Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Fourteen

Fourteen years. It feels huge and, on the flip side, somewhat insignificant when compared to twenty or thirty or sixty years. As marriages crumble all around us, it seems pretty awesome to have stuck it out. Believe you me, there have been days over the last fourteen years that have not been altogether happily ever after. The trend has definitely been upward though. We have learned and relearned patience. We have forgotten to focus on each other in the sea of children. We have gotten lazy and lax at times. We have moved and moved and moved and moved and moved(and moved), sometimes by choice, mostly not. We have done richer and poorer. We have done sickness and health. We have done better and worse. And we'll do it all again as time moves on. 

I hear people bust on young marriages from time to time. People change, they say. Young adults can't know their mind. Marriage at that age is a stupid decision and people shouldn't be held hostage to a choice they made at whatever age is convenient to their argument

If I knew then what I know now, I wouldn't have changed a thing. 
2001-2005: South Carolina
2006-2007: Phoenix/Seattle/Phoenix

2008-2009: Charlotte, North Carolina

2010: Deployed
 2011: San Antonio, Texas
2012: Rockville, Maryland

2013-2014: Dayton, Ohio

 2015: Virginia
 {insert photoS here. He has promised to take pictures....we'll see.}

We don't have this thing figured out. We don't have any upper hands. We're just two stubborn, sinful people who refuse to give up on each other. "I have found the one whom my soul loves," is the verse I put on our wedding invitations. My soul sometimes wants to punch his soul in the face, but when I get right, when I see clearly, when I put aside my own self...I see him. The guy I want in my corner, always. It's not about him and it's not about me, it's about something much bigger than ourselves. We're leaving a legacy. 

Our kids will not always see a perfect marriage. We may not always model what we hope for them. We fail every single day. We squabble. We disrespect each other from time to time. Our boys see what true life looks like. They see us argue, they see us make up. They see butt pinches, but probably not enough smooches. They hear a few slips of the tongue, but they see godly character that sometimes needs a bit of sanding and polishing. They don't always experience the humble, submissive wife, but they'll learn to navigate the minefield of a bullheaded woman. Above all else, I hope they see integrity, hope, faith. I pray they see that marriage is not what Hollywood has made it out to be. I want them to know that romance may fade, but true, lasting love can be rekindled day after day. With it will come the romance, perhaps sporadically. I want them to notice the times they play second fiddle to our relationship. I need them to understand that sometimes even they have to sacrifice for ole ma and pa. Perhaps they won't always get 100% of what their little hearts desire because that investment needs to go to a greater cause: Mom and Dad's marriage. 

I want them to see that there are times we could give it all up. Bicker away a covenant. Burn down the house that love built. I want them to see that the world gives us options, but given a choice, we choose each other. We choose them. We choose our family. We love them enough to give them a mother and a father. We choose to honor a word, our word, given before God and everybody. 

Reading over that again, I hope I don't make marriage sound like prison. Sean cracks me up. He's a nut. He's stubborn as a freakin' mule, but he gives in when it's important. He keeps me accountable. He loves me. He really, really loves me. And I know it, even when he sucks at showing it. He busts his tail for this family. He stresses out over things that I don't even think about. He is my perfect compliment and I'm so glad I didn't pick a pansy or a lazy man or a religious man. I'm so glad I didn't pick someone that I could change, because he's perfectly imperfect, and I would've screwed him up if I could've made him into who I wanted him to be. 

Sean has integrity. He is loyal. He gives 100% to a uniform he doesn't love because he's working for a greater cause than himself or even his country. He is a student of life and is constantly trying to make himself better, better our family. He is selfless and constant and the biggest fan of our unit. 

I only hope that he thinks as highly of me as I think of him. I respect him as much as I love him. I am proud to be his wife. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Focus

"That was probably ten or fifteen years ago," she said.
"More like twenty five or thirty," he corrected.
"Oh yeah," she laughed, with a faraway look on her face.

.....

"This is the best time of your life. I know sometimes it might not seem like it, but it really, really is," said as she looked on at Jude struggling to get down and bolt in the antique store.

.....

While noticing how easily Simon's feet rest on the ground when he's sitting upright in a chair...
While talking to my sister about my nephew's upcoming graduation from high school...
While cooking dinner the other night and wondering what it will be like to cook when all my chickens have flown the coop...
While praying for their future...
While talking to anybody who has run the race of raising kids...

.....

It's been hitting me a lot lately. Constant reminders that my boys are growing up. Quickly. Maybe it's that we've spent the last few years hurrying time up. Wishing we could be on the other side of school, or a move, or another move. And now we're here. Done. Settled(sorta). Maybe it's knowing there won't be any more babies. Maybe it's seeing a horrible situation from the outside and wondering, "What will their life look like next year and five years from now and twenty years from now?"

I try to focus on the here and now. Sometimes it's tough when the now is all repetitive, seemingly pointless tasks. A dumped cup of cereal. A poop diaper. Reviewing World War 1 facts. Again again again. They eat as a state of being. It never stops. Someone always wants food.

I get frustrated by the little stuff that has absolutely no significance. Today, it was that the asparagus fries I bought from the frozen section at Trader Joe's looked nothing like the picture on the front. I don't buy frozen food much, perhaps this is normal. I was so ticked.

I was frustrated because every yard appliance we've bought lately has turned out to be a Made in China piece of crap that falls apart with one use. Today is was the big shop vac. We upgraded from the small piece of crap to the large piece of crap. It has three more extensions, a longer hose, wheels and cost $40 more to do nothing. It wouldn't suck the beach sand out of my floor mats. So freaking frustrating.

And then Jude will walk up and stick his finger in my belly button...
Or Felix and Titus will accidentally get along for a second...
Or Simon will ask me if there's anything he can do to help me...
Or they'll remember some really significant thing that I've taught them...
Or Felix will ask a question about God that I can't answer, causing me to seek...

This matters. This daily, insignificant activity is so, so significant. When the end comes, this is what matters. When trouble hits our household, this is the glue that will hold us together. We can weather the storms of life because of the little. The stuff comes and goes. Things break. So what? Kids poop, kids eat, kids dump stuff. Who cares? Sand in the car is evidence of an awesome day. Frozen food saved time and didn't taste that bad, despite the false advertising of the package.

I have a husband that's at stubborn as me, who lets me get away with nothing.
I have four healthy boys, what do I have to complain about?
I got hit on by a pizza deliver guy recently, I mean, I am a lucky girl. ;) Just had to slip that in there. True story. He may have been driving a moped, but he clearly has good taste in women and decent pick up lines.

In all seriousness, these really are the days and I'm hoping I can let the trivial stuff go and focus.



Monday, May 11, 2015

Mother's Day(with way too many pictures)

Hallmark holidays...when they're about me, we celebrate. The entire weekend if possible. ;)
 Saturday, this guy went on a farmer's market run with me. I thought they'd have breakfasts stuffs at the healthy market. Turns out, no. We did score some extremely expensive, local fish and tomato plants though. 

We went to our favorite go-to breakfast place only to find they don't open until 10:30. On a Saturday morning. In a small town. Hmm...their bakery part was open, so they could serve cinnamon rolls and cupcakes only. 

Of course we stayed. 
And then hit the chicken swap on the way home. Yup, I live in a town with a chicken swap. 
 Once home, I led with, "We need chickens." Suddenly, camping didn't seem so far fetched and the man agreed. 

We take appliances camping with us. I understand this does not fall under the definition of camping. Again, I'm okay with that. When y'all get tired of sweating and swatting, come on in to my air conditioned house on wheels. 
 This guy was super pumped about our camping trip. 






 We went to a fam-camp at a local military base. A friend told us about this little strip of beach along the river. It's a steep cliff to get down, but the shells are worth it. We let the big two go. 

The picture is deceptive. It's probably a fifty foot cliff, straight down. 
He was so mad that we wouldn't let him go down. I had no problem with him getting down, it was getting him back up that worried me. 


 And then fishing was a must. We left our bait at home and bought worms at the bait shop. Turns out, York River fish are snobby and don't like worms. There was one family fishing not too far from us that were reeling them in left and right. 

Once we gave up and I went to retrieve two of my children from said fishing party(they'd given up on us losers), I found out their secret. 

1. They were fishing with shrimp. 
2. They had about fifteen poles in the water between three people. 
3. They'd been there a solid twelve hours. 
4. They were completely drunk. 

 Sean and Simon stayed and got disappointed, the rest of the boys and I went to the less dangerous beach for more shells since T didn't get to go down the super steep cliff.




 And then we ate hot dogs and smores. Felix and Titus made a friend at the campground and hunted frogs until bedtime. 
 We woke up early Sunday morn and stuffed ourselves with leftover vitamin M & packed up. 
 Why yes, yes I am lucky. 
 Once home, we did wagon rides while Sean cooked dinner of aforementioned super expensive, local fish. It was amazing.
 Just like him. 


 This guy went into fish coma and Simon wanted to watch A-Team with no brotherly interruptions. 
 So the two middles and I went for ice cream. 

And I told Sean this morning that it was the best Mother's Day ever. 

I love these boys. 

Mack retrieval

We flew out to Texas to pick up our motorhome that's been sitting in storage for way too long. Motorhomes don't do well in storage (when the owner doesn't listen to his wife). 

When left in the Texas sun for three years, uncovered, they become shelter to many, many, many wasp's homes. The windows also have a tendency to gather moisture between the panes and fog within. Thankfully, the tires were fine. Dry rot was our biggest fear as those tires aren't cheap and there are six of them. 

 We have a family of best friends that put us up for the weekend. We had so much fun on their urban farm. We fell in love with chickens. Sean didn't give me any redheaded girls, I'm thinking redheaded hens may just be the next best thing. 
 Happy hour just happened to fall on the days we were there. Between our family of six and their family of seven, we worked those baristas. 
 Things were built and blown up. 
 Games were played, forts were built, swimming, jumping, dirt biking, scootering, rip sticking, birthday partying...



 Above all else, friendships were rekindled and set deeper in the foundations of big and little hearts alike. The amount of tears shed at the goodbyes between the mamas and the kiddos would fill at least a child sized swimming pool. I'm so, so thankful for these people. It made me miss Texas more than ever. 

Alas, the time came for us to say goodbye. Our intent was for the trip to be more of a vacation than a cannon ball run across the country. Somehow we forgot it's a 22+ hour drive. 







 I don't know why I took so many pictures at meal times. They're kinda my favorite RV moments. 


 As you can see, Sean is always thrilled by my selfie needs. 

 We killed every bug in Louisiana and can't reach the windshield with a normal squeegee. This guy happened to be pressure washing the gas station driveway. :D




 Tito slept A LOT. We all got sick on the plane. Sean was the worst as his allergies kicked in on top of the sinus junk picked up on filthy Delta airlines. 

 We made it home in one piece. The trip home wasn't all the rage I wanted it to be. Sean lovingly asked me not to freakin' ask to get back in the stupid motorhome for at least two weeks. Naturally, I waited two whole days. He's a marshmallow, as mentioned in a previous post, and he gave in. I'll post all about that trip separately. :) 

I'm so glad to have Mack back!! I'd like to be super hardy, mountain men type campers. Truth is, we camp in a house on wheels. I am able to make toast. I sleep in a more comfy bed when camping than when at home. 

I'm okay with that.