussy toddler an ice cream because she saw another child with one and threw a fit.  Nope.  Not going to fly.  I frequently redirect her attention to something, wither it be a replacement; snack crackers to eat rather than a treat she saw and wanted, or redirected altogether simply by pointing something out to pay attention to or by playing something with her, etc.  What is a technique that you use to negotiate with your little terrorist toddler?

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IKEA latt hack

If you’ve been following along you’ve probably noticed that for while now we’ve been slowly working our way from a cluster f of accumulated furniture to rooms we’re happy to enter and proud to see photos of.  One of the things I was adamant about was that we would have a play area worthy of the internet.  Pinterest worthy, if you catch my drift. 😛

We have two white cube shelves, one is a 9 cube 3×3 (shown in this post), and a 4 cube 1×4 which we currently have in use elsewhere in the house.  Since we rotate Elizabeth’s toys we are able to keep the play area tidy and clean without a lot of storage since her toys are in containers tucked away to prevent temptations.  We knew we needed a place where our little girl could do more toddler activities so we purchased the IKEA latt table and chairs set ($25).  I had to do something about the blonde colored wood and simple white mdf on the table top and chair seats so I decided to use some left over gel stain from a recent project and did two coats.  Initially we stained the mdf for the chair seats but it disagreed with me.

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After that we decided we wanted to add a cushion and some fabric so I knew in an instant we would do black and white stripes.  We used 1″ thick cushion foam and cut it to a 9″ square and secured it to the chair seat using the fabric and hot glue.  With the hot glue and the way the seat is held into the frame of the chair I’m confident the cushion won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.

For the table top we decided to use a piece of chalkboard contact paper that we had on hand from another recent project and it turned out visually better than I expected, plus we didn’t have any issues with bubbling, yay!  How did you hack your IKEA latt table and chairs?

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