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July 24, 2015

16 Reasons I Have Been Married 16 Years

Happy "Sweet 16" to my marriage today! After my workout this morning and while I was getting ready for the day, I thought that there was nothing that could really top my husband's "Happy Anniversary" post tagging me on Facebook. 

Yeah, this is how we do :)

So I am not trying to top anything, but I decided to think of 16 reasons we have made it this far.

16 Reasons I have been married 16 years:

1. Complementarity. Honestly, I married the perfect, complementary personality for mine. I'm as Type A as a person can get, I'm intense and I like to make the rules (and enforce them). Craig is laid-back and he is relaxed and he is a rule follower. :)

2. Teamwork. We work together. Working two full-time jobs, raising 5 children, keeping a household running...can't be done effectively without teamwork.

3. Communication. it's not always face-to-face, because we have worked opposing schedules for most of our marriage, but e-mail, texts, phone calls...we talk to each other.

4. Goals. We set them. Many times we surpass them. Often, I think of the time I found my slip of paper that had goals Craig and I wrote down when i was pregnant with our first child. I wrote down that we planned for three children, I would complete my MBA and be making a certain income. By the time I found that sheet, our fourth child was on the way, I had completed my MBA 6 years before that and I was making about what that goal had stated. It was kind of crazy.

5. Re-evaluate our goals and our situation regularly. Goals are awesome because they can be reached and surpassed, or they can be re-assessed and modified. We do both.

6. It's our life and we'll live as we want to (sort of). We live our lives and don't worry about what others have to say about it. If we would have listened to well-meaning family members, we would not have 5 children (many thought that when #4 came along, that was just too much). And we make job changes and school decisions and all of that stuff together as a team of two. sometimes a team of 7 if the kids' opinions are relevant. But mostly a team of 2.

7. Place each other first. We don't get many date nights or trips together without the kids these days, but we both know that the other's consideration gets first nod as we put schedules together, make vacation plans (even with the kids) or make any other decisions affecting the family.

8. Commonality. Enjoy those things we have in common. We both love the Royals, Chiefs and Jayhawks. It's a priority to share the games together. We love sharing that with our children, too.

9. Laugh. A lot. My husband is naturally funny with great timing. He makes me laugh more than he makes me cry. It matters.

10. Hugs. I'm more of a  hugger than a kisser. My children appreciate that, by the way -- at least where their father and I are concerned. But we give lots of hugs around this house.

11. Respect. There is always the undertone of respect when we communicate, even in disagreement. We also use manners like "please" and "thank you" and "you're welcome" and are careful in our speech. Even (and especially) when no one is there to witness it. I love that.

12. Trust. We always trust that the other is looking out for our well-being and that of the children.

13. Attend Mass often. Of course, we go to Mass together (usually) on the weekends. But we also find other times to attend Mass, if we can make it work with our schedules. Because we are not together very often for other prayer times, this seems like a critical piece of our prayer life together as a married couple.

14. Partake of the Sacraments together, when applicable. When I have taken care to go to confession more frequently, I have noticed I am more focused and at peace in my vocation as a wife and mother. When Craig and I both attend confession, I notice a tenderness and understanding that runs through our communication to each other for some time after that. There's something about acknowledging our human limitations in confession that keeps us grounded.

15. Say, "I'm sorry" when we have wronged each other. Apologizing -- a TRUE apology (not one of those, "I'm sorry IF I offended you..." -- shows the acknowledgement that one of us has been a jerk and a validation of the person who was hurt. It seems our society these days is so hung up on this idea that we don't do anything wrong to another person and many seem to justify every behavior. Sometimes it's good to just take a deep breath, see the hurt you have caused and look at your spouse and say, "I'm sorry for hurting you."

16. Forgive each other. Knowing that Craig forgives my faults and loves me through it all makes all the difference in my life. Extending that same courtesy to him frees me from whatever ill will I may have taken toward him and helps us move forward.


In general, Craig has supported me in everything. He has been there rooting me on in all of my crazy physical endeavors (marathon, Crossfit, Triathlon -- whatever the next thing I want to try), the different jobs I have attempted, and trips to see family. But I would say the #1 way he has blessed me and our family and our marriage has been his support of learning and living our Catholic faith and raising our children in it. He and I share a common goal of joining God in Heaven someday -- and we recognize each other's part in staying on track together and with our children. 

So, happy anniversary Craig. 16 years. Mostly good times and a few sorrowful times and we've faced it all together. I love you.



July 5, 2015

Alright-y Then

It's been awhile, right? Well, hello. :)

It's been four months since you've heard from me. There's a lot to catch up on!

Most recently, Vincent turned 4 years old. Check it -- my youngest child on Earth is Four. Years. Old. I won't lie, it's a bit surreal. I love it. I'm happy. And it's bittersweet, too, because I do miss having a baby around. Just a little bit. (a real...little bit.) He has only one more month of daycare and then he'll be attending Pre-K at the same school as the other three who are still in grade/middle school. That's just crazy-talk!!


A cool 4-year-old
We just took a short road trip to visit some friends in Algona, IA. It was so great to see them. One of the daughters was in Dani's class and they have kept in touch via e-mail. One of the daughters was in Helen's class and they have kept in touch via snail mail. Just a really great family.


This is really high up over a walkway into the Grotto
While visiting, we went to the Grotto of Redemption in West Bend, IA. If you are ever traveling through Iowa, I recommend stopping there. My pictures and my descriptions will never do it justice. It's the largest man-made grotto in the world and the story of how it came to be is incredible. Father Paul Dobberstein (1872-1954) started construction of the Grotto in 1912. He worked on it for 42 years. The reason he started it was that he fell ill with pneumonia back when they didn't have penicillin to treat that and most people usually died once they had pneumonia. He prayed for our Blessed Mother's intercession and promised her that if he came through pneumonia, he would build something in her honor. So, the Grotto of Redemption is what he began. At the time of his death in 1954, his Grotto covered one city block. It was built completely by hand, and his attention to detail -- like I said -- I cannot do it justice so I will just post some of the pictures. But...go see it if you're in Iowa.



From the parking lot (so from afar)
In June, Sarah took her first high school classes. (Gasp! say, what?!?) She took a 1/2 credit of her P.E. requirement by attending school from 7:15-1:15 Monday-Thursday for four weeks. She also is completing her health requirement by taking it online and it ends July 10. She's doing really well and she said that she is glad I coaxed her into taking Health online because she was "so glad she didn't have to discuss some of this stuff in a classroom."

Oh! so before the summer high school, Sarah graduated from 8th grade! On her last day, I was in Florida on a trip for work and I was going back and forth between tears and no tears over this milestone. At the graduation Mass, Father said a little something about each of the kids and I was not surprised to hear what he said about Sarah. Well, I take that back...I'm not surprised by the words, but I think it's always nice when someone else recognizes something in your child that you have witnessed first hand yourself.
On her last day of school
Sarah allowed a picture with me at the Graduation Mass


Photo was actually taken at a wedding in June,
but this was the dress Sarah wore for Graduation Mass.
We hadn't gotten a photo of her with her Dad at the Graduation Mass.
Dominic also finished Kindergarten, so that's a thing. :) He was so cute on the last day getting pictures with his friends. He and I are reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. He loves to listen to me read it to him. One time I saw him with his eyes closed and asked if he had fallen asleep. But he said, "No mommy, I close my eyes because I am watching the story while you read it to me." How cool is that?

Helen finished the school year with flying colors. Her reading improved and so did her math. I think she got a good handle on how to do 3rd grade, which helped. And her godmother coming twice a week made a huge difference for her throughout the school year. We've continued with once a week reading sessions that even Dominic has participated in. She also attend Camp WIN which is a girls camp that introduces girls to as many as 14 new/different sports. She got the "Determination" award because she kept trying to ride the bike, didn't get flustered, and was determined, even though she never quite got it.

Dani did Girls on the Run and I ran the 5K with her. It was a lot of fun. She is moving on to Middle School next year and seems excited by the challenge. She did well in 5th grade and completed the D.A.R.E. program. She kept swimming, too, and is now doing the summer neighborhood swim team and loves it.


Here we are the morning of the Girls on the Run 5K
Dani with her Finisher's Medal
Craig is still enjoying his job at Ford. He's been trained on a couple of different jobs and really likes the team he was assigned to. He and I are still crossfitting. He also ran a 10K in June and got a PR. I nursed a strained achilles tendon for a couple of months, but I think it's all better now!

Oh and we attended the entire Easter Triduum this year! I was able to take all the kids to Holy Thursday Mass (Craig had to work). Then the entire family went to Good Friday service. And THEN!! we all went to Easter Vigil, too. I was excited because that is the kind of thing I have been looking forward to doing as a family as the kids got older and with Craig's new job. :)


My children before we went into Church for the Easter Vigil

I think that should be it for the updates! I'm sure it's not everything, but I could never get it all in I don't think. Crazy what happens in 4 months.

I'm not sure what I'm going to focus on with this blog going forward. I think when we lost Gregory and I wrote so much about that on this blog, I lost track of any other thing to focus on. Then I did the weight watchers stuff and found I really enjoyed writing about health and fitness, but once I hit my goal weight, I wasn't sure what to do about that. (And truth time -- I've put some weight on that I'm trying to take off again, so...there's that.)

So, if you're reading and want to continue -- hello again and I'm so glad you're here!