Learning to Give to My Husband

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Last week, I missed almost an entire day of work for a doctors appointment I thought was going to last like a half hour. That was interesting. Don’t worry, I will tell you all about it later – for now, just know there is nothing wrong with me. :) The really crazy part about the day though was the 60 mile an hour wind gusts we were getting. OY! I felt like our big car was going to flip right over. Every time a semi passed us going the other way I tensed up because who knows when that big gust is going to knock them over. ugh ugh ugh. It was nasty. The rest of my week was just as crazy. Which is why there are no posts. Lame.

What I really wanted to tell you about happened Tuesday night. I have been participating in a little instagram event #wifelifelinkup. Two lovely ladies, _wifestyles_ and wifessionals, have been posting weekly photo prompts with the intention of building an encouraging social media community for wives. I love it. One of their prompts was,  “something sweet you do for your husband.” I was pumped after reading it, because I am SUPER SWEET. So, I was sure I would have tons of awesome pictures of random sweet things I do for my husband “just because.” So I started thinking about awesome things I do…

And I kept thinking about it.

And couldn’t come up with anything. How’s that for embarrassing? I was appalled. Giving (in the sense of gifts and acts of service) is a necessary part of marriage that helps “keep the romance alive” and makes your spouse feel wanted. Marriage is all about giving – giving your body and heart to your spouse, etc. And while I do give daily to my husband in non-physical ways (Such as giving him grace when things aren’t perfect, giving him affection when I don’t feel affectionate, and giving him support in his decisions as the head of our household.) I found, through this Instagram challenge, that I do not “treat” my husband to special gifts often or at all. And I didn’t like that. So I made plans.

I stopped by Alco (South Dakota’s small-town-everythings-there store) and bought a few things that I knew would make him smile and feel loved.

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1// Our floors are wood and, therefore, freezing in the morning. Connor has been walking around barefoot for months since his last slippers hit the dust. So I bought him some new, super comfy slippers.

2// A back massager that was $1. And works awesome. He’s been doing a lot of iron pumping lately and those muscles are tight!

3// Candy, because it will forever win my husband’s heart.

4// A hilarious fur-lined heart full of beef jerky. Only in South Dakota.

5// A love letter. For obvious reasons.

My husband felt SO special. The look on his face when he walked into our room and saw his gifts was priceless. I will hold it in my heart. I know he knows I love him all the time, but seeing him surprised by my  gesture of love was precious. And definitely made me want to do sweet things for him all the time!!

The whole point of this post is to encourage you to love on your spouse by “gifting.” We don’t have a lot of spare money right now but I don’t imagine we will ever have a lot of spare money lying around. That is no excuse for me to not give to my husband. I’m not going to make a habit of buying my husband a “just because” gift every week. I am, however, going to make a conscious effort to do something  sweet for my husband everyday. Giving a gift can be in the form of an object OR an act of service. I’m focusing on my acts of service now.

My father wakes my mother up almost every morning before he goes to work by bringing her a hot cup of coffee while she’s still in bed. Adorable? Yes. And in doing so, my father is continually giving to my mother – and it costs him NOTHING. I, for one, am inspired by that. :)

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A window into our Saturday

Here is a quick peek into our Saturday. Cheetos and all.
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Noah is occupying himself in the living room and Connor is working on slides for worship on Sunday evening. That big ol’ stack of papers to the right of the picture are my household management/budgeting things that I was working on until I took this much needed blogging break. I’m also, as you can see, finally getting a chance to catch up on American Idol. Yay! Connor says he’s sick of the show, there’s too much hype, there are no good singers, and there’s NO way he’s watching it with me…but as you can see, it sucks him in every time (although he’ll endlessly deny it). :) I love that man.

Noah is busy crawling like crazy. He doesn’t get into much. Except for everything he’s not supposed to get into. Just a second ago though, he did help me out quite a bit with the laundry.

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Such a helper. On my to do list today? Fold and put away our laundry (that my sweet husband washed earlier this morning while I was still snoozing. Is he not the best?), get our budget up to date, clean our room, do the dishes, and love on my family. It’s shaping up to be a great day in my book. :)

Happy Saturday, friends! I hope you enjoy your family today!

Oh! And look forward to more posts this week. I have things planned both on marriage and budget and I can’t wait to share. :)

2014 Family Goals

It may be 12 days into 2014 but it’s never to late to set goals. The husband and I have actually been talking about what we want to get out of 2014 for quite awhile now. We have always been “generally” intentional with our marriage and lives, knowing we want to glorify God with what we do. But now, with our sweet baby boy in tow, we have both been convicted to live with more prayerful purpose.

Like I’ve mentioned before, we have a lot of one-hour car rides (a “perk” of living in deep dark South Dakota) to talk and the recent topic of most of these car rides have been our 2014 goals. So without further ado, here is what we have currently come up with, bearing in mind that these goals will develop and change with the year’s experiences and needs.

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We both struggle with individually motivating ourselves to be in the word everyday. So we’re going to join forces three times a week to help each other.

Why// To grow in our relationship with Christ and each other and to become the parents who base their actions on scripture

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Specifically, 3/4 of our student loans and the little bit we have left of Noah’s hospital bill using Dave Ramsey’s Debt Snowball.

Why// To live responsibly and debt-free and to follow through on all our financial responsibilities. This is a big focus right now because when our children are grown and on their own (or still under our roof) we don’t want to have to make decisions based on our debt. We don’t want to have to say “no, we can’t help you out this month” because we are still in debt. We value having the ability to help people out monetarily and doing our best to have a stable financial foundation makes that more possible.

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Why// Connor and I are both generally healthy, but neither of us make a daily point to work out (However, Connor did just up and run a marathon in September of last year! And he did AWESOME!!). We want our children to value their physical fitness so WE have got to start valuing it. Connor has started a six month weight-lifting program and I have started walking on the treadmill more. I would like to get a good yoga DVD too, so any suggestions are welcome!

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Why// To help us become the welcoming, warm, Christ-like family we want to be. What does this look like for us? We are making a conscious effort not to complain to each other about the way some people behave. We are treating everyone the same, whether they are frustrating or not. We are choosing to hold those in our life to a standard of grace not perfection (a phrase from Emily Ley that I absolutely love!!).

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Why// “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:40 Being generous is a struggle for me, but one I am constantly trying to overcome.

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We’re freezing over here!

Good morning blog-world. It’s 5 a.m. here in South Dakota. I’m sitting in the living room, curled in front of an electric fireplace, with a hot cup of tea in hand. I am quite cozy. Oh, and it’s -20 outside. Yikes! I don’t know what’s going on with these temperatures lately but it has been extremely cold. According to our local news it got down to between -40 and -50 last night. Crazy!

Yesterday the temperatures fluctuated between 0 and -20ish degrees. When we all got out of church it was probably 0 degrees. We were all bundled up and in need of groceries at home so we decided to go to Mitchell (which is an hour away but has one of the closest Walmarts). Connor, Noah and I jumped into our van (woot woot!) and had great conversation on the way there. One of the reasons I do love South Dakota (sometimes) is all the long, stress-free (there is absolutely no traffic) car rides you get to take with your family. There is something about long drives that get Connor and I to talking about what really matters in life. We always seem to get our lives on track after a drive to Mitchell (or one of the other various, far away towns that have Walmarts).

I did not realize it was going to get to -20 by the time we got to Mitchell. I felt so guilty having Noah outside in that frigid cold. He was definitely bundled up to the max and none of his skin was showing, but still! He didn’t complain though. Not even a peep. He was a happy bouncy boy all day. :) But we didn’t want to keep him out in that kind of weather so we did our business real quick and came back home.

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Pretty, right? Except it’s FRIGID out there!

Connor and I  made a big kid purchase while we were there. One I have really been hemming and hawing over since before Noah was born. I have a problem with things that cost over $100. I hate that one item can cost so much. Everything should be under $100. Seeing our bank account nearly drained because of the purchase of ONE item gives me the heeby jeebies. UGH. But I’m going to have to get over that because kids are expensive. Noah has been sleeping in a crib that my Grandmother passed on to me, (well to my parents really, but since we’re in my parents house right now it is Noah’s crib). This crib is like 25 years old and, while it has worked absolutely perfect for the time being, Noah is getting more and more mobile and the side of the crib (which is propped up by a suitcase laying underneath it. ) is not going to put up a fight for much longer. So, as you can see, I had put off buying a crib for way too long now. We’ve also been using our pac-n-play as a changing table since day one. It has one of those changing table attachments but Noah feet hang just about over the edge now. Yesterday was a much needed upgrade day.

We walked into Walmart, went straight to the cribs and I told Connor to pick one because I couldn’t even look at them. After a few minutes of breathing exercises I started helping him browse and we found a reasonably priced crib that came with a changing table!! Yipee! We could knock two big purchases out in one. I liked that.

So we contacted one of the department employees and asked if there was someone she could call to have this massive and very heavy box waiting for us at the front so we didn’t have to push it around the store. She said of course that would be no problem. And off she went to get these two tiny little teenage-looking girls to carry our crib. Oh geez did Connor and I feel guilty watching them try to handle that big box. They didn’t want help though. But…considering how they basically slid it away, maybe they should have let us do something. Oh, Walmart…

And THEN! We found the perfect big boy carseat for Noah. His current carseat will fit him only up to 30 inches long or 30 pounds and he is pushing 30 inches so we have been on the lookout for awhile. This carseat was so soft it seemed like it had memory foam cushion! I feel in love but, since we live in South Dakota and our debit cards have a daily purchase limit (WHAT?!) we couldn’t buy both the crib and car seat at once. Ridiculous. So that will be next weekends big trip, as long as the temperatures aren’t in the negatives anymore. Sheesh.

It was a good day though. I had so much fun with my little boy and my sweet husband. To top it all off, we were playing with Noah last night and letting him roll around with just his diaper on because he gets so adorable giddy, and he CRAWLED!!! He wanted to put my sister’s foot in his mouth so much that he crawled three or four little scoots in a row to get to her! It was amazing. My heart is so full of love for that little boy. :)

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Now that we have the crib, the question is how long will it take us to get it set up…..

Simple Christmas Wrapping

I am so excited to share this post with you! I love feeling on top of my domestic duties. It (sadly) hardly ever happens that I live up to my standards, domestically-speaking, but I had some (GASP) extra time this evening while my little buddy was eating playing with his books on our bed.

This afternoon, on my lunch break, I stopped into my local drug store and bought a roll of all-purpose mail packaging and a spool of magenta yarn.

Look at the result!

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It was so easy and simple! The “wrapping” paper was $1.99 and there was WAY more of it than a typical themed wrapping paper.  I am going to be able to wrap all my presents (12) with one roll!

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That adorable green label? That’s from the downloadable free gift labels I told you about in  THIS blog post. I used green cardstock and printed the sheet out on my home printer.

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Does it get much cuter? Probably. But I am so proud to actually have presents wrapped before Christmas Eve this year that I couldn’t care less! ;)

Taking the extra time to appreciate people with presents, cards and little notes is ALWAYS worth it. In my life, this is the first time I have ever had all my Christmas presents ready to go in an appropriate time frame. This coming year, I am going to make a conscious effort to be better at doing presents and cards. I am hoping that writing down all those important dates in my AAA-mazing The Simplified Life Planner (which I just ordered thanks to a last minute sale!) will help me stay on top of it.

Also, this is what bubba and I think of 3:30 in the morning. Why did we wake up again? ;)

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Adorable Free Printable Gift Labels!

Being the keeper of my home – I should be on top of EVERYTHING ALL THE TIME.

Right.

I am “on top of” almost nothing, most of the time.

But today! TODAY, my friends, I am completely owning one big thing – Christmas gifts.

Yes, all of my presents are bought, wrapped, addressed and….well, almost addressed…and maybe wrapped is a strong term, since they’re technically sitting next to the wrapping paper. But they ARE bought. So there.

Anyway, I was browsing Pinterest for some cutesy wrapping ideas and found these free printable gift labels…

HEYLOOK's sweet and simple label tags

HEYLOOK’s sweet and simple label tags

And I fell absolutely in love with them. Go HERE to download your own set!! My favorite thing about them is that I don’t have to use color ink, but can incorporate color in the paper I print them off on. I plan on using red and forest green card stock.

So I had to share. :) I hope you enjoy them!! I know I will. …Once I get around to actually wrapping and addressing my gifts.

By the way, have you seen this cutie lately? He’s killing me.

He loves being thrown up in the air or swung down to the ground. Faaavorite activity. Mommy’s too. {5 months 2 weeks}

Three Year Run

Charlie is paranoid of bugs. He thinks he sees them everywhere. Which results in a lot of pouncing on nothing. And running quickly back and forth chasing the “offender”. Every once in awhile he actually gets one, which makes me happy. It’s a perfect set up – he stays occupied for a good part of the day and I get a bug-free household!

After long talks and lots of prayer, we have set up a 3 year plan for our little family.

YEAR ONE: I get to start teaching first grade! :) Connor will continue working full time at Dicks, potentially moving up in the sporting goods world. GOAL: Live below our means. Our purpose in this is to begin making huge payments on our (actually, it’s mostly mine) student loans, while at the same time building our savings account (for future babieees!). Our biggest challenge in this will be to stay within our food budget. We love food a shameful lot. Meal planning, coupon clipping, and monitored restaurant outings are in our future.

YEAR TWO: Continue work schedules of year one. Our lease will be up so we will begin looking on either a cheaper apartment for the next year or an affordable house, depending on how much we’ve been able to save in year one.

YEAR THREE: Sometime during year 3, we will have our student loans paid off in their entirety. BOOM! …I hate waiting. In this case, however, I think it is entirely worth it. If we have been in an apartment up until this point, our next step is to finally get that pretty little house with a pretty little yard.

Connor and I do not want a life dictated by where spent money years ago. We want to be able to always move forward and look forward, together serving Christ.

“… since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Hebrews 12:1

Side note: I found this darling blog via pinterest today: http://www.domesticimperfection.com/