Thursday, December 31, 2015

Investing in our Marriage

This is going to be one of those times where I'm just super honest and open. I think it's important in my blogging to be real and be true. So often the world of social media is "our best" selves rather than our real selves and I don't ever want to be that way.

I'm confident in my "mom skills." When I first became a mom it changed my life and I became very passionate about all aspects of parenting. I've read books. I've put in the work and time and effort. I never, ever just "wing it" when it comes to my kids.

I've been married for 9 years this coming May. NINE years. And just about 6 months ago it finally hit me: I've been "winging it" as a wife this entire time. I invest SO much of myself into being a mom. But what do I really invest into being a wife?!?! I can say with confidence "I'm a good mom" but I can't say "I'm a good wife" with that same confidence.

Sure, I can sit and say that I didn't have the best examples of a healthy marriage growing up (both of my parents have been married multiple times and divorced each other when I was 9). But that's not an excuse. And even if it is, I'm not the kind of person to have crutches and use excuses.

A light bulb finally went off for me and I realized that I had work to do. That I needed to really and truly put my husband as my top priority. Above my kids. Being a good wife is more important than being a good mom.

While Zach and I have always had a good marriage...we have SO much potential to make it GREAT. Why settle for mediocracy? Why sit back and take the easy route when we could put in work and get an even sweeter reward?

If you follow my Facebook page then I'm sure you've noticed over the past several months that more and more of the articles I've been sharing have been more about the journey of marriage than the journey of parenting ;) I realized that in order for my marriage to be great, and in order for me to have that confidence as a wife that I had to get to WORK.

{2006}



My first step was just to start reading more articles related to marriage. I read a LOT of articles on parenting topics and I felt making that shift into more marriage related subject matter would help me grow in that area.

It was through those articles that I stumbled upon Marriage 365. At that point I hadn't really said much to Zach about my desire to grow in our marriage. I felt like the growth was about ME and about my priorities changing and about my full investment in our marriage. Yes, he matters in that but I didn't want it to be a situation where I looked for him to change, I wanted to keep focused on myself and what I needed to do.

When I found Marriage 365 I started following them on IG and they posted SUCH great content. I ended up tagging Zach in some of their posts and he started following them too. That ONE decision has lead to so much growth in our bond. Yes, social media helped my marriage grow :)

The couple behind Marriage 365 is the real deal and through us following them on IG we learned about their webinars and both agreed that it'd be a great thing for us to do. We had a real open and raw talk (I love that they call it "naked conversations" although Zach wishes it legit meant being naked haha) about our marriage and where it's been, where it is now, and where we want it to be in the future.

2015 started a bit rocky for us. We hit a pretty rough patch in Feb and it took us time to work through it and making the decision to fully invest in our love and our marriage through the webinars with Marriage 365 was a game changer for us. We went from "eh we're ok" to "dang we're on fire for each other" in a matter of weeks.

The first webinar we watched was on the topic of communication which is an area we have struggled with. I think the great thing about the webinars is that 1) Casey and Meghan (the couple behind Marriage 365) are SUPER relatable. They don't act "better than" or like they have it all together. Plus they remind us of ourselves haha 2) They are 3rd party credibility. Hearing an outsider say something sometimes makes it click better than having one of us point it out to each other. 3) It can be on our time. We took the first webinar, which was about 2 hours long, and split it up. We watched 30 min a week and took the time to talk about it and it was AWESOME.

During our talks I shared with Zach my goal for our marriage. My parents divorced at the year of their 10th wedding anniversary. When we hit that marriage mile marker...I don't want to be "ok" or even "good" I want to be GREAT. I want our marriage to be the type that draws others in. I am confident in offering up parenting advice. But I want to be equally confident in helping people with their marriage as I am helping them in their parenting. I want our children to learn from our love. To want to grow up to have a marriage just like their parents. 10 is a big number and I want it to be super significant for us. It's also a great goal (and I love me some goals!)

From August - Oct we were really on fire for our marriage. We were both investing a lot and working a lot on us and were kinda patting ourselves on the back for it. Look at us. Look how awesome we've become. When I watched War Room with Aunt Karen I told her when it was over that I really didn't need the parts about marriage. My marriage was awesome and getting better every day! I didn't need to be worrying about that! On my drive to my solo trip I even thought about my marriage. I literally sat there and thought "it's all smooth sailing from here on!"

Sometimes we forget that Satan is listening, don't we?

November was a slap in the face. Nothing major happened. No major wrong-doing on either party. Nothing life shattering. I honestly can't even tell you how the valley point started but it came. We had been on this marriage high and then hit a low. And it was 100% nothing but Satan. And through that? I realized a KEY error I'd made in my efforts to become a better wife: I thought I could do it alone.

I failed to realize that in order to make my husband a top priority in my life, I had to make GOD the top priority first.

It's not about what I can do for my marriage. It's about what GOD can do and through giving it ALL to Him I'm able to be my best self. I have failed as a wife because I have failed to love GOD the most. To find my inner peace through HIM. To have that deeper connection and understanding of HIS love for me. THAT has to come first. And through that all things will flow!

Zach traveled a lot for work in November which made working through things hard but also gave us that space we needed to think clearly and to really focus on ourselves and our personal walks with the Lord. And man, did we show Satan that God prevails!

We both are really on the same page right now as to what our focus needs to be. It's SO simple to say "God comes first." But do we live it? We are striving to LIVE a life for Christ. Not just talk about it. Not just slide through life without a purpose. We want to THRIVE and we know the only way possible is through Christ. I'm so proud of Zach for his ability to put that pride aside and see where he needs to grow. I know how hard it's been for ME to look at myself and see my areas of weakness and see how truly empty I am without the Lord filling me. I think it's even harder for Zach as he's been raised knowing Jesus his entire life. It's hard to sometimes appreciate something that you've just always had, ya know? But we have both seen how God works and we both have a renewed outlook on our faith and a stronger relationship with God and each other.

I'm really, really excited to see where 2016 will lead us. Our focus is on God but specifically on His perfect timing. We've both had personal hardships where we have realized we can't do it alone and that we can't make God do something on our time. Our goal is to be prayerful, be patient, and be quiet. Truly give it to God and fully TRUST (not just have faith, but have TRUST) Him in all things!

{2015}



This post isn't sponsored in any way but I do encourage you to check out what Marriage 365 has to offer. Our goal is to work through more of the webinars together. To continue to have more open communication with each other and to fully focus on our prayer lives. Our individual prayer lives as well as praying together and as a family. Again, I also HIGHLY recommend watching War Room (today is THE last day to enter the giveaway to win!!!). I have not talked with a single person who has seen it who hasn't grown in their prayer life!

A note to wives: I encourage you to watch War Room on your own before watching it with your husband. I just think there is a lot to be gained from it on a personal, intimate level that may be lost a little if you watch it for the first time with your spouse!

Our marriage is still far from perfect, and I'm still not to that "confident wifey status" yet, but the important thing is that we are growing. And we are SEEING results already! Not just in ourselves, not just in our marriage...but also in our children and our family. I truly believe that by being a better daughter to my ultimate father I'm then better equip to be a better wife to my husband and then able to be an even better mother to my children. When I give my all to God, every aspect of my life is blessed! As we end this year and begin another I'm filled with so much joy for the family surrounding me and am so excited to see what the year of "sweet '16" has in store! Happy New Year to you!


Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Kye Monthly Summary: October

This post covers Kye's summary from the month of October! To make these posts a little easier to write I started doing monthly family posts as well...you can read our Oct Family Fun post here!

Something I really love about Kye's school is how they have so many fun dress up days! Everyone knows I love a good theme and we had fun coming up with all of his outfits this month for both red ribbon week as well as Spirit week!


Backwards Day!



Kye ended up winning a prize for wearing the most red on Red Day!


Showing his spirit!



Crazy Sock Day


Rain Day (which was perfectly timed b/c it was HARDCORE raining)


Our town is very set in tradition and the county schools were always known as the "plowboys" or something? So they have a plowboy day each year where everyone dresses in farmer gear (I believe the high school kids have a dance of some kind related to the same theme). So many people were shocked that I helped Kye participate in dressing up for plowboy day ;) Honestly we got the overalls as a hand-me-down otherwise he probably wouldn't have looked as legit! He makes one handsome farmer!


I feel like this month was the month that Kye really just got into a good solid groove with school. The transition to Discovery was a little rocky but we worked it out and he started enjoying all aspects of his school day! 


One of his projects this month was for us to create a musical instrument out of household items! I LOVE how our drum turned out! We used an oatmeal canister and covered it with materials we already had. We, of course, had to have some hidden Mickey's ;)


Kye LOVES the bus and I love seeing him each afternoon :)


First report card and teacher comments...he's off to a great start this year!



I enjoyed getting to each lunch with him and a benefit for when Tess does drop her morning nap is that we will be able to go more often!


An author came to visit his class this month and he was able to get a signed copy of her book!



I have noticed a shift in Kye's writing. Last year he had SUPER neat writing and it's getting sloppier as time goes on. I think now that he's more comfortable with writing he just writes things faster and doesn't take the time to write neatly. I can't fault him for it though...Mama's handwriting is not neat by any means ;)

So cute for Brad's birthday card!


I think he may take after his daddy for his love of PE (Not gonna front...I was that kid that got my mom to write a note so I wouldn't have to play Nukem ha!)



Of course above all else we are proud of Kye's love for the Lord and his desire to share that love with others. He wrote these letters this month and wanted each of his grandparents to have a copy. So precious!!! 

It reads: I want you to know about Jesus. He is kind. He dies on the cross for our sings and rose from the dead for 40 days and went to Heaven one day. And he helped people that are sick and dead and bling people. And he had special people that helped him and they helped him teach people. And he even got gold gifts from some camel riders. 


Page 2: Also he made just a little of food into a lot of food. You can not see him because he is in Heaven. Heaven is when you die. You will do then and it is the most wonderful place ever made and you will never make bad choices and you will live forever. 


Sweet letter Kye wrote for Big Papa after his eye injury (side note: please send up some extra prayers as Mr. Rusty is traveling to Jacksonville Monday to meet with a specialist!)


Everyone around Big Papa's bed :) Daddy's nose cracked me up!


Kye has a lamp in his room that comes on each morning to let him know he's allowed to get out of bed. Great for school days. Not so great for Saturdays :) We talked to Kye about learning to make some of his own breakfast so we could stay in bed a little longer. I even found a deal on pop tarts so he gets to make them on Saturdays!


Kye had to do some extra work on his Disney book because he's had so many trips more than Britt has!



Kye LOVES to read! He loved it even before AR tests started but man that's just extra motivation! He reads his books 3 times a day and takes an AR test each morning and always gets a 100 (and a few 80s). 


When school started Kye stopped having nap time but on the weekends we will still have him rest in his room sometimes, play in his room solo sometimes, and then sometimes he gets to do special things. The advantage of a first born child! B/c you know when the time comes for Britt not to nap that she won't get nearly as much solo time as he does :) 

Snacks and football!


Hardworking boy :)


Kye came home mentioning boy scouts and that got us really more motivated to make a camping trip happen. We decided to have it be Kye's and Zach's first ever guys trip. Y'all. I was SO upset selfishly about it! I wanted to be there! But I also think that the father/son bond is SUPER important and I knew it was a special time they'd share. They went shopping this month for all their supplies and Zach bought Kye his first pocket knife! 


Kye's favorite game is checkers. Kid loves it and I have a feeling when he gets older he'll equally love chess! He is ALL about some checkers right now though and this month he broke his losing streak to Daddy. If you're a regular reader you may remember how frustrated he'd get about a year ago since Zach always beat him. Kye told him he wasn't going to play with him again until he's 21 and that he'd only play against me (guess that says a lot about my skill set huh? haha). Welllll he's far from 21 but he beat Zach! Legit! We were in shock and Kye was pumped :)


Ar our brunch at the Egg and I we snapped a pic together and then I found Kye's own selfie haha



More About Kye This Month:

  • Kye talks about how he has two girlfriends (one being Kailyn at church and the other being a girl in his class) and he came home one day saying he got teased on the playground for having too many girlfriends. We had a talk about how you can have LOTS of friends that are girls but only one girl friend at a time ;)
  • I think Kailyn won out as he started writing her notes again during church. He told me I couldn't read it b/c he didn't want it to hurt my feelings. 
  • His nails are getting to be too thick for the baby nail clippers I've always used. When can gets clip their own nails? I feel like it's a parenting annoyance that is rarely discussed but drives me crrrrrazy.
  • At Kye's Fall Festival he saw a girl he knew from school but she was a little way away from us. He called out to her, by name, to say hello. He called multiple times. Got closer to her and continued to call out to her. She straight up saw him and ignored him. Whew it was a tough mama moment for me b/c I felt embarrassed for him and wanted to tell that little girl to quit being rude and say hello. But I knew that wasn't the right move in that situation. When we got in the car I asked him about what had happened. And that night when I tucked him in and asked about anything being on his heart he wanted to talk about the situation in more depth. We decided that either it wasn't the right girl (although he was pretty sure it was) or that she was ignoring him. I talked to him about when someone hurts our feelings the best thing to do is go to them and talk to them about it. He was nervous but he was also hurt and embarrassed and needed to confront it. I was VERY proud of him in the way he handled it. We made a game plan and when he went to school he first asked her if she had seen him at the festival (to rule out our first option of it not being the right person) and she said yes. So then he simply said "it hurt my feelings when I said hey to you and you ignored me, why did you do that?" She didn't apologize or answer him and just walked away. Um. RUDE. So my talk then turned into how sometimes people are just mean and that you don't always do anything to cause it to happen. It was def a teachable moment and I hate that at such a young age that kind of behavior is already beginning!
  • Two kids in Kye's class live on our street!
  • Kye's teeth are getting super close together and he's constantly getting food stuck and asking to floss.
  • His mannerisms are 100% his DADDY. I used to think he was just like me but man he's his Daddy made over ALL the way!
  • Also like his Daddy he gets annoyed with me if I talk too much so I try not to overly ask a lot of questions or overly explain things to him. I try to keep it simple and ask him more open ended type stuff and let him know I'm always here but he doesn't have to share unless he wants to. I think we have a great communication system and I ALWAYS want that door to open with him!
  • He loves watching football on Saturdays with Zach and he hates to miss any of the plays and loves to discuss it all in-depth with Zach. 
  • We told him that when he went camping with Zach that he could chew gum for the first time and he was SO PUMPED about it
  • He's often hungry after school (they eat lunch at 1050!) but we eat dinner at 5:30. He gets off the bus at 3:30 so I hate for him to eat too big of a snack. I told him he could have a healthy snack and he said "what, I can't have raisins which are dried grapes?!?" 
Videos:


Crazy Boy Kye ;)



I have an old Where's Waldo book that Kye found and he loves it!



Santa Kye!


So proud of my big boy and thankful he's mine!












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