Sunday, July 24, 2011

10 things your husband wishes you knew about him...

we talked the other day about what we wish our husbands knew about us. well that door swings both ways! while i've never actually been a husband, i have managed to hang onto one for 11 years (barely :) i've learned a few things from him and i asked a few really great guys i know. so here goes... (guys, feel free to chime in if i'm off base here!)

10. they're not as complicated as we make them out to be. they usually meant exactly what they said. if he says he's fine, he probably is! stop trying to analyze everything!

9. jokes about size are never funny. ever.

8. the game really is that important.

7. threatening to call your father in law to fix something in order to motivate your husband is sneaky and manipulative. (but it totally works!)

6. men need to be told they are attractive just as much as women do.

5. men will usually do just about anything to make their wives happy... if we would just let them know what exactly it is that will accomplish that!

4. when your husband sees you naked, he's most likely not seeing your stretchmarks or love handles. he's seeing his wife naked. he's not going to really notice all those things unless you are constantly pointing them out!

3. sex for a man is a need, not a want. and they do not have to be "in the mood". they're always in the mood. if they're not, check to make sure they are breathing! here's the kicker: women need to feel close their husbands to want sex. men need sex to feel close to their wives. a really good way to deepen your intimacy with your husband is to have more sex. even if you don't feel like it. you won't regret it ;)

2. even more than love, they need respect. they not only want to be treated with respect at home but publicly. we've all been around that couple where the wife talks to her husband like he's a mentally challenged 7 year old. not a good way to stay married!

1. good men are hard to find and many women don't realize they already have one. instead of comparing your man to someone else's (and always letting him know where he falls short!) practice appreciating him for who he is. and tell him. often. he'll love to hear it. just like you do!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

10 things your wife wishes you knew...

it's 103 degrees here in lovely ohio. it's wonderful, truly. we went swimming today and it was almost too hot for it. too hot for swimming. what the fudge round? anywho, i was thinking about all of the things that we, as wives, wish our men already knew about us. without having to be told. or reminded. or nagged. this list is in no way comprehensive. just the tip of the iceberg really!

10. while we are cooking dinner is never a good time to start groping us. it doesn't make us feel sexy. it makes us want to kick you. but we're trying to teach the kids not to be aggressive. so stop it. same goes for when bathing a child, doing laundry or nursing a baby. that last one is totally a conflict of interest.

9. never, ever tell us how your mom does something. whether it's a good or a bad thing. just don't.

8. if you would like all of the parts of your body to remain attached to your body, never refer to anything housekeeping related as "our job".

7. foreplay? try mopping the kitchen. that's a good start.

6. we need to be told we are beautiful, often. a general rule of thumb is the more babies= more compliments. an example of a compliment gone wrong? "look honey! your thighs almost don't rub together anymore!" (yes, i've actually heard that one) on the flipside, husbands like to hear it too ladies! look impressed any time he takes his shirt off. it's only fair!

5. pretty much any time you start a sentence with "smell this..." my answer is gonna be NO.

4. letting the kids destroy the house while allowing us to sleep in is not really helping us in the end.

3. a victoria's secret gift card for our birthday is not a gift for us. who are you kidding?

2. always act like you'd rather spend time with us than your friends, even if it's not true. we'll give you the same respect.

1. "honey, my back is killing me. can you give me a massage?" is not code for "try as hard as you can to have sex." and when we say that to you, it is not code for "try even harder" or "try after we fall asleep". just thought you should know that.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

some word i need to say...

when i was a little girl i used to watch the donna reed show on nick at night. i always imagined that was what my life would look like when i grew up. i would meet my husband at the door in heels with a cocktail every day. we'd laugh at the shenanigans our children would get into with a knowing smile. all of our problems would be wrapped up into a neat little bow and life would be relatively easy. i'm not sure why i thought that. it certainly didn't reflect my own household. my parents divorced when i was only a baby and my mother and stepfather spent most of my childhood trying to stay married. they are happy now, but growing up was a different story. my biological father was an addict who occasionally strolled into town to cause more havoc than anything else. i don't want to give the impression that it was all bad. my mother loved me with a devotion and completeness that i only hope to replicate with my own children. she raised us with patience, discipline and a desire to love Jesus. i'm just saying i never had a picture of a healthy marriage.
my husband, on the other hand, grew up with a pretty typical middle america life. his parents are still married, they love each other deeply, they raised their kids to the best of their ability and there was no major traumas in their upbringing. even still, we entered marriage as flawed beings. it became apparent early on that the donna reed show was not happening. we struggled through those first few years. we managed to seek wise counsel, work hard on our marriage and come through better. we spend the next five or six years pretty blissful. we had our minor issues but mostly it was smooth sailing. then a few years ago everything changed. in a span of two years we faced an three unexpected deaths, an unplanned baby, a catastrophic medical emergency, severe depression, near financial ruin, among other things. all while raising a large family. needless to say, our marriage suffered.
we became people who put up with one another "for the sake of our children".
people who slept separately.
people who were drowning under the weight of things left unsaid.
i found myself resenting that my happy ending was turning into a nightmare. i had grown up vacillating between thinking i was too dysfunctional to have a happy marriage or that i deserved one from my upbringing. either way, i wasn't getting it. i've shared many times that my fall back emotion is always anger. anger is safe for me. it is not vulnerable. in some ways, it is my oldest companion. the harder things got, the more i lashed out. at eli, at my family, at my kids, at anyone near enough to take it. the more angry i became, the more he withdrew into his own misery. all while we tried to "play normal" for our children and our friends and our church. i swore when i decided to marry i would never divorce. there were moments during this time when i thought "i'm going to be miserable like this forever." i'm a fighter by nature. i'm ambitious. i go for what i want and i'm tenacious until i get it. but this defeated me. i was too tired and worn down and hurt to fight. at the time when i needed that spirit the most, i was too apathetic to access it. when i reached a point where i really felt like i was having a nervous breakdown, about a year and a half ago, i went to see a counselor. i sat in his office and it all came out. all of it. more than i ever realized was in there. we talked about my husband and my dads and my childhood and my ministry and all of the things in between. i felt better leaving that day than i had in a long time, simply from letting it all out. i felt the anger go down just a notch. for the first time, i thought "maybe this can be saved.". while i wanted God to wave his wand (does he even have a wand? i don't think so!) and fix Eli, He had work to do in me. i remember one day sitting in that office spewing all of the reasons i should be angry and resentful at my husband. i lamented that i was at the end of my rope and out of options. my counselor looked at me and said "he needs you to love him unconditionally. because if you won't, he can't trust anyone else to." can i just be honest and say that is the last thing i wanted to hear? seriously. the last. but it was exactly what i needed to hear. i drove home that day and asked the Lord to help me love him. i confessed how angry i was. not only at eli, but at God for not fixing this sooner. and from that point on, he started answering that prayer. i wish i could tell you it all turned into a fairytale after that. in all honesty, it had to get a lot worse before God could redeem it. we both have visited places in our innermost selves in the last year that i don't think either of us ever want to visit again. i have felt a desperation for Jesus comparable to nothing i had ever experienced before. i have had moments where i literally felt like i was hanging off the side of the life boat clutching with my other hand our entire family. i don't say all of that to be dramatic. it's the only way i can think to describe it. i can tell you, unequivocally, without any doubt or reservation that Jesus has never forsaken me.
He has truly carried me. He has sheltered my broken heart. He has picked up the pieces of our shattered marriage and made something beautiful and new of it. He has made us love each other in a fierce and passionate way again. He has made all things new. i never thought i would be able to say that. but i am here to testify... there is nothing beyond His grasp. there is nothing so broken he cannot fix it. and i just wanted you to know that.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

i get by with a little help from my friends...

good friends are super hard to find, we've discussed this before... aquantances, neighbors, family members... these are a dime a dozen! but real, true friends? not an easy task! i've been reminded lately how rare they are and how blessed i am to have several. so here we go:

top ten things you can only tell a true friend!

10. the friend you can tell that you are still wearing maternity pants, six months after having a baby. on the same note, that you still wear a maternity swimsuit. and only a friend with a couple of kids under her belt will tell you she's wearing them too!

9. only another sleep deprived mom would be able to remotely understand that you would rather meet at the out of the way, ghetto playground instead of the newer, cooler one because then you won't have to put on mascara. or spanx. no chance of seeing anyone you know at that one. and that one time that some 10 year old tried to sell the kids weed was a totally a fluke, right?

8. there are parts of a marriage intended to remain private. not to be discussed among girlfriends. but you have to have at least one friend that you can admit to that you put on your ugly granny panties as a silent sign to your husband that you are off limits. if that doesn't dissuade him i don't know what will...

7. the friend who you can tell that your kids have lice. no explanation necessary.

6. the friend who won't judge you for occasionally wanting to hide in the pantry and drink. she's been there. she won't tell you to be thankful that you are blessed with children. she knows you can be thankful while still wanting to strangle the little dears.

5. the friend that will bring you dinner after you have a baby instead of a white dress that they will poop all over the first time they wear it. complete with dessert and disposable containers.

4. the friend that isn't afraid to discipline your children. in fact, she knows them so well she can even middle name them. when you have "high spirited" children, you need at least one friend strong enough to leave them with!

3. the friend who can see you cry and will know you are not crazy. you are simply a mother of young children who hasn't slept in three years.

2. the friend who doesn't lose her baby weight before she ever leaves the hospital. i have several close (really skinny) friends and i love them to death. but sometimes you just need a friend who's battling every stinkin calorie right along with you.

1. the friend who you can laugh, cry, snark, yell, cuss, smile and just simply be with. she's seen you at your worst and she still likes you. she knows you sometimes yell at your kids and she understands. she brings you chocolate when you really need it. you would do anything in the world for her and she would for you. hard to find and important to keep. she's a real friend!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

who says you can't entertain 8 kids with $4?

Saturday, July 2, 2011

a birthday fit for a princess!

guess who's 7 this weekend?

this girl!

i wanted to plan something fun for her that would be different, exciting and not too expensive :) we usually just have a cookout on her birthday and see fireworks, since her actual day is the 3rd. this year we did things a bit different. we had a scavenger hunt! all she knew ahead of time was that we were celebrating her birthday. no other details. we told her she'd just have to find out when her first clue arrived! so imagine her excitement when the doorbell rang yesterday to reveal her best friend, katelyn, holding a clue!

"the very first step in this super fun quest
is a visit to the "fake aunt" you love the best!
p.s. one dog treat will be required to get the next clue!"

so off we went to columbus, to my bff mandi's house! (who my kids like to refer to as their fake aunt!~)
upon arrival, they were presented with the second clue. (after giving her lovable chocolate lab, brodie, a few treats!)

"here's the next clue:
where does mandi love to eat?
i hope it smells yummy and not like stinky feet!"

we promptly went to red robin, of course, aunt mandi's favorite restaurant! my dad and brother were already there waiting for us! the kids had never eaten there (and quite honestly, don't get to eat in sit down restaurants often. it's pricey with so many kids!)

aliyah, katelyn & mandi's niece, iris!

they sang to her and brought a big sundae!
(and her next clue!)

"where aunt mandi works,
all day and some night.
we'll go there right now,
to see a cool sight!"

we were off to ohio state medical center! when we arrived, she was immediately given another clue...

"to the top of the building,
as high as a kite,
we'll take the elevator,
that sounds just right!"

we took the elevator to the very top floor, the roof!
only more clue to go...

"one last clue,
to unwrap a gift,
must know the answer,
not slow but swift!
think very hard,
don't strain your head
what comes in the sky?
blue, white and red?"

of course she figured out that we were there to watch the famous "red, white and boom" atop the hospital!

so while we waited for day...

to become night...

we had fun! aunt mandi, genius at entertaining children, brought fake mustaches for the kids. it was hilarious and a huge hit. (more about that later!)

she opened her gift, which was an american girl doll complete with several outfits.

it was a great (long, exhausting...) night!
the kids had a blast.
the adults had fun, too.
happy july 4th from me to you!