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The only thing I remember about this trip was trying to keep him from breaking anything. Praying we could have a moment to eat without him going crazy. I mean seriously, we literally brought a bull into a China shop... or in this case crazy expensive clock shops! What were we thinking? 

August 2009, Black Forest, Germany

Right after this photo he was going again. I was 8 months pregnant... tired was an understatement. Those of you with littles let me give you a huge amount of hope... We go out to eat with both kids now, and never have to worry about keeping them occupied. Honestly I never thought I would say that. I never thought we would have freedom to go to quiet places with our kids, or take them into delicate shops without fear, or have memories that aren't trying to keep a very busy kid from destroying every clock shop we entered. 

I personally didn't enjoy the early days of parenting, but I have enjoyed them so much more now! We share memories, and hang out with them. I offer to bring them with me if I have to go to the store... yep, I offer them the option and bring them with me and no one goes crazy! THIS is what I have waited for. It may not feel like a big deal to most, but to me, after years of being stared at for my crying children, and years of pure chaos... YEARS of seeing so many others with tiny children who could handle going out in public... FINALLY there is this peace... a sweet spot before hormones ruin both my children. 

I am actually excited about the teen years! I know I may regret saying that without knocking on wood, but I truly did not enjoy the early years. I was never comfortable living in each of the early seasons, in the moment. I never saw the good... it was always chaos and always hard to breathe. I felt resentful, tired, numb, and constantly waiting...

Waiting for a time we could want to take them out with us without stressing...

Waiting for them to be calmer...

Waiting for them to see what we were teaching them...

Waiting for them to mature so they could handle situations...

Waiting for both to be out of diapers...

Waiting for them to be less picky...

Waiting for them to learn their own coping skills...

Waiting...

Waiting...

Waiting...

I don't feel like I am in a season of waiting anymore. I feel free while I allow space for them to figure things out. Maybe I stopped needing to wait for myself to mature as a parent... maybe this is a season where it is my children's turn to wait for their own growth. Maybe? 

All I know is during all that waiting I lost out on remembering the good! If you notice yourself waiting, remember to write down or pay attention to all those times that you enjoy. Take a moment each day, or week to think about what you did with yoyr children. Burn it into your brain even if it is hard. This maybe even more difficult if you suffered from post partum depression like me, where part of your brain is specifically turning itself off in order to survive and live without fear or extreme stress. I promise you will want to at least try to keep notes on that time. 

If you don't you will be like me, warning other parents to take a moment. See the good... soak it in... and try not to regret the times you forgot. It is okay to forget things. Our bodies do it to protect us from hurting ourselves mentally, emotionally, and physically. It will help though to write it down or take a photo before your brain needs to remove it. 

You may enjoy every moment of the early days, and that is AWESOME! Maybe you won't enjoy the season where they grow up and talk back to you, or call you the "worst mom ever, because you obviously don't love..." them 😂.

Maybe that is when you will need to take a moment to remember, to write it down or preserve a memory before it is lost. 

Whatever season you are in, find the good before it is gone. 

Don't forget to keep breathing...

Don't forget to find the joy... 


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Yes the eclipse happened today, just incase you missed it...

I almost didn't have this opportunity to see the eclipse with my kiddos but since I am a work at home mom my schedule opened up! 

Now that the excitement of the day has worn down I decided to share what many days are like for me during the school year.

Up at 6am Get ready Help kids remember their routine Brew coffee Drive Garrett to work. Drive Kids to school Drive home Prep packages for mailing Drive to house listing Drive to kids school for eclipse, while I talked with my parents about the eclipse Drive home Upload photos to PC Drive to Garrett's work Drive to rental car location Drive home Work on photos Drive to kids school Wait in pick up line 🙃 while I finally got to talk with my Bestest Lisa Drive home Help with homework Help Levi get food in his belly Garrett and Levi off to wrestling at 6pm... ... and there is still... Dinner to get done Xoe to engage with Photos to finish Dogs who have been in a kennel most of the day Goats to love on A house and my business that will probably be ignored because I need a break... It is hard to hang out with friends because: 1. See list above... or... 2. If my day isn't this busy I choose to put my feet up and rest alone in the quiet... or... 3. My house looks like everyone dropped off all their donation items and I am sorting them out... or... 4. I am cleaning... or... 5. I am in a ball in the corner rocking back and forth... because... This is just a season... or at least I hope it is because if it isn't... I may need a big vacation with a lot of substances for relaxation! Single and Dual working outside of the home parents... you are my true heroes! I honestly don't know how you do it! Anyone living near grandparents or family (and this goes for the family and grandparents too)... I envy you... don't take it for granted. It is a huge gift to live near family!!! 


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Do you actually listen to your spouse?

We got married when I was 19 years old... 21 days before my 20th birthday. I was clueless along with being completely, hopelessly, and foolishly, in love with my best friend.

... warning this may get mushy but I promise if you are like me, or if you are like my husband, or if you are in a relationship with someone we remind you of... you will want to listen. ... but literally no one listens to Kristen... even if I have fantastic advice, so I won't be offended if you pass this up 😉... because like always... this will end up long winded. Long winded but worth it!

My husband is THE most important person in my LIFE! I still know the specific moment I knew I wanted to spend my entire life with this guy. We are very human, we fight, and have our issues like everyone else... but I knew if I followed my heart, ultimately sharing my life with him would mean walking my whole life along side the one person I was meant to. He is quiet, outgoing, funny, oh so charming, a closet romantic, and my very own halcyon.

Early in our marriage... but not early enough and this could have been the downfall of our relationship if I hadn't started to truly see him and listen closely... I started to notice songs he would share, and it all began on MySpace. Before this I had never notice the words to songs, I was a beat girl...

but here is where it gets ridiculously, stupid, romantic... you may even barf a little...

I noticed a line in a song that he shared and it sounded like us. Our situation.

At this time he was serving a year in South Korea, unaccompanied... which means his family was not on his orders to be stationed with him. I had just had our first child, after spending my entire pregnancy already without him, and now as a young mom, was unknowingly battling post partum depression.

During this time in 2007, I stumbled across a song that I had to look up the words for, while I listened... because I knew Garrett was trying to say something where words were failing us. For the life of me I can't remember the name of the song or who the artist was, but it was the first of many breadcrumbs that lead us back to each other.

In that moment, I saw into his heart...

Those of you married to introverts can understand how hard it is to truly catch those few vulnerable moments with them...  last night was one of those moments.

The song that slapped me in the face last night was released in 2008... it took me 9 years to hear the words... 

Here we were, surrounded by couples, with arms holding on to each other, while they took in this amazing performance... and I had tears rolling down my cheeks.

Why?

Because I felt so dumb for not paying attention before... yet so grateful for being allowed in to see more of my husband in that moment. After 14 years of marriage it is pretty special to still have moments of learning more about your spouse. When an introvert opens themselves up to being vulnerable... pay attention, be present, and be quiet... they don't open up often... and if you are an extrovert/ambeivert, like myself, you will miss important opportunities if you fail to align their personality in those moments. 

First moral of the story...  pay attention to the details people choose to share with you.

Second moral of the story... go listen to City and Colour... maybe even share it with a love one!


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