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Archive for the ‘Love’ Category

My joy for today is 9 years of wedded bliss.

A few days ago, my husband and I celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary!

Chad and I went to the same high school, started dating the summer before our senior year of high school, and got married the summer after we graduated from college.  So we have actually been a couple for 14 years.  Wow, that’s crazy.

A few weeks ago, Tucker had a very painful neck.  He woke up crying, treated it very gingerly throughout the day, and had trouble laying down because it strained his neck.  Besides that, he was symptom free, but of course, thoughts of meningitis, brain tumors, and deadly diseases swirled through my head.  I debated taking him to the doctor or to the ER all day, discussing it with Chad on the phone several times.  As soon as Chad got home, he took over the Tucker problem.  He played with him, tickled him, told him jokes, and amused him continuously, all while testing his range of movement and pain levels.  After his Daddy took over, I was convinced he was fine.  Chad put him to bed that night and I was totally relieved of the worry and anxiety that had nearly incapacitated me all day.  I would be a mess without my man.

Like many husbands, Chad is a “fixer.”  Sometimes, this causes tension because if the problem is only emotional, it is difficult to fix quickly, and that frustrates him, and at times frustrates me when he is focused a little too much on fixing instead of listening.  However, without my “fixer,” my world would be destroyed.  He is my partner in life, in parenting, in finances, in love.  The day with Tucker’s neck pain is a perfect example of how we complement each other.  I was being overtaken with my emotions about his pain, the possibilities of what could be wrong, and the choices of action.  Chad came home, “did” a bunch of stuff, and solved the problem.  I cannot bear to imagine my life without him.

For our anniversary a few days ago, we didn’t do anything too special.  I am thankful to be beyond the point in our marriage that we feel we need to do something amazing to celebrate.  We used a Groupon for a couple’s massage at an interesting spa, picked up food from a favorite local Italian place, came home and put our kids to bed.  We agreed to not give each other gifts, but that usually means that Chad does actually get me something little, which I love.  We gave each other cute cards, and then Chad had two gift bags for me.  One contained two boxes of doughnuts and the other bag contained a very touching gift.  I had mentioned a few months ago that I had happened to pick up an amazing water bottle from a gas station.  It just had the perfect rate of delivery of water, as well as an ergonomic mouth piece.  I just loved it, but could never justify buying such fancy water.  My second gift from Chad was 10 of these water bottles.  I was so impressed that he had remembered something that I had mentioned in passing so many months ago.

There is no way to summarize in this post my love for this man, who is my life partner, the author of the love story of my life, my faithful cheerleader, my most active blog follower and editor, and the father to my children.  I can only simply say, thank you Lord for giving me the gift of my husband.  And thank you Chad for choosing to love me every day.  You bring safety, stability, love, happiness, and overwhelming joy to my life, and to the lives of our precious children.  I love you more than words could ever say.  As you said, looking forward to the next 70 years together.

Enjoy your joys for today.

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My joy for today is Midnight in Paris.

We recently rented Woody Allen’s movie from last year, Midnight in Paris.  I am somewhat embarrassed to admit that I am not one of those people that have always longed to visit Paris.  Some movies that I love do feature the City of Light, such as The Devil Wears Prada, Something’s Gotta Give and Ratatouille.  However, they failed to convince me and I often felt that love of Paris was somewhat cliched and something the cool cats like to discuss.

Woody Allen got me.  In this film, Paris is the main character.  The opening is a montage of many picturesque and familiar locations in the city, which continue on much longer than necessary.  But this opening serves to inform the audience that this is a movie that takes place in Paris, and is also about Paris.  It really is a love letter to the city, and to the time that it romanticizes.

The main (human as opposed to city) character, Gil Pender, played by the amazing Owen Wilson, travels back in time, through means unknown, to the 1920’s in Paris.  He meets a whole slew of artists, including Picasso, Hemingway, and F. Scott Fitzgerald.  This movie made me feel shockingly uneducated and uncultured, although not in an annoying or condescending way.  Many of the artists that Pender meets are undoubtedly extremely famous and revered, and Pender is appropriately awestruck.  But the real surprise is that the audience is not left behind if they are not fully aware of the talents of a particular artist.  Although this movie is clearly a “smart” film for the upper echelons of society, us regular folks can also appreciate the beauty of the cinematography, the music, and the simplicity of the plot and the characters.

Besides the love affair with Paris, the movie also explores the notion that a bygone time period is preferable to the present.  Personally, I have never been under this false assumption.  I have always rested in the assurance that all time periods have had their significant problems and challenges.  Like Allen alludes to in the plot, in each time period in history, there are those that would wish for time periods past.  In the movie, Pender longs for Paris in the twenties, but his love interest from the twenties longs for the turn of the century.  Are we ever happy where we actually find ourselves?

I am not a fan of a great deal of Rachel McAdam’s films.  That is not to say that I am not a fan of the actress.  She is one of the great chameleons of our time.  I do not enjoy the sappy, overly romantic version of her in The Notebook and The Vow.  I adore her in Mean Girls, The Family Stone and in this film.  She is best when she is bad.  She is hilarious in Midnight in Paris, as well as her snotty parents and friends in the film.  The film is entirely enjoyable because both the magic and delight of the twenties is as entertaining as the strained, distant relationships of the present.

Maybe one day, about thirty years from now, when our kids are grown and we have managed to save a few pennies in a vacation fund, we will see what all the fuss is about in Paris.  Until then, I will put Midnight in Paris on my birthday wish list, and live vicariously through Woody Allen’s eyes.

Enjoy your joys for today.

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My joy for today is my birthday boy.

My firstborn is 7 today!  I cannot believe I am the parent of a 7 year old.  Seven seems like a totally different era of childhood than six.  To me, 4, 5, and 6 seem to be grouped together, and then you have 7, 8, 9.  It is entirely created in my mind, but still seems significant.

Since it is his birthday, I will take this opportunity to brag about our amazing son.  I feel like I spend a lot of time trying to downplay his amazing qualities to not make other people feel badly when they are having trouble with their kids.  Not today.  Today the world must know how of his greatness!

Of course, Noah is not perfect.  He recently got in trouble at a birthday party for (playfully) hitting an older boy in the ear while tricking him that there was something on his shirt.  Very random and unusual act for our sweet boy, but I am sure this other boy’s parents think our son is far from perfect.  However, after this act was brought to our attention, and Noah was informed that the other boy was not happy about it, he immediately and sincerely apologized.  But of course, this is proof that he is not, in fact, perfect.  Just nearly.

Noah has an amazingly sweet and caring spirit.  He went to a water park with Chad today, just the two of them.  I told him that I would miss him and was sad I would not see him much on his birthday.  He then proceeded to write me a letter that said, “I will miss you too.  I hope you do not forget me when I am at Aquatica.  You are the best mom ever.  I love you very much.”  This type of event, where it is absolutely clear that he has thought a great deal about the feelings of others, happens at least every few days.  I have boxes full of letters very similar to the one I just quoted.  He was not a snuggly baby, but he has made up for lost time.  Even though he is huge for his age, he will cuddle up on my lap and ask me to rub his back, no matter where we may happen to be.  He is always sure to hug and kiss when parting or saying goodnight.  If something breaks or spills, he is the first to jump in and try to help.  He has a very kind soul.

Along these same lines, he is an amazing big brother to his siblings.  He is patient and sweet with the little ones, and plays with them for hours at a time.  He will often notice Amelia doing something adorable, and if I am not in the room, come ask me to see it and say, “She’s so cute!”  When in the backyard with his siblings that are two and four years younger than him, he will push them on the swings, help them on the teeter totter, and play tag for hours.

Noah is in 1st grade, but reads at nearly a 5th grade reading level.  He reads for hours a day, sometimes waking up in the middle of the night and finishing a chapter of his most recent book.  The book he reads most often is the Bible.  He knows Bible stories much better than I do and has read several children’s Bibles cover to cover.  He is the first to remind us if we forget to pray before a meal.  His love and thirst for knowledge about the Lord is truly a blessing and is inspiring to both of his parents.

If you do not really know Noah, you may find this post annoying or unbelievable.  If you do know him well, you will know that I am just hitting the tip of the iceberg.  He is an excellent athlete, funny, a good conversationalist, outgoing, friendly, and generous.

One of my favorite authors, Henri Nouwen, in his book Reaching Out, says this, “Our children are our most important guests, who enter our home, ask for careful attention, stay for a while and then leave to follow their own way.”  My son is becoming his own person, and I am awestruck that I have been entrusted with such a special being, for such a short and important time.

My sweet Noah, thank you for ushering me into motherhood seven years ago.  You are more special to us than you can ever know.  Happy Birthday my precious Boo Bear!  I love you.

Enjoy your joys for today.

My Birthday Boy as a Pilgrim on Thanksgiving.
Thank you for the picture Spencer!

 

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My joy for today is a Saturday well spent.

I recently read an article in a parenting magazine that said there are only about 940 Saturdays between when a child is born and when they typically leave for college.  If you are a parent of a child older than 5, let the waterworks begin.  If you are the parent of a child younger than that and particularly sensitive to this issue, you are welcome to join the pity party as well.

We had a fairly average Saturday today.  I started my day off with a wake up call from our 9 month old at 6:30 am.  I nursed her, put her back to bed, and went for a run.  When I came back, pancakes were just coming off the hot griddle, coffee hot and ready at the table.  We have had a “Pancake Saturday” tradition for many, many years in our home.  This actually got it’s start in my own childhood, and I have wonderful memories of these times with my family.  It’s such a great tradition for many reasons.  It is a much-needed break for a mom to be served breakfast, giving her a respite from chef duties in the morning.  The kids also get to help with the cooking and cleaning, giving them an opportunity to practice life skills.  And of course, we all know the benefits of sitting around the table together as a family.  At the start of a busy upcoming day, often filled with extended family and friends, it’s a great opportunity to start the weekend off in a calm and together manner.

Today, after pancakes, we all got ready for soccer games.  We are very blessed with an amazing sports complex behind our neighborhood, about 5 minutes from our home.  Noah’s game was first, and their match ended in a tie.  Molly’s team was next, coached by my amazing hubs and cousin, and their game also ended in a tie.  It’s a whirlwind of activity at the field, and a great opportunity to see lots of friends, as well as being cheered on by family.

Our kids are very active in sports, so this is a very typical start to a Saturday in our home.  The afternoon is filled with variety.  Sometimes chores must be accomplished, and the kids are included in these as much as possible, especially involved with Daddy’s duties in the yard.  Sometimes we go to the beach, to Disney, or to a friend’s birthday party.  Today, we went to my Granny’s house to spend time at the pool with my parents.  We had a cook-out, swam, read, and got some sun.  Basically, we were together.  Tonight, we are playing some video games, getting a few things done around the house, and early to bed to get ready for church tomorrow.

That was our Saturday; pretty simple.  We never left a five mile radius around our house.  For our youngest, we have just enjoyed about #36 of her 940 in our home.  I shudder to think of how many have already passed for our almost-7 year old.  Most have been spent well.  No matter what we are doing, if we are together, they are a success.  Strangers that like to talk to me in random places always like to remind me that the time goes so fast.  I do not need reminded.  I am acutely aware, and treasure every second.  Excuse me while I go read a bedtime story (or five or six) to my four little ones.

Enjoy your joys for today.  

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A Dog Birthday

My joy for today is a dog’s 2nd birthday party.

A few days ago, we celebrated our Goldendoodle’s 2nd birthday.  She enjoyed a homemade vanilla cake with peanut butter frosting, topped with dog bones and a number two candle.  My two older kids picked out gifts for her, we sang “Happy Birthday” and helped her blow out her candle.  She gobbled up her cake and enjoyed her new toys and then the humans enjoyed their own cake and watched a movie as a family.  The living area of our home was decorated with homemade signs from my 6 year old and 4 year old.  There were hearts and balloons cut from construction paper, as well as a banner that read “Happy Birthday NGO.  We Love You.  Love Noah.”  Noah planned almost every detail of this party, right down to the placement of the bones on the cake.

Before NGO came into our lives, I never would have dreamed that I would have been throwing a birthday party for a dog.  I am emphatically not a dog person.  I have had an irrational fear of dogs for as long as I can remember.  Even when our family had a dog when I was a teenager, I can only remember actually petting him once or twice.  I admired Scooby from a distance, but was just not inclined to get too close.  Of course, the husband and son given to me are very much dog people.  Noah started asking for a dog to live at our house when he was about two years old.  Motherhood squashes selfishness in so many ways, and this was no exception.  I relented and the search began.  NGO came to us from a rescue organization in Kentucky when she was a few months old.

Having a dog necessitates the performance of humbling duties.  This is good for our souls.  Serving something with no hope of reciprocation is a healthy exercise in selflessness.  Having a dog also provides routine and a focus on simplicity, which is something that is easily lost for me.

I assumed I was getting a dog for my kids.  They loved her instantly and rolled around in the grass and let her lick them.  I kept my distance.  But over time, I had to touch her.  I was the only adult home and she was just a puppy. We bonded and I came to enjoy her company, despite the many disgusting jobs she added to my day.  I said to my husband a few months ago, “I can’t imagine my life without a dog.”  Anyone who has known me long would consider this shocking.   But she brings joy, simplicity, companionship and happiness, for every member of our family.   She magically knows to play very roughly with our 6 year old, more gently with our 4 year old, very gently with our two year old who literally climbs on top of her, and lay calmly and protectively on the floor by our 7 month old.  She entertains and harasses the cat, and is a loyal and meaningful member of our family.

Thank you Noah and Chad for insisting on her arrival and for transforming me into a one-dog person.   Happy Birthday NGO!

Enjoy your joys for today.

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My Superman

My joy for today is my amazing husband.

This weekend, Chad took my sister and me to a swing dance, gave me his sole cup of tasty coffee when mine was accidentally spoiled, changed yucky diapers, pressure washed our driveway, made pancakes, cheered our son at his soccer game, planted flowers, mulched, mowed and edged our back yard, retrieved our many Christmas boxes from the garage ceiling, read books, bathed, and put kids to bed, and provided ample amounts of laughter and love to all.

Some of the things on this list, I am sure he enjoyed.  Others, such as going to a dance at 9 pm an hour away, he would never choose to do on his own accord.  A book I read a while ago on marriage described three types of husbands- a steady, a visionary, and something else that mine obviously was not.  Chad is the king of the Mr. Steady husbands.  He has a tendency to keep peace and to quietly continue maintaining his responsibilities, while also occasionally doing Superman-esque things, all without praise or notice.  This type of person is often unappreciated, and I guilty of not recognizing his commitment and steadfastness as well at times.

Let that be the case no longer, at least in the world of blogs.  Recently, on his way home from work, Chad saw a man strangling a woman at a bus stop.  Being the decent and brave man that he is, he pulled over and yelled at the man to stop.  The guy ran away, the police were called and came, and the woman was safe for the evening at least.  While climbing a mountain, Chad, with the help of my dad and his fellow climbers, saved a fellow climber’s life by correctly arresting (waiting for the comments if that is not the correct technical climbing term) when the man fell off the side of a cliff.

Quiet greatness is no simple feat.  Maintaining one’s responsibilities, with an attitude of joy and thankfulness is a day by day miracle.  The Lord has blessed me beyond belief with my husband, my best friend, my soul mate and (to borrow a term from a friend) the archivist of my life.  It boggles my mind day by day that I was blessed to meet him so early in life, at the age of 16.  I am so thankful for every moment we have together, and to see him as an awe-inspiring father to my children makes me fall in love deeper each day.

Chad, I know this post will embarrass you beyond belief, and so much more could be said, but this tiny glimpse into you, the love of my life must be shared.  So much of my happiness is because of you.  I love you; you are my joy for many, many days.

Now be sure to write something nice about me in the comments.  🙂

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