Saturday, September 14, 2013


While writing about my children, which I often do (duh), I really only mention my husband in passing. The boys fill up every detail of my blog, my days, and my life. However, one of "the boys" in my life is Craig. He's the boy. The main one. The first one. Without him I wouldn't have my children, my life, or a huge part of me. 

This weekend marks our fifth wedding anniversary and this past June we recognized our 11th year together total. I say "recognized" because we do not typically celebrate in the same fashion as most couples. By that I mean, we don't celebrate. Yes, yes, we've gone to dinner for our anniversary before and if one of us thinks to snag a card for the other it is appreciated, rarely reciprocated, but never expected. Our milestones don't go completely unnoticed; they just aren't celebrated traditionally or consistently. This year, instead of forgetting to buy a card or realizing last minute we cannot secure a sitter to go out, I have decided to dedicate this blog post to Craig.

Craig's that handsome guy pictured above.
 In honor of our fifth wedding anniversary, here are the top ten reasons I love my husband:

10). He is a giant child. To put it into perspective, we own a popcorn machine, a funnel cake set, and a cotton candy machine. At one point we also had a s'mores cooker and a snow cone machine. For past birthdays he has received corn dog mix, toys for his desk at work, and a Flowbee. *Yes, a Flowbee.* For his most recent birthday he got a year's supply of nacho cheese! This is my husband. He's a complete goofball and I totally love it. 

9). He loves to eat. This is slightly confusing because he is very slim and goes most hours of the day skipping meals completely, which is something I just do not comprehend. But, when he does sit down to eat a food he really enjoys, that guy can eat. I recognize Craig's "I'm too full" face two to three bites before he stops eating because I have seen him enjoy too large of a portion of his favorite foods so many times. Once, he was bet a dollar by each family member at Easter to eat a third of the cake we had. He ate it and earned all three of those dollars. He also happens to be very supportive whenever I want to eat. Even if I just ate, or don't need dessert, he is always happy to say, "Get you some!" So as a girl who severely enjoys food, I definitely don't mind having a husband who encourages that and joins right in.

8). He gets better looking with age. I don't know how he manages it. I moisturize and scrub and nourish all damn day. Craig doesn't even wear sunblock, his hair is getting grey, and he washes his face with bar soap. Who does that? He's defying all odds and getting more attractive as he ages. It's like the George Clooney effect. It should make me mad because I only look older and more tired.  But, a husband who gets hotter and hotter? What's not to love? 

7). He is talented. I mean, like really talented. One of the reasons I was initially attracted to him was because he was very good at playing guitar. At the time, I was taking violin lessons and was struggling with it. One day he picked up my violin and plucked the strings to the tune of "Twinkle Twinkle" out of nowhere. He has taken piano lessons and taught himself to at least hold a beat on the drums. I cannot even play "Hot Cross Buns" on a recorder. He doesn't get very much time to play guitar nowadays but, when he does, he can still learn any song, figure others out by ear, and play quite a few from memory. Amazing. 

6). He is fun. I can honestly say, that after 11 years together, I still have fun with my husband. Out on date nights or making Bloody Mary's on a Sunday afternoon, we have fun. Is every moment of our day together a party? No. We have our fair share of boredom and mundaneness (I call them week nights, ha!). But, occasionally a Friday night will be turned into a cheesy John Travolta or Nicholas Cage movie party (Broken Arrow, Face Off, or Con Air, anyone?). A Saturday will turn into a date night.  A down moment will suddenly fill up with laughter when we say, "Remember when ____," and we've got a lot of those. 

5). He works hard. Whatever it takes to get the job done, he does it. Traveling to multiple cities back to back, answering phone calls on the weekend, changing plans to meet with a customer.... He does it. He *jokingly* has a mug at work that says, "Everything I touch turns to 'SOLD'" As silly as it is, it's true. He is great at his job, whether it be making sales, managing people, analyzing data, or identifying potentially successful new customers and employees, because he works hard at it. 

4). He challenges me. Don't ask me if I love this about him while he's challenging me, because I would tell you "hell no". My life would definitely be easier if my husband would go along with whatever I say. But, that's not a relationship that inspires growth. I need someone who will make me think. It helps me to act with intention and it provides me with the chance to learn, even from every day situations. Someone who challenges me is something I would never have asked for in a spouse, but now I cannot imagine it any other way. 

3). He is smart. I have repeatedly said that my husband is one of the smartest people I know. He can take apart almost any electronic, fix it, and put it back together. He can completely gut and refinish a bathroom *mostly* by himself. Stocks, IRA, 401K, money market accounts, blah blah blah... he understands it all and utilizes every one of them to save for our future. He has negotiated the buying and selling of all three of our homes, thank goodness because I am not good at that stuff! Directionally adept, street smarts, common sense, he has it all. I don't even like driving new places without him because I get panicked if my map app takes too long "rerouting". When I am with him we are never lost. I cannot begin to explain how comforting it is to know that no matter what happens in our future (moves, job changes, ups and downs, zombie apocolypsemy husband will figure it out.

2). He is supportive. Going from working a full-time job to being a stay at home mom was a huge change for our family, but it was my choice. Craig was on board with that decision, not only because he valued having me home with our child(ren), but because it was what I wanted. He is generally supportive of whatever I decide to do, whether it be with the kids or for myself. When I registered Kendan for preschool he challenged me (see #4) to make sure I was making the most informed decision I could in the situation. But, ultimately, he supported the choice I made; even though he felt preschool could have waited a year. If I tell Kendan "no" on something or begin to implement a different parenting technique, Craig follows my lead (most of the time. Sometimes he and Kendan are in cahoots on the "no bath night" bandwagon). Even things as trivial as starting every Sunday morning alone with the kids while I'm at yoga, waiting to eat dinner so I can go for a run first, or doing the dreaded bed time routine any time I want to go out for a girls' night... he's supportive. Can't ask for much more. 

1). He loves his kids. Like, he really loves his boys. Especially when they hit the fun age where they can walk and are beginning to communicate more effectively. Craig's relationships with the kids have only gotten more and more amazing as they get older. Especially with Kendan as his imagination has grown. I have had my husband call me while away for work and request to speak to our toddler. Not me. Just Kendan. He brings the boys home presents from his travels weekly; which they adore but, mostly they just get excited to have him home. He is definitely the "fun parent" in our family. Seeing Craig as "Dad" is the best. 

My husband is sometimes really goofy. Sometimes he is serious. Sometimes he is a super hero. Other times he is the boss. Sometimes he has to leave us for several days but a lot of the time he is home and in his pajamas. And that's exactly where we like him to be. 

Thank you for all that you do for me and our family. I love you, Craig!

Monday, September 9, 2013


I did this. Blame me. I'm why Kendan now attends preschool. I signed him up for school for many good reasons. He needs to learn to accept authority outside of his mother and father. He needs to learn to fall in line and do what the group is doing. He needs that solid attention being devoted to teaching him the things I rarely have the time to teach him at home. I, admittedly, signed him up for some selfish reasons as well. Alone time with Damien and just the chance to run a couple errands, think a thought, and use the bathroom with only one child seeking my attention sounded like heaven to me. Even if only for five hours, two days a week. There you have it, I did this. It's my fault. So why was I so sad to see him go? 

Kendan's first day of preschool went fabulously. I was prepared. I set three alarms to ensure there was no possibility that I would sleep in. Kendan's clothes were picked out the night before, waiting on his dresser. His backpack was out on the counter sitting next to our camera and video camera. I didn't need the back up alarms set for myself. I popped out of bed the first time, I was so excited for him. I made his lunch and packed it into his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle lunch box. When his alarm went off I greeted him in his bedroom with the video camera in hand. Upon seeing his "bed head" in the mirror, standing on his stool to take his allergy medicine, he asked that I gel his hair for school. Nothing could have made the morning any better than that simple request. After breakfast, we headed to the front step for a photo shoot holding his "Kendan's First Day of Preschool" sign I made the night before. He put his Super Man backpack on, it's about as big as he is, and we were on our way. He walked into school chatting the whole way about how he thought the day would go, I recorded it all. We approached his classroom and greeted his teacher who we had just met two days prior. I've never seen him happier than when he got to hang his bag on a hook labeled with his name! And off he went. Off to play. Off to school. No goodbye. No big scene. I considered it a blessing. I didn't know what I would do if he cried and begged me not to leave him. Truthfully, I didn't know what I'd do if he didn't even acknowledge my leaving him either. So, I just told the teacher to have a good day and left. Walked back down the hallway holding Damien. Feeling a little sad, but mostly so glad it went as well as it did. I buckled Brother into his seat and realized that it was just me and him. He noticed it too and pointed to Kendan's empty car seat and hollered something in baby talk. "Yes, Damien! Just you and me today!" I felt extremely lucky. Lucky that Kendan was off to a great start. Lucky that I now had one-on-one time with my little one, who I've never been able to focus all of my attention on. School was a great decision!

Day two was a completely different story. He woke up immediately begging not to go to school. He cried and threw a fit when I dropped him off. I left him screaming, arms outstretched in my direction, being held by his teacher. She reassured me everything would be ok and I said goodbye to him in as chipper of a voice as I could muster. The teacher did, in fact, let me know he had calmed down within two minutes of my leaving, which eased my mind some. But, this was the same story for day three and four. Screaming. Begging. Crying. And always a reassurance from Kendan's teacher that he calmed down quickly, was happy as can be, and had a great day. I even received a picture via text message as proof. I would pick him up from school and he always stated he had fun and liked his teachers, but that he did not want to return to school the next day. 

I was a little worried. What had I done? Was he too young for school? Was he not ready? I had a lot of hesitations at the thought of spending any amount of time away from him. Attending school two days a week is just the beginning. Soon it will be every day of the week. Then after-school activities. Sleepovers. Camps. I was extremely apprehensive to voluntarily take Kendan to school when I could be spending all of that precious time with him. I felt like he was slipping away. I couldn't believe that after 3.5 years of sharing every minute of the day with him, there was going to be ten hours a week that I could not witness. I tried not to think about it, and still try not to. It's heartbreaking. But, as I previously established, I did this. This is my fault. And, I did it for all the right reasons. There was a purpose for registering him for school. But, seeing my sweet boy beg me not to "send" him to school (he actually used that term, as if I was sending him off to boarding school) made me question any reasons I had for signing him up. 

Kendan has since completely turned it around. Every drop off at school is now reminiscent of day one. He's fine with going, runs off to play with barely a goodbye for Mom, and has come to terms with the fact that he must continue to return to school for the remainder of the year. We came to the conclusion, in a very revealing conversation with my three year old, that his issue with attending school is that he doesn't want to listen to the teacher and do what the class is doing all the time. The exact reason I felt he needed preschool. Validation. Confidence renewed. Mom of the year. *Ok, that's a stretch.* I cannot even explain what a relief his change of heart has been for me. While I am still saddened at the thought of my baby growing up, I feel comfortable in my decision to begin Kendan's school years now. It's not surprising to me that his teacher always comments on how funny he is and that he "did great" every day. I knew he would. I just didn't know how I'd do. I'll continue to be thankful that he now enjoys the idea of going to school and that I get to spend quality time with Damien. And I will just stay focused on all of the benefits of Kendan's attending preschool and try not to envision him slipping away. 

I am so incredibly proud of you. You bring a smile to everyone's face wherever you go. I cannot wait to see you blossom even more by going to school. I already really enjoy opening your folder to see what adorable projects you did for the day. Fingerprint apples and ants... I treasure any paper with your name on it. I love you so much, please always be yourself because you are really something special. 
Love, Mom

Thursday, September 5, 2013


When I turned 29 last year, I thought for sure I would be excited about turning 30 years old. I wasn't going to be that person who was dreading the big 3-0. I have always loved birthdays. I'm a bit obsessive. Whenever it is someone's birthday I treat them as if they're a unicorn or something because it's so special. "It's your birthday! That's awesome!I tell them while they look at me like I must have consumed liquor for breakfast. So, there is no denying that I LOVE my own birthday. And thirty was going to be the best one yet! The anticipation leading up to my big day started out normal with butterflies when I would think about it. *I'm a child; I admit it.* But, then I started thinking about the number. 30. Thirty. No longer in my twenties. No more telling people I meet, "Oh I'm only twenty-blank years old." Nope. Now I'm thirty. And a different feeling began to settle in. I cannot pinpoint what it was; but, it wasn't excitement. Anticipation? Anxiousness? I am not sure. But, it was definitely different from the typical anticipation before my birthday. 

I began to survey my current life and realized that most of my major accomplishments occurred in my twenties. I graduated from college. I obtained my first real job. I got married. We traveled both internationally and within the U.S. We moved a lot.... to Indiana where we had Kendan. Then to Kansas City where we had Damien ...and back to Texas. Craig and I had the opportunity to travel to Europe, something I've always wanted to do. Maybe what I was feeling was "how am I going to top that?!" My twenties were a total success! Most of those major milestones will not, and cannot, be repeated in the future. I know I have many years ahead of me (God willing) with which I can surpass goals beyond my wildest dreams. But, I suppose I do not know what my "wildest dreams" are? What, if any, big adventures does my future hold? 

I had the pleasure of enjoying my 30th birthday in New Orleans. It was an entirely new experience for me having never been before. My husband did a wonderful job of surprising me with the trip, keeping me guessing up until we physically got off the plane in NOLA. "Maybe we're just connecting through New Orleans," he kept jesting. He did not miss the mark for the perfect gift. A new experience will always top a tangable present and can never be replaced. So, the introduction into the next decade of my life started out as an adventure. Perfect! But, is there anything else I plan to do? 

Not really. 
Well, at least not anything major right now. 

Five days before my 30th birthday I decided I was going to train for a 5k. "Oooh, big deal, a 5k!" I know. Using the term "train" in reference to preparing for a 5k is overkill. But, let me just explain.... a "runner", I am not. I have disliked running since high school. You know, when I was actually physically fit and could run a mile in 8 minutes, a time that now completely blows my mind. *It's insane how much you take for granted when you're younger!* I blame this decision on the unsettling feeling I had in my stomach when I would think about my upcoming birthday. Prior to "turning 30" looming over my head, I would never have dreamt of registering for a race of any kind. I would joke that I only run when I'm being chased. So, when I decided to train I feel as if something was pushing me (or I was drinking that night. Anything is possible). That was five days before 30. One day before my birthday I ran 1.66 miles without stopping, in the 95 degree Texas heat, while pushing a 50 pound double stroller. That was the first time I just didn't stop running, even when I was dying to (and I only stopped because we had reached our destination of the neighborhood pool). Again, "Ooooh, 1.66 miles... big deal." YES IT WAS. I literally did not think I could run to the end of my block. Especially not while pushing my two kids! I text messaged no less than five people to report my success. Gotta celebrate the little things, right? Or, in my case, this very big, amazing thing that I didn't even know I could do. Despite the heat, constant complaining from my children, and difficulty in finding the time to do it, I am happy to report that I am now capable of running the full 5k without stopping. I do not plan to end there though. 10k? Half marathon? Why not? Running has become something for me to "accomplish" in my thirties. Something I can conquer that I never before thought I could. 

I got a lot done in my twenties. Something to be proud of! I may not have any "big" plans in the works for my thirties; but, I am happy with the current path I am on. There are so many more experiences ahead of me. And, who knows, maybe I will even achieve my wildest dreams. Whatever they are!