Monday, July 26, 2010

Getting Debt Free

This weeks marriage challenge is to sit down and talk with your husband about his vision for you family for the next several years.

Just a little background information:
When I met my husband he was in the US Navy and so I have traveled a lot with him and was left at home alone a lot during our first 5 years of our marriage. A lot of my friends used to say, "I don't know how you do it, I couldn't be married to a military man." Well, my reply was usually - "You don't really choose who you fall in love with, but you can choose to make a good life with the one you love." During those time, the military pretty much made our "vision" for us - told us where to go and how long to be there.

Now that he is out of the Navy, he works for an oil company in Texas which still requires a little bit of travel but not nearly as much. With his job, I was able to stay at home with our daughter, which is a huge blessing for me but something that is just as important to our husband. It is a bit of a struggle because before moving to Texas, we both worked and made a good bit of money, but we didn't hardly have any bills and no children at the time and we were terrible at saving. What little we did save, was used up during the move while my husband was looking for a job.

Since, I am a stay at home wife/mom, I am not able to contribute to the household income at this point - or I haven't found a way to do it and not take attention away from the things that are important to my husband, my daughter and our family. One of the "goals" that my husband has for our family is to be free of the debt that we incurred in the move here - it is a great goal! I have tried to help out in this area by clipping coupons to save money on grocery shopping, but for some reason I end up spending more than I did before. It seems that I am always asking to spend money on something lately - a baby gift for a friend, going out to eat with out of town guests, new crayons or toys for our daughter, etc - this I have realized is putting stress on my husband about reaching our goal.

My prayer is that I can get on board with my husband in this vision and really help out so that when our family is free of debt we'll be able to buy those things that we "want" but for now I need to be still and content with what God has blessed us with, which is far more than we need and let my husband lead us to a place of financial stability.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Elephant Bath

Last weekend, we went to the zoo as a family (along with a family friend). We've taken my daughter to the zoo many times, but it has been a few months since our last trip and as anybody knows with 2 year olds, their minds are little sponges. Well, this time we went and she was asking questions about everything - "What is that called, Mom?" "What are they eating?" "What is her name?" "What is that animal doing?" etc. It was exciting to be able to answer her questions and fill her little brain with a tad more information about some of the animals. It was because of her inquisitive nature that I decided we should go see the elephants get their baths and hear the zookeepers tell us more about them. Lilly loved the experience (so did the rest of us) and had a ton more questions after that. She was able to watch the elephant drink water with his drunk and spit it into his mouth and use his drunk to spray himself with water. We saw the elephant eat apples and swim in a giant pool as well as have a "bowel movement" in the pool - that was interesting.

This adventure got me thinking about how little I'm really teaching my daughter. I mean, I have a degree in elementary education and if I were teaching at a school, I would be spending hours a week on lesson plans and such but with my daughter I haven't set aside that time to think about what I'm really teaching her. So, I have been doing some research online and at our local library and have figured out that I'm going to start setting aside at least an hour a day to "teach" my daughter a new concept. My first topic - elephants. We went to the library the other day and we got all kind of books on elephants - fiction and nonfiction. I also got a book on paper plate crafts, one of which is making an elephant. :) Tying elephants into Noah's Ark was another thought I had - making a big mural of the ark and then adding different animals as we talk about them.

My daughter is going to spend a few days with my mother in a couple of weeks and I want to use part of that time she is away to come up with a plan for the next few months of topics to focus on and ways to incorporate it into our day. When I come up with a plan, I will post it on my blog for anybody who is interested.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Spoiling my Husband

This weeks marriage challenge is to "spoil" your husband by cooking his favorite meal, dessert and drink for him.

It isn't that I didn't want to do this part of the challenge, but here are my set backs:
1) We didn't really have a lot of $ for this weeks grocery shopping for me to buy the things needed for his favorite meal.
2) My husband is kind of on a diet (his idea) and he works out Mon-Fri at work..well, this week he has been in "class" and hasn't been able to do his work outs plus he hasn't been eating very healthy so he asked me not to cook his favorite meal because it would just add to the unhealthiness of the week.
3) I'm not a great cook (i'm getting better) so there are only a few meals that I cook that he actually likes - I keep trying new recipes to see if they are a hit and usually it is a miss.

The plus side of this challenge is that I had a chance to talk with my husband about what he does like and it turned out one of his top 3 choices was something that I made when we lived in Japan but haven't made it since - chilli. So, I know it is too warm for it now, but I have that in the back of my head to make in the near future. Plus, I want to keep an ongoing list of the meals I make where he goes back for seconds so that I'm sure to make those more often.

As a side note, I did get this book from the library called Once a Month Cooking and I love the idea of spending a day cooking and already having meals prepared for your family. The recipes in the book look faily simple and so I'm going to start using some of them. I shared the book with a friend who wanted it also, so she bought it for me as a birthday present. Now I can mark in the book which ones hubby likes and are good to make again. :)

Monday, July 12, 2010


Last year, my husband and I joined a gym. We started going together, but then the child care at night was a little too hectic for our daughter at the time and so I began to go in the morning when there weren't so many kids. As time has passed, my husband started working out with a group of guys at work and so he no longer goes to the gym. I have started taking the turbo kickboxing classes at the gym and I love them - except for one thing - the music. I love the work out and that there is an instructor to encourage you and tell you exactly what to do. I need the class because I don't do well just going to the gym and trying to figure out what do to on my own. But, the music, it isn't Christian music and it gets stuck in my head all the time - I don't like ungodly stuff going into my head, I know we live in the world so that is going to happen but I feel like this is an area that I can control.

When I was praying yesterday, I had a revelation that I shouldn't be going to the turbo class anymore. So, I thought maybe I'll just not renew my membership and use the $ to buy a video that I can do at home - something from the Christian bookstore. I told my husband about this and he said, "you won't stick with it." He is probably right, but I don't know what my other options are - it is important to me and my husband that I stay in shape and keep working out so what do I do?

I will continue praying about this but any suggestions you have will be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Prayer Time

I admit it, I have a stinky prayer life. For the past 2 years, since my daughter was born, I have been terrible about making time to spend with God - talking and listening to HIM. Things like sleep or talking with other people usually took priority and I kept thinking "when she's older, I'll have more time to pray." I am thankful for my husband who makes sure we read our Bibles and pray each night - it is a start but it is at the end of the day and our prayers are usually quick so that we can get to sleep.

Recently, a friend gave me a book called How to Develop a Powerful Prayer Life. This book has an been eye-opener for me as far as how much I was lacking as a Christian because I chose other things over spending time with God. If I were to treat a friend on earth, the way I have pushed aside God these past 2 years, no doubt they wouldn't be my friend any longer. Anyways, this book also reminded me of a sermon by a Mr. Peter Pringle that I heard in Japan where he talked about the different parts of prayer and I wanted to share those with you and then add one more part that Mr. Fuzzell added in the book.

ACTS of prayer:
A - Adoration - worshipping, praising God for who HE is and what He was done
C - Confession - confessing your sins, allowing God to search your heart and show you where you have fallen short
T - Thanks - telling God how thankful you are for what He has done
S - Supplication - lifting up your needs and the needs of others

Meditation is the part that Mr. Fuzzell added in his book - the part where you listen to God instead of doing all the talking :)

I started yesterday morning by waking up early before church and spending time talking with God and I did it this morning as well...what a wonderful way to start the day. It took away my excuse of waiting until my child is older - God is with me every day so what is it to me that I spend 30-45 minutes a day each morning with HIM.

Husband's Priorities

Week #5 Challenge: Make a list of 5 things you currently do and ask your husband to prioritize them for you of what is important to him. For example - a clean home, home cooked dinner, coupon clipping, service at church, having friends over for dinner, watching/doing sports with him, etc.

Okay, I haven't asked my husband which ones are a priority because I quite honestly I forgot what this weeks challenge was before I looked at it this morning. But, we just completed the quiz in the back of the love language book not too long ago and I know that Mark loves praise, being intimate, and for me to spend time with him.

This weekend, I let the dishes pile up because he was home and I chose to spend time with him rather than doing the dishes - he didn't care - so I know that's not a huge priority. However, I also forgot about a load of clothes that were left in the dryer - he did care about that when it came time to get dressed for church yesterday morning and when it came time to get ready for work this morning - so I know that is a priority. Also, I know that my husband is a lot happier when there is a good, home-cooked meal ready for him when he comes home. He hates when I ask him what he wants or when I wait until he comes home before starting to cook. When we were first married, I was the worse cook ever (I even messed up hamburger helper) but over the years, I've learned that food is important to my husband so I have made an effort to improve (and I think I've been successful).

So, I think I have my top 5 priorities when it comes to serving my husband:
1) Praise and affirmation that I appreciate him and what he does.
2) Physical touch :)
3) Spending time with him (alone or with others)
4) Cooking dinner for him each night
5) Making sure his clothes are always clean and put away

I will confirm this with my husband and let you know soon. :)

Okay, so I asked my husband what order he would put these things and he added something else - he said
#1 is me caring for our daughter and teaching her
#2 is my taking care of my body - going to the gym, etc.
#3 is spending time with him, being intimate, etc
#4 is spending time w/ others
#5 is the clean house - he added that he didn't really care all that much about the house being "clean" as much as "neat" but he knows that is something that I work a lot on. :)

I was rather surprised to find that my time with our daughter meant so much to him. :)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Little Homemaker

I have been reading the blog Raising Homemakers and I love all the ideas of ways to prepare your daughter to be able to "run" a house. My mother taught me a lot of things, but a lot of things I know about keeping house I have learned on my own. Lately, I have been trying to have Lilly who is 2 1/2 help out around the house and learn some things in the process.

Laundry and shapes - I have been teaching Lilly to fold washcloths and along with that we talk about squares and rectangles. She actually likes to fold clothes but she doesn't like to leave them folded. :)

Dishes and sorting - My daughter helps me wash the dishes as well as put the dishes away. When we are washing, I will fill up the sink beside be and put some bubbles and a rag in there. She loves to fill up cups and pour them out (I suppose I could incorporate a lesson on more and less here as well). When we are putting dishes away, I give her the silverware and let her sort them into the right spots on the tray. The spoons and forks may be upside down but at least they are in the right section and she is helping me out. Her dishes are in an easy to reach cabinet and she knows where to put the cups and where to put the plates and bowls.

Cooking and counting - I haven't done this one too much because my daughter just can't keep from eating the food, but I will sometimes let her line chicken nuggets on a pan to go into the oven or stir a bowl of muffin mix. We count the number of items on the pan or we count the number of times we stir the bowl. She is also helpful at putting things in the trash and that leads into a lesson on recycling because we have 2 trashcans - one for "trash" and one for things that can be recycled.

Windows - She loves to help wipe things, so I will give her a rag with "spray cleaner" already on it and let her wipe away. I'm not sure what other lesson goes along with this but just the fact that she is helping mommy and helping to keep the house clean is enough.

Are there are other things you do with your children? I would like to hear about them.

Admiring my Husband

There are many things I admire about my husband..

1) When he starts something, you know it will get finished. He does his best at each job. Right now he is building a race car bed for our daughter and she is so excited to sleep in it. It has taken him a while because he doesn't have much time due to his long hours at work plus our commitments to church and other things, but I know it is going to look great. The best thing about it is that her daddy made it for her and it will be an original.

2) His priorities are in the right order. We read the Bible every night together and no matter how late it is or what is going on, he will always insist we read and pray before going to bed. He goes downtown to feed the homeless on Tues nights and there have been times in the past that I have tried to get him to skip out on that so I can have a girl's night or something selfish like that - he is always quick to remind me that feeding people is more important.

3) He is laid back (except when playing a game). It takes a lot to get him worked up (unless he is playing a game) , but it doesn't take a lot to get me worked up. This is why our relationship works so well because we balance each other out. He is very competitive so when he is playing games our roles are reversed, but that just makes for fun competition.

4) He makes me laugh and is a great daddy. I love that he cares so much for me and our daughter and it shows. Mark gives lots of hugs and kisses and loves to play with Lilly. He is constantly telling me that he appreciates me and that I do a great job at home - when he tells me this, it makes me want to do even better and I think he knows that. :)

5) Mark respects my opinions. I submit to my husband always - he always has the final word and I respect that. He makes it easy for me to do that though because he always asks my opinion first. So I know that he has considered the situation and my thoughts before making the decision he sees as best. For example, this week he has to make a decision concerning work and I know we have both looked at both sides of the situation and prayed that God will lead Mark in the right direction. He hasn't told me which way he is going to go but I know whatever he decides will be for the best.

It is nice to look at the great qualities our husbands have, it reminds me of the things I need to thank God for and it helps me be more specific when I tell my husband I appreciate all he does and is.