Cattails, Rabbit Trails, and Thistlefish

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

The Best Part about Being Married

Jon and I celebrated three whole years this week! And in our generation, every passing year of marriage is worth a gigantic celebration. So celebrate we did! We went to a fancy dinner at Steinhilber's and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

My sister asked me this week what my favorite part about being married was. And it was actually a really hard question to answer. I know my favorite parts about being married to Jon. I love how much fun he brings into my life, how adventurous he is, how he thinks, how he loves Jonah... but that's just like describing your favorite things about your best friend, not the best part about marriage.

It's not about how happy he makes me, because he doesn't always make me happy.
It's not about how nice it is getting to snuggle up to him every night, even though that's nice, too.
It's not about growing old with your best friend, even though that is such a privilege.
It's not about the physical intimacy, even though, let's be honest, that's awesome, too.

The more I thought about it, the more I came back to this: the commitment.

Sorry it sounds corny, but my favorite part about marriage right now is the commitment.

Before we started dating, Jon told me that he was looking for a woman he could struggle with. Someone to go through hard times with. Someone who didn't have to like him or like the situation to stick it out and work hard. And I'm so glad he chose me for that.

And if there is one thing I've learned in marriage, it's that (sorry, one more corny line): love is a choice. And not a one-time thing, but a daily thing.

That recurring choice has been one of the hardest things I've ever been a part of because it goes so far against what is comfortable or exciting or self-seeking.

That's what brings me back over and over to my favorite part about being married: the commitment. In no other relationship or friendship do you live with someone who has committed to choose you over and over, even when it's not fun or you're not happy, or one of you is being super unlovable. It's the decision to make that choice over and over and over and over and over.

This summer has been hard, but this week has been really good. God is so good. He is so faithful to show up when He's invited. And these are weeks, days, moments I don't want to forget when things get hard again - whether that's in a week or in three more years.

I'm thankful for a man who knew marriage wasn't going to be easy before he got into it. He was looking for someone to struggle with and struggle for. Thankful for the grace that helps me continue to choose him, to choose us, to choose Jesus. And thankful for every up and down of these last three years that I have gotten to spend with the man that is beyond my wildest dreams.

What is YOUR favorite part about being married? Tell me tell me!

Monday, August 6, 2018

Jonah's First Birthday Party! + 5 Ways to Make a Party Simpler

How am I the mother of a one-year-old??? Jonah strangely feels like he's been here for forever and at the same time it feels like we brought him home yesterday.

I had been looking forward to his birthday party since last summer, and it got here way too fast! But it was so fun... I loaded up my parent's front yard with Lego decorations from Dollar Tree, and Jon smoked way too much BBQ. We wanted to keep it realllll simple and just focus on the folks around us, so we asked everyone to bring a side and BYOB, and it was so fun.

Everyone told me "Jonah won't even remember it, so don't stress yourself out." So I didn't. And Jon made Jell-O shots! Lol. Anyone remember what he made last year for our gender reveal party?? ;)

The biggest reason I was most excited about Jonah's party was his smash cake... who doesn't love an adorable baby covered in cake???
But, unfortunately, he ate so much before we brought the cake out that he didn't even touch it! Next time I know to make sure the kid doesn't have anything to eat leading up to the party ;) And I did get him to eat some icing later on!

I was such a sweet evening to be reminded that we are surrounded by some amazing people. Jonah has so many kids his age around! We're so blessed.
So how can you throw a fun 1-year-old's birthday party and keep it cheap + simple?

1. Make it a potluck!

Provide the meat and ask folks to bring a side. Everyone brings something they like to eat or something their kids can eat, and it makes sure you don't have to worry about pleasing everyone with all the food you're providing. It also makes things a whole lot cheaper.

2. Have something for the kids to do.

Parents can't enjoy themselves if their kids can't enjoy themselves! By the end of the night, the kids had gotten soaked in a make-shift sprinkler system! But something as simple as a bubble machine or a water table helps keep the kids occupied

3. Make dessert easy

We didn't serve any dessert. I had picked up some cheap popsicles, but they didn't freeze in time *facepalm*... so my brothers ran out and got ice cream sandwiches! Again, something quick, easy, and affordable. Lots of adults don't even want to be tempted by birthday cake, and would prefer for their toddlers to not be hyped up on sugar

4. Decide what is ONE thing you HAVE to have

Don't pressure yourself into having a picture-perfect Pinterest birthday party for a child who isn't even going to remember it. Is there one picture you reallyyyyyy have to have? Get that one picture! And then let the rest go. Find what's important to you, prioritize that, and be easy-breezy 'bout the rest. This keeps you from feeling like you need pictures of every single moment, too
For me, it was the picture of all the kids + mamas. I wanted to remember how many people were in our life at that stage, and thought it would be fun to look back on how many little friends Jonah had at this age! 

*Bonus tip, if you do want pictures of every moment, ask a friend or a sister to take extra pictures throughout the day! Ask them to take pictures of the smash cake or the decorations or the small things, that way it's one less thing you have to worry about.

5. Make sure YOU have fun!

Enjoy it. No one can enjoy a party if the host isn't enjoying the party. What will help you have fun too? Maybe don't have food at all. Maybe just meet at a park with cupcakes. Maybe all meet at the zoo. Make it an excuse to gather people and show them that you are grateful for their presence in your life. And make it fun.

How did you celebrate your little one's first birthday??

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Of Failure and a Mighty Fortress: Where to go when you just can't keep it all together

We all know what it's like to feel failure.
Such a mixture of dread and disappointment and "I knew it," but all horrifically pointed at yourself. No one else to blame and you know it.

And the enemy wastes no time in telling you "you shouldn't have even tried. I told you you couldn't do it. I told you that wasn't meant for you. You just don't have it in you."

Sometimes it's something small, like saying something without thinking. Wasting time on social media and falling behind on work. Forgetting to put the leftovers in the fridge so they were on the counter all night and you have to throw them out (that's not just me, right?)

And sometimes it's something big, like saying something really hurtful to your spouse, or falling short of a big scary goal at work, or putting yourself out there publicly.

It doesn't matter if it's big or small, the feeling sucks.