Seven years.

November 26, 2010, Nick and I became one. I was 21 at the time and Pinterest was not even out yet. (Thank goodness.) In seven years we have experienced some of the best and hardest days of my life and it's crazy to think that we have technically “grown up” together as far as maturity (or "adulting") goes. 

I didn’t know it then, but surprisingly our life together is very much what I imagined it was going to be like. God has been so faithful to us and I can still say to this day that marrying Nick was easily the best and easiest decision I’ve ever made.

Here are seven things I have learned so far about being married: 

1. Saying sorry is always better than being right.

2. Unspoken expectations can damage a relationships growth, 

3. Dating your spouse after marriage is as crucial, if not more, then before you were married. 

4. Roles in the house will change with each added child.  

5. We are husband and wife, first, and then mom and dad, second. 

6. Communication. Communication. Communication. 

7. Pray for your marriage.  

Nick and I celebrated our 7 year anniversary with a day away exploring beautiful San Diego all over again. (Without our kids, of course.) Our anniversary is sandwiched between Thanksgiving and our middle's birthday so we tried to keep it simple.

Good food, good company and good drink.

We are planning a little tropical vacation in a few months with some saved up mileage points so that is something where we can look forward to some more extended time together.

I love you Babe and thanks for editing this post for me. You are and always will be my best friend and my better half. 

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life is like a circus.

Well, it has been a while since I have had a second to sit down and write and even now life seems to be going 90 mph. Ever since we have moved into our new home we have had event, upon event, upon event and this is just the beginning. At times I can see my life acting out like a modern day circus.

Nick and I have been using every small spare minute to try to be intentional with one another because of all of the good chaos surrounding our lives right now. But I really wanted to take a few minutes and give you all a little life update.

Home

Our new house has been great. The boys have been adjusting well and Leo has even mastered climbing stairs (he just turned 6 months)!!! It seems like we daily have been adding to our house to-do list and I don't foresee that stopping anytime soon. So far we have painted our kitchen cabinets, replaced the upstairs bathtub, had our irrigation system checked out, cleaned 1/2 of the garage, bought a new couch, and started putting some decorations and pictures on the wall. In the next few weeks and months we hope to put long shelves underneath the stairwell for storage (baking and cooking appliances, etc.), get the home gym in the garage in place, tile the upstairs bathroom, reseed and prep the yard out back, and get some can lights and outside lights installed. At times the home repairs and updates take a toll on me but other times I am thankful that our family together can invest our time and energy into something we can all benefit from. 

School

Calvin started transitional kindergarten two weeks ago and loves it. His teacher said he is very arrticulate and talkative and at times I feel like I should send him to school with an extra $20 for all the talking he must do all day to everyone there. When he is not in school I work on some kindergarten and Christian curriculum with him and Max at home (10-15 minutes a day). The saddest part about Calvin being in school 3 days a week is that Max has no idea what to do without his big brother all day. But rest assured once Calvin is back home they are back to wrestling, bickering, and playing together.

Weddings

I just hosted my middle sister, Michelle's, bridal shower this past weekend with my other sister Bianca and that was really fun. I thankfully had a lot of help from my best friend Allison and my mom which made the decorating and planning process go smoothly given all that is on my plate right now. In 4 weeks I have my baby sister Bianca's bridal shower so it is back to the Pinterest and planning boards for the next event ;)

What's Next

In the next few weeks I have Calvin's birthday, Michelle's bachelorette, Bianca's shower, Nick's 30th Birthday, Nick is in a wedding, our 7th wedding anniversary, Max's 3rd birthday, Thanksgiving, Michelle's Wedding, my Dad's 60th birthday, Nick's parents 40th wedding anniversary, Christmas, New Years' and then 6 more events. I wish life would slow down a little bit because I can feel my anxiety rise by the end of the day. I have a bad habit of making all my to-do's piled into one big check-off and cannot really separate each task. I have been listening to some awesome podcasts each day which has helped me remember to be present with my kids, my husband and with God. 

 

Here's a photo dump of our circus life. Don't get me wrong though, life is crazy but the Lord has been faithful.  

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 The aftermath of painting cupboards front and back side. 

The aftermath of painting cupboards front and back side. 

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christmas traditions.

I wrote HERE about some holiday traditions I do or want to do with my family last year. Recently, I have seen that there can be a lot of pressure to uphold these traditions and I attribute a lot of it to comparing myself to what others are doing. In my attempts to make sure my kids have the best holiday experience I can easily lose hold of the entire reason why a tradition is special and memorable. With our third baby boy on the way I am learning that traditions, especially Christmas ones need to be flexible. Each year brings new challenges and in order to keep sanity you just need to go with the flow rather than stress about every little detail. 

Each year I pin all of these beautiful ways to decorate Christmas gifts and each year I make myself feel bad that I ended up using some random wrapping paper and bows from our wrapping drawer. I let the pressure of the season get in the way of the whole meaning behind the gift I am giving. I am seeing now that the traditions I have in my head may be fun for me but they might not be ideal for my whole family. So keeping my family in mind this year we are keeping it simple and yet still trying to keep up with the fun traditions we all enjoy. 

I write to encourage you that some years you might have a newborn, some years you might have gone through a death, and some years are just busy. Uphold and keep the traditions that bring your family together.

Some things we did for Christmas traditions this year:

  1. Decorate the tree and put Christmas lights outside the day before Thanksgiving 
  2. Visit our local train museum for a Christmas festival
  3. Christmas PJ's (I ordered $8 red striped fire truck jammies from Old Navy and called them Christmas ones)
  4. Make Christmas cookies with my mom, sisters, and kids (Nick is our taste tester)
  5. Drive around town with the kids in our comfy clothes looking for Christmas lights
  6. Made boxes for Operation Christmas Child
  7. Read from our advent book and eat our advent calendar chocolates each night
  8. Send out Christmas cards

This may seem like a lot but all of the traditions we did above were things the whole family got involved with and enjoyed. Our pictures are not all Instagram-worthy and our tree is missing a new ornament each day (thank you Max) but our kids are learning more and more about the true meaning of Christmas every year. Calvin has learned that Advent is a season of waiting and anticipation. They are slowly understanding that because of the birth of Christ we have forgiveness of sins are made right before God. 

We are also starting a new tradition of having only immediate family over on Christmas Eve and keeping it super low key (Christmas pajamas, wine, food, games, etc.) and then on Christmas Day we are inviting people over for some Christmas fun. Our little family continues to grow so even a small simple night has been seeming to get bigger and bigger. My sisters and I each help out with a task so that the load for my mom is less of a burden and we can all enjoy just spending time together.

*Nick preached a great sermon on Advent HERE

*Why we don't do Santa HERE

I would love to hear of some ways you keep Christmas traditions meaningful, yet simple. A tradition is only special when it brings joy, not stress.

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