Adventures

The Roller Coaster: When Everyone Else Chickens Out

Our sixth wedding anniversary fell during our Disneyland vacation. That meant we spent the big day at Disney California Adventure Park with my husband’s family. I awoke that morning excited for the anniversary dinner he and I would get to have that evening while my mother-in-law babysat the girls. I was looking forward to a leisurely meal, a bottle of wine, candlelight, and no cutting up food for anyone but myself.

What I was not expecting was to ride a huge roller coaster for the first time in my life. This is not me. I don’t like heights. I don’t usually choose to partake in something that is making others expel blood-curdling screams.

We could see the roller coaster from our hotel room window, and my husband was excited about it from the moment he saw it. His plan was to convince our nine-year-old nephew to go along. As we stood in front of the roller coaster that morning, every other family member tall enough to ride it backed out of going along.

But guess what? Marriage is all about being there for the other person. It is about maybe surprising them now and then, just when they think they have you pegged.

“I’ll go with you,” I said to my husband, almost in an out-of-body-experience sort of way. Did some adventurous, spontaneous gal just climb into my body and say that? Once I saw the surprise and delight in his eyes I knew there was no way I could stay on safe ground.

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We got in line and because it was early, didn’t have to wait long. I was sweating as I put my sunglasses in the little pouch in front of my seat and tugged on my harness at least a dozen times. Then we were off on a wild ride. I screamed and giggled so hard that I cried. I had a death grip on my harness like I was sure it was going to come loose. Even if it did, my grip wasn’t going to control gravity as I fell to my death.

But I didn’t fall to my death. I actually had a really good time and so did my husband, which made it all worth while. Riding roller coasters isn’t necessarily going to be my new thing, but this ride was a memorable way to kick off our next year of marriage. Later, we celebrated with the aforementioned romantic dinner.

There will be many times throughout our marriage that we face exciting or frightening times. There will continue to be times in which one of us must venture outside our comfort zone for the love of the other. On that particular day, the roller coaster served as a good reminder of that because, in the end, roller coasters and marriage are both about being there when everyone else chickens out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Adventures

The Lost Sock

A few nights ago, I got upset with my husband for losing one of my socks in the laundry. In my defense, he has a history of losing my socks when he does a load of laundry. In his defense, he was helping with laundry so why was I being so high-strung? In both our defense, it’s pretty awesome that the only thing we had to fight about that week was a lost sock.

After telling him he needs to pay more attention and insisting he help me look for the sock for nearly an hour, I found it. I didn’t want to tell him where because it was in my closet, tucked in a pair of my pants, completely my fault and not his at all. Embarrassed and humbled, I swallowed my pride and admitted my mistake.

In nearly five years of marriage I have learned that life is not always going to be perfect and that’s OK. Even as I was losing my mind over this dumb sock, I could tell how ridiculous I was being. Isn’t that the worst? When you’re being ridiculous and you know you’re being ridiculous, but you can’t turn it off?

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There are some things that just don’t matter. Read: Lost socks. I was clearly taking my stressful work week and parenthood-induced exhaustion and pouring all of that emotion into an epic search for that sock. Seriously. It wasn’t even a new sock.

In quite a few of my blog posts, I write about cutting ourselves some slack. That message is a reminder to myself as much as it is to any of you, readers. Sometimes I have it together. Sometimes I’m throwing a toddler-style tantrum because of something as inconsequential as a sock.

Fortunately, most of the time I don’t mind admitting I made a mistake and, most of the time, my husband is quick to forgive. We could laugh about this situation almost immediately. I’m thankful for that. Almost as thankful as I am to have my sock back.

Adventures

To the Guy Who Might Not Read This

Reading blogs isn’t really your thing, but tomorrow we will celebrate four years of marriage and I just want you to know I still think you are awesome. We haven’t had much time for each other lately with work demands and raising the girls, but my love for you is stronger than ever. Whether it is an exciting adventure or a random weeknight doing laundry and changing diapers, I love every day with you.

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(Photo by Mist and Moonlight Photography)

I often write about spouses appreciating spouses and the importance of making time for one another, but I have been horrible at those things lately. You bear with me, and roll with the drama the three of us girls are capable of producing. You are tender, kind, and a wonderful example to our daughters.

I love that you get excited about college football and pheasant hunting while also applauding our daughter’s “beautiful princess” dances and helping dress Barbie dolls. Thank you for being the steady, patient presence in our little family. Happy anniversary!

In My House

He Was Here First

Do you ever wish your husband would look at you the way he did when you first started dating? Guess what. He probably wishes the same thing sometimes. Instead, he often gets that look you give him when you’re trying to load the dishwasher and he’s standing in the way looking at ESPN on his phone. Do you know that look?

But we’re pulled in a lot of directions. We are distracted by work obligations, raising kids, volunteering, maintaining friendships, and household tasks. Sometimes making time for one more person is just too much. I’m so guilty of putting the hubby on the back-burner. Most of the time he is not getting the kindest, most patient version me. I spend all day trying to be as courteous as possible to everyone else I encounter, then snap at him when I see an innocent pair of dirty socks on the bedroom floor.

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(Photo by Alyssa Crawford Photography)

We know children benefit from observing their parents having positive relationships with their spouse, friends, and family. Still, when we’re taxed and tired, it’s easy to use up all our kindness on everyone but the guy who had all our attention on a second date at a mini golf course many years ago.

We can’t wave a magic wand and create more free time, but what we can do is be more aware of our priorities. Our husbands should be one of them. Weekly date nights aren’t as possible as they were before kiddos, but carving out a few minutes of one-on-one time usually is. Take a minute to appreciate him. Ask him about his day, and actually listen.

I’m trying my best to take this advice because I love this guy so much, and after all, he was here first.

 

Adventures

Three Years of Wedded Bliss

I love being married, but I don’t think I would enjoy it if I hadn’t married someone like Nate. When it comes to our marriage, he can take credit for being patient and kind all the time. I can take credit for marrying the right guy and making some pretty awesome chocolate chip cookies on a regular basis.

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Today we celebrate three years of marriage and we’re hopping on a plane to New Orleans for a few days sans toddler. Here’s a picture of the newlyweds three years ago on our honeymoon to Hilton Head Island.

I think my number one piece of advice for a happy marriage is to pay attention to each other. Whether it’s on a weekend away now and then, regular date nights, or at least making the effort to put your phone down for a few minutes while your spouse is telling you about the work day, acknowledge that person. That’s the person you married. They’re worth your time.

Happy Anniversary to my dear husband. I’m glad to be your wife.

In My House

Husbands, Wives, and a Little Thank-You

Lately I have heard a lot of people talk about presence of mind, mindfulness, and other fancy terms that I think are really just telling us to stop and smell the roses.

The other night, I was attempting to be present with my husband and daughter while cleaning up the kitchen after dinner. That’s when I realized something my husband is really good at. (I mean, aside from organized sports and removing foreign objects from people’s eyes.) It’s saying thank you for the little things.

That night, while I was feeling extra glamorous scrubbing a pan, he came up and said “thank you for cleaning up, Babe.” It was such a seemingly small gesture, but exactly what I needed to hear at that moment. After all, don’t we all just yearn to be appreciated? To have our efforts acknowledged when we’re exhausted from the day and don’t feel like we have another ounce to give?

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(Our second anniversary date in Las Vegas.)

I’m far from a marriage expert, but I think a little thank-you goes a long way. A simple thank-you for those daily, often monotonous household tasks can help keep us from taking each other for granted (or feeling taken for granted). So thank you, my dear husband, for making me a better person just by being around you. Now teach me to be a star athlete.

Adventures

Make Time to Date Your Husband

For me, one of the most significant challenges of being a parent is that I often do not feel I get enough one-on-one time with my husband. And I miss that guy.

During our pre-marriage counseling our pastor reminded us of the importance of continuing to date once we were married. It seemed so easy then, but we haven’t been as committed to doing it as we should.

Our evenings are usually filled with chasing our daughter around, keeping her fed, bath time, and reading a million books to her while she dozes off. By then all we can do is collapse on the couch and zone out in a book or DVR’d television show.

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I feel like it is so easy to get caught up in the massive responsibility of being a parent and not give our marriages the attention they deserve.

We are fortunate to have my family within an hour’s drive and my parents are always excited to babysit. We also have a few trustworthy and responsible high school girls in town who are usually willing to watch her so we can go have dinner.

So what’s stopping us? Work obligations, involvement in community organizations, sheer exhaustion? And dating with a toddler at home takes planning.

Two weeks ago when had a date that involved watching Zoolander 2 and having a long, leisurely dinner complete with wine. My husband makes me laugh a lot and those dates when we can just really connect without outside distractions are so important in reminding me that he is still the fantastic guy I married. Turns out I really like the guy.

So I resolve to make dating my husband a priority. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but that one-on-one time feeds my soul.

I’d love to know: How do you make date night happen?