Marriage: It’s Beautiful. It’s Natural. It’s Incredible

Married love is a funny thing. Built on a foundation of respect, honesty, commitment, and genuine friendship, it has to be nurtured, protected, developed, and honored. It’s almost like a child in a way – you give birth to it when you walk down the aisle. Then in the first few years of teaching it to “walk” or “work,” there are bumps and bruises as you get a feel for it. Finally, the cruising begins and you’re on your way…to more lessons, bumps and bruises, failures, and triumphs. Yet through it all, you have each other.

And while many in today’s society view marriage as antiquated, unnecessary, or even unrealistic (despite scores of happily married couples who beg to differ), those of us who are married know how joyful, fulfilling, and secure it can be. That’s why it’s so important to work to keep your marriage happy and healthy. I want to do something a little different today. Instead of telling you ways to keep your marriage spark alive, I want to help you understand the reason it is so crucial – and what can happen if you choose to let the flame extinguish.

– See more at: http://www.gospeltoday.com/blog/2015/03/02/marriage-its-beautiful-its-natural-its-incredible/#sthash.BrfcbnaL.dpuf

The Greatest Show On Earth . . . Part 2

Circus popcorn

I told you Monday about how we got into the circus for the low low. Now I’ll tell you how I kept quiet a couple of little boys who eat for sport … and want everything in sight.

– Feed them – good – before we go inside. And I don’t mean in the food court of the venue, where prices are sky high. We stroll past Chick Fil A or another restaurant where it’s food they like, they can fill up, and it doesn’t break the bank.
– Strike up a deal, almost immediately. Their eyes will glaze over at the toys and gadgets they could buy. Then hamburgers, hot dogs and pizza, oh my! I scope out the prices and find something they can both SHARE. Don’t you want Popcorn? Bingo. Redirected.
– Bring in a few goodies of your own, if you can. A snack pack of cheezits or something similar can go a long way after the salt and butter of the popcorn have worn off.
– Eat slowly. Doesn’t always work, but I try to slow them down.
– Give them something to look forward to. No, I’m not going to buy any other items (gotta stick to my budget). But when we get home we’ll have a special snack and talk about our fun time.
My tricks don’t always work, but use a few together … and you’ve got a winner.

The Greatest Show On Earth . . . My Way

Boys at circus

Yep, I did it my way. I took my princes to see the circus the only way I know how – economically. Let me give you a few tricks of the trade to save money on ticketed events.

– Always google the word “discounts” or “coupons” with whatever event you’re going to. In this case I searched for “circus discounts” and found out about an awesome program at the local library. Read 5 books, get a free child’s ticket with an adult purchase. Bam.
– Sign up online to receive emails from the company. I’ve done this several times and gotten great details re: early sales, ways to save, etc. I signed up for the birthday club from Legoland and got free entry for each boy during his birthday month.
– Facebook. I sign up for the company’s facebook page, and tap into some of my “frugal” networks to see what deals they’ve unearthed. Our local paper also has a column on seeing Atlanta cheap. I stay on top of that.
– Check out all of the savings websites. Groupon, ScoreBig, Living Social and Goldstar are just a few. I scour these sites to compare which deal is the best.

We loved gaining admission, paying less than normal.

Coming soon … how I saved money once we got inside.

Live and On Fire Part II

Mrs Always Right

On Monday I talked about some fun things you can do to really enjoy each other as a married couple, when the kids aren’t around. Well, most of us don’t have built in sitter services anytime we want them (though my incredible sisters-in-law are the next best thing). So what can we do to keep the fires burning when we have our little people in tow?

– Put on their favorite movie, go sit in another room, cuddle and talk.
– Put them to bed, surprise your honey with their favorite snack, and put on a movie
– Hide in the bedroom and have a full conversation (not my best idea, but sometimes you just have to)
– Begin each day greeting each other with a hug or kiss
– Did I mention sleep? Sometimes we have to do this in shifts. Technically, it doesn’t count since we’re not doing it together. But we’ll be better for each other after a good nap.

Live and On Fire

Mr and Mrs

We walked hand in hand. We laughed. We talked. And most importantly, we slept. Yes, that describes the sometimes romantic but mostly relieving Valentine’s weekend we, as parents of young boys, enjoyed. In years past I’ve hyped up Valentine’s, expecting flowers and a night of fairytale romance. And then there were two. Two young boys, that is. And my dreamy and sometimes unattainable thoughts of grandeur dissolved into a reality consisting of a messy house, a tired body and a busy husband. But I’ve figured out a way to still keep that fire burning (most of the time). Here’s a look at how to do it when you can drop the little ones off with relatives. Thursday I’ll look at how you can do it with the kids around (gotta be creative, but it can be done).

– Go visit the place where your hubby proposed. Grab each of your favorite snack, sit and reminisce.
– Fire up the Nintendo or Xbox, and play the games that the kids hog all week. It’s so much fun!
– Go see that movie you’ve been dying to see.
– Have a wonderful dinner, complete with uninterrupted conversation. So that’s what it feels like to finish a thought?
– Wait. Listen. What do you hear? Nothing. Enjoy that sound.
– And me and my hubby’s favorite? Sleep. ;)

Love This Mom Life

Up before the sun
Breakfast cooking, clothes preparing
Clear the table when we’re done
Hugs and kisses I am sharing

Appointments, lessons, things to do
The list itself just does not end
There is always something new
Another playdate – another friend

Practice, rehearsal, activities, games
Scarf down dinner in between
Day after day, more of the same
I cheer, I shout,support and glean

And when it’s over, their day ends
After baths, to bed they go
I rest briefly, ready again
To be here with love. I’m here. They know.

Love This Mom Life.

Love Me Some Him

My youngest son and I are opposites. I’m outgoing, he refuses to communicate. I’m pretty affectionate, he’s … not. When it’s time to be calm and reserved, he thinks it’s time to get buck wild. Though we are alike in one critically important way – we both love chocolate and macaroni and cheese. Lol. But I digress. Let’s just say, with two completely different personalities, there may not seem to be a lot of common ground.

Yet there is in one very important way. Love. I love my sweet four year old baby boy. I love his little fat juicy hands and cheeks. I love the way he talks. I love his smile. I love to see him run, happily playing, without a care in the world (even if he’s wearing me out). I love to hear him sing and laugh. I love to see him lick his lips and rub his belly for his favorite foods. And I love to cuddle with him.

As a parent I’m learning that it’s not about trying to get my kids to fit in a certain mold for me, or about seeing how “like me” they can be. It’s about loving them for who they are, as the precious gifts God meant them to be. And I do love me some him.

Yes, But He’s Mine

I had a harrowing day. Dentist appointment, school, business calls in the middle of grammar assignments, grocery shopping, son that ran buck wild around the store (there truly is not another way to describe it), basketball practice, baths, prayers and bed. To say I am exhausted would be an understatement. As my mind wanders over my day, it becomes fixed on one point … one little 4-year-old point to be exact. My youngest son (the one who ran around the store and screamed, crazy and carefree). It took all of my energy – mental, physical, emotional – to maintain composure. I warned. I was firm. I threatened. I finally pleaded. Nothing worked to calm him down. He wasn’t upset mind you … just having fun. I felt the other shoppers’ eyes. Some were scathing. A few came over and told me how “cute” he was (not quite sure how they meant it). A few times I wanted to pretend I didn’t know him. But as I think back over it all, I come to one conclusion … this kid is pure energy with legs. He’s loud, wild, funny, maddening, silly, frustrating and exhausting. But he’s mine. And I love him just the way he is.

Of course I can say that now … lol. But if you see me out shopping … don’t ask.

Working It Out

I feel like a lot of my posts are about decisions. It seems like life is decision, after decision, after decision! Some are small – what to eat for breakfast, what to wear today, makeup or no makeup. Then there are slightly more weighty decisions … what school curriculum to use, what activities to involve the kids in, do I schedule that meeting this week or next. Important decisions, yes, life or death, no. My problem is, I make some of the important decisions, out to be life or death. Do you ever catch yourself doing that? I hate it because I get stressed out about something that will work out just fine in the end. I’m not diminishing the value of moving in God’s timing or doing things when they need to be done. But sometimes, it just ain’t that serious. Let this encourage those of you who can be a bit like me. Breathe, relax, take a step back. It will all work out.