Making Your Marriage Your Priority

 

You hear it all the time “Take care of your marriage. Make time for your spouse. Your kids will grow up, they will move away and it will just be you and your spouse again”. I think it is probably the most common piece of advice expecting parents get. And in a way it is completely true. I mean, your kids will grow up and they will find their own lives. You will still be important to them, but as they grow they become more independent.

That’s important, but, also important to note, is that what your children see in your relationship with your spouse, their parent, is what they will view for themselves when that time comes. The interaction between you and your spouse is the first model to them of what a marriage or partnership looks like. And so, for both those reasons, it is important to focus on your relationship with your spouse.

But how do you do that? How do you make time for your spouse when it feels like your children have sucked time out of you (that sounds a lot worse than it really is, I promise)? Whether you work out of the house or are a Stay at Home Parent it is tough. Regardless of what you do, you are trying to meet the never ending needs of your children, being both the constant entertainer, teacher, mediator (if you have multiple children), protector, and guide. Your days are long (although the years are short) and when the day is over it can be so hard to want to stay up a little bit later and be present for someone else.

Taking time for your spouse is just as important as taking time for yourself. They say that you can’t take care of others until you take care of yourself. Well you and your spouse can’t effectively parent and be married if you are not taking care of each other.

It doesn’t take long, a simple 5-10 minutes to just see how they are doing. To check in with them on how their day was. To remind them that they are doing a good job. To tell them that you are proud of them. To give them a little peck, or shoulder rub. These little gestures, little moments of contact goes so far into “keeping the spark alive”.

Don’t wait till your one night (keep reading for that), do it now. You don’t need grand gestures, flowers or chocolates. Most of the time you just need a moment. A moment of just you and your spouse where you only focus on each other. A moment can be all it takes from going to bed feeling like a disaster on all fronts to going to bed feeling on the same page as someone else.

Take a night, once a week. Stay up later, cuddle on the couch, make it a point on that night to put away all the distractions and just focus solely on each other. It doesn’t have to be a go out to dinner and a movie date night, it doesn’t have to even be a get a sitter night (keep reading though for that…), it just needs to be a night where you can be with each other. *You can read about our take on this HERE.

Take a night out, wherever fits into your own budget, get a sitter and go do something outside the house with your spouse. Whether that’s dinner, a concert, a hike, whatever, get out into the world. Remember what it was like to go on a date with your spouse. Take a couple of hours and remember what life was like before you had babies crying at your feet, or a toddler needing help going to the bathroom. Hold hands while you are walking, sit across from each other and have discussions without having to reprimand your children halfway through a sentence. I gauruntee you and your spouse come back to the house 100% refreshed and ready to tackle those moments. We are homebodies so we don’t always do date nights like this, but we are getting better about it.

Finally, look back through your photo albums. Walk down memory lane. Remember that first date? Remember your wedding day? Look back through the photos, you’ll be surprised how many little memories pop through your mind and remind you what that moment was like.

How do you and your spouse place your marriage first?

On Our Anniversary

October 18. 4 years.Mia-349

Every year I’ve had the words to say on this day planned out weeks in advance. What words, which throwback picture, and I look forward to this day with baited excitement for those few weeks. A day for just us. A day to celebrate our union, the day we said I do, the day we pledged our lives together. A day to celebrate the enormous love we have for each other.

This year is really not very different. I’ve had the words planned in my head for a couple weeks. The image picked out, everything sort of set in place in my mind. But on reflection, this past year has taught me a lesson. One that my husband has been saying every year, but I just love celebrating this day so much so we celebrate it anyway.

Celebrating anniversaries are important. It is important to acknowledge the milestones in life, to take a moment to reflect on what happened. It’s why we celebrate the birthdays of children, and our own up to a point. It’s why we have memorial days and personal dates that are important to us. We acknowledge these days every year, reflect on whatever made that day special, and then move on with our lives. We may take it a step further and throw a party, go on a extra special date night, light a candle in remembrance (or on national/federal holidays throw a parade). Ultimately though, the day passes and we trudge on with life.

Here is the lesson I’ve paid more attention to and learned over this past year of marriage: We don’t just celebrate and show our love on this one day every year. We celebrate it every day. In the kiss my husband gives me early in the morning as he heads off to work. In the “Goodnights and I love you’s” of every evening. In the small acts of help, kindness, and love that are peppered throughout our days/weeks/years over the span of our lifetime. When we bump into each other in the kitchen, or slip a smart ass comment to each other on a slow Sunday morning. In the quiet moments of an evening, snuggled up on the couch, grateful for each other and for the quiet moment together. We constantly celebrate and show our love.

It’s not a one day event.

So, while I want to celebrate our anniversary and enjoy today, it’s not just today. I love this man with all my soul. I loved him 7 years ago when I met him. I loved him 4 years ago when we said I do. I loved him 2.75 years ago when we welcomed our first child. I loved him 16 (ish) months ago when we welcomed our second child. I love him more today than I ever could have imagined. And finally, I’ll love him more tomorrow (and the next day, and the day after that and the day after that) than I thought was possible today.

Life is not easy, we have our ups and downs, we go through trials and roadblocks, and massive, incredible, sometimes insane adventures. But through everything one thing has remained constant. Our love.

So, this year, on our Anniversary, just know we celebrate our love. Our union. The passing of time together. And after today has ended, we will still celebrate our love.

Cheers to 4 years. I love you.

 

Round the Kettle Ep 1: An Introduction

IMG_2491Ah something new. I’ve been thinking long hard about this. Do I want to do it. Can I do it. How do I do it. All thoughts that have been swirling around in my head for the last couple months. I’ve come to a decision that rather than just continue to wonder about it, that I would just take a chance. Give it a shot. If it works out and goes the way I am planning, then perfection! If not, then maybe timing just wasn’t right. Either way, I’d rather at least try then continue to sit and ponder and wonder what if. That’s not something I’m good at (although sometimes I am, and in those case I almost mull it over for too long and then the spark passes).

So, where to begin?

I’ve always said that my blog is intended to feel like a chat with a friend over coffee (or tea, tea for me please). My goal is to uplift, inspire, maybe impart a little wisdom (as to what I know-most times I know nothing) and just share things I’ve learned and experienced. I want it to feel like a warm inviting space that you stay and chat for a while in. I feel like I’ve been succeeding in my goal over the past 9-10 months (already been blogging regularly that long?!) and I’ve generally enjoyed the direction and shape my blog has taken on. Right now I’ve been posting twice a week (Monday/Wednesday) with an optional third post from my Social Media that I want to highlight (Friday). I feel like this is really working. I’ve really hit a good groove. I LOVE the posts I’m writing and I feel like I’ve got a good handle.

So why change a good thing?

Because I’m nuts. I’ll just start with that. I’m nuts. Why not add a third (or really fifth when you count in my business writing) thing to my list? As much as I LOVE how things are going (and I cant stress enough about how I really do), I feel like something has been missing lately.

I feel like I’m missing sharing the little tidbits of everyday. I missing the relaxed fun that comes when you’re just {almost} rambling on with friends. Everything goes off in a million different directions, but circles back around in the end.

I used to share a “recap” type post way back in the day. It started on my business blog, then transferred to this blog. It was like catching up with a friend over coffee. You sit and chat about what you’re loving, how things have been, how the kids are, etc. maybe you broach into world news (eek…maybe not?!), but it’s just a chance to free roll and chat. No bigger message, no lesson, no nothing. Just a bunch of chatter. I realized that in my posting of late, that’s kind of been missing.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m all over Social Media. Sharing thoughts as they come, sharing bits of my kids, of day to day, and you can always catch the latest and greatest there. I just haven’t seen it up on my blog in a while. I kind of miss that personal side banter of little mundane things. Not to say that you don’t still get that every once in a while, but all the same. (I’m really probably mucking this all up, sorry if you’re totally lost with my thoughts!)

So…all that rambling to introduce “Round the Kettle”. I think I’ll get into the name next time, as this is already scary long, but the gist of it is to be a catch up. A catch up “round the kettle” about whatever is happening. Whether that be family, me, conversations with my almost 3 yr old, new things my almost 1.5 yr old has discovered, news (eek…maybe not?!), whatever is floating my boat at that time. It may feature someone else sometimes, it may feature a funny story, it’s just going to be…well whatever it is. It will hopefully be fun, maybe a bit ramble-y, and just a feeling of catching up with a friend.

If this isn’t really your thing, or something you like reading, have no fear! Regular blog posts will still be around and the style, consistency and message of those will remain the same. This is a special just post that I’ve been kind of missing.

Side banter-my long term goal is to have this be a podcast one day…a girl can have some dreams, right?

This will be a twice a month posting, formatted much like this one…where I’ve managed to ramble on for 777 saying something I could have just as easily said I’m probably a quarter of that. I hope you enjoy ☺️

 

 

How Do I Do It All?

I get asked quite frequently how I manage to do everything. I am definitely not the busiest person out there, but I do juggle several different things between family, work, business, and personal goals. With all of this, it means that my time can, at times, be very “tied up”. A lot of times, people take one look at what I do, or my to do list, and look at me like I’ve lost my mind. Cue: “How do you do it all?”

Here’s the grand secret for you: I don’t.

There comes a time where we all realize that we cannot “do it all”. Anyone who tells you that they are, is more than likely either lying, or very very stressed out and tired. **I want to say, there may be a point where you realize that things you thought you wanted are either not what you want or not possible at this time of your life. In this case, you may feel like you are “doing it all” and in that case it may be accurate for you.** If I ever say I “do it all”, if those words are ever uttered out of my mouth, I need to be put back in my place.

First off, I have help. I have an incredible husband who does more than he sometimes gets credit for and is such a help. He will help clean up the kitchen after dinner, does bath time and bed time with the kids and most evenings will take over the bulk of playing with them, so I can get a bit of peace. Weekends are time for all four of us to be together and get some family time in and our weeks are structured so that we can successfully do that. Responsibilities are no joke.

Second, is a thing called prioritizing. I will be going more into this later this week, but it is a big part of getting close to “doing it all”. Every day I have to look through what I want to accomplish and be realistic. Some days I don’t manage to cross everything off, other days I do. At the start of the day, I write down everything on my to do list. Once my list is down on paper, I am able to pinpoint what my most important items are. What are the “emergency” must do things, and what can wait another day. This is ESSENTIAL.

If we look at our days in a realistic sense, there is only so much that we can do. We HAVE to be able to “give up” things, say no when we can’t give our all to something. It is better to do only a couple of things a day, but to do them well, rather than try and cross everything off, but only doing those things half way. I’ll be talking more about prioritizing on Wednesday.

Basically at the end of the day- I don’t do it all. I prioritize, schedule, and say no when I simply cannot do something.

“Do It All and Look Good Doing It”

**I don’t honestly know if I’ve done a post on this before, but I feel like it really feels right to talk about right now***

***Oh, also I feel like the next few posts are going to all basically be somewhat of the same message, phrased differently. Maybe. Just a possibility. So, there’s that heads up for you***

Ah fall. The best time of year. September. Busy times are ahead for everyone. I feel like as much as well all LOVE fall, it’s also one of the busiest times of year in any life. Whether you are a mom with kids going back to school, an employee, business owner, student, whatever it is- fall can be hectic. We find ourselves ending any summer holidays, trying to get into that routine again and before too long the winter holidays come and it’s time to start that holiday shopping. Yes, it goes by that fast!

With all of the things going on, it is super easy to fall into the trap of feeling that “do it all & look good” feeling. There is such a pressure, on really anyone, but I find it mostly applies to women and mothers, of needing to be able to do everything with a smile on your face and heels on your feet. Not only are we pressured to be able to do everything, but also to keep ourselves looking in tip top shape. To be quite blunt…eff that.

We cannot do everything, and yet we sacrifice things to still try and do that. WHY?! Why can we not take a step back and really look at what we are missing out on? What are we actually missing out on? Why do we have such a hard time saying no? Why are we constantly pushing ourselves past our limits? For what? We get such a pressure, both from ourselves and from others (who may not even realize they are doing it) and it can make things so much harder.

Life is short and we only get one chance to really live it. Do we want to spend our lives running in a race against ourselves to get to the next thing, to cross all the t’s and dot all the I’s? OR do we want to stop every once in a while and enjoy what we have. Enjoy time with those who are in our lives. It is up to us to make that determination and up to us to put our feet down and say I don’t want to “do it all”. I don’t want to live my life this way. In this endless cycle.

I will say, I take the time to make myself look good in the mornings because it makes me feel good. I take the time to spend time with my husband and children because I love them and I cherish our times together. I take the time to write, to read, to enjoy my cup of tea. I take the time because that is what is important to me. That’s not to say that I don’t fall into that trap of “I need to be doing all of the things”. When I feel that start to happen I take a second to kind of check myself. To remind myself what is important to me. My husband. My family. What do I want and what do I find important right now.

In the next week or so, I am going to talk about the burning question that I get from everyone, as well as how I handle this pressure of checking off every item of my to do list. As well as the constant need to just be doing all of the things all of the time and look good while doing them.

Summer Vacation 2018 : Canada

We started a tradition last year that every year we would take one week in the summer to go somewhere we’ve never been, rent a cabin on a lake (preferably, but just a cabin works too), and disconnect. Somewhere without phone service, somewhat secluded, where we can focus solely on each other and ourselves. Last year we went to Maine and it was a whopping success. This year we decided to take it one step further and head out of the country and up to Canada. It did not disappoint. 

We decided at the outset of this trip that we were going to travel “easy”. We weren’t going to rush getting to places, we weren’t going to wake up super early just to drive somewhere, but rather just truly take our time with everything. This is key because what is the point of vacation if you are just rushing to get to places. How are you supposed to truly enjoy yourself?

We got off to a little rough start with some car trouble, but sorted it out early enough into the trip (and without any trips to any car places) that it did not impact our traveling or trip in any major way. We decided to split the 9-10 hour drive up into two days and our first stop was Syracuse NY. After a full night of sleep, in which Colton got to sleep in a “big” bed for the first time, we headed for the border. 

I have to say that part of America is absolutely beautiful. A lot of farm country, water, and a large area with not a lot of people. Crossing into the border was easy enough and after a few short hours, we were pulling into the driveway of the cabin we rented (found on AirBnB). 

I cannot even begin to describe how beautiful this location was. I’ve always heard of places being described as “picturesque”, and here we were, staying in the most picturesque location! I cannot talk about it enough, just perfection. The cabin itself was really well set up as well for what we were needing, and every wall facing the lake had a window in it. You literally never did not have a view of the water (except the boys room, which had a driveway window). I fell in love with the spot almost instantly.

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Our first full day in Canada we spent exploring the Capital area of Ottowa. We strolled along Parliament Hill, I got to go to a Chapters (yes I was excited over a bookstore, what can I say?), and we soaked up the beautiful weather and scenery. This was on our list of places and the only place that we actually wanted to go to. I love seeing different countries architecture and government, and while we missed our chance to actually go in to Parliament (which turned out to be a blessing in disguise as Parliament wasn’t sitting on that holiday), the pamphlet had a pretty good rundown. 

The second two days we spent at the cabin, just soaking up the lake, relaxing in the sunshine and just spending some uninterrupted time together. The boys got to “stretch their legs” and run wild and do things they hadn’t done before. They went fishing with Daddy, went on a short little canoe trip, got to see a snapping turtle, frogs, geese, and fish up close and personal. They loved their time there, which made the whole trip even better. 

 

 

For us, we got some much much needed time alone together. It is so important to carve out that time to be with your partner and it is not something that we do enough of. It is so easy to let life interrupt anytime that you have and this vacation gave us a chance to connect and talk and spend that uninterrupted time together that we have been needing. We also got a chance to have a little time to ourselves individually. My husband got to get up early and get some good fishing done (seriously the fishing there was incredible!) and I got to sit by the water and do some yoga and reading. 

After 4 blissful days it was time to pack up and head out, this time to Cooperstown NY. My husband is a huge baseball fan, and while he has been to Cooperstown before, he went during Hall of Fame week and wanted to have a chance to enjoy it without the hoards of people. It was “on our way” back, so we figured we would stop for a day or two. 

Let me tell you, Cooperstown is not for the casual baseball fan. It is for the die hard, to the core, true baseball fan. Casual fans will enjoy it, but it may get a little monotonous at times. They are baseball 100% and you better be there for it. I like baseball well enough to watch it, support my husbands love of the sport, and watch my children fall in love with it. I wouldn’t say I know everything about it, or even necessarily care to know every little thing about it (as this was proved throughout the day and a half we were there). I enjoyed walking through the Hall of Fame and seeing all of the history of the sport and teams. I enjoyed seeing the Astros in their rightful place at the top. I loved the feel of the town, the look of all the houses, the little bakeries and shops on Main St, and I suppose all of the baseball wasn’t too bad. 

Our boys both seem to be following daddy’s footsteps with a love of baseball (although it is still early days yet lol) and they really enjoyed just being able to walk around and watch the other kids play baseball around them. 

Overall this trip was an overwhelming success! We came back feeling refreshed, re charged, connected, and relaxed. We loved seeing the new places and sharing some new experiences together. I’ll treasure the memories and moments that we make on these trips forever. 

Friday Morning Cups

Screen Shot 2018-05-08 at 12.04.43 PM.jpg“I want adventure in the great wide somewhere, I want it more than I can tell” It’ll be quite silent around here as I am going to take a little break away from everything and really focus on family and our special little alone time together. We take about a week or so every year to just re connect, be away from everything, and just get back in tune with each other, with ourselves, and with the outdoors. I also don’t know if we will have wireless or not, which I’m very excited about. To be completely disconnected from the phone and technology is quite a thrilling concept for me. Don’t worry, I’ll be back soon and better than ever!