Category Archives: marriage

Things I’m Thankful For

For our November write up we’ve been posting what we are thankful for to correspond with the Thanksgiving holiday.

Admittedly this is one of the more difficult posts for me to make all year. I am not predisposed to positive, grateful thinking. Don’t get me wrong, I know I am blessed and have many blessings, gifts and privileges many people in the world will never see. I am simply not an “OMG thank you so much!” type of person. Again, I know I have much and thus much is expected at times. Just know this is not an easy off the cuff list/post for me to make.

A good friend of mine encouraged me a few months ago to sit down at the end of each day, think about my day, and write down at least one thing or event from that particular day I am thankful for. It was a great idea and I did make the effort, for a day or two. The idea is to bring positivity into your life by acknowledging and realizing what you have, instead of pondering the things you feel you are lacking.

I also wanted to make this post different from last year’s post. I posted 30 things for 30 days of gratitude last year. This year I figure why not use the alphabet? It’s a great helper to keep me on track.

A: Acts of kindness. Performing or receiving, there is blessing for all.
B: Books. As nice as technology is and helpful to finish listening to a book, there is still something comforting about curling up on the couch (winter) or sitting out in the sun (summer) with a good book physically in hand.
C: Christmas Carols.
Yep I’ve been listening to Pandora’s Christmas channel for a few weeks now. 
D: Democracy.
Yes our governments are a mess but life could definitely be A LOT worse. 
E: Electricity.
I know this one sounds silly but with the experiences we’ve had living in the north east, electricity is definitely an invention I’m thankful to have in my life.
F: Family.
As dysfunctional as we may be at times, my family is mine. 
G: Grass.
Remember when you were a kid and running around the front yard with no shoes on feeling the fresh grass on your feet? My kids don’t either… we have no grass here in the rocky, weed growing woods.
H: Home-based businesses.
I am part of Younique but I also LOVE supporting and being able to purchase from my friends who also are working from home. Direct sales companies or crafty people. 
I: Indoor plumbing.
Oh Em Gee Becky. The privacy of my bathroom and ability to turn a faucet on to get water in my house.
J: Jesus Christ.
My savior and redeemer. 
K: Kid kisses.
The pure love from a child’s kiss to mom is so healing!
L: Love languages
M: Mothers.
Especially my own mom and Grandma. 
N: Nature.
I have not appreciated nature in the beginning of my life as I do now living in the woods. 
O:  (adult time) The big O (not Oprah).
Please don’t ask me to go into further detail.
P: Pregnancy.
It isn’t an easy 10 months, but I am blessed with the ability to carry and birth my children.
Q: Quiet moments.
With 3 kids, a dog and a cat; quiet time is few and far between. When those moments do come I cherish the quiet.
R: Ring.
More specifically my wedding ring. (sappy alert) It is my constant reminder of how lucky and loved I am.
S: Snuggles!
When I don’t feel good, (physically or mentally) a nice snuggle on the couch sure helps me. ok the kids too when they aren’t feeling well.
T: Tribes.
I’ve written a few posts about my different tribes (such as this one), we all have them and all need them. 
U: Underwear!
Yes more laundry but man what a blessing it is to have undies for everyone in my family, and multiple pairs! 
V: Vocal Cords.
Talking, singing, even yelling at the kids. 
W:  World wide web.
I am able to find so many answers, reach out to friends and family across the country and pretend I know the latest kid craze thanks to www!
X: (ya I’ve got nothing here)
Y: Younique.
I’ve been able to meet a lot of fabulous women and learn more about my own inner beauty by being a part of this company.
Z: Zumba!!
Great music + friends + dancing = a fat burning workout! Doesn’t get much better than that.

 

What are you thankful for? Do you have a daily gratitude journal? Share your blog post with us and link up below or put a few things you’re thankful for in the comments.

Next month join us for the last link up of the year and share a holiday recipe.

I died…

Last week my life changed forever, I died.

Ok I didn’t completely and literally die, but after this last weekend I will never be the same. It all started a little over a year ago I began my healthy life crusade. Working out was a regular part of my schedule, I even found a tribe of women working out and supporting each other. We hiked and I shared part of my journey here.  I was preparing and planning for my very first Spartan race; hiking and weight lifting to prepare myself physically, especially hiking around with Baby K on my back. I could handle a little 3-5 mile obstacle course, no big deal! Ugh if I only knew then what I know now… I could not imagine what a life changing event I was in store for.

The original plan was to go with a group from Tribe, but this summer has thrown all of our schedules off and no one else was able to attend. AJ had previously volunteered with me at a race so we both had a free race coupon to use. His original plan was for a Beast or Super Spartan. Knowing I would be alone, I registered for my very first Spartan.

I knew going into the race there would be obstacles I was not ready to overcome, the rope climb is my ultimate nemesis. Even knowing this and knowing the 30 burpee penalty per failed obstacle, I was going to finish! My goal was to come in under 5 hours.  I know, 5 hours for 4 miles? Yes, 4 miles of up a ski resort mountain and back trails, cleared specifically for the race. Oh yes and 20 obstacles and doing 30 burpees per failed obstacle, this was going to take some time.

Race Map

To my surprise (and complete gratitude after the fact) AJ registered Friday night to race with me. He wasn’t doing it for him but for me! In reality, going into it I was not certain how nice I would be able to be. This might make or break our marriage. We would come out of this more in love or I’d be so raging angry and cranky I would say not nice things to him causing a rift in our relationship. 

Pre-race face

Morning of the race we were running late but arrived with time to spare. 8:30 am we climbed over the Spartan starting wall to begin our very first Spartan Sprint. Up the mountain we started, over 5 foot hurdles, yes while still going up the slope of the mountain, further up we went still. The first mile was the longest drudge to the peak. It was not a straight up climb nor was it a well worn path. There were some more walls to climb over but these I did on my own since they were on level ground. Although I did smack my ribs pretty hard on either these walls or the hurdles when I broke the mouth piece off of the camelpak I was wearing ugh! Bruised ribs SUCK! Over another wall, under another and through a third, yep through it, there were holes.

Miles 2 and 3 blurred together for me.  Hiking up and down hilly, rock covered, sprain your ankle terrain, intermixed with obstacles designed to push you to your physical, emotional and mental limits, you bet I lost track of what mile and obstacle we were at. Obstacles such as crawling under a cargo net in swamp mud fit for any wallowing pig. Then make it thru the crawl and slush thru a few more mucks of water to a dunk wall. Down into a pit of water, scramble up, back down into another and up again until the third time you’re down in deeper water facing a wall you now have to go under, the dunk wall. After the mud it was actually refreshing.

Back up the mountain we went to the slip wall. You’d think having a knotted rope to climb up a slippery wall (remember all the mud and water we just went thru?) would make it easy. Sure I did. I got right on up there, grabbed the rope and scrambled up the wall. I was about to pull myself up to the top when someone next to me lost his footing and slipped. I lost my concentration and footing as well. Then I felt the ribs, again. I was going to fall, until someone behind me stopped me. Someone was below me helping me to stay up, AJ up top reached his hand out to help me over the top and I made it! Dang slippery wall. There were more variations of walls and other obscene obstacles. Some were a cake walk for me, others… not so much. There was a sandbag carry, just like it sounds. Grab a heavy bag filled with sand, lug it up and around the mountain a bit and drop it back off. The Hercules hoist, using a rope and pulley system hoist a heavy bag up to the top of the rigging and back down again. Don’t let the bag free fall to the ground… not cool, or part of the challenge. The plate drag. This was cleverly designed on the side of the mountain with little holes dug into the path. All in all those were the easy ones for me, and the ones I enjoyed. Oh yes and lets not forget the bucket brigade. Fill up a 10 gallon bucket to the designated fill line (probably about 2/3 for the women) with small pebbles and carry it in front of you up and down the mountain. The biggest burpee maker of them all was the spear throw. You get one chance to throw a spear at a hay bale Spartan target. The spear has to stick. ONE. CHANCE.  Yep I came close but you know the saying… horse shoes and hand granades…

I learned very early in the race, this is not a place for “every man for himself” mentality. This is a place for first timers and experienced Spartans to come together, uplifting, supporting, cheering and helping each other all along the way. I cried so many times and for different reasons, heck sitting here thinking about it I still get a little teary. There were people who had finished their own race come back over and help AJ finish my burpees for the rope climb! I was so beat down I didn’t have the capacity to do more than 5 burpees without feeling like I was going to pass out. They knocked em out like it was nothing. Strangers boosted me up and pushed me over obstacles. Some held out a hand to help me up. Others gave me a conversational distraction from my fear of heights atop the A-frame cargo net. Another kind soul named Katie stopped and helped encourage me thru the barbed wire. Most people were rolling thru, we were crawling; that rolling crap for that long makes me dizzy.

My EVERYTHING was challenged and I came out on top! I still can’t believe it myself. I have officially conquered the mountain and finished a Spartan Sprint!

Let’s recap the obstacles:

starting wall: CLEARED with assistance
hurdles: CLEARED with assistance
walls: CLEARED
OUT: CLEARED
Mud Crawl: CLEARED
Rolling mud/Dunk wall: CLEARED
Slippery Wall: CLEARED with help
Barbed wire: CLEARED
Spear Throw: failed
Rope Climb: failed
Sand Bag: CLEARED
Plate Drag: CLEARED
Herc Hoist: CLEARED
Olympus: CLEARED with help
7 foot wall: failed
Inverted Wall: CLEARED with help
A-frame: CLEARED
Twister: failed
Bucket Brigade: CLEARED
Multi Rig: failed


Fire Jump: CLEARED

I died. I have been reborn over the fire and now…
I AM A SPARTAN! AROO!!

I’m not quite ready for a beast or super but there are other venues this summer for Spartan Sprints…. maybe! I said never again when I finished this one and I’m already looking at the schedule for this year! Oh man I’m in trouble!

Part of me will never be the same and I am glad for that. If it doesn’t challenge you it won’t change you right? I have been changed. The Spartan community is a unique creature in itself as well. I ended up finding out the names of most the Spartans who helped me on the mountain. Part of me will never forget them. They and that mountain were part of an experience I do not wish to soon forget. 

What is something you’ve done and conquered? Did it scare you? Would you do a Spartan?

Check 3 and 4 off of my 40 by 40 list!

A Day in my Shoes

Let me start off by saying most days, unless I’m going to the gym, I don’t get my shoes on!

Being a stay at home mom is overly glamorized most of the time. It isn’t all bonbons and soap operas all day long. 

My weekday starts just before 7am as Dawn is heading out the door to the bus stop. Thank goodness she can walk and the winter weather has been holding off. Although truth be told I think she hops a ride with the neighbors. Oh well. 

I get out of bed and most mornings before I can walk out of the bathroom baby K has woken up and is fussy. Diaper change and breakfast. Then just over an hour to get Little Red out of bed, ready and off to the bus. 

While Little Red is getting ready and eating breakfast I try to tackle the messes which seem to accumulate all on their own over night. 

Someone has usually, trying to be helpful, given baby K a dry bowl of their cereal. Maybe it was from yesterday? I find it somewhere during the morning. 

Within an hour of being awake my hot water for honey has been reheated a few times. I find a few minutes to have my morning hot honey water. 

Most mornings it waits until after a workout at the gym. Ya know when Baby K is ready for a nap and won’t be put down… 

Honey water and to do lists. Sometimes I have to do lists for my to do lists haha oh boy! 

I have high hopes for my day and even get the dishes done before starting on some laundry. 

The clean clothes make it to the bed before meltdowns begin. 

Lots of snuggle time and some nursing until I can gently and quietly move away from him in whatever sleeping position he finds himself. 

If I’m quick enough I can take a shower and change into normal clothes. Sometimes it is a choice between a shower or getting dinner started before kids start coming home. 

Pack up the sleeping babe and off to the bus stop to pick up Thing 1 and Thing 2. 

Ah the glamourous life of a stay at home mom. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. 

I’ll Show You My Blessings.

This month in honor of Thanksgiving we are taking our blog collab and making it grateful. This month I’ll Show You My… Blessings, 30 things I am thankful for. Normally the month of November social media is plastered with daily posts of gratitude. We decided to post in our blogs for you to read in one place. Katie, Tracy, and I are joined this month by Dara and new blogger Danielle.wp-1469151611004.png

1. Freedoms.
Recently the kids and I took a day trip to D.C.  Dawn studied early American history last year and is taking American government this year. Of course a visit to the National Archives was s must. The decades and centuries of fighting, debating, and molding our country are awe inspiring. I am beyond grateful for the men and women who sacrificed, fought and worked so dilligently for the many freedoms we are able to enjoy. Some, possibly most, I take for granted on a daily basis. God bless America! 

2. Extended family
HUGE blessing! From cousins to aunts and uncles to grandparents and in-laws, our lives are full of love and blessings from our extended family. We don’t live close to any of them but if we needed them they’d be here.

3. Stay at home mom
Growing up I knew I always wanted to to be a stay-at-home mom, eventually. I had a lot of wild ideas. Never did I imagine I would actually be able to be a stay at home mom. Some days I love my children more than I could imagine and other days I lose my sanity. All in all I get to be home with my kids as they grow.

4. AJ’s job
This is a double blessing for me. I have the ability to be a stay at home mom because AJ has a job. He works so hard to make sure our family has everything we need and sometimes things we want. We have been thru tight times financially but we’ve never been on hard times so much we couldn’t see a way out. His always having a job has been a huge blessing for our family.

5. Baking skills
Some people can cook a mean steak or prime rib or a great chicken pot pie. I am not one of them, I feed my family and they definitely don’t starve but my skills are in the baking. It may have some connection to my love of sugar and desserts. Fall is the big kick off of my baking season and I’m super excited!

6. Friends
After living out here for 7 years, being an adult for over 15 years I can say I have this “friend” thing down. What I mean is, I have friends, great friends, even some amazing friends; but I have learned I do not need a TON of friends. I have no desire to be the cool kid sitting at the popular table. I am who I am and so are my friends. I know when the crap hits the fan they will be there for me.

7. Religion
We posted on our religion last month so you can read more here. Having religion in my life has been a blessing in my hard and good times. No matter where I live the gospel and Church have always been there providing me a stable foundation.

8. Adoption
Adoption processes have been a part of my life, woven in and out like a tapestry. I have friends who were adopted, and other friends who have adopted. I can’t imagine my life without any of these people and I know I wouldn’t have them if it weren’t for the ideas, processes, and ability of adoption.

9. My health
In all I do to my body and in my life I have been blessed with a healthy body. My blood pressure, despite my self induced stress, has been in normal limits. I have been working on getting my resting heart rate down with working out. I haven’t had any medical problems or difficulties so despite my own self-induced physical body abuse I have quite the healthy body. I have been blessed with great genetics.

10. Healthy kids
My kids have never had major illnesses, (knock on wood for eternity) and other than one broken leg over the last 16 years no broken bones or visits to the ER. No stitches either! We have truly been blessed in this department.

11. Beautiful seasons
Other than a few years in Utah, my seasonal changes have been nil. 90 degrees year round with a slight chance of rain were my seasons. Now I can sit in any room of my house and watch buds sprouting on trees, blossom into full green leaves, blow in the summer breeze, change colors and fall to the ground, then the tree gets covered in a beautiful white blanket. Such a beautiful blessing of colors and changes to watch each year.
one-street-four-seasons-newark-nj-afatihozay-instagram
*I found this image here

12. Owning my home
Ok technically, it is AJ’s house, but it is our home. We spent over a year looking for a house in NJ but could not find an affordable house with affordable taxes. After what seemed a small eternity, we finally landed in PA and have a lovely home. So many people are unable to find a place to call home and we have been blessed.

13. Being able to breastfeed
With the first two kids I was able to breastfeed short term. Afterwards they were on formula and on to organic whole milk. We have been so blessed to not have the added expenses of formula or special milk for baby boy K. He is still nursing, bonus! No formula this time around. Added blessing: special bonding moments with baby K.

14. Running water
Have you been anywhere without running water? I have… well water requires electricity and when we lose power we have no running water. One of the many modern day conveniences in America is running water… nope I don’t think I’d survive the zombie apocalypse.

15.Walks in nature
Living in north eastern PA has become a blessing in disguise for rediscovering nature. There are many walking and hiking trails in the local forest. Some trails lead to beautiful waterfalls, others to panoramic scenic views of the local area. Each one

16. Comfort food
My tastes have grown from instant pudding and mac’n cheese as a kid to dark chocolate and shrimp alfredo. ahh the good things in life.

17. My grandparents
These two amazing people have always been there for me. I can not imagine life without them. I really don’t want to. They will live forever right? Lie to me!

18. My husband
This man of mine… such a blessing. He is an answer to so many prayers, even the unasked prayers. Great to the kids, helps out around the house, and… he even loves me in all of my crazy quirkiness.
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19. My mom
Cheesy? maybe… but my mom has shown me I can overcome any challenge, to never accept failure as the end and to keep searching for my happiness. She is one of my best friends and I am so blessed to have an amazing relationship with her.

20. Relationship with siblings
Four girls and one boy… this is my core sibling list. My sisters and brother. Of course they’ve added on with spouses but my core siblings, the inner-inner circle if I may, are a crazy bunch, yes, and my crazy bunch. They call and text, check in, and fight as siblings do. They are MINE!

21. My Tribe
My tribe! Oh man I’ve been on a physical journey this last…. mmm not quite a year yet. They have been there to laugh, cry, fall, and push me when I need (and sometimes don’t want) it. I have held memberships to gyms before but have never felt like I was a part of a gym. I belong here. Best workout sessions ever! I mean have you ever laughed while doing an ab workout? I do!

22. Military Moments
This sounds a bit vague but it’s a broad topic covering many facets of the military life. Recently I attended a dedication ceremony on a gazebo for families of local fallen military. It was touching to see families and soldiers being honered and remembered years after their passing. The military community is another piece of the puzzle making me. I have been blessed to meet and volunteer with incredible men and women in the military community.
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*photo courtesy of Linda Kerr/Tobyhanna ACS

23. Technology
How did we survive without cell phones, instant internet access and google? Seriously? Does anyone remember. I do, but it’s all a blur like a different lifetime ago. No technology is definitely a 1st world problem. I take it for granted but know what a blessing it is being able to utilize technology every day to reach family and friends across the globe.

24. My education
Walkingor driving to school was no big deal. High school was… well I’m not telling how long ago. After high school I went to community college for the majority of my general education classes then continued onto a university for my undergraduate degree in business management, yep I have a BS in BM haha. Not everyone has these opportunities and I recognize the blessing school has been for me.

25. Music
In high school I actually wanted a doctorate in music and my big plan was to teach… ya I know big dreams. Music has always been a part of me and my life. I sing, dance, play instruments, everthing. When I’m home alone during the day music is playing. I’m not a technical music gal but I dabble a bit. Music brings joy in ways I can not describe. Aside from signing and dancing, music is a talent of mine. I have played an instrument since I was in 4th grade. I picked up a flute and haven’t quit since.

26. Talents
I believe recognizing and knowing our talents is important so we can expand on them. I’ve talked about music and baking. I am a Jane of all trades, master of none, as the saying goes. I dabble in much. Sewing, writing, sketching to name a few. The blessing of talents is the ability and opportunity to bless other lives with those talents.

27. Two car family
This may seem silly but if we only had one car (which many people don’t even have one car) I would never leave the house during the week. No tribe, no errands, no shopping. What would I do?! We do not have public transportation here. Life. Would. Be. Terrible.

28. My exes
Yes, my exes are blessings. The broken hearts, bad boys, terrible mistakes, ones that didn’t last… all of them helped mold and shape me into the woman I am today. They also helped prepare me and my life for the wonderful man I have today.

29. Creature comforts
This includes more of those little blessings I take for granted most days. Heat, a warm bed, comfy blankets, a fireplace, fans during the hot months, thick wool socks. The little things in life really make it great don’t they?

30. All of you
I am blessed to have followers and readers such as you.  Each of you brings new light and perspective to my blog and online life.

What are some things you find yourself thankful for this month? Posting your blessings and gratitude on your blog this month? Post your link in the comments.

Meet Our Team Captain

Team Salisbury was founded SEVEN years ago today. As a celebration here are 22 questions I asked AJ about us and me. 


1. Where did we meet?

On the phone while you were working at Wachovia. 

2. How long did we know each other before getting married?

I’ll go with 7 months (he’s right)

3. What is my favorite sweet tooth craving?

My specially made ice cream tacos

4. What is your favorite physical feature about me?

I gotta keep it clean and be cliche and say your eyes. 

5. What is my favorite color?

You have one? Pink? I don’t know, green?

6. What is your favorite memory of us?

When we went camping two summers ago. 

7. What is your favorite quality about me?

Humor

8. If you could change one thing about me what would it be?

Really? 😬 your temper

9. What is one thing you think I can’t live without?

A car

10. What do you think I do best? (My talents)

Empathize well with others and very charismatic. People trust you more than you think. 

11. What is my favorite movie?

Princess Bride

12. Where did we get married? 

Orange County (California) somewhere… I keep thinking about Anaheim. 

13. If we could live anywhere where would it be?

I know you’d want to live in Germany. 

14. What do you think I love most about you?

When I help around the house. 

15. What one thing could I eat for every meal?

Pizza. 

16. What is my biggest pet peeve?

People leaving trash in your car.  No wait liars. No being ignored!

17. What is the best present you have given me?

It doesn’t matter but the best ones are unexpected at random times. 

18. Who takes longer to get ready for the day?

You. Definitely you. 

19. What one food can I not stand eating?

Cherries

20. What color are my eyes?

They’re different colors. You call them green but they have other color flecks in them and they change color. 

21. What’s my favorite type of music?

Country 

22. Who’s movies do I never want to watch?

Will Ferrell. 
Most of these are pretty accurate. What a great man. I’m so lucky to have him. 

Date Night Swap

Do you know how much a babysitter costs nowadays? When I was a teenager rates were $1 per hour per kid. Now it can cost hundreds of dollars for a few hours of kid free night out! No wonder there are so many failing and problematic marriages and relationships, parents don’t have the time to work on their relationship.

Last month our friends Chris and Katie had a date night and I watched two of their kids while they kept the baby and the other kids were with family. They had a nice night (mostly) without kids. Bonus: no sitter to pay!

Fast dorward to yesterday. AJ, Dawn and I volunteered to help out at the open house for the Philadelphia temple. We couldn’t take the younger two kids with us so we asked Katie to help out and cash in our date night exchange. We knew we’d be in for a few more date nights for them but it was a great opportunity for us as a family. 

Katie and Cheis graciously accepted the 12 hour challenge. It was the first time I was away from baby K for more than an hour. The traffic home was horrendous and took longer than we anticipated. My little kids were pretty well behaved. The best part was I knew my kids were being taken care of and loved by someone we trust and know. 

I can’t imagine having to leave my kids with someone we barely know and paying for it not knowing how they were being treated. 

If you have friends with kids then talk to them about date night swap. Your kids are in good and trusted hands as well as saving yourself money! 


I can’t begin to express to you how grateful we are to have such wonderful friends. I don’t know of anyone else who would watch someone else’s kids for 12+ hours. Katie and Chris are owed many date nights but that is one of the great aspects of date night swap with friends. Go on give it a try. 

Always Something

As first time home buyers we really went into the entire homeowner process with blinders on. Something always needs to be fixed or we want to update a room or an appliance needs repair. As my Grandma says, “There’s always something.”

When we were looking at houses I knee I had to have the laundry on the main floor or on the floor with the rooms. I did not want a basement laundry room separate from the main living area. Luckily all our living space (for now) is on one floor.  What I have come to not like is the narrowness of the room.

The laundry room is off the garage, sharing a wall with the garage, one is an outside wall, another is the front room and the final wall shares piping with the hallway half bath. I would love to have it more open but that can’t happen without redoing the plumbing and I’m not ready for that. Besides I don’t think I’d want to give up the half bath. So I make do (first world problems I know).

Having unused walls and space makes me a little crazy in my on home. So I decided to take advantage of the laundry room bring off the garage and make the hall into the laundry a mud room while adding storage shelves in the actual laundry room.

I cleared out, cleaned, and organized
cleaning supplies, floors, first aid kits, and much more. I stripped the walls, moved the washer and dryer out of the way, scrubbed the floors and walls and still wasn’t happy. Unsure of a color I went with a simple white paint for the laundry room. I can always choose a color later but the dirty smoker yellow colored walls needed to go.

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Outside wall mid cleaning
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Fromt room wall mid painting

Do you see the difference in color?

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Shelves going up for storage

I now have the shelves completed and stocked with storage items. I couldn’t find the wall spackle to fill holes before finishing the paint job but the shared bathroom wall and shelves are finished. I love that everything is within an easy reach and visible now.

When I am completely finished I will do another post of the complete project. There’s always something, right?

Mars and Venus

Men and women are different creatures in MANY ways. From the food we eat to how we dress to our emotions to even our perception!

I love my husband with all of my heart and could not have asked for a better mate and partner. I know I and our children are blessed beyond a doubt. I know he is not perfect and he knows I am not either, though at times he pretends to let me think he thinks I am.

Rarely do I think about the differences we have in regards to perception of an event. How have we been together for over 7 years now and this is the first time I am having this ah ha moment?!? Am I that clueless or is AJ that much of a pacifist he lets it slide?

Let me explain…

Today AJ met me at the commissary (military grocery store), he wasn’t feeling well and he came to pick up some items he wanted and needed while I was there shopping. The parking lot is small and the area is low traffic flow. Walking thru the parking lot I was pushing K in the shopping cart. S asked AJ “Can we beat Mommy to the car?” Off they went down the row of 10 parking spots. Smiles, laughter and giggling ensued as they took off ahead of me, AJ between parked cars and S. The next instant plays over in my mind in slow motion…
Reverse lights on an SUV parked two spots away from ours lit up and the car began to move. Yelling at the top of my lungs STOP! STOP! not sure who would hear me first, the driver or AJ and S. Hoping my actions would somehow control theirs, I stopped in my tracks, two spots away. AJ turned his head looking and noticed the car. He grabbed S, the car stopped and they continued to our car. S of course is ecstatic they beat mommy to the car. AJ is playing it cool and I am freaking out inside, replaying what happened over and over in my mind. The elderly woman and her husband resumed pulling out and drove away. Neither of us really looked at the other. Then it happened…

As AJ was loading up groceries and I was buckling in kids I mused aloud at what would have happened if AJ had not been there. The woman would most likely not have seen S. His response was it’s over, let it go and move on. uh.. what?   WHAT!? I flipped inside. I’m not allowed to muse or have emotions on the matter? As we heatedly discussed the matter I could not understand why I was not allowed to work thru my emotions and the situation. Then his words hit me… If I hadn’t been here this wouldn’t have happened. I wanted to have fun with S and this happens. DING! I was upset b/c of what could have happened and was thankful AJ was there. He was upset because he was taking the whole situation as his fault!  HELLO ENLIGHTENMENT!

We calmly were understanding each other, said our I love yous and I realized I may never see this man or our shared experiences the same way again.

Money and Marriage

A while ago I came across this article about money matters and mistakes in marriage. There are different ways to handle finances in a marriage, there is not a one size fits all solution for finances. It is important however to find a solution that fits your situation and work on it.

What NOT to do.

I have seen people post and talk about hiding purchases from their spouses all the time. “I just had to have it, I’ll tell him about it later.” “I make the money I can spend it how I want.” “She’ll find out when she balances the checkbook.” “I will wait until he is in a better mood before telling him about my purchase.” I have heard these and so many other excuses and justifications. In the long run there will be conflict in a marriage. Honesty and open communication is vital in all aspects of any relationship, especially a marriage. Statements like these are telling of the relationship and functionality. It baffles me when men and women find the need to hide purchases from their spouses.

Making it work.

Buying presents and gifts is great and not about hiding purchases. Like all things, make it smart, plan it out and fit it in your budget. Set aside funds for gift purchases, there are multiple ways to do this; separate “extra” spending accounts or cash withdrawals worked into the budget.

In order to properly balance a checking account and monthly finances spouses need to know about miscellaneous purchases and make large purchases together. As with many other aspects in a marriage, open communication is important and vital for success. Find ways to work together on extra purchases. Make informed decisions when making larger more expensive purchases and do it together.

Fear in a marriage should not exist between partners, especially over finances. If honesty does not exist regarding purchases for the household how can there be honesty in the rest of the marriage?

On the other side it is necessary to be understanding and listen when a partner wants to discuss purchases and finances. Remember there is a bigger picture. Both partners work to maintain a marriage and household. Not always do both of them receive a physical financial paycheck for their work. Withholding money or giving an allowance belittles the other person and makes the marriage unequal.

Between his ex-wife spending all of his savings before leaving him during a deployment and my ex leaving me with all of our debt we had no real savings to speak of but we had plenty of debt. Over the years we have paid some off and accumulated some others. Our biggest purchasing decision was when we bought a house a few years ago. Because of the VA requirements, my name was not on the loan or the title for the house. It will eventually be changed, this is our only money problem. We have had to communicate and work together to achieve this working relationship with our finances.

In our marriage AJ makes the money, I stay home and manage the house and household matters, including the finances. I have always handled my own finances prior to being married. I had a system for managing my bank account, paying bills and leisurely spending. When we got married we took some time but eventually merged all of our accounts. We consolidated some bills and set out a general long term plan.

I pay the bills, balance our joint checking account and allot out funds to each of our individual checking accounts for additional spending. The additional spending and separate accounts are built into our monthly budget. When I make household purchases not built into our budget I let AJ know about them so he also has an understanding of where the money is going each paycheck. Just as unfair as it would be for him to put me on an allowance from his paycheck it would be equally unfair of me to spend all of the money each payday without letting him know or consulting him on the purchases.

Find what works for you and stick with it, keep open, honest and two-way communication in mind and in the process.

A Wedding, Play Dates and Catching Up

This last week I was in Utah for my little sister Elizabeth’s wedding, and wouldn’t you know I don’t have a single picture! I have nothing from outside the temple, the reception or any of the events in between! UGH I really wanted my Christmas present early. (Yes I know what I’m getting from my husband for Christmas, I do the shopping haha).

I did however manage to get one picture with some girlfriends from California. Let me back up. Over five years ago I left sunny Southern California for, well the east coast. It seems in the last five years (okay it started before that too) there has been a steady exodus from Southern California to Utah, mostly Utah and SLC counties. I have stayed in touch with a few of my close friends, and stalked others on Facebook. It seems I am not the only one doing this though.

While in Utah I managed to spend 30-60 minutes each with a few of these friends. First up was Kashia and Carly. We met up for dinner and I managed to pull out my phone for a stranger to take a picture of us. 20141210_191414[1] Yes both Carly and I are pregnant and Kashia continues to be fabulous in every way!

Friday night my friend Leslie and her husband Theo watched my girls and took them to their ward Christmas party. They were a serious life saver at the last minute when I was in a pickle. I love them so much for being those kind of friends and they always have been. If you need a sweet tooth fix visit her shop on Etsy here. I saw some of these delicious treats while visiting with their cute family Friday night.

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Saturday Stephanie and I walked around the mall in Provo with Amy, a high school friend from when I lived in Utah. We didn’t have much time together, but it was nice to be able to see her and chat for a little bit. After picking my other sister up from school we stopped at Christa’s house. Everyone else was headed down our way for Mother of the Bride dress shopping. Christa showed me a few tips and tricks for truffle and chocolate making. I am hoping to put some of those skills to use this Christmas season.

There really is something to be said for actually sitting down and chatting with someone to catch up. Not everything in a person’s life is posted online whether it be Facebook or a blog. Who wants to just put it all out there anyway? It warms my heart having these moments and memories of connection with these women (and Theo). We have all grown in different directions but can still come back and rekindle a friendship with a hello, hug and chat. I know I am blessed to have these women in my life even if it is from three-quarters of the way across the country.