Friday, April 25, 2014

five years

Five years ago we said our vows in front of about one hundred friends and family members. In some ways, it seems like it was forever ago, and in others its hard to believe its already been five years. Looking back at pictures of our wedding day, I have to laugh, because we seem like such babies. We were barely out of college, I had just turned 22 years old. We were totally clueless, and literally living on love and lunch money. We moved to Winston Salem where I started working night shift as a nurse and we began our journey on this road called marriage.

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I think as we hit this five year mark we look back, let out a big sigh of relief, and can say with confidence “We made it.” We made it to the first big milestone in a marriage, the five year mark. We’ve made it through a lot of tough stuff over the past five years. We made it through unemployment, moves, job changes, and hard decisions. We made it through our first pregnancy, and the first two years of parenthood (which deserves a medal in itself!). We’ve celebrated, laughed, and shared a lot of love in these five years. We’ve traveled and seen new places, and at the same time we’ve made some roots in this small town. And here we are on the other side. In some ways we are still those two kids who love baseball, road trips, and are perfectly content to just be in each others company. But looking back, we are so different now.

I think that until you are in a marriage, you really have no idea how much changes in such a short amount of time. You become adults together and navigate this crazy world, doing your best to work hard, plan for the future, and have a little bit of fun all at the same time. Five years ago we didn’t’ have a care in the world other than finally being together and living in the same town under the same roof after being in a long distance relationship for a couple of years. We were worried about paying $100 for Josie because John was unemployed and we weren’t sure we could afford it. I laugh at it now, because here we are. We have a son, we are parents, we have two great jobs, and we are getting ready to start building our dream home. Our conversations used to revolve around college sports, and our plans for the weekend, and who knows what else. Now our conversations are about housework and house plans, and finances, and Landon’s day at preschool, and who’s turn it is to change the poopy diaper.

If anything over the past five years, I’ve learned how strong we really are, how hard life can be sometimes, but how lucky I am to walk through it all with my best friend by my side. We’ve overcome a lot, and we have so much to be thankful for. When we were in need, the Lord provided. His Hand has been on our marriage from day one, and we are fully aware of how he has perfectly planned and guided our steps.

I can’t help but get excited as we start this next chapter of our marriage together. These past five years have taught us so much about faith, and love, and what a marriage truly is. I can only imagine what the next five hold, and the five after that, and after that until we are old and gray and he calls me his crazy old woman and I call him my grumpy old man.

Happy Five Year Anniversary John, we made it! I am so incredibly thankful that I get to share this life with you- I love you and can’t wait to see what else God has in store for us!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter 2014

 

If you were to ask me what my favorite holiday was, my first thought is almost never Thanksgiving or Christmas. Don’t get me wrong, I love those two holidays and the chaos that comes along with them, but they’re not really my favorites. Nope, my favorites are Easter and the Fourth of July. I find every year I learn more about the importance of Easter as a Christian and what it means for my faith and I look so forward to church that morning and eating lunch with family that afternoon. I also am loving incorporating the non-religious traditions that come with it, like dying eggs with Landon and his cousins, and collecting surprises for his Easter basket. This was the first year I actually got my act together and made Landon an Easter basket, and it was so exciting! His first Easter fell right around the time I went back to work from maternity leave, and lets face it, I was the best I could just doing the day to day. I also think I had to work the Easter weekend, so a basket was the farthest thing from my mind. His second Easter, I got him a couple goodies, but no basket. But this year? I finally got it all together and Landon couldn’t have cared less. Once he found the M&M’s he had no interest in seeing what else was in the basket. One track mind, I tell you- this boy loves him some candy.

Easter morning was fairly rough, our spirited two year old is testing every boundary possible and the tantrums that morning made me just want to wave my white flag and crawl back in bed. We made it to church, late, but we made it- and I was so thankful that Landon did well during the service. We’ve been visiting a new church- and really enjoyed their Easter service. I am so thankful for the love of our Savior, for His grace, and for His life. This year, more than ever, I realized what a celebration Easter is- a celebration that He is risen, that we are restored, and that our Savior lives. I’m not sure why it impacted me stronger this year than previous, but it did.

After church, we went to John’s parents for lunch and egg dying. Dying eggs with two toddler boys is a whole new adventure, and a HUGE mess, but SO fun. The eggs started out all pretty, but by the end they were cracked, destroyed, and all a lovely shade of brown. Landon loved dying eggs- and will have a green hand to prove it for the rest of the year.

It was a long, full day. But so good.

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Also? We didn’t get a SINGLE family picture. Yep. Maybe next year? Or maybe we’ll dress up next Sunday and pretend it’s Easter part II.  Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Favorite Toddler Books

Landon has really taken an interest in books in the past few months. It’s not uncommon for him to bring a stack of books to our laps each evening and ask us to “wead it,” over and over and over again. To remember some of his favorites at this age, I figured I’d do a quick post and share some of those that are getting read on a regular basis. If you have suggestions or favorites please share!

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1. Goodnight Goodnight Construction Site | A little boy must have. This one is probably Landon’s absolute favorite. He loves reading about the cranes and excavators and dump trucks. I love the way it flows and rhymes and the illustrations are really nice.

2. Duck and Goose Find a Pumpkin | The whole Duck and Goose series is absolutely adorable. I originally bought a Duck and Goose book for Landon because I thought they were so cute, but they’ve quickly won a spot in on our favorite list. Landon practically has this one memorized it and “reads” it with us!

3. Steam Train Dream Train | Written by the same author that wrote Goodnight Goodnight Construction Site, any train loving boy will love this book. Its an almost nightly read!

4. The Very Hungry Caterpillar | I love this one because it encourages counting, I think Landon loves it because he names all the fruits the caterpillar eats, specifically his favorite strawberries.

5. Cars Mini Book Box Set | Anything with McQueen and Mater are winners in our house- Landon loves carrying around these little books and they make for quick easy reads. They’re also board books which make them fairly indestructible, always a good thing with a toddler!

6. Where the Wild Things Are | I’ve been trying to introduce some classics to Landon, and this one is no exception- I love the story, and Landon loves the pictures… “I’ll eat you up, I love you so!”

7. The Little Blue Truck | Another great little boy read- trucks, animals, and mud!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

mama’s boy

Yesterday I left work and headed to our sitter’s house to pick up Landon like I usually do. We normally stand and chat for a few minutes about how Landon’s day was and have a few minutes of small talk before we head home for the evening. There are normally silly stories of things he did or said, sweet gestures he makes, mentions of how well he ate lunch that day or how well he napped, and of course what he did at preschool if its a preschool morning. Yesterday was no different. I got there and Landon greeted me at the door, a true sign that he had a good day and a good nap. He excitedly got his lunch box and backpack from the kitchen table, didn’t fuss over wearing his coat and headed to the door ready to go home. Our sitter surprised me though. She told me something that I really wasn’t prepared for, and never expected to hear out of my independent, content child. Apparently sometime through the morning, Landon stopped what he was doing, looked up at her and uttered three words that I haven’t heard my child say before… “I want mommy.”

I know it’s nothing life changing or profound. But it is the first time Landon has ever said those words. I’m sure he misses us when we are apart, but he is normally easy going and happy wherever he is and hasn’t really struggled with separation issues. Those words hung in my mind the entire drive home. He wanted me. He missed me. He consciously thought about me during his day. Part of my heart was panged with a sadness that I couldn’t be there with him, but the other part of my heart soared knowing that yes in fact, my child DID love and miss me. Isn’t that every mother’s deepest desire, to know the her children love her and she is wanted? There is something deep within us that needs to know that our child shares even a fraction of the love that we have for them.

When we found out I was pregnant, I couldn’t wait to have that sweet baby to hold and snuggle and grow so incredibly close with. I couldn’t wait to smell that newborn smell or count those precious ten toes and fingers over and over and over. When I found out we were having a boy, my heart was overjoyed. I have always wanted to be a boy mama. I have wanted to raise a little boy, play catch and cars, wipe skinned knees, or shuttle him to ball practice. I knew that I would have stiff competition though. You see, John was meant to be a daddy to a little boy. I think he was even more excited than I was and looked forward to sharing his love of fishing and hunting and “man things” with a little sidekick. I have no doubt that even if we had a daughter he would share the same things, however something about the father-son relationship thrilled him. Over the past year or so, Landon has developed a deep affection for his daddy. There are many nights when Daddy is the only one who can comfort tears or make the coolest train track. Daddy plays cars and roughhouses in the living room floor at night. Daddy drives a truck, which is the coolest thing ever to a little boy. In Landon’s eyes, his Daddy hung the moon.

It’s no secret that Landon and his daddy have formed a pretty tight bond. Especially when I was working weekends and it was just the two of them those days. So last November when I moved my new job I couldn’t wait for the time with Landon. Now, I get the morning time to eat breakfast, sneak a few snuggles and drive him to preschool or the sitter’s house. And in the afternoon’s I get to pick him up and we hang out together until daddy gets home from work. He helps me grocery shop and is frequently in the kitchen with me while I cook supper each evening. I’ve come to cherish the time we have just the two of us. I enjoy grocery shopping with him, I enjoy his help in the kitchen, and I really enjoy our conversations now that he is able to talk more. Slowly but surely, Landon and I have formed our own special relationship.

A few weeks ago we were laying on the couch one night and I asked Landon if he wanted to snuggle with mommy before bedtime, and he surprisingly said yes. I, of course, jumped at the chance to snuggle my growing, ever independent two year old. What started on a whim has turned into an almost nightly ritual. Several nights a week we ask Landon if he’s ready for bed and he replies with a nod and asks “S-uggle momm-ee?” My heart melts of course. I will never turn down the opportunity to sneak a few snuggles with this boy. I am all too aware that those snuggling evenings are numbered and it won’t be long before he is too cool to snuggle his mom or even acknowledge my presence.

Without even trying, and before I even realized it, Landon has turned into a bit of a mama’s boy. Who knows, it could just be a phase and next week he’ll want nothing to do with me, but for now I’m savoring it. Hanging on to every ounce of his love and knowing that God gave me this precious gift to love and nurture and it is the greatest blessing of my life.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

sunny and 75

This week has been full of sunshine and 75 degree weather and I couldn’t be happier. I love this time of year- baseball season has started, grass is green again, and everything is blooming. The long winter is finally, hopefully, it better be, over. Hallelujah for spring!

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