Tag Archives: kids

Relationship Advice #9

Standard

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart as working for the Lord  not for men.”  Colossians 3:23

Our wedding day

Rachel and Jake,

For the past few years I have written to you here, here, and here with a variety of relationship advice for you to use in your everyday life.  Your Mama’s “pearls of wisdom,” as I like to call them, are not meant for mastery but more for your own reflection.  These little pieces of advice that I give are things that I am working on myself in my relationships and are in no way anything that I have mastered or do day in and day out.  Simply put, each year when your father’s and my anniversary rolls around, I reflect on what I have learned over the last year or what stuck out as the most pressing piece of advice I want to share with you.

When the time comes for you to get married, my hope is that you’ll be able to see what it takes to make a marriage last for a lifetime.  Your father and I have committed to the vows we made before God to love, honor and cherish each other as long as we live. It’s a large scale promise that can only be fulfilled by purposely choosing how we make up those day-to-day moments that create a lifetime of loving each other. What do those moments look like? Well, sweet little ones, that’s what I hope these posts will help you understand.

IMG_2890.JPG

{Relationships are a lot like sledding.  You have to mentally prepare yourself beforehand, get all of the tools you need in place and then you get to enjoy the ride! When you think you’re done, you just get back up, climb the hill again and head back down for some more adventure! Important note–It’s more fun if you enjoy the people you are sledding with.}

So, here it is, relationship advice number nine. It might sound a bit odd, but just bear with me here: get a hobby.  Yes, that’s right, a hobby.  The key to happiness does not rely on  relationships alone.  You need to be able to find things that make you feel happy and content and confident in yourself because as you will find in your life, and I’m sorry to say this, but people and relationships will sometimes disappoint you.  You need to be able to find satisfaction and fulfillment outside of relationships so that when the chips are down you can still have something that brings happiness into your life. On the flip side of that, your hobby will allow you to share your joy with others and many times will bring new and varied relationships in to your life.   God has given you specific interests and skill sets for a reason–it is up to you to develop and explore the natural talents He has given you!IMG_3135

Relationship Advice #9: Get a hobby. It could even be something that doesn’t have to involve the other person at first, if you want.  “How does that work?,” you might wonder. Or “What does that have to do with anything?” Well, that’s the beauty of this blog, just let me tell you…

IMG_2972.JPG

According to the researchers at the School of Medicine at Temple University, engaging in a hobby awakens the area of the brain that produces positive feelings and reduces stress.  Doing a particular task that you enjoy can enhance your ability to concentrate and encourages self-motivation and increases self-confidence.  All of these can have a profound impact on your relationship with those around you.

097.JPG

Over the past few years your father and I have developed several hobbies.  Some we share with each other, and some we do completely on our own. Having a hobby that we can share together is a fun way to connect with each other, especially during these years when most of our conversation centers around you.  For example, in the past year or so your Dad and I have started exploring craft beers together.  We enjoy trying new beers together and finding beers for each other that we think we might like.  Sometimes we are surprised at how well we know the other person’s taste!

After you are in bed for the night, sometimes we will try a new beer together while we talk about the day or anything else that might be on our mind.  It’s a way for us to purposefully make an effort to connect with each other. Recently your Dad has even started learning how to brew his own beer with a friend.  I fully support that endeavor and enjoy reaping the benefits of it as well! IMG_3656.JPG

Photography has been a bit of an outlet for me lately.  I enjoy taking pictures and have been blessed to be able to share some of the joy that you, my children, bring me through sharing my photos with others.  I have been humbled that other people have chosen me to take their family photos and am loving some of the experiences and doors that photography has opened up for me.  It was completely unexpected, but it was an outlet your father (and some really great friends) encouraged me to explore!

IMG_6616

It’s no secret that your Dad has always been in to cars and Corvettes especially.  When we first started dating I thought “Go to a car show? Really??” Sometimes your friend or spouse might have a hobby that you are “just not that into.” And that’s ok! But, please try to like it for that other person.  There is always something that can be gained from new experiences.  Something that brings joy to your friend or partner can in some way bring joy to you too.  Even if it’s just spending time together or having something that you do together to support each other–it’s important!

IMG_6588.JPG

Who knows, some day you may like it and end up taking your kids there and posing them beside sweet Corvettes that you never really appreciated before your relationship began.  You might realize that it’s really not that bad, after all.  And when you find yourself saying “Hey, want to take the Corvette out and take pictures of it on some crazy back road I found?” you’ll realize that your two worlds have collided in the best way possible and then you’ll realize that the things that you thought were weird in your younger years really aren’t that bad after all.  Because in the end, my little ones, it’s all about supporting each other and bringing parts of yourself into a relationship.

IMG_3301.JPG

Trying something new can be a good thing when you look at it as an adventure or as a way to learn about new things.  In fact, we should welcome change and new opportunity into our lives because it helps evolve who we are as a person. Our lives weren’t meant to be stagnant.  You will grow and change throughout your lifetime and you want to be sure that you surround yourself with people who are going to encourage you and support your interests too.

If you want someone who is going to support you, then you need to be willing to do that for them, as well.  Being a good friend requires having a willingness to grow and bond over new experiences.  After all, no two  people are ever exactly the same.  Everyone comes in to a relationship with their own set of experiences and beliefs that can impact the way they view certain situations. Celebrate those differences, encourage others to pursue what makes them happy and enjoy the ride as they find their place in this world.

IMG_6592.JPG

I’ll leave you with one final thought, which happens to be an excerpt from an exceptional author.  Read these words and try to let them really sink in.  It took me a long time before I finally got the gist of what he meant.

Let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.  Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.  Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.  Give one another of your bread, but eat not from the same loaf.  Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are along though they quiver with the same music.  Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.  For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.  And stand together, yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow. ~ Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

IMG_3843.JPG

I love you more than you will ever know.  To the moon and back.

Love always,

Mommy

ps. Happy 9th Anniversary, Tim! Thank you for always supporting me and encouraging me and for helping me find my hobby!

 

2015: A Year to Remember

Standard

Dear Rachel and Jake,

Wow! 2015 was an awesome year for our family! Here’s a look back on some (ok, ok, A LOT) of our most memorable moments.  It seems like this year just flew right by us! I guess that’s what happens when you are busy having fun! 🙂

 

I am so thankful for the gift of motherhood itself, but most of all, I am especially thankful for the little ones who call me “Mom.” Life is good.  2016, we are ready for you!

I love you to the moon and back.

Love always,

Mommy

xoxo

Happy 2nd Birthday, Jake!

Standard

Happiest of birthdays to you, baby Jake! You are our smiling, happy go lucky, sweet little boy.  You can be found at any given point of any given day reading, emptying drawers, or playing with your trucks.  No pair of shoes is safe with you around–you claim them all as your own! You LOVE to run and jump and kick soccer balls.  It certainly didn’t take long for you to learn to push yourself on the scooter, and did we mention you taught Rachel how to drive the PowerWheels Corvette? JakeTurnsTwo-2

 

There are so many things I’d like to say to you about how sweet you are and how precious you will always be to me, but my words are failing me right now.  Instead I have a little bit of a lump in my throat thinking about that teeny tiny baby that I held in my arms the first day you were born. So delicate and sweet. I remember your tiny little hands and how they would grasp to hold on to mine anytime yours were set free.  I knew right away that you were “my” little baby, the one that I had prayed for since I was a little girl, given to us to bring so much love and joy to our family.  Since then you have done that and so much more! We love you more than anything, sweet babe!

JakeTurnsTwo-28

JakeTurnsTwo-39

JakeTurnsTwo-45

Sometimes it’s still surreal for me to think about all those times I prayed for you before you were born.  I remember praying for my future children when I was just a little girl…and now here you and your sister are.  I had no idea what you were going to look like or act like, or how your little personality would light up my life, but I knew that I would love you always–because I already did! You are such a blessing little Jake, I hope you always remember that.

JakeTurnsTwo-47

Thank you for reminding me that it’s o.k. if things don’t always go according to plan.  Thank you for reminding me that it’s o.k. to smile…even if people don’t smile back, that doesn’t take away from the smile that you gave.  You help me to appreciate the little things in life.  I’ve never paid as much attention to birds flying by, ants crawling on the ground, or cars stopping at a stop sign before you were born.  When the wind blows, you stop and close your eyes just to be able to feel it blow across your face.  I could cry at the sweetness of your innocence and it reminds me what life is all about.  Thank you for that, Jake.

JakeTurnsTwo-49

JakeTurnsTwo-58

JakeTurnsTwo-76

You are the best Jake I could ever ask for.  Thank you for being so precious and perfect for our family.  Being your Mom is truly one of the greatest blessings in my life.  I love you always, little Jake.

JakeTurnsTwo-69

To the moon and back.

Happy Birthday, little buddy.  xoxo

Love always,

Mommy

 

I love you so…

Standard

Rachel,

After story time one evening, I carried you over to your bed and we talked about your day and laughed while I tickled you in such a way that you could barely catch your breath.  “I love you so much!” I told you before leaving your room; it’s always the last thing I want you to hear from me before you close your little eyes and drift off to sleep for the night.

rachel1

“I love you so peanut butter and jelly!” you said in a fit of giggles as I kissed you goodnight and tucked you in to bed.  In your silliness and sweetness I couldn’t help but feel a lump catch in my throat because I knew what you meant.  I knew that was your way of telling me that you loved me as much as one of your favorite things in this world–peanut butter and jelly! It was your way of saying “I love you to the moon and back!” and your way of saying “I love you so much!” Only it was more meaningful than any of those because you put your feelings in to your own words.  I was reminded in that moment that you are growing up so quickly and it seemed like just yesterday that you were six months old and learning how to crawl and now here you are joking with me and telling me that you love me, more than just an “I love you too!” Time is flying by, little one…

In all the silliness, I know there was great truth behind what you were saying.  You made the word “love” make sense in your own special way, in an endearingly sweet way that only a three year old can.  Trust me, if your Daddy ever told me he loved me “so beer,” I would not be sharing the same sentiment about it.  🙂

I love your spunk! Here you are trying your absolute best to wink at me! :)

I love your spunk! Here you are trying your absolute best to wink at me! 🙂

“I love you so (insert favorite thing here)!” has become a sort of common expression in our house these days.  If we have pizza for dinner, you can bet someone will say “I really love pizza.  Rachel, I love you so pizza!” or if we are watching Frozen (for the 40,000th time) that day, it’s “I love you so Frozen!”

Our first secret code. How exciting and terribly sweet that it relates to love and spreading happiness to those around us.

After all, I love you so Rachel and Jake!

photo (2)

Love always,

Mommy

xoxo

Happy New Year

Standard

This New Year’s eve, Tim and I have decided to ring in the new year while gorging our faces with delicious food while catching up on episodes of Downton Abbey.  We’ll go in and kiss our babes at midnight and probably let Rachel con us into sleeping in our bed.  These days, huge New Year’s parties are put to the wayside for a quiet night in with our favorite kids and tv shows.  It’s not elaborate, it’s not fancy or wildly exciting, but is still extremely and deeply fulfilling.  Life is good.

2014 was a great year for our family.  We spent much of the year learning and growing as a family of 4. I have included a montage of some of my favorite memories from the past year.  Looking forward, I can’t wait to see what 2015 has in store for us.  I am so blessed and thankful to be going through this life with my littles and my sweet husband (who a lot of times just doesn’t get enough credit for all that he does for us!).

 

Happy New Year’s eve, everyone! May 2015 be all that you hope it to be.

Love,

Jen

 

 

 

 

 

Happy 3rd Birthday, Rachel!

Standard

Sweet Rachel,

rachel5

rachel4

Happy 3rd birthday to you, little lady! You are, without a doubt, a mover and a shaker these days! You love to sing (at the top of your lungs!) and dance and twirl until your heart’s content.  You love to build and paint and draw and imagine.  You are quite intuitive for being so young and often come over to check on me just to make sure I’m ok.  You love your dolls (especially “Polka Dot Baby” who you named after the type of nighgown she wore), and you love being outside.  You are loving, you are kind and you are special.  You have an amazing gift, my Rachel dear.  You have the gift of being able to make others smile.  Everywhere we go, people stop to talk to you.  Time and time again I watch these new found friends leave with smiles on their faces after spending a few minutes with you.  I hope you are always such a people person and that you always know that you have the ability to make the world a better and happier place just by being you!

rachel6

rachel1

 

For your birthday this year, your Daddy and Jakie and I decided to get you your favorite horsey that we have been “visiting” at Target since the summer.  Literally every trip we have taken to Target since June has included a trip down aisle E5 to visit your favorite horse.  When it came time for your birthday could we really ever get you anything else instead? You spent all day loving on this horse–petting it, washing it, brushing it’s hair, cleaning the saddle and just snuggling it in general.  You told me that you “wuv dat horse SOOO much!” By the end of the day, you had decided to name your horse “Hershey.” You are quite the proud owner.

rachel3

rachel2

You are a Daddy’s girl through and through.  This year when we asked you what you wanted on your cake and suggested that you pick one of your favorite things (Minnie Mouse, Frozen characters, princesses, etc.) you immediately said you wanted to have Daddy on your cake! In the weeks leading up to your birthday we reminded you again that you could have any cake you wanted for your birthday and you still were insistent that you had to have a cake with your Daddy on it. Then you’d say so sweetly “But Mommy, Daddy is my favorite fing!” (fing=”thing” in toddler talk) that we just couldn’t say no! “The Daddy Cake” might just be one of my sweetest memories of you yet.  You sure do love him, and he loves you too, little one.

daddycake1

daddycake2

We love you so much, Rachel.  More than words in this blog post could ever even begin to describe.  I remember the night you were born when Daddy had fallen asleep and it was just you and I snuggling together on my hospital bed.  I remember holding you in my arms and realizing that everything in my life changed in just a matter of a few short hours.  The old me was replaced by a “new” me–a better me.  A “me” that was made to be your mommy–and to be here for you.  Always.

Moments after Rachel was born. And so the journey begins...

I love you to the moon and back.

Love always,

Mommy

xoxoxo

Happy Halloween

Standard

halloween2

halloween5

 

Happy Halloween, little cuties! You both enjoyed trick-or-treating and passing out candy to kids as they came to visit.  Even though baby Jake had an ear infection (that we didn’t know about yet!), he didn’t let that stop him from smiling and having a good time.  Rachel enjoyed being Snow White and could be found curtsying and twirling at a moment’s notice.

halloween4

 

This year we are having our fill of pumpkins, mums, apple cider, candy corn and It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! Leaves are changing and falling, temperatures are dropping and days are getting shorter, but we are determined to make the most of all of it!

halloween

 

Where is the picture of them together, you ask? Well, Jake literally never stopped moving to get one taken.  He LOVED walking around in his little lion costume and I have to admit I loved watching him!  The best I could get of them together was when they decided to take a walk down the street to visit the neighbors.

halloween3

Happy Halloween, friends! Until next year…