Red Hair Equals Mermaid

I will admit, Halloween really crept up on me this year.  I know, it’s the same October 31st I look forward to every year, except this year we had taken three trips out of town in two months and had what felt like the rest of the month of October absorbed in my sister’s wedding.  It was the weekend before Halloween when people started questioning my daughter what she was going to be for Halloween when I figured I had better pull something together.

She wavered between costume ideas, initially stating her destiny to be a princess.  Of course not related to any of the princess costumes we already have at home to regularly get dressed up in.  Then one morning during our typical getting the hair done routine…  This consists of PJ isolated sitting on the dresser, holding my phone tuned into Youtube Cimorelli videos (Cimorelli is a girls group from California who cover major pop songs in a PG version – perfect for little ears – and Parker learns and loves all of these pop songs.)  After the combing, pulling, braiding, twisting and rubber bands she eventually earns a marshmallow for cooperating.  During this morning, as she is scrolling through videos and singing along to the teen lyrics in a slurred unclear of all the words kind of way, I asked her if she wanted to be a pop star for Halloween.

Of course the answer was yes.  And then it was up to me to figure out what a pop star looks like in age appropriate four-year old kind of way.  I figured she had some pop-star-ish clothes and we could just pick up some accessories like a microphone, play jewelry, and a wig.  With her participation, she was getting into the idea of what a singer would wear on stage and loved picking out some blingy $0.50 rings.

On Friday afternoon I took Parker to school to trick or treat with her class.  She had already made it clear she was not a fan of the wig during our trying out the costume at home so I brought bobby pins to staple it to her head.  And when the moment came to walk into her school she began refusing the rest of her costume accessories fusing about the headphones, jewelry and handed me her microphone.  In her classroom she appeared as the whiny girl, fashionable dressed with red hair – to which most people assumed she was going as Ariel the Little Mermaid.  I’ve never seen Ariel in a cheetah print top, but lesson learned red hair equates to mermaid.

On Friday evening I had high hopes of capturing an image to show the true pop star image my four-year old can emulate.  I imagined a scene with her in the foreground posing as she loves to do garnishing all of the pop star accessories we had planned.  She’s pop out her hip, throw her arms in the air and belt out a song.  Then in the background her daddy would be dressed as the bodyguard in his decade old workout shirt labeled “SECURITY,” a dark suit jacket, sunglasses and an ear piece.  Then I would be standing next to him as the manager holding a clipboard, two phones and talking on 08one more.  I envisioned this legendary Halloween 2014 picture and when it came down to it all I got was one cranky looking wild girl ready to go out and hit the streets for candy.  Oh well, there’s always next year.

On Saturday we had a family adventure to the Louisburg Cider Mill.  It was their final weekend for the fall festivities so PJ got ample time on the jumping pillow; it was nice to be able to stand on the sidelines and watch her enjoying herself without having to be Jumping Pillowholding hands with her.  We took a hay rack ride, I found out it is my husband’s favorite fall activity.  And we found our way through the giant corn maze.  We let Parker take the lead and choose the paths, my husband and I played behind her tossing dried corn cobs at each other.  I may have chucked one a touch too hard and his retaliation cob throw ended up with a rip in the back of my pants.  “It’s not so bad, you’re wearing pink underwear right?” he said.  Unfortunately it was my bare butt and a day I wish I had worn a longer shirt.  The adventure ended with hot cider and apple cider donuts which made up for the end of life for my pants. Jumping Pillow2 Corn Maze Louisburg Cider Mill

 

Camping Cheers and Six Years

Camp Site“This is one of Mommy and Daddy’s favorite things to do.  We want to share it with you and have fun together.”  I explained to Parker as she completed round 2 of timeouts in the car.  She nodded and smiled, apologized for whining and fussing, and we returned to blissfulness at the picnic table.

Camping is one of our favorite past times and this was our practice run for Parker.  My husband figured it would be better to start with a day trip to a camp site and see how she managed.  Although, right away she began asking where is the tent and how are we going to sleep?  Her curious mind was satisfied with our explanations to only stay out a while and not all night, then she jumped right into collecting twigs for helping Daddy to start a fire.

For a four year old, who seems constantly stimulated by toys, puzzles, books, electronics, music etc.  It was quite an adjustment for her to create her own fun, to explore in nature and to sit still to watch the fire (for about 20 second intervals at a time).  In hindsight, I could have brought more toys to help her stay content.  After all, there are only so many times you can fill a hallowed acorn shell with water for the Frozen Anna doll before that gets old.  Or maybe it was just a perfect way to demonstrate to her, you don’t need “things” to have a good time with people you love.  During our camping adventure, Parker and I hiked in the woods.  Or On Our Adventure Hike Lake Clintonshould I say she waddled down to the lake and then clung to my back like a koala bear while I clawed my way back up the steep ravine.  She assisted Daddy with gathering supplies and cleaning up.  She observed other camp goers and commented on the super swanky RV’s, “Can we get one of those?” And of course, she devoured the always necessary camping dessert.  Except as soon as her s’more started falling apart and getting her fingers sticky, I had to be the holder while she took bites and then carefully wiped her fingers and lips back to unsticky perfection.

Smores Attack

It was a wonderful idea my husband initiated on a beautiful fall day.  The outing was a reminder of what we do together when we are having fun, being adventurous and working well together as a team.  On our sixth wedding anniversary, I am so thankful to continue to do the things we love to do together and to get to share this experience with our daughter.  Cheers to six years, to camping out, to cheese and crackers, to being more of the best and less of the rest, cheers to daily celebrations of happiness and to many more anniversaries (and campouts) in the future.

Camp Kiss

Ha ha – I didn’t say that!

When I first started writing a blog naturally I began reading other blogs too, one of the first I started following was Breezy K’s “The Camel Life.” I couldn’t tell you exactly how I stumbled across her, since web surfing can easily take you away into clicks and connections you had never imagined.  Needless to say, I have been near tears time after time from reading the hilariousness of her twenty something, professional, Canadian life.  Breezy K has not only entertained me with laughter, I have  learned a few valuable things along the way too.

Many people who follow my blog are friends and family, then there are connections I have made through WordPress when things are published, and finally there is the good ‘ole internet search engines.  One lesson I noted from Breezy K is to check the searches to my blog to see what terms people have Googled their way to you. “The Camel Life” has been discovered through some shockingly unique search terms you can see by clicking here.

Searches to Inspired Living KC were relatively common sense and directly related to things I have written about specifically.  And then there was this: my husband makes the furniture stink.

smell

After the laughter subsided, I figured I had two choices. I could either keep it to myself or tell everyone and reinforce when someone searches this term again they will come here.  Just to be clear, with 100% certainty, I have never spoken or written the words “my husband makes the furniture stink,” (until today) and while sometimes he does make your nose run away screaming stink I don’t remember ever thinking it was effecting the fragrance of our furniture.

I am not clear about which post was related to this inquiry or if her interest was met from reading anything on my blog. But just in case someone is searching now, first I would like to give my sincerest apologies.  It must be a pretty heavy aroma to require an internet search.   I would recommend purchasing some hygiene products for the hubby and some Febreeze for your furniture.  If this does not suffice, consider purchasing some furniture of the plastic variety which can be taken outside and hosed down on a regular basis.  Good luck.

Marriage and Club Misery

e&mMy grandma, Eleanor, passed a little over a month ago. I wrote about her the day it happened, blessed with the image of her passing surrounded by family and love. Grammy has been on my mind daily since. Our family gathered at her home the night before her memorial service and I spent a great deal of time going through and collecting photographs. Call me a hoarder or even obsessive, I don’t mind, I love pictures. I waste hours upon hours looking through photographs, taking pictures and editing pictures. For as much as I stress to others the importance of being in the present, I spend too much time stuck in frozen images from the past.

I never met my grandfather, my sister and I even commented last month about how awkward we sometimes felt not knowing how to refer to him. I don’t really know how he was addressed by his grandchildren, so I sometimes would say “my dad’s dad,” or “your husband” if I was asking Grammy about him. She did talk about him a lot too, often telling us how he would have loved us and how much he adored children. He died of a heart attack while my dad was in college. Grammy was never interested in dating or remarrying, she already had the love of her life, she would tell us.
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And even though I never saw them in real life together I know it was true. Grammy teared up talking about him sometimes, as if the decades since he had been gone hadn’t eased the grief she felt. I knew she still missed him desperately. During the memorial service family members talked about the love they shared, how they were always affectionate and caring towards one another. I still can’t wrap my mind around how she loved to iron his clothes just because it was for him, I do try to mimic the same enthusiasm for mundane tasks – trying to appreciate the ordinary.

Even without the stories, I know my grandparents were in love through the photographs I found in Grammy’s albums. Many of the pictures have one or both of them looking at each other instead of the camera, in many pictures his arms are around her squeezing tightly. Happiness and mutual respect exude from the black and white images. Their smiles are pure joy.

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My grandparents appeared to have the marriage everyone dreams of, they managed to stay dedicated to each other and their relationship. Was it just easier back then?

On Oprah’s interview with Jamie Foxx they got to talking about marriage. Without directly quoting, she said something about having a difficult time naming 5 couples she knows who have a “happy marriage.” Of course this statement made me ponder the same idea, how many couples do I know who appear to be happily married? Why is it so hard to stay happy in a relationship?

It’s as if married couples buy into Club Misery after saying “I do” and forget it takes work to create mutual satisfaction in a relationship. Friends can get carried away griping about their spouses, unintentionally creating a breeding ground for negativity in a relationship. On top of the social acceptance for the misery of marriage we are also tainted my social media distractions. There is less necessity to correspond with the love of your life when you can connect with whoever pops up on the Twitter or Facebook feed about the appealing subject of the hour. By the end of the day when significant others finally reach each other they have exhausted the day’s news with virtual friends.

I’m frightened for the next generation of individuals hopeful of finding love and happy marriage with a significant pattern being established of meeting and dating online. Manti Te’o, for example, maybe the only national story of this kind though he is certainly not the first to fall in love with a fake profile. The MTV show Catfish highlights even more of these cases, I can’t stop watching because I am shocked at how much people will trust in the hope for love.

e&m4So part of me wonders if my grandparents had it easier with their relationship in the era they fell in love? Or did their passion for family and love stems from some early struggles long before the internet. They did get married following The Great Depression, a time when Grammy’s family lost their business and had to close their stores. My grandfather was also drafted to World War II after Grammy gave birth to their first child. I wonder if these major life events helped to shape their relationship and reinforce what really matters the most.

Without being devastated by financial loss, being separated by war, natural disasters, illness or any other tragic events, what would it take for couples to focus on what really matters? Couples need to strive to love more, to be more devoted and to demonstrate more respect for marriage, it doesn’t have to be miserable unless you allow it.

Help, Yessss, Lotion & Love

There are some commonly spoken phrases in our house. A growing mind of a two-year old, rapidly expanding her ideas, vocabulary and opinion are sometimes astonishing to keep up with. The following is a list I have compiled of the top five most common statements from both Parker and her mommy.

PJParker’s Top 5

1.) “How bout… this one.”
She says so thoughtfully and clearly to make decisions. Parker likes to express choices about clothes, food and what to watch on Netflixs. Back in my babysitting days, when Barney was new, I would get so annoyed with the singing purple dinosaur and swear when I had kids they would be banned from this programming. Unfortunately, a decade and a half later, I am eating my words as my tiny tot politely points out the forbidden show requesting “How bout… this one.”

2.) “Yea… yessss.”
My husband is encouraging Parker to enunciate and use proper English. I wholeheartedly agree this is important, even though I am most often the one to slip and be a poor example to her with my lazy communication. In the last few weeks especially he has been retraining her to not say yea, and she is quickly beginning to correct herself. The adorable part of her correction is the long s sound which follows her yes’.

3.) “Hey that’s mine.”
This is spoken with a bit of a toddler lisp, comes with a frown and on the rare occasion a small tantrum. Sharing is tough.

4.) “Parry Rock” or “Da Lacy Sung”
In my effort to break from Yo Gabba Gabba, Sesame Street or Barney, I figured a girl who loves music and dancing might also love music videos. We have the music choice channel where we play videos on demand, she has her favorites and doesn’t like trying out new ones unless the beat immediately catches her attention. Two favorites she requests are LMFAO’s Party Rock and Bruno Mars’ Lazy Song. Not all the lyrics are appropriate for kids, though I figured she wouldn’t remember or know what it was about. I thought there could be no harm… Turns out she really enjoys the dancing and tries to mimic what she sees in the videos. Let’s just say we are all done with the Lazy Song now.

5.) “Halp you peas mommy.”
Parker does love to help me in whatever chore I am trying to conquer. She even got her very own play cleaning set for Christmas so she can follow along with my sweeping and scrubbing. However, this phrase is not about helping mommy. I figured out she learned to say “help you” when she needs help since I would catch her struggling in a task and questions “Can Mommy help you?”

Mommy’s Top 5

PJ&mom 1.) “Is that baba broken?”
Parker is clinging to her last two pacifiers and I am fully prepared for the end of them. They are both gnarley little pieces of plastic with the ends chewed off. She has chosen to throw other ones away once they were in the same condition, so I ask her everyday if they are broken and ready to throw away. One night she was on her way to the trash can and then decided it was not quite broken yet, agh so close!

2.) “Are you doing a stink stink?”
I ask Parker when she has separated herself to a corner or behind furniture with the concentrated pooping look on her face. She shakes her head no, despite my encouragement of trying it on the big girl potty. Then as I am changing her diaper after the fact, she sometimes requests what she calls to sit on the “poo poddy” not understanding it’s a little late for it now. I’m sure there will be more potty training adventure stories to come.

3.) “Lotion is not for eating.”
My day is filled with “no,” “stop,” and “don’t” type statements. I try to fill in the rest with choices or an explanation. For some reason I have to repeat this one too often since PJ has acquired a taste for lotion.

4.) “Give me some sugar.”
Parker is affectionate without announcement sometimes, and there are lots of times when we request it of her. She withholds kisses in a teasing manner sometimes, eventually giving in. The best is when I can trick her telling her I don’t want her sloppy kisses and wiping them away, then the sugar just keeps on coming.

5.) “You are beautiful” and “I love you.”
Browsing through my mom’s Pinterest quotes the other day one caught my eye, I’m not on it yet because I keep hearing about how addictive it is and I’m kind of scared to take on another online hobby. The quote said something about the statements you tell your children will become their internal voices later. This made me smile to know I am constantly telling my little girl she is beautiful and she is loved.

Bringing in 2013

I love all the year ending lists, the ones that look back on everything from 2012 and rank the best of the year. Top movies, top songs, top sport plays, top storms, top grossing products, top celebrity feuds, top political disasters, top-selling appliances, top exclamations shouted into crowds – you get the idea. It’s bewildering to me to look back on lists and comprehend how so much has fit into the last 365 days, and how did it go by so fast?

2012 was a high-speed chase to catch up with, stay on top of and try to control. Who am I kidding, I just sent out the last of my Christmas presents in the last day of December (sorry nieces and nephews – late though not forgotten.) I wasn’t really on top of anything in the past year. A top list of accomplishments I would create for 2012 would include things like “Was able to continue breathing,” and “Kept child alive.”

The month of December happened to be the craziest whirlwind of the year. With my grandma’s passing, an unplanned trip to Minnesota to go along with it, and almost a full week of celebrating holidays interrupted normalcy for me. I am embracing the new year for a fresh opportunity to maintain a routine and achieve goals. I’d like to be able to look back at the end of 2013 and recognize real accomplishments out of the day-to-day grind.

00On Monday night, New Years Eve, my husband and some friends of ours made plans to bring in the new year bowling. We figured it’s close to home, affordable and a potentially fun and out of the ordinary activity for us. It has probably been years since my last time stepping foot in a bowling alley, though, I like to think bowling is in my blood. My grandpa and all of his brothers were bowling champions. Last month I, along with several cousins and my sister, took a bowling trophy from the home where my grandma passed. I never knew my grandpa so it seemed appropriate for me to keep something that used to be important to him.

bowlOn New Years Eve I naively imagined the trophy might actually bring me luck, that maybe my grandpa could reach down from heaven and help the ball down the lane for strikes and spares. My first game wasn’t too bad, then it got worse. I am guessing my grandpa never tried to play with fake nails, yeah I’m sure those were my only problem.

Losing - Big Time

Losing – Big Time

Or maybe there is a lesson in being the big loser at bowling. In 2013, I need to practice skills regularly, show dedication to my interests and my family, not blame others or objects for my own failures, and continue to find happiness in every moment (winning or not).

Cheers - FREE Champagne at the bowling alley.

Cheers – FREE Champagne at the bowling alley.

Thorns From My Husband

Last week I came up with an idea for a post I wanted to write about the irritating statements my husband makes.  It’s incredible how a short concoctions of words can send me into a whirlwind of irrational, over-emotional turmoil.

I cleaned up.

I have a surprise for you.

Are you feeling better yet?

These are just three examples of phrases I hear from him which begin a cycle of madness in my mind, how to react, what to say next, what does this mean, etc…  It sounds insane, right?  Those three statements appear to be so innocent, even thoughtful perhaps.  Well lemme just fill you in on the context with which these endearing words are uttered.

First, speaking of cleaning up is generally stated because it would be entirely impossible to know otherwise any cleaning had taken place.  I’m guessing the majority of women can relate to being the cleaner one of their couple set, with the exception of my friend Crystal.  Crystal and her husband, Buck, are equally anal about their cleaning.  I would give a sliver of an edge to Crystal since she recently had lasik eye surgery and swears she can see the cobwebs on her ceiling I could not find with binoculars.

Unless your relationship is like Crystal and Buck or by some freak chance your partner is a better housekeeper, you can relate.  For example, a few weeks ago my daughter and I went up north and left my husband with the house to himself for three days.  Upon returning home I noticed additional clutter and a distinct odor.  Maybe my facial expression gave away my disgust even though I had already anticipated needing to clean when I got home.  “I cleaned up.”  He said.

And this is where my mind begins stirring – What did he clean?  And if he cleaned how bad did the house get over the weekend?  Do I praise him to encourage this behavior or would this demonstrate complacency with a lack of effort?  “OK, thanks.”  I mutter heading to the broom closet.  Maybe I should just be thankful he didn’t wipe out the Tupperware collection like my dad did when my mom went out of town one weekend in an effort to be helpful.

When my husband tells me he has a surprise, naturally I want to feel excited.  He tends to spring this on me rather often because he enjoys watching me squirm about it.  Instead of excitement in the anticipation, I find myself being bothered with trying to imagine what it could be.  There have been times I imagined some rather fantastic surprises, special dates and lavish gifts to come home to find my favorite juice in the fridge “SURPRISE.”  Now rather than creating a spectacular surprise in my mind I try not to even remember he spoke the word so I cannot be disappointed.  He is rather thoughtful and talented with his ideas, I just wish they came without the preemptive news flash to warn it’s coming.

And finally the questions “Are you feeling better yet.”  This is not a sincere curiosity of if I am under the weather.  This question is directed at me when he thinks I am upset with him for no good reason.  It seems like a stab at my perspective in a disagreement, as if I had no reason to be bitter towards him.  As if the whole disagreement was related to my mood rather then something he contributed to.  “Are you feeling better yet,” can almost always lengthen the duration of my anger about a situation and on the rare occasion I wasn’t upset this statement can just as easily put me there.

So…  Like I said, I intended to post about these phrases and end it there.  Except earlier this week I caught up with an episode of Super Soul Sunday when Oprah interviewed the author Michael Singer.  He wrote The Untethered Soul about finding inner peace and strength.  The following clip is a segment out of the show directly related to the issues I have had with things my husband says.

I haven’t read the book, though, now I know I need to.  There are many thorns I have with people and being irritated by what is said.  Seeing this part of the interview I recognized I have been making the choice to be disturbed.  I understand for the rest of my life I could be having internal conflicts about what to say when he mentions cleaning, no matter how many times I say “Don’t surprise me,” there will likely be another surprise, and the question of feeling better yet will probably not be put to rest either.  So damn Super Soul Sunday – to point out my wasted energy on waiting for others to change around me.  It doesn’t matter who is right or wrong, joking or flat out disrespectful – it’s my own thorn.  Next time I get the sensation of being bothered, my hands sweat, my thoughts turn to irrational questioning, my shoulders tighten and I’m ready to react… I will practice making the choice not to be disturbed.  Growth is hard and no one else can do it for me.

Can’t help it, sleepy farts are funny.

A five AM wake up call occurred Saturday and Sunday morning this weekend on our trip to Des Moines for a wedding.  Our tiny tot, Parker, usually goes to sleep easily and sleeps in late in the comfort of her own crib.  When she sees us sleeping in the same room, as we did in the hotel, it’s game on for partying late into the night and a restless nights’ sleep.

Two mornings in a row her wake up call started with a slow whine, and while both of us likely heard it from the beginning neither of us stirred.  Rolling over, talking to her or even taking a deep breath might indicate readiness to get up with her…  Instead I prayed silently she would nod back off to sleep.  The intermittent whining begins to lengthen and get louder, soon Parker is rubbing her legs back and forth against the pack and play out of boredom.  She begins rolling around and finally sits up, I don’t open my eyes and hold my position as asleep.

Her whimpering language is not one of being scared, needing to be changed or sad.  She very clearly was crying “I’m awake and I see you there in bed and want to be there too.”

Hats off to parents who prefer co-sleeping, it’s painfully difficult for me to sleep in bed with my toddler.  Parker wiggles, squirms and most often ends up asleep sideways in bed between me and my husband.  So at 5AM evaluating the situation in a half sleeping state, I understand picking her up and letting her come into bed will only reinforce her waking up and getting into bed with us at every opportunity we are sleeping in the same room.  My husband and I alternate begging her to lay down and go back to sleep.  I wondered if she would wake up the rest of the 24th floor hotel patrons before she would give up and go back to sleep.

stretched out on the king-sized bed.

Knowing the stubborn streak of genes she inherited, “giving up” is not in this girl’s capabilities.  Reluctantly, I gave in and put her in bed Saturday morning, Sunday morning my husband was the first to give in.  Our silence encouraged her to remain silent from this point forward, although she tried her hardest to wake us up to play.  She climbed on top, put her nose to my nose, jumped between us and playfully fell into the pillows.  I quietly let her know she would have to lay down or go back to her own bed.  Her under two-year old mind understood her choices and she lay her head on my pillow, then on my arm, then on my stomach, then on her daddy – tossing and turning for over an hour until she finally fell back into much needed slumber.

The second morning was the same as the first, with one hilarious outtake which made it all worth bringing Parker to bed.  Somewhere between 5AM and 6:30AM my husband and I lay facing each other with Parker between us.  I watched her roll from my arms to position herself leaning against her daddy with her back side parallel with his stomach.  Almost immediately when she gets herself to this position she begins passing gas, the kind of toot which gets drawn out into a row of highly audible puffs.  And when she is done with this manuever she just as quickly rolled out of the position.  It was as if she had plotted this prank on her daddy, and the hilarity of the situation is it is exactly the kind of prank her daddy would think is funny.  Sleep deprived and slightly delirious the laughter erupted from me despite knowing I shouldn’t encourage my baby intentionally farting on people.  It made me chuckle the whole ride back to Kansas City Sunday afternoon and still now thinking about it I can’t help to giggle.

So tired from her early morning play, we had to wake up Parker to get to a late breakfast date.

Daddy & Daughter Demands

My daughter is becoming fiercely independent.  Don’t get me wrong this is exactly the kind of attribute we want to praise and encourage for her to develop and benefit from throughout her life.  Years from now she will have the strength to stand up for herself and others.  She will be able to advocate for what she needs and she will not take no for an answer…  years from now.

Right now, though, this independence is too much for her to handle.  My daughter wants to be on her stool washing dishes, standing on the toilet to brush her teeth, unlocking the front door after errands, turning on the stereo (and turning the volume waaaay up), reading her own books, cooking, and dressing herself.

I was so pleased when she learned how to pick out a pair of shoes, put them on herself, and cooperate with switching when I told her “wrong foot.”  Even when she is opinionated about choosing the pair which didn’t necessarily coordinate with her outfit, her learning this task made me happy.

Not all of the independent tasks she is trying are coming so easily though, and some of them seem to be incredibly frustrating to her nearly 2-year-old mind.  “No” seemed to be absent from her vocabulary up until the last few months and now it seems too many statements or questions are met with a sharp “NO.”  When she gets stuck in a task she cannot figure out there is tantrum and tears, yelling and refusal of help.  One night over the weekend she fought to put on her own pajamas, whining and squirming with them.  When she got her legs stuck in the arm holes the body flailing began, so mad these pajamas could do her so wrong.

I allow her to have as many opportunities to practice her skills as possible.  I stand outside in the heat for an extra five minutes for her to put the key correctly in the lock, I take the time to show her the correct method to get results, I step in to take over when she has lost control and I spend plenty of time cleaning up her messes.  Let’s face it learning can be dirty sometimes.  I wrestle with thoughts of psychology, child development and reinforcing behaviors, how much is too much and am I raising her right…  Quickly snapping back to reality as duty calls for a second bath for the day when she attempted changing her own diaper in her crib after the nap.

Is this the terrible two’s, has it already arrived four months before she even turns the dreaded age?  This stubborn toddler now demanding her way and don’t help, will be challenging my stress level for how long?  When will she grasp the limitations I put in place for her and stop trying to push it?  (dumb question I realized this after I wrote is since there will be evolving changes all the time.)  The hardest part about meeting her demands is when my husband so honestly pointed out “How will you be able to deal with BOTH of us?”  See he exudes much of the same childlike intolerance for when things don’t go his way, minus the body flailing.

There are far more smiles, hugs and expressions of cooperation then there are the no’s, the tears and the tantrums.  With both my hubby and my toddler I will keep practicing patience, choosing by battles and providing loving support when it’s accepted.

And when my husband voluntarily gets up with my daughter in the morning and serves her chicken, pepperoni and cherries for breakfast.  I’ll just say “Thank you for letting me sleep in” and wake up tomorrow.  Life is perfect right now, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Appreciation for my husband.

A Fall Day

A quiet moment in the leaves, a daddy in love with his daughter!

It seems there are so many times that my husband will go on and on verbalizing, what sounds like thinking out loud regarding plans for what to do month to month, week to week.  Often times I will catch bits of what he is saying and end up tuning a lot out.  Or I have my own train of thoughts going on in my head that overshadow and drown out what he is communicating.

At one point this past weekend while my husband had initiated one of these ramblings of immediate plans, I became aware of my own thoughts and made a determination to focus on his words.  The conversation was like many we have had before, it was not urgent or pressing.  My engagement in the conversation was unique as I tried to quench thinking, problem solving or judging that comes natural.  As to not simplify this process, I want to be clear that I had to continue refocusing and stopping my own intrusion of thoughts.  However, what I discovered was rewarding.

I know my husband wants to be a good person, wants to be a good dad, a good husband, yadda yadda yadda…  However, following this moment of really trying to listen to my husband, my awareness of how strongly this motivates him was raised.  My appreciation of him as a person, the father of my daughter and as the man I am choosing to spend the rest of my life with was put into a clearer perspective.  Listening this way helped me to set aside knowing that I love him and really reinforced one of the reasons why I love him.  It also allowed me an opportunity to validate his position as a leader striving to provide a happy life for his family.

If there is one thing that I know about marriage whether it’s from 3 years of personal experience or from every other married person’s advice…  Marriage is work.  It takes a daily effort to show and receive affection, to share and to listen.  I thought I was working daily on my marriage, it’s now that I am aware I was not really doing the listening part well.  Dropping my own thoughts and taking in what someone else is saying is hard work, and it is worth the effort.  Really hearing my husband’s words no matter how big or small the issue will help maintain on our relationship.