Sunday, May 26, 2013

100 Ways to Love Your Spouse!

Happy Anniversary to us!! Today marks 8 years since we said, "I do" and I thought that it would be fun to share 100 ways to make marriage rock! I hope this list blesses your marriage. So here it goes in no particular order!

1. Be each other's biggest champion
2. Surprise each other with time alone
3. Know your "Love Language" (Five Languages of Love) and how to fill each other
4. Date nights are a priority
5. Send texts messages of love throughout the day
6. In a crowded room seek out your spouse and tell them how amazing they look
7. Encourage each other every day
8. Support one another's dreams
9. Take vacations together as a family and separately
10. Be kind
11. Kiss each other when you meet and before departing
12. Marriage is an equal partnership. Treat it as such.
13. Set boundaries to protect your marriage
14. Play with the kids together
15. Hold hands
16. Read the bible together
17. Pray together
18. Go to marriage courses to support keeping marriage fresh
19. Have fun
20. Make and keep friends who have strong marital relationships
21. Be respectful
22. Spend time together after the kids are in bed
23. Have movie nights
24. Send e-mails to each other of your favorite adventures together
25. Communicate, communicate, communicate
26. Be patient
27. Praise your him/her at home and in public
28. Be best friends
29. Receive his compliments with thanks
30. Fight for marriage. It's worth it.
31. Make most decisions together
32. Sometimes that means that you give and other times it means that he does
33. Whisper, "I love you" in the midst of a loud or busy moment
34. Disagree fairly
35. Learn to love their idiosyncrasies
36. Pick your battles
37. Hang family picture in your home and at work
38. Occasionally spend time apart with friends
39. Remain trustworthy
40. Be accountable
41. Tell him just how much you appreciate him and his hard work
42. Have each others passwords to e-mails, Facebook, etc.
43. Show affection
44. Bring him lunch to work
45. Go to a drive in, camping, or spend time outdoors
46. Give back rubs, foot messages, and more
47. Pick up the slack if he has a stressful week
48. Do not allow yourself to feel any resentment
49. Take turns letting the other sleep in
50. Make time for intimacy and enjoy it
51. Stay monogamous
52. Keep porn away from marriage
53. Be transparent
54. Keep your word
55. Be spontaneous
56. Serve each other without complaining
57. Forgive each other
58. Remain open with money and budgeting
59. Get out of debt (and stay out)
60. Make a difference in the lives of others
61. Go on mission trips
62. Laugh
63. Be honest
64. Hang out without distractions (computer, cell phones, etc)
65. Do each other's chores
66. Dance together
67. Have a glass of wine or bottle of beer ready just for fun
68. Choose love in moments when you are irritated or annoyed
69. Try new experiences together
70. Exercise together
71. Thank each other and do it often
72. Learn something new together - such as cooking, golf lessons, photo classes
73. Tease each other
74. Volunteer together
75. Be an example of marriage for your kids
76. Get dressed up and wear something you love
77. Sit in his lap and cuddle
78. Do something the other person loves (even if you don't)
79. Listen
80. Take time to look at each other when communicating and listen effectively
81. Leave notes or cards in their suitcase if they are going away
82. Make it a priority to eat healthy together
83. Get a professional couples spa services together
84. Talk about your favorite memories together
85. Keep focus and interest on each other
86. Make dinner together
87. Run errands for the each other - fill his car up with gas or grab him a coffee, etc
88. Make birthdays, anniversaries, and special holidays fun
89. Get excited to see each other
90. Wear your wedding rings
91. Challenge each other at a game or competition
92. Be understanding
93. Invest in each other
94. Be his/her helper
95. Know each others heart
96. Be yourself
97. Love unconditionally
98. Be involved in a church community together
99. Renew your vows
100. Remind each other why you fell in love

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Dad's Surprise 60th Birthday!

Surprise! We all waited in anticipation as dad and his wife entered to start off the celebration! "Happy Birthday" was shouted from every corner of the room in great joy! What a fun time celebrating 60 years of life!

Big hugs  - in the background is my dad's sister and parents. 

S playing with balloons

C excited to have grandpa chase him

And it starts in just 2 minutes...grandpa will you play "sharks" with me, pplleeeaaasseee

Hi five with great grandpa

Great grandparents showing pictures of grandpa to the kids

K soaking up cuddles with great grandpa

Sneaking in a picture of us

...and the chasing fun has begun

My family - my little brother (in blue with glasses), my dad, and twin brother (in black with hat)

Pictures with grandpa on his birthday

Lord, thank you for a fun evening celebrating my dad's birth. Thank you for giving me my dad and for the life lessons that he has taught. Thank you for his wife and the companionship that they have found in each other. It was incredibly thoughtful of her to plan a party that we could all enjoy as a family. Thank you for the time that my kids have with their grandpa. Still, at 60, he chases the kids and makes up silly games that they enjoy. I have so many fond memories of this fun, free-spirit-at-heart, hard working, devoted man who loves his family. Thank you for those memories. Thank you for life. Thank you for family. Amen

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Doctors in the House

S listening to K's tummy - "I think she is hungry". Yes, those are 
Mrs. Potato Head glasses!

The toddlers are at that age when they are starting to become curious about their bodies. They hear the older boys ask questions and the dialogue has now opened for questions of their own through play. We have a doctor kit, computer games, and many books that we use to help them understand how special our bodies were made. Some days, we just practice taking turns listening to our beating hearts and tummy growls. There have been a lot of good (okay, hilarious) comments/ questions lately regarding body parts and its functions from all of the kids. We are honest and use anatomically correct language in a fun, loving interaction to help them understand their bodies in a developmentally appropriate way. We have been teaching the big boys more about privacy. Yes, my sweet friends, there may be a day that I can use the restroom alone and take a relaxing bath without little visitors busting through the door. All of this while the toddlers are starting to learn about the differences/gender roles between boys and girls. If you ask S if he is a boy or a girl, he proudly boasts, "BOY"! K on the other hand, will smile and shout "PRINCESS"! I wish I was kidding! We are in trouble with this girly girl! :)

Lord, thank you for the gift of curiosity and learning. Thank you that you have given us "tools" to help our children discover  more about their bodies and how they work. Please guide us to explain to them how special that they are and that it is you Lord who made them. I hope to show them that their body is a temple for which the holy spirit dwells. That you want them to be proud of their differences - dark hair or light, tall or short, all different colored eyes and shapes, glasses or clear vision, spina bifida or not, boy or girl, and each unique characteristic that makes them special. Direct us to teach them that in you, we can glorify our bodies to bring you praise. We rejoice in their unique differences and thank you for each one of our children. Amen. 

Know (perceive, recognize) that the Lord is God! It is He Who has made us, not we ourselves [and we are His]! We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Psalms 100:3

K listening to S's chest. Then wants to check his tummy.
Glasses upside down. Ha!

"One more time S. Doctor give no owies. See?!?" 

Friday, May 10, 2013

Dinosaur Zoo Day

It was the perfect day for some time at the zoo with the kids! We can handle about 4 hours of running and exploring before it's time to pass out. Lucky for us, we were able to walk through the new dinosaur exhibit before we left! The kids loved it!

Just as we entered the dinosaur area, we were greeted by this nice man who gave us a personal tour throughout the entire exhibit. I think that he was super excited to share his knowledge with boys who kept asking him a million questions! Above is a photo of the kids pushing buttons to make the dinosaurs move their body. 

Wow, mom look!

Super long neck

Ohhh, Mom, he is the biggest pterosaur! He can fly too!

Baby Triceratops

My amazing friend Amy (who's kids were in school) was incredibly sweet to meet us at the zoo for a fun filled day!

T-Rex! Q's favorite!

C & Q

K & S

Lord, thank you for these precious memories with our kids. Thank you for opportunities to explore and to learn about the world around us. Thank you for the amazing minds who create a new world for us to discover. Thank you for the random stranger who was kind enough to answer our many questions regarding dinosaurs and adopting zoo animals. God, thank you for my lovely friend who unselfishly gave of her time to enjoy the day together - even if that time meant chasing our four through the zoo packed with thousands of other school age kids. We are so blessed! Amen.

God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. - Genesis 1:31

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Preschool Graduation

Preschool graduation was a big success! God was showing incredible favor as the day was wet and drizzly, but slowed during the ceremony. The kids performed a very cute program with singing and dancing that had us giggling throughout the event. 

Look at these precious dancers

C earns his certificate of "graduation" for completing the year. Though he is very smart, he will be in preschool for one more year because of his birth date. It is just after the new school year cut off for entry into kindergarten. And we believe, especially for boys, to give them that time to continue to grow and develop into all that they need to be before elementary school. 

This is C's good buddy, class mate, and neighbor. We've been blessed to get to know his family more this year and love all of the fun that these two boys have together. They are the epitome of "all boy" - busy, fun, full of spirit, interactive, often climbing, sport loving, dirt digging, competitive, courageous, fearless boys. 

Mama, C, K, & S

Quick smiles with daddy

And a cuddle for me

C and his lead teacher

God, thank you for another great school year! Thank you for the teachers and women who have contributed so much to our kids' education and joy for learning. Teachers give endlessly of their time and love in order to help shape our children's lives. They work incredibly hard to prepare lessons for each day, to then teach, give one-on-one attention, create play centers, give hands-on opportunities to learn and to create new ways to help children soak in the information. They take extra time to plan parties and celebrate holidays. The list goes on and on. We appreciate all that teachers do! We couldn't be more proud of our little C as he continues to grow and learn. He is such a sweet, fun boy. Thank you Lord, for blessing us with this little guy. Amen 

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. - Psalm 119:105

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Farm Day

One of the many advantages of living in a small community is that you can enjoy nature and God's beautiful creatures daily. Farm land surrounds the town and a small local zoo can be found within a short distance. Q's school had a field trip day recently. It was super exciting to get to not only visit a farm, but the owner of the nearby zoo brought animals too!



African Quilted Porcupine 


Mama & Baby Goats - she wasn't excited about us holding her baby

Baby chicks under the warmer looking for food

Q loved holding the baby chicks

Enjoyed playing with the kitten, but "man, she has sharp claws". 

Q loved on this little pup until she decided to play a little rough. "I much prefer the gentle chicks," he said. Ha! 

Petting the Horse

We had the opportunity to watch the sheering of a sheep's wool. "Don't worry mom, this won't hurt her at all". 

Mama & Q

Look, mom, I think this cow is allergic to the corn he is eating. Look at his snotty nose. Are cows supposed to eat corn or grass? - life of a little boy who understands the battle of food allergies :)

Lord, thank you for this day. There are so many days that I am just in awe of your many creations. I just love that you made so many wonderful creatures for us to learn about and enjoy. I especially liked watching the mamas and her babies. There is just something so special about seeing the miracle of new life. I'm reminded of how precious that you made mommy's hearts (yes, even in animals) to protect their young and guide their days. This entire morning it had rained, except for the hour that we visited the farm. Thank you for this favor. Thank you that I could spend this time together with Q teaching him more about you. In your name, Amen 

In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind. - Job 12:10

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


Update! Got to love them! We were able to visit with our agency and they confirmed that we are on the wait list. Right now the current wait time for a referral with our agency is around 6 months. This is just an estimate and in reality, we have learned to expect the unexpected with any adoption. There are five invaluable facts that we continue to be reminded of when welcoming babies into our home. 1. God is in control. 2. His timing is perfect. 3. Patience, patience, patience. 4. Love the journey. 5. Trust His plan

Lord, thank you for updates along the way. We truly appreciate your little reassurances each week. We are getting more and more excited as time draws near. It's so good to follow your lead and know that we can delight in your will, in your way. Thank you for the joy in each blessing that you bring. Amen.