Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Friday, January 9, 2015
December brought a very fun and festive Kreative night! The ladies had a choice of three mason jar crafts to make (see below) and most made their own christmas-y snow globe, which turned out super cute! We also had a very delicious Christmas cookie exchange. It was a wonderful night and I am so happy how everything turned out! Here is the night recapped in pictures!
January we will be making these cute and handy etched traveling mugs! To sign up, head on over to the Kreative page!
Wednesday, January 7, 2015
December 2nd my little Charlie man turned 1! I still cannot believe it! And to celebrate that first year and welcome in his second we did it up in Circus fashion. Here is all the fun details that went into celebrating the little man being not so little any more =)
Happy Birthday Charles Michael Francis, we love you so!
Monday, January 5, 2015
Today Mike and I are celebrating our 7th Anniversary! It feels like I just blinked and it also has felt like I have lived an eternity. Life is weird like that. I am so very very blessed God has given me this man to be my companion in life and we get to live this life side by side! One huge thing I have learned is that Love is an action that is activated by a decision. I made the choice to love Mike and I must make that choice, that yes, every single day! My "yes" on January 5th, 2008 must be reflected in all the decisions I make throughout my day. Marriage is my vocation, they way I have prayerfully discerned to live my life for God and will ultimately (hopefully!) lead me to heaven. Mike is the man that God has given me. No doubt! So here we are living our life together, refining each other, loving each other and always striving to have a heavenly perspective.
Today I unearthing one of my favorite posts, both personally and also pageviews ;) and its perfect to share on our anniversary because it is all about our marriage!
I am very nervous and excited to share my heart with you today! Super stoked about being invited by Nancy, from Do Small Small Things With Love to be a part of this series. Please check out the other posts, they are encouraging, inspiring and thought provoking!
Before we dive in you need to know one very important thing: Mike and I are not perfect. Very far from it. I hope you read this post with the eyes of a friend, listening to me share the ponderings of my heart in hopes that it may touch yours...and if it doesn't that is perfectly fine. Just know our life is messy, but these are 5 things that work for us and bring us closer together, and make us fall deeper in love with each other and with God.
1. Prayer- it takes 3 to get married...and stay married.
It was a week into Mike and I's dating relationship that he suggested we start praying together every night (wow, I was super impressed!). It was a formal prayer, the Angel of God prayer, which we both knew and had memorized. It was short, sweet, and brought us together everyday with the Lord. It did not matter where we were, what time zone we were in or what company we were keeping, every night we called each other to pray. We never skipped, ever. We got into a serious routine about it and I am glad, because now being married 6 years, I think this foundation of prayer we have built into our relationship is the saving grace of our marriage and the driving force that keeps us glued together. If I were to give any advice to any couple it would be to find a time in the day for prayer, be consistent and do it everyday.
Logistically, now that we are married, it's easier to pray before we got to bed. But at the same time now that we are married and have kids life is so much more busy, hectic, and full so there are times in our weekly schedule where Mike and I's only time to connect, see each other, and take it all in is our prayer time! It is just what I need to keep on going.
It has developed through the years as the needs of our hearts, relationship and family has changed. We have added several other prayers we love, spontaneous led prayer spoken from the heart, and a litany of people in heaven to pray for us. Whatever prayer looks like to you, do it with the one person in the world you love most and do it everyday!
We are not perfect, sometimes life gets busy and we slip up, forget, or one of us is dog tired and falls asleep before we have a chance to pray. Our overall intentions are there though and that is good.
2. Communication- The art of "checking-in"
It is probably no surprise to anyone married or even dating that a relationship takes a lot of work and a lot of that work lies in communication with each other. There is a lot to talk about how we talk, but I am going to hone in on one tip that has helped Mike and I....the art of "checking-in". I am a planner, there is a lot of coordinating that has to happen, especially with kids, to sync up in order to pull off a happy day. So, Mike, "checking-in" on me throughout the day is really helpful to me and thoughtful. Texts on how my day is going, how the kids are doing, and if there is anything he needs to grab on the way home....are the texts that get me through some days.
This "art" is especially helpful when either of us is trying to make plans. Whether individual activities or family ones we always say, "ok, let me check with my wife/husband" before making a commitment. We "check in", discuss and go forward with our decision. It is important to me and Mike that we are a "team". This is our mantra, so we always make decisions together, and that can only happen if we are constantly checking-in, letting the other person in and allowing there to be a space for discussion.
We are not perfect, because this was more "my thing" something I like, am used to and so on. Mike had a hard time developing this habit, but understood its importance and value and worked crazy hard at this. Now 6 years of this and I can say I think he is better at it now then I am, its embarrassing. I do not know how things that were habits of mine have slipped through the cracks, but hey, they did.
3. Being Silly- Do not take life so seriously
Mike and I are just straight up goof balls. When we were first married we would talk in a weird accent, a cross between British/Russian, it was weird, but we loved it. Full on normal conversations were expressed in the accent on the regular. It wasn't until we had Gigi we realized maybe we should back off the accent so that our child doesn't start speaking like a crazy person where people might start to doubt she is from this country. So we have slacked off that habit, but we do not slack off being silly, especially with our children. Life is messy and sadly taken way to seriously sometimes. Its moy importante to lighten things up, laugh, make someone else laugh, not take yourself too seriously and speak in strange, made up accents. I find the best response (sometimes) in a tense situation with Mike is to make a joke, make myself look silly, and not take myself or whatever I care about so darn serious.
We are not perfect, because this is definitely more Mike's strong suit, and I don't mean, he is sillier then me...I think on a ranking scale I would definitely be higher on the silly scale then Mike, or maybe that is just because I make a fool of myself more often, not sure. Mike has a better tact to using humor and silliness in tense or stressful situations that lighten the mood and make me laugh, and I am oh so grateful. I am more of a work in progress, many, many times my attempt at the humor thing did not go over well, and sometimes has resulted in argument over an argument, sey la vie. So my radar of appropriate humor at the appropriate time is still not sharp, but again, a work in progress
4. Thoughtfulness- Going to bed at the same time
Being thoughtful takes on many different shapes and forms. One way our thoughtfulness brings life to our marriage is going to bed at the same time....ok hehehehe, get your giggle out of the way. I mean sleep, people, sheesh ;). When one of us is tired, we both go to bed- together. I do not know what it is, but it's like a necessary connection that happens when we share this experience. We both are brushing our teeth, we both are changing into our Pjs, we both go through the litany of things that need to be done before going to bed (I have a little more then Mike, big surprise there, right ladies?!), we both hop into bed, we both say our prayers as mentioned above in #1 and we both chat about whatever is on our minds before shutting our eyes.
Now this falls under thoughtfulness because we both love going to bed at the same time, but it can be hard sometimes if one of us is either into a show we are watching, or need to get something done, or just is not tired at all. So it can be a sign of selflessness and sacrifice to choose the spouse over your own wants. An act of love. You are being chosen over whatever else could be done. It's a good feeling.
We are not perfect, because we do this about 85% of the time because our schedules sync up pretty nicely. But there has been many a time where I need to get shizzle done at night, because the demands of the kids, especially since starting to homeschool Gigi, during the day is just too great (and important!). Mike understands and is supportive, and when he needs to stay up to watch a late football game and decompress I am too. This could easily be an opportunity where bitterness and resentment could fester and well, can't say it has not, but we all just do our best.
5. NFP- Being open to life is life-giving.
It is important to Mike and I that we live out all aspects of our faith, in truth and love. One of those aspects is choosing to be open to life (a.k.a. not using birth control or any other way of stopping life from forming). We use a method called Natural Family Planning (NFP). It gives you the tools needed to follow a woman's natural cycle of fertility, so as a couple you can choose to start your family, grow your family or if needed wait to have children. It is such a gift, and by that I mean it is really hard.
You have to really become good and honest communicators as a couple, hashing out expectations, needs, wants, desires on an intimate level almost on a regular if not daily basis. For us, the biggest thing is that we are free.
Free to let God lead, free to still exercise our free will, just free. This freedom has lead to a deeper relationship with God, with each other and with our children (there are no oops babies, they are always welcome!). It is a radical mentality shift of approaching your marriage, intimacy and family. To always be open to accepting life ultimately makes our marriage more life-giving...in more then just the literal sense.
We are not perfect because damn it- its hard. It is not as convenient as popping a pill. We have to be honest. We have to communicate all the time (please note extreme emphasis). But the benefits we have gained greatly outweigh the negatives. I would even venture to say this practice has been one of the most life-giving things in our marriage.
Oh and if you choose to be a NFP instructor and NFP chart for Halloween, be prepared to give a lot of lessons on how to chart, and not be embarrassed your husband is wearing your fertility....its not my exact chart I swear ;)
And if you happen to not remember a single thing - here are the necessities:
Marriage is hard. We need God. PRAY. Hold hands as much as possible.
(Photo Credit for wedding photos: TIM WILL Photography aka best wedding photographer EVER!)
Friday, January 2, 2015
Happy New Year to you! Wow 2015, that number blows my mind! Wishing you all the best in this new year! And to bring some new light shining into the new year...how about a cute candle holder for ya? Out of my favorite material.....mason jars, duh!
Start with a jar, apply stickers in shape you like, these are stars, but circles for polka-dots would be cute too!
Spray with Rustoleum Frosted Glass and let dry
When dry peel off stickers (very gingerly, using a fingernail or tweezers to get them up)
Apply embellishments for extra flare