Friday, July 31, 2015

Why I Feel Like TV Time with My Husband is Still Quality Time

There are a lot of messages out there that tell us to avoid spending too much of our time watching television or using any kind of media when we're spending time with our spouses. I agree--wholeheartedly. When all you do is zone out in front of a screen together--it's really difficult to connect.

Zach and I try to keep a balance in our home with how we spend time together, but I'll be honest the scale almost always tips in favor of media time. It's just so easy to sit on the couch and unwind at the end of the day--and it's so enjoyable. We really have to make an effort sometimes to get out of the comfort zone we're in and change up the way we do things.

watching tv with your spouse

I don't feel guilty about that, though. I've recently come to believe that the time I spend with my husand watching television isn't wasted.

Commentary/Inside Jokes/Laughter
Zach and I almost always have similar if not the same favorite and least favorite characters. We make fun of them together, get irritated together, and often times we will make reference to those things outside of time with the TV together. I might refer to myself as a particularly annoying character when I'm doing something. I'll say to Zach, "I'm just gonna be an Emma for a minute and..." It makes for great common ground to reference outside of the time in front of the TV. 

Cuddle Time

One of my favorite things to do is to cuddle with Zach. I love it! We have significantly less time to cuddle these days so if I choose to play a game with Zach or discuss our future goals--I miss out on that time. Time in front of the TV allows us to cuddle and spend time together at the same time. It's a two birds with one stone kinda thing! 

Conversation Topics
Aside from making fun and finding inside jokes, Zach and I like to talk about the underlying messages that can be found in many of our shows. We tend to gravitate toward shows with messages about good/evil or redemption (we're apparently big on redemption). We like to talk about those messages our thoughts. It's interesting to get my husband's opinion on things--like whether or not he thinks a character really has changed for the better and why. It's similar to reading a book together or discussing a book and we can often have some good conversations about it. 

Rooting for the Same "Team"

I love feeling like Zach and I are on the same side--since we very often have differing points of view. Whether we both hope the character really has changed, has a happy ending, orsomething else entirely--it's fun to root for the same outcome together. We've recently started watching Master Chef on Hulu. It's really the first reality television show we've ever watched together and I'm loving it! I love having a few of the same favorite contestants and some different favorites. It really makes it fun. It's like watching sports only it's only 40 minutes and they talk about food--much more favorable in my opinion!

If you like to spend time with your spouse and a screen, you might enjoy our Couch Potato Date Night or our GIF Date Night (one of my favorites).

Do you watch TV with your spouse? How do you feel about it? Most importantly, WHAT DO YOU WATCH?

Monday, July 27, 2015

I Am the One

A while back JaiseAnn had to have blood drawn. We've had to do this one other time, but this time she was much older and much more aware of what was happening. I was able to hold her in my lap while the medical staff worked as a team to get the blood drawn quickly and as easily as possible. While the draw was happening, JaiseAnn cried. They weren't angry tears and she wasn't trying to angrily break free, they were sad and scared tears. (When you're a mom, you know the difference.) She kept turning her head into my chest and clawing at me to make it better. Before long, tears were streaming down my face as well.While it was sad for me and hard for me as a mom, I was also grateful that I get to be the one.

I get to be the one she seeks for comfort. Motherhood has been an all-around humbling experience, but this reality is one of the most humbling. I'm the person who makes it better.

What an incredible honor and frightening responsiblity.

After the draw was completed,  JaiseAnn rested her head on my chest while she tried to calm her sobs. It is rare that my daughter rests her head on me and I just savored the moment. Sad that she was sad, but so grateful that I am the one she wants.

What a gift and a daily blessing to be the one she reaches for.

I am the one she reaches for to dance in the kitchen after lunch. I'm the one she reaches for after she's gotten hurt and she wants comfort. I am the one she reaches for in the middle of the night, when she's trying to get back to sleep. I am the one who gets to be her entire world.

I think I knew this before I became a mother, but I really didn't understand it. How grateful and honored I am to get to be the one for the most incredible little person I've ever know. Her spirit is strong, her joy is contagious, and she is one special little girl. I've never felt so surely that I'm where I am supposed to be. Being her mom gives me that same comfort and reassurance that she seeks from me--if that makes any sense. 

During the past 18 months there have been many hard times, times when I feel scared or uncertain. Times when I worry too much. Times that I feel frustrated or angry. 
No matter what the feelings, though, I always seem to find my place when I'm doing the mom thing--when I'm being that person for her. When I pick her up to dance, or hold her when she's hurt, or snuggle her in the middle of the night. I find peace in those moments and find that I'm closer to my Heavenly Father. I can hear Him. I know I'm where I'm supposed to be. I know it's all going to be okay. Being her mother offers me the same peace and comfort that I offer her--and that's incredible to me. 

I am the one for her, but she is the one for me.

What parts of motherhood are the most humbling for you?

Friday, July 24, 2015

Keeping the Friendship Alive in Your Marriage

Zach and I have known of several marriages that have ended after a short time in our short time being married. Every time this happens, Zach is sure to expect to hear me randomly make comments like, "I just don't understand. Do you think s/he realizes that s/he'll be missing ______?" Or, "How does this happen out of nowhere? Do you think they ate dinner together every night?" Zach of course is not the gossip that I often wish he was--so his responses are usually "I don't know, Shar." And that's that. 

We had an experience with this hit more close to home recently and it really has me thinking. When I allow myself to imagine the same outcome and think about Zach and I not being "us" anymore, it's hard to fathom. Not because he doesn't make me mad, and not because I don't sometimes feel like we're both losing parts of ourselves in the craziness of life and especially parenting. No, we have our challenges-believe me. And there are times that I declare that we need to get it together and whip "us" back in shape. Still, though, I can't imagine ever not being with Zach because he's truly my best friend

how to I strengthen my friendship with my husband

There is such a strong friendship there that we've spent years building and I'm so grateful for it--and honestly a little proud of it. I've been thinking a lot lately about all of the little things we do that has helped strengthen our friendship.

Pray Together

From our wedding night on (and even sooner actually) Zach and I have gotten into the habit of praying together. We pray over meals and we pray before bed together every night. We also pray at other times together when life is particularly difficult. We attend church together every week and that opportunity to worship together strengthens our friendship as well. I love that whenever we pray--whether it's at home, at church, or anywhere else, Zach always reaches for my hand and holds it while we pray.

Praying together helps us unite in our goals and priorities. It also allows us to share what's on our minds and hearts with a third party. There are times that Zach will say a prayer for something and I'll think, "I need to support him better in that." Things that maybe Zach doesn't think he needs support in, but as he prays I realize that I can help with that. It also helps us see miracles together. We've been tremendously blessed throughout our marriage and we've had many a text message that reads, "That's a tender mercy." Or, "Prayers are answered!"

Daily Time Together

Now that we're parents, we don't get a ton of time together, but we do make time to just sit and spend together. We eat dinner as a family every night. We both sit down with JaiseAnn at the table and eat. We talk about our days and enjoy quality conversation and then we hit the ground running with pick up, bath time, and the chaos of bedtime. That time to unwind for the day together and gear up for the nighttime routines is important to us and gives us all a chance to touch base. I love that we have this time every night because after JaiseAnn goes to bed we can really connect. I've already heard about Zach's day and he's heard about mine so now we can just spend time together--we can talk about current events or the things we're reading or doing, we can do things together, or we can just sit and be together for a bit. 

Zach and I try to have some uninterrupted time every day. We usually watch a show or play a card game together. Sometimes we just get an hour--but we try to use it as best we can. We cuddle, we talk, and we enjoy each other.

We both work in the evenings--me on work work and Zach is working on studying some system updates and coding for his job and he's also studying for some certifications. We do not work on date night, though, and we don't work on Sunday nights. We make sure to have more time together at least a few times a week so that we aren't always giving the very last ounce of what is left of our energy to the time we have together. 

Play Together
Zach and I try to make sure we play and have fun together. We share some common interests and try to enjoy those things at least a few times a week and not just on date night. In addition, though, we do try to have a date night each week. Most of the time that date night is at home, but we still make it a priority to do different things and keep it simple. Once a month we try to get out together and leave JaiseAnn with my mom so that we can enjoy a bit more time together outside of the walls of our home. 

How important is it to you to have a friendship with your spouse? How do you keep the friendship alive in your marriage? 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Makeup Mix-Up

I'm not a makeup expert of any kind. I wear a very minimal amount and I don't spend a lot of money on makeup. Walking into a store like Ulta or Sephora has always overwhelmed me and given me anxiety--it feels similar to making choices for decorating my house. Everything is so expensive that there's just so much pressure to get it right

That said, I have been following Jaelan for a while now and love her makeup tips--even if that world is a bit foreign to me. It's encouraged me to step out. When she announced the makeup mix-up I told myself that I would need to try to play along every so often. I love the idea of linking up makeup ideas and getting inspiration for other bloggers. When I saw that this week's makeup prompt was Craving Coral. I knew I had to at least put my spin on it. 

coral gel nail polish

Coral is a summer staple. It compliments a good tan beautifully. My brother's girlfriend offered to paint my nails using gel polish--a first for me--with a kit she had. I'm not usually a big polish wearer because they chip too easily. But I love the look of freshly painted hands and loved how this gel polish just looked more polished I guess you could say. The coral color is perfect for summer.

sally hansen gel polish

I had big plans for sharing some of my favorite ways to highlight coral colors in the summer. I love pairing coral with navy and usually find some excuse to wear my favorite navy heels when I'm sporting coral polish. I also love the way yellow gold looks mixed with coral. I threw on my favorite right hand ring to compliment my polish and a navy top. Unfortunately, it rained the day we were taking these pictures so my husband took three (and only three) quick pictures in the backyard--sunglasses were definitely not necessary. You win some...

If you want to check out other coral looks visit the Makeup Mix-Up with Jaelan and Miranda. 

How do you wear coral? 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

My Parenting Choices Shouldn't Offend You

I post things on here about my parenting choices often-my breastfeeding journey, our decision to co-sleep, my decision to stay home with my daughter, and my decision to do Baby Led Weaning with her as well.
different parenting styles

So often other moms read something posted about a parenting choice and ultimately get defensive. It seems to me that when I post something like: 

I'm so grateful that I followed my daughter's cues for sleep. 

A mom that has chosen to sleep train might hear:

I think that ALL parents should co-sleep it's better than sleep training-which makes me a better mom. 

When I post something like:

I'm so grateful that I get to spend my days with my daughter.

A mom who works outside of the home might hear:

If you're working, you are missing out on these moments. You should feel sad and regretful about all the things you're missing. 

And of course it goes the other way. Sometimes I see moms that have chosen to work post things like:

I work because I want to set a good example for my children. 

I could easily interpret that as:

Moms that stay home don't set  good example for their children. 

And if I was feeling particularly sensitive I might take it even more personally. But I don't. Those things don't mean anything to me because I know I am making the right decisions for my family. But in the times that I second guess myself, I most definitely start fluttering

I don't post for working moms, or sleep training moms, or moms who formula feed. I post for moms.

When I post about sleep I'm thinking about myself as a new mom when JaiseAnn was about six months old. I thought I was truly losing my mind as she woke several times an hour. All the books were telling me to "train" her but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. I think of all the blogs I so gratefully stumbled upon that gave me hope. Moms who had frequently waking babies just like mine who promised it gets better and that they outgrow it. Moms who told me I'd be happy I decided to stick with my gut. I am forever grateful to them. So when I'm having one of those grateful/hopeful moments, I might decide to share it--in the hopes that maybe a new mom might stumble upon it (or a not-so-new mom who needs reminding that it does get better). I post for the me I see in them. 

When I post about not working I think about the first time I said to Zach, "I can't leave her." I remember how much I felt in my heart I wanted to be home, but how terrified I was to have that conversation. I remember spending hours upon hours pouring over work from home websites and tips for living on a single budget family.  I remember being scared to make the decision. Would she resent me because we wouldn't be able to give her as many things? Would I regret it? I remember calling up a few of the parents of my former students and asking, "Will I regret this?" Is it worth it?" and always closing with, "I'm so scared." I remember that time for me. It was a time of great uncertainty and big decisions hovering over one tiny little girl. I am forever grateful for the moms who told me, "Yes, it's worth it!" "I have never regretted it!" "It will be okay." I am grateful for every encouraging blog post and the reminders I still see that encourage me to continue making that decision a priority. I post for women in a similar situation. Women who might need to remember why they chose to stay home, or women who are trying to make that decision and are very scared/unsure. I post for the me I see in them. 

When I post about breastfeeding, or cloth diapering, baby led weaning, or anything else about parenting. I do it for a reason. I post for the parts of me as a mom that I see in others. I post for the moms. My posts aren't here to divide. They are here to encourage. I won't apologize for the gratitude that I feel and the love I've developed for being home with my daughter--and I won't censor that. I won't apologize for being able to breastfeed and loving the opportunities it has given me--and I won't censor that. I won't apologize for the decisions I've made and sharing the reasons or feelings behind them. I won't apologize because those came from a good place. They came from my heart, in the hopes of helping to encourage someone else. 

The mission of this blog is to uplift. I hope that all who come to pay me a visit here, know and recognize that.

How do you feel when you see posts about parenting choices that differ from yours? 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Non-Toy Gift Ideas for Kids

As you know, we take a minimalist approach to toys in our home.We have had a few birthdays for kids our family and friends recently and when buying children's birthday presents, I still try to stay away from toys. It's not that I see anything wrong with toys but I like to be different. Kids get a lot of toys for their birthdays--so why not switch things up a bit. Here are some non-toy ideas for birthday gifts for kids. 

kid gift ideas

While I do have a limit for JaiseAnn's toy count, she can never have enough books. I don't think any parent feels like their child can have too many books. Grab a favorite from your childhood to share with the kid in your life--write a message in the front cover about your favorite character or why you love that book and make sure to include the date. Your book will not only be useful but will also become a treasured gift. If you want to "go big" with a gift--you could create a small library with a focus on a certain theme and get the child several books under that theme. 

Bath Time Fun
Bath time is something that unborn babies get a lot of gifts for at baby showers, but what about the older kids? This area often gets overlooked. A new towel, washcloth, and some fun bath toys or bath soap. Foam letters and numbers make a great gift. We love Fun by Lush. It's a cruelty-free, all natural soap that doubles as a bubble bath, play dough, bath dye combo. JaiseAnn loves the way it feels and it's inexpensive and lasts a long time. 

This is probably one of my favorite things to get for gifts. Children love to spend time with their parents and other loved ones. Whether you gift the child a day to spend with you or some passes to do things with parents--they will love the gift of those memories. Passes to a children's museum, the zoo, a local arcade/amusement park, swimming pool/water park, or even a gift card to the local book store and a bakery would make great gifts. The child gets to open the gift, anticipate the occasion, and enjoy it--making for a very memorable gift. 

Creative Outlets/Talents
As children get older, help them tap into their talents and interests. A children's recipe book and an apron would be a great gift for the child who loves helping in the kitchen. Sketch books, pencils, and easels are great gifts for a child interested in art. If you know of a child who loves sports--try to find ways to incorporate that with a book on the sport, some socks/shoes to wear while playing, or even a few game day essentials like a water bottle and some snacks. Encouraging a child to follow his/her talents with a gift will make them feel special and recognized which goes a long way. 

Kids get so many gifts on their birthday that they really wouldn't notice if one or two guests didn't get them anything. So save the gift wrap and put some money into a bank account for them. Ask the parents if they have one, if they do--put some in there and give them a card letting them know you did. They won't miss the gift and they'll surely appreciate it later.

How do you approach gifts for the children in your life? 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Five Relationships I'm Working on for My Kid(s)

It's already become abundantly clear to me that JaiseAnn is watching me and soaking it all in. There are so many things I hope to teach her, but many of those things she will learn more from by watching me than listening to me. I am working diligently on five relationships in my life for my daughter's sake. 

setting a good example for your children

My Relationship with My Heavenly Father

What I Want: I want JaiseAnn to know that I know my Heavenly Father and that I know He loves me. I want her to know that I respect and honor him. I obey him. I make time for him. And I turn to him. 

How I'll Get There: I want JaiseAnn to see me making time for prayer and scripture study each and every day. I want her to hear Zach and I discuss praying about big decisions and offering (and then following through) with praying for those who need it. I will continue going to church each week, fulfilling my callings, paying tithing, attending the temple, and praying. I will also teach JaiseAnn to pray when she's sad, happy, scared, or sorry. 

My Relationship with My Husband

What I Want:I want JaiseAnn to know that marriage is SO worth it! I want her to know that it is fun and healthy. I want her to know that all aspects of marriage are important--including sex. I want her to know that her dad is my best friend and I hope she will seek out a best friend in a spouse as well. I want JaiseAnn to know that her dad and I love and respect each other and that we work together. 

How I'll Get There: We will continue making date night a priority. I will talk to Zach respectfully in his presence and outside of his presence. JaiseAnn will see us be affectionate--kissing and holding hands and we will talk with her about sex candidly and often. We will show her that marriage is worth it by continuing to cultivate a strong partnership that she will watch and see throughout her lifetime. 

My Relationship with Food

What I Want: I want JaiseAnn to know that food is awesome. It is delicious and fun and part of so many aspects of our day and lives. I also want her to know that she controls food, food doesn't control her. I will no longer say, "I can't keep brownies in the house because I will eat them all in one sitting." I want JaiseAnn to have control over food and have a healthy relationship with it. I don't want her to label food "good" or "bad" and I want her to know that her body knows best. 

How I'll Get There: I will share my enthusiasm for food in front of JaiseAnn from my deeply rooted love of chocoloate to my love of zuchinni. I will share excitement for fresh fruit from our garden and grilling on the grill. I will share my enthusiasm with her without shame and without prejudice. I will also share with JaiseAnn why I stop eating (I'm full. I don't like the feeling of being over full--this is something I'm just now learning for myself and I hope to share more later.) I will share with her that I eat when I'm hungry and stop when I'm full. I listen to my body and food does not control me. She will watch. She will see if the brownies she made with me on Monday are still there on Tuesday morning. 

My Relationship with Myself

What I Want: I want JaiseAnn to know her mother is confident but humble. I want her to know that I have hard days but I also want her to know that I know I can get past them. I want her to see me take care of myself and do things that I enjoy. I want her to hear me say "Yes" to service, but I also want her to hear me say, "No!" I want her to hear me talk kindly about myself and to see me set goals and work at achieving them. 

How I'll Get There: First and foremost, I will practice positive self-talk! I will make sure that I am honoring myself when I make commitments. I will set goals and work through them. I will share my sadness or disappointment openly and honestly when I am having a hard time, but I will also share my plans to overcome it. 

My Relationship with Money

What I Want: I want JaiseAnn to know that money isn't everything, but it's important to use your money wisely. I want her to understand the value of hard work and the value of money. I want her to understand budgeting and the power that comes from budgeting. I want her to know there's freedom in life without debt. 

How I'll Get There: Zach and I will budget and talk openly about our budget. Things are always openly discussed and we hope to get to a point where we can talk about those things without anxiety or stress so that JaiseAnn doesn't equate money with stress. We will teach her to budget with the money she earns and help her understand the debt traps. We hope to use language like, "We aren't going to buy that because we want to use our money for _____." Instead of "We aren't going to buy that because we can't afford it or because it's too expensive."

What things do you hope to teach your child(ren)? How? 

Monday, July 6, 2015

Watching Your Language

This summer I've had the opportunity to take part in the development of a math curriculum. ...One thing I have to carefully watch for and monitor is the language used to describe mathematical concepts. One simple phrase might make sense to a teacher, but could create confusion or lead to a misconception for students. (Mathematical misconceptions are responsible for 99% of all struggles understanding math. That's a made up statistic but that's how it feels--as a former struggling math student and as a teacher.)

As I've had to watch the language used in this curriculum carefully and as the colleagues I'm working with continually talk about using "precise language" I've become very aware of the language I use and I hear around me. I realize how quickly certain things can lead our minds to true misconceptions about our agency and consequences for actions.

"I had to use my credit card."

"My husband made me so angry that I went on a carb-loading spree!"

"I had no choice."

"It's free, we might as well use it/take it!"

And I've really picked up on some words that I really think are misused. Sure, we might just chalk it up to semantics, but just as I feel mathematical misconceptions hugely contribute to most struggles with understanding math, I feel that the language we use contributes to misconceptions about our own powers, abilities, and responsibilities.

your thoughts become your actions quote

Here are some big ideas that I've noticed lately that come from word choice and really reflect a lack of understanding and accountability. 

No Choice
While there are many things in this life that are beyond our control it still astounds me how much is in our control that we don't recognize or give credit to. Rarely if ever do you have to go into debt for something, there are always choices even if those choices don't allow you to continue living the way you currently do. You don't have to eat something because you had a bad day or because you are stressed, you might want to eat it, but most of us (thankfully) get to choose what we eat. You don't have to do every extra thing someone asks you to do--you might have agreed to it, but you aren't in a perpetual state of obligation--it's your choice. I'm just as guilty of the next person of saying things like, "I can't have brownies in the house, or I will eat all of them." But I've recently been doing a few things to change that attitude and stop using those words. I say that as if I have no control--which isn't true. Instead it's really more like, "I shouldn't keep brownies in the house because I am always tempted to eat too many and often I choose to give into that temptation." We weren't born with a stamp of limitations and circumstances. Yes, the environement and health conditions we are born with/into do play a large part, but I think we've become too busy seeing that as our destiny. We do have choices and those choices have consequences that we must be accountable for. We largely determine our destiny.


It honestly baffles me beyond anything how quickly people will accept something that is proclaimed free without a second thought about where that money might be coming from and who is footing the bill. That "free lunch" that you take your child to during play dates at the park, is not free. You may not have to pay for it, but someone else is.  It's designed for people who really can't afford lunch and was put into place by agencies worried that students on free/reduced lunch at school wouldn't be adequately fed during the summer. Those agencies are funded through charities, donations, and often times, tax dollars. It's not free. Next time you gladly accept some service because it's "free," you might consider where that money is coming from and how you accepting the service impacts the world beyond you.


From blaming our morning from being too chaotic, to blaming our career for our money woes, to blaming our parents for struggles we have--we've become very gifted at shifting accountability. Do chaotic mornings tend to lead to grouchy attitudes and tardiness? Most likely. But our language around that can change. "I'm in a bad mood because I didn't handle the craziness that went on in our house well this morning." Take the responsibility. Your career determines your income, yes, but the way yous spend that money is entirely up to you. I know people that make more than Zach and I, but still struggle financially. I also know people that make less than Zach and I that have disposable income and more financial freedom than we do. Your income only plays a part in a much bigger picture that is mostly made up of choices you've made. I'm a big believer in nurture over nature, personally, but a lot of time we allow the problems we have to grow and fester because we are not responsible for them. While our upbringing does play a huge role in the things we struggle with, we still have the amazing opportunity to overcome those struggles and take control of the future.

I have always been a big believer in self talk and looking forward to the future with hope and with a drive to make choices that will get you where you want to be. Thoughts are powerful and words are powerful. This week, I'm making it a goal be careful with the way I talk to myself and about the things that are happening in my life right now.

Are there any trends with language that you've picked up on? Do you believe that your thoughts and words become your destiny? 

Friday, July 3, 2015

If I'm Not Looking

A few weeks ago, I had just gotten frustrated with Zach over something regarding a goal he set for work that he wasn't taking very seriously, in my opinion anyway. Zach and I are very different people, as most married couples are. When I set a goal I talk about it at length and keep Zach posted on my progress (or lack thereof at times). When Zach doesn't do this, I often make the assumptions that he's not as dedicated or that he doesn't really care. I hurtfully told him as much that night. Almost immediately after this discussion, I went to use the computer. I noticed Zach had 15 browser tabs open, "Of course.." I began. Until I realized that one tab was for email, another for a video game, and the remaining thirteen tabs were study guides and tech sites that Zach was searching to prepare for an exam for a certification he's seeking. I was looking for the wrong things. I wanted Zach to behave like me or perhaps even someone else, but I wasn't looking for Zach's way of showing dedication. 

Through the right eyes, I notice that Zach puts in extra work so that he can do a good job each and every day. Or I might notice that wore slacks today because he had a committee meeting during lunch. If I'm not looking, I don't recognize the things my husband does and that can be detrimental.

The first year of JaiseAnn's life was hands down the hardest year of our marriage. I am very proud of how we have managed to better ourselves through that experience. The difficulty wasn't so much in each other, but in what we faced together. At times, though, it caused me to turn on my husband. Looking back, I probably wasn't looking closely enough--not looking for the ways he was taking care of our family and showing his love for us. This lesson I've learned can be applied to all aspects of a marriage.

If I'm not looking I might not notice that Zach always takes the cars to be serviced and takes the trash out every morning. He doesn't make a big deal of these things, he just does them and I either take the time to notice or I don't.

If I'm not looking, I might not notice that he's fixing the sprinklers before he leaves for work in the morning or stopping by the ATM to get tithing out--a true testament of his faith. 

If I'm not looking I might not notice the way Zach plays with JaiseAnn or hear the way he talks to her. The other night she was playing with her doll and I heard Zach say to her, "Oh, you give your doll a kiss. You are such a good mommy!" I could miss the opportunity to appreciate the father he is to our daughter.

If I'm not paying attention, I might overlook him opening the car door for me or how he reaches for my hand even just during a short walk up to my parents' door. I might miss the way he guides me into a room or the fact that he asked me what I wanted to drink at the movie theatre the other day. (We always share a drink and Zach always lets me choose the drink--for six and a half years now.)

If' I'm not looking, I don't see my husband for who he really is. If I'm looking for things that aren't there instead of the things that are I miss it all. I miss out on him and I miss out on my marriage.

Here's to remembering to look a little more closely at our spouses and enjoy the gratitude we feel for all that they do. 

What do you miss when you're not looking?

Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Truth About Breastfeeding a Toddler

I have been breastfeeding JaiseAnn for almost a year and a half now. I didn't expect that I'd ever say that. We had a rough start to say the least, but at six weeks she started refusing a bottle and we've never looked back.

I was always of the mindset that you stop breastfeeding at one year. I didn't really even consider the alternative. Until I had a daughter that loved to nurse with her heart and soul. That's when I realized that for us, the time to stop was not at one. I'm not sure when the time to stop for us will be, but I have some plans for starting to night wean soon and then weaning slowly but surely. I pray about this decision daily and I wrestle with it almost constantly. 

If you would have told me at this time last year that I'd still be nursing JaiseAnn, I might have had a nervous breakdown. Nursing was so time consuming. We spent so much of our day nursing. JaiseAnn wasn't eating solids yet and wouldn't take a bottle, so it was hard to leave her for any length of time. I wanted to wear clothes that weren't nursing accessible, I wanted my body back, and I wanted a little bit of freedom to leave the house--with or without JaiseAnn and do something else. 

Nursing a toddler is vastly different than nursing an infant. JaiseAnn nurses at nap time--to fall asleep and then a bit to stay asleep. I lay with her. She also nurses to bed at night and throughout the night into the morning. (Yes, I'm tired--but I'm doing what I think is right for her and for us). Other than that, though, she doesn't nurse at all during the day. She plays outside with me, we read books, we have dance parties and our days are nursing-free with the exception of nap time and bedtime. We leave the house and it doesn't matter what I'm wearing. 

JaiseAnn drinks cow's milk from a sippy cup throughout the day (usually with each meal). She eats three solid meals a day-and has an ever-growing appetite--she loves food. She eats snacks a few times a day as well. I can leave her with Zach or my mom for longer periods of time and she'll even nap for them--just not as easily as she will for me. Zach can occasionally put her to bed at night if I am gone, but I don't prefer it. 

I still long to wear a real bra or to have my body fully back at times. At other times, though, I love the way I feel about nursing now compared to the first year. It has become such a sweet experience. It is the one time I get cuddles with my girl and the quiet part of our day. She looks forward to nursing and gets excited when she knows it's time. I'm so happy that I can offer her that comfort and that reassurance through our nursing relationship. Nursing isn't easy...but nursing a toddler is much easier than nursing an infant. 

If you have any questions about nursing a toddler leave them in the comments and I'll be sure to address them--or you can email me at mynewlinesblog {at} gmail {dot} com. 

How do you feel about "extended" breastfeeding?

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Currently:July 2015

This summer has been busy. We're having a blast over here. Such a blast that it's been hard to not neglect this little blog of mine--I love this linkup with Jenna and Anne because it allows me a chance to fill you all in on the little things going on in our lives.

When it's hot outside, I always crave ice cream and fruit. While cherries are my absolute favorite, I can't seem to get enough of strawberries this summer. Chocolate dip cones from McDonald's are a summertime favorite and I crave those weekly at least.

Sadly we haven't done as much grilling this summer as I would have hoped. As in, we haven't grilled anything. I do have plans in the works for a grilling feast--including my favorites, Zach's steak and grilled corn on the cob. I also want to try a rib grill off date night. It's on the calendar. (Zach has agreed to help with a blog post about grilling steak--I never liked steak until I had Zach's.)

The only thing we really listen to lately is the radio when we're in the car. (Yay for exercise class two mornings a week, I get a chance to listen to my favorite morning program--a rare treat since I quit working). Most days, toddler radio is our Pandora station of choice and JaiseAnn loves If You're Happy and You Know it and The Hokie Pokie. I just love watching her clap her hands, twirl around, and get so excited she can barely contain herself. 

We are in the process of potentially making some very big decisions about what the next year of our lives (at least) will look like. It's been exciting and anxiety inducing at the same time. I'll keep you all posted if any of the plans we've discussed actually go into effect. 

Ha! I don't decorate. I wish I did, but between decorating paralysis, lack of funds, and a toddler who keeps growing toddler but no less interested on the things she can reach--we just don't put a lot into it. That said, I have been trying to decide what should go above our TV for nearly six years (yes, you read that right) and I think I have FINALLY decided what I want. It will require minimal crafting (if you can even call it that) and I will need help. I will be putting a very simple quote on the wall. I will share a whole post when it is complete on the process and the reason I chose that quote. 

What are you doing currently?
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