8 Years Married: 8 Lessons I’ve Learned

Jose and I are celebrating 8 years of marriage! I am kind of in awe of that. I’m not surprised that we’re still married, but I can’t believe it’s been 8 years already.


It feels like just yesterday I was floating down the aisle towards my high school sweetheart, a bundle of nerves in my stomach but so sure in my heart. Eight years later, I am still so sure and so in love. In a culture that minimizes the importance of marriage and practically scoffs at commitment, where divorce runs rampant and marriages apparently face some kind of ‘7-year itch’ I can shout from the rooftops that MARRIAGE IS BEAUTIFUL. I still love it!

8 Lessons I’ve learned in 8 years of marriage:

1. Teamwork really does make the dream work.

I think part of what has helped our relationship flourish so much is the fact that we are a team. We team up on pretty much every single thing in life. His dreams are my dreams. My goals are his goals. We do what we can to support one another. I found that this is especially critical when it comes to parenting. We have always parented and continue to parent as a team. There is nothing that is deemed something that only mom does or dad does [okay, except maybe wrestling but I’m just not a wrestler!] We support each other. If he’s had a busy day with clients and has been out all day, I know I may have to step up when it comes to cooking, cleaning, or getting school things together for the boys. If I’ve had a challenging day and his day is slow, it’s nothing for him to cook dinner, do laundry, and pick up the kids from school. He is always willing to help me and vice versa. This is so integral to any relationship, in my opinion.

2. You reap what you sow.

You have heard this a thousand times. Why is that? BECAUSE IT’S TRUE. You will get out of a marriage what you put into it. If you treat your marriage like a piece of garbage, that’s what your marriage will eventually become. If you don’t prioritize your relationship or each other, it will reflect, I can promise that. Something that’s big for us is quality time. We can live in the same household and be two ships passing in the night if we don’t prioritize spending time together and having conversation. Because this is essential for the both of us, we make sure we pour a lot of that into our relationship, even if it means turning down other engagements [sorry family and friends – I still love you!]. I always want to sow into my relationship so that we can see the benefits of that.

3. for better or for worse truly means for better or for worse.

Life isn’t a fairytale and sometimes crap hits the fan. Life gets SUPER REAL all of a sudden. For Jose and I, three years into our marriage we faced the challenge of infertility. When our boys were born, they faced quite a few medical issues. The first year of their lives was SO hard! After that, one of the boys had a medical diagnosis that presented more challenges. And the list goes on and on. The point I’m making is that for all of the mountaintops we had, we had a ton of valleys. Our vows were tested repeatedly. Don’t go into marriage with the false assumption that you will ride off into the sunset and it will always be a fairytale. Yet, know that when you hit the hard times, these challenges will be a catalyst for growth if you allow them to be.

4. There’s no room for selfishness.

Marriage for me was a reality check that the entire world didn’t revolve around me. Growing up as a middle child but the only girl out of two brothers meant that I was the apple of my family’s eyes, especially on my dad’s side. I usually got what I wanted. I scoffed at the idea of cooking and cleaning because it wasn’t “fun” and I “didn’t like it.” I stood firm all the way up to the wedding day that I wouldn’t cook or clean and I shouldn’t have to because it was a gender stereotype that I was supposed to. A whole lot of words to sum up me being selfishness. Guess what? When I got back from the honeymoon and realized my new husband and I had to eat food, I learned to cook pretty quickly.

5. The Words you speak to each other matter.

I wrote a post already about this one, so I won’t repeat myself too much except to say this: you can’t take back words. Words have the power to bring life to your spouse or to destroy their spirit. Choose wisely and recognize that many marriages are destroyed over words.

6. romance and intimacy are important.

Sometimes couples get really comfortable and start to think this doesn’t matter or start treating their spouse like more of a live-in roommate. Don’t fall into that trap! Go on dates. Get creative. Try new adventures together. Protect your marriage and recognize that a little romance goes a long way! If you haven’t read the 5 Love Languages, I recommend that for any married couple. Find out your spouse’s love language and start speaking it. For me, whenever Jose gives me a handwritten card my heart just melts into a giant sappy puddle on the floor. Written words from him always make me cry for some reason. He can get me an amazing gift, but the card and his note to me is what always gets to me! It’s the little things!

 

7. The Two C’s: Compromising and Communication

Being married to my husband has taught me a lot about compromise! We have completely opposite tastes in a lot of areas. We enjoy doing different things. We don’t like the same kinds of movies. We have varying tastes in music. BUT the fun part is compromising with each other and as a result, stepping out of our comfort zones and tastes to do what the other loves! Communication is an obvious one, but it’s essential! I’m not a mind reader and neither is my husband. We have to communicate our struggles, desires, dreams, the bad days, good days, and everything inbetween. Also, just to talk. Unplug. Put phones away and have solid conversation.

8. No marriage should be an island.

Support and community matter. For our relationship, the wisdom of people we respect and admire has strengthened us during the hard times of life. There’s something powerful about knowing that people have your back and that you have people you can trust and talk to. I especially love talking to people who have a marriage I admire, have been married a long time, and are filled with wisdom and experience! They’ve been there! They get it! Go find those people, talk to them, hang out with them.

In eight years, I can still say marriage is beautiful. It’s what you make it. We aren’t perfect people. Far from it! Yet I’m so happy I married this guy and am looking forward to spending the rest of my life with him. Here’s to growing old together.

  

Expectation vs. Reality – Christmas Pics 2016

Christmas pictures. When some people hear this phrase they feel excited as they anticipate taking family pictures and choosing from a variety of lovely photos. When I hear this phrase, I feel…slight dread. You see, I am a twin mom of two toddler boys. Getting two energetic little guys to stay still, smile, and pose for an indefinite amount of time is nothing short of mission impossible.

Still, I put my best foot forward and decided to do a portrait studio this year if only for time’s sake. My favorite picture takers are my brother-in-law and sister-in-law, who typically take our Christmas pics but I decided to give them a break since my SIL is preggers. So, off we went.

On the way up, JoJo was in a bit of a mood. “This was a bad idea, wasn’t it?” I asked my husband as we drove along, regret lacing my tone. He shrugged in resignation and sighed, “We’ll see.” When we got to the place, all was going well it seemed. Both boys were playing with some of the toys left out and having a good time. TOO good of a time, I started to notice.

“Um, do you think it’s going to be easy to get them out of this section to take pics?” I asked my husband nervously.

“I don’t know…” his voice trailed off unsure. Uh-oh.

So off I went in search of reinforcements. I.E. bribery tools, I.E. candy. After I purchased some favorites, it was our turn. Immediately, Josiah wasn’t having it. He started to cry and my hopes of an easy picture session were dashed. The more we tried to get him to smile, the worse it became. I went in for the reinforcements, grabbing the jelly beans and offering them up as a token of peace in exchange for pictures. Here’s the thing – Josiah didn’t want to let go of the jelly beans. So he didn’t. So they were in literally the majority of our pictures because we’ve learned early what battles to fight and knew this wasn’t one of them.

Josiah – One.

Parents – Zero.

Meanwhile, Micah was striking a pose like he was David Beckham, being a complete ham for the camera.

Nonetheless, the pictures appropriately captured what being a twin parent of three years old is like and overall, I’m happy.  We did get some pretty good ones! But I had to laugh because of expectations vs. reality. Here’s what I expected….

Here’s what actually happened:

Here were my expectations…

Here’s what reality delivered.

Thank goodness we can laugh about it! Here’s to another Christmas session checked off the list.

And here are some of the solid ones:

Until we meet again, photographers.

Why Giving is SO Important

livinggenerouslygraphicLately, God has been teaching me about giving. Through different people, through His word, through different sermons, through hard life lessons.

The conclusion that I’ve come to is – GIVING IS ALWAYS GOOD. GIVING IS RIGHT. BE GENEROUS.

We reap what we sow. It’s a biblical principle. Check it out:

Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. – 2 Corinthians 9:6-8

Why should we give? Why should we live lives of generosity?

  1. The bible tells us to.
  2. It’s more blessed to give than to receive.
  3. God is able to bless us and make sure we have all we need. *Note that needs and wants are different!*

We DO NOT give because…

  1. We want something in return.
  2. We feel forced and want to check it off the list.
  3. We want the pride, affirmation, accolades that come with giving.

We don’t give with an attitude either. “Okay, God. I’ve given so this is what I want…” God is not a genie. If you want a genie, check out Aladdin. We give to others because God has given to us so freely. First, we have salvation and it’s something completely FREE. God loves us and we don’t have to earn His love. We can’t buy our way into heaven or into His promises. But when we give, we are so richly blessed.

We should give AT ALL TIMES, even when it’s really hard!

But my spouse lost his job. We are really tight right now.

GIVE.

But I am single parent struggling to make ends meet.

GIVE.

But I’m going through a really hard time in life right now.

GIVE.

I’m speaking to this because I have been there. We have been in situations where we have been on one income. We have been in situations where we have watched the lives of our children flash before our eyes. We have been in situations where people have hurt us. Nonetheless, I have experienced the overflow of God’s blessings every single time without fail when we have been consistent in giving. We have always experienced his provision. We have never been without what we have needed.

Giving should flow from a heart that is willing and pure. If you are ever in a place or even a church where people are guilting/coercing/begging you into giving, RUN! It needs to come from a heart that wants to be generous because in the end, YOUR HEART IS WHAT MATTERS THE MOST. If you give with a crappy attitude, you might as well not give. I think motive matters greatly.

Can I give you examples of how God has provided for us through challenging times?

  1. When the boys were sick as preemies and I had to take a longer maternity leave without any disability, God used a blogger friend to supply a case of expensive formula Micah needed just when we ran out. Formula landed on my doorstep from TEXAS. During that time we also received random checks in the mail, hand me downs from others, even a check from the mortgage company. God took care of us.
  2. At the end of my school year, after my long maternity leave, I had a crazy check come in (by the thousands) that was completely unexpected to the point where I e-mailed my HR director asking her about it. She explained how it was rightfully mine, even though I couldn’t believe it! I don’t even remember her explanation, all I remember is being so grateful.
  3. When my husband left the only job he ever had for over ten years, God opened up a door for him with a job where he eventually became a real estate agent, which has been a huge blessing for our family.
  4. When my husband was in a sudden transition between brokerages, God used someone anonymous to supply us with a $500 grocery gift card and $250. This is all without us asking or even announcing it (our Pastor mentioned it at the end of a Sunday service, our church responded by being generous…anonymously! We are grateful to be part of this kind of church.)

HE HAS ALWAYS TAKEN CARE OF US WITHOUT FAIL. Everything I have I owe to Him. Therefore, I can give to others and live generously!

The Bible tells us this story of Jesus sitting down in the temple watching everyone give. All these rich people are throwing in tons of money. Then, all of a sudden, this widow comes up and she drops in two coins only worth a few cents. Jesus points her out and says, Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others.They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”

This tells us Jesus isn’t impressed by a monetary amount. You can’t buy your way in. This woman gave from the depths of her heart because she literally gave all that she had. Jesus essentially says, “Hey guys! This widow here? She nailed it. She gets what it means to give.”

I want to be like her. I haven’t always lived generously, but I have come a long way and want to continue to grow in this.

Look out for part 2 – What Giving Looks Like, where you’ll find practical applications and ideas/thoughts on how to give. 

 

 

Our trip to the Philadelphia Zoo!

Last week, my mom and I spontaneously decided to take the boys to the Cape May Zoo. We had a great time and amazing weather. It was in the eighties, but missing the nightmarish humidity that had been plaguing us for the majority of the summer.

When I came home and bragged  told my husband about what we did, he said he wanted to go to the Philadelphia Zoo on Saturday. He hadn’t been, and it was killing him that I was having such a blast with the boys while he toiled away at work. Sorry, not sorry. Just kidding. Kind of. When I looked into pricing, I saw it was a little pricey, BUT membership wasn’t bad at all. We decided to become members for a year! Membership benefits include free access to the zoo for a year, free parking, and 10% of all merchandise and food. Not bad at all!

We had such a good time. The weather was humid and muggy, but we got there as soon as it opened on Saturday (I’m a stickler for getting to places early and when it opens since I hate crowds!), so it was perfect. We brought the stroller, but took the boys out and let them walk around with us most of the time.  We made sure they didn’t fall into a gorilla pit (rest in peace Harambe) and needless to say, it was uneventful in that way! Hooray!

The Philadelphia Zoo is a gorgeous zoo with such a variety of animals and historical fact alert; it’s the nation’s FIRST zoo. One of the millions reasons to love Philly . So if you haven’t visited it or if you don’t live around here, take an East Coast vacation and add this place to the list of places to check out. We plan on going for a date day as well sometime soon, so we can actually read the signs and take a minute to slow down. If you have toddlers, you understand that spending more than five minutes at an exhibit is probably not a possibility. Still, a fab time was had by all.

It was also a first for my husband AND the boys, so it was cool to see them all experience the zoo in that way. We stayed for a few hours, and once it started getting super muggy, peaced out. All in all, a successful day.

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Faith – Remaining Unshakable.

Unshakable

Lately God has been pressing the same message into my heart.

Be unshakable.

and…

Be immovable.

and…

STAND FIRM.

Though the cares of this world come to destroy us and to rob us our joy and faith, Jesus tells us to be unshakable in Him. It’s inevitable that trials will come our way. It’s a guarantee that at some point in our life, we’re going to face problems. Bad things WILL happen. Jesus himself guaranteed it when he said,

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” – John 16:13

But here’s the thing. As followers of Jesus, we are ALWAYS on the winning side. We always win! That’s the thing in living a life of complete freedom, free of fear, free of anxiety, free of doubt, free of stress. We win. We have a hope. We have a promise of a life with Jesus FOREVER. Does it get any better than that? That’s enough to fill me with peace. That’s enough to kick fear right in the face. That’s enough to silence any doubts and starve any anxious thoughts that try to make a home in my mind. The Bible spells it out for me quite clearly,

“For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.” – Colossians 3:3

When I decided to live for Jesus, I died to this life in the sense that the things of this world didn’t have a hold on me anymore. My real life is found hidden in Jesus.

“But the Lord is my fortress;my God is the mighty rock where I hide.” – Psalm 94:22

When our lives are hidden in Jesus, we find peace. We find shelter in His promises. We find a place of complete safety. This doesn’t mean that we hide from the world and bury our heads in the sand when awful things come our way. No, this means that we are NOT MOVED when these things happen because we are found in Jesus! Our life is hidden in Him and therefore, nothing that happens on this earth can shake us. We are founded on the Rock of our salvation. When you build something that’s on a rock, it has a strong foundation. It can’t be moved around when storms hit it. It’s consistent, steady, and will remain even after the storm has passed.

Jesus asks us to live a life that is solidly anchored on the rock so we are unshakeable, steadfast, and firm. We refuse to be moved because we know who we stand on.

How can you live this out in a practical way? Here are a few ideas:

  • Memorize key scriptures that will help you remain steadfast.
    • Bury yourself in the word. Maybe it’s a particular chapter that sticks out to you. Maybe it’s a certain verse. Read it to yourself again and again. Write it down in your prayer journal. Ask God to bring it to remembrance when you go through trials. Pray God’s word. Which brings me to the next point…
  • Pray God’s word.
    • When the trial comes, and it inevitable will, pray the promises of God over your life. The Bible says, “It is the same with my word.I send it out, and it always produces fruit.It will accomplish all I want it to,and it will prosper everywhere I send it.” – Isaiah 55:11.
    • When Jesus was tempted by the devil in the desert, He withstood by declaring the word of the Lord.
  • Don’t react the way you might want to. Refuse to.
    • The flesh part of us wants to react in a very, well, fleshly way. It’s our natural inclination as a human to panic, freak out, and think of the worst things! Trust me, this is coming from a professional freak-er out-er (God is continuing to work with me in this area, thank the Lord!), but we need to react in a way that honors God.
  • Remember that as believers, WE ALWAYS WIN.
    • The Bible reminds us that “… our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all… – 2 Corinthians 4:17
    • What we go through on this earth is temporary, fleeting, momentary. The pain doesn’t last forever. That’s a promise. What we go through on this earth is nothing compared to the eternal life we have in Jesus. Simply incomparable!

I write this to encourage others and for myself! Who doesn’t walk through trials? The question is – how will you handle it? Will you be someone who is moved by every wind that blows your way? Or will you be rooted and firm in Jesus? I choose Jesus.

What 28 taught me. Hello 29.

bonnie & Carole

Yesterday I officially turned 29. One step closer to 30. Most women dread getting older, but I don’t have a fear of that. I do like to take time and reflect on what I learned over the past year though. What did 28 teach me?

1. To have  a voice. 

As I get older, I find that I’m much more confident in speaking up and voicing how I feel, even if it’s uncomfortable for others. Being a mom, teacher, wife, and leader in my church have all played a part in developing my voice.

2. To unplug and plug into what really matters.

For me this was literal. I think I saw how attached I was to my electronics and how I was missing out on actually being present.

3. Serving others makes me happy and fulfilled.

I found that I enjoy serving, hosting, and giving even when I feel like I don’t have much to offer. I think I have learned to serve with my heart and to serve without wanting or expecting anything in return.

4. The world doesn’t revolve around me.

Humility is a lesson I’ve continued to be taught. I think it’s because it’s not something I’ve quite mastered yet. It’s humbling to recognize that there are things so much bigger than ourselves. It puts things into perspective.

5. Making assumptions will make you look like a fool. Especially because my assumptions are typically wrong.

When I make assumptions about people or situations, I’m almost always proven wrong. Its better to deal with reality than assumptions.

6. I am an awesome mom.

I am proud of the mother I’ve become. I know that I love my boys well and my parental instincts have never failed me so far.

7. My possessions don’t define me.

I’ve come to a point where I’ve realized that stuff is just, well…stuff. I’m more than the car I drive, the clothes I wear, and the latest toys my kids have or don’t have. The end.

8. How to learn to love my small home and see it as a blessing and not a curse.

I think it’s easy to compare with what others have and allow yourself to feel jealous or resentful about it. I have a small home that I use to bemoan. “One day when we get a bigger house…” but I’ve learned to enjoy the here and now and look at the fact that I am a homeowner. I have a mortgage that is cheaper than any rent I’ve ever paid. I have a house where people feel at home in and welcomed in. That’s winning in my book.

9. Not to cave in on something I strongly believe in, no matter how much opposition I face.

I think this year I’ve been in positions that have at times, backed me up against the wall. The easiest thing would have been to cave in because fighting for my convictions was the hard thing to do. But I did it and am proud of that. It’s made me stronger.

10. Dreaming is everything.

I’ve been pushed to dream bigger than I have ever dreamed before. I have been challenged to place no limits or restrictions on the dreams of my heart. By who? God. Myself. My husband. It is everything.

When I look back at 28, I am not filled with regret. I’m filled with contentment. Goodbye 28, hello 29.

It’s time to dream again.

I’m dreaming again.

For me, God has really pounded this into my soul lately.

I think for a long time I stopped dreaming. I don’t know why. I stopped setting goals for myself and stopped dreaming about the things I wanted to accomplish in life. It’s no one else’s fault at all but my own. Somewhere along the way, I just stopped. To be honest, I think I just got caught up and distracted by fillers. And by fillers I mean, distracted with things that didn’t really matter. STUFF. Things.

And I feel like God is stirring up something in my soul: DREAM.

There is so much that I want to accomplish and I feel like I’m being compelled to set up specific long term and short term goals for myself (which will come at a later post!) but most importantly, I don’t think I’ve ever felt more inspired or more encouraged to dream bold, outlandish, seemingly impossible, wild things.

Do you remember how it was when you were a kid? When people asked you the infamous, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” And with confidence you said things like, “Astronaut!” Or “Princess!” Or “Doctor!” Or whatever it was you wanted to be. You said it with every bit of conviction a child could have, knowing without a shadow of a doubt that you would be what you said you would be?

It’s like God is knocking at my heart and gently reminding me of all of the dreams I once had…and it’s amazing! There are no excuses that can stand in my way. I see a road of endless possibilities. For the next few days, I’ll be setting some specific long term and short term goals that will help me refocus and push me in the direction of accomplish these dreams.

I will be blogging soon about the process of setting up short term and long term goals and what that looks like. Just so this post doesn’t seem super ambiguous, I’ll share some of the dreams I’ve had at one point but put on the back burner. I’m reviving them…

  • Writing more.
  • Working with women – discipleship.
  • Mentoring young women.

And there’s about a billion more things. I’m going to be goal setting and diving my goals into specific types of goals (financial, spiritual, travel, personal, etc) and I plan on sharing what my process looks like. I’ll also be embarking on a cool journey in February too which I can’t wait to share about.

Needless to say, in 2016…I DREAM.

Reasons I love the “Almost Two” age

The boys are “almost two.” This July, they will officially turn TWO years old. UM, where did the little peanuts go?! They are looking like little boys and no longer like babies which is bittersweet. Yet, I find that the older they get the more fun I seem to have with them! I am actually LOVING this age. Despite the non-sensical toddler tantrums that arise which you can read about here , this age has turned out to be pretty fun ! Here’s why:

1. They have developed personalities that are more distinct by the day.

The personalities that have made an appearance are so interesting. Micah is extra sensitive and loves his “cheche” which is what we call milk in our house (Spanish word for milk is “leche” and they say “cheche”) but is also a little sneak. After he has finished all of his milk, he will try to take his brother’s while his bro doesn’t notice what’s happening. Before anyone knows what’s happened, he’s finished off Jo-Jo’s milk. Jo-Jo LOVES the guitar and anything musical. His face lights up when he’s holding his guitar and he even knows how to hold it like an adult. I also think he’s left-handed! Jo-Jo is adventurous and fun loving. H is FEARLESS while Micah is fearful – something we are trying to break him out of. Nonetheless, it’s so cool to see these little guys flourish into people with opinions. Sometimes it’s scary (tantrums anyone?!) but overall it’s been a true joy.

2. They enjoy going outside and playing ALL the time.

These kids adore the great outdoors.

They are absolutely thrilled to pieces whenever they have the chance to go outside. They are constantly asking, “Outside? Outside?” and when we take them outside you would think we took them to Disney World. Now that the weather is so much better, we are outside every single day. It helps out a ton because they entertain themselves and get to expend all of that energy that they have! We take them on walks to the park almost every other day or so, they play in the backyard every day, or they get to have little trips in their bicycles, which they love. I also try to take them out for a stroll when I can. My plan in the summer is to take them on a morning walk every morning. Can’t wait until this school year is over! School until June 24th? Really though?

3. They LOVE to get out of the house and are amazing whenever I take them to the stores. It’s like a field trip for them.

My favorite places to go with the boys are Target (duh! I’ve written about my affinity for Target many times) and also BJ’s because they have so many cool carts to put the boys in.

They love getting out and about and are really fabulously behaved when we go out. My goal this summer is to take them out and about as much as humanly possible.

4. They are enjoying things they once seemed to hate.

My kids hated bath time and didn’t seem to be big fans of swimming or water in general. Now?! The are obsessed. Literally, they are outraged every time they hear us run the water and not put them in the “ba? ba?” How dare we! But it has made bath time a much more pleasant experience. My husband got “them” a slip and side (he said it was for the boys, the picture convinces me it may have been for him haha) and they love it and we also just got them a little pool which they are all over. Whoo!

Sure this is for “the boys.” I believe you.


5. They can communicate their wants and needs easier, which in turn, makes life a bit easier.

With signing and simply being able to talk more, the’ve been communicating their needs to us much better. When they are finished with something, they let us know. If they want to do something, they let us know what they want to do whether it’s go outside, watch Special Agent Oso (which we don’t watch often), or if it’s color or even if they want us to take out the guitars. Their communication skills improving has made it much easier because when they tell us what they want, we can respond and this reduces meltdowns! Plus, hearing their little toddler voices? Adorable!

6. They love to roughhouse and play around with us, and especially with their dad. It’s a man’s world in my house.

The pictures speak volumes.


I love this age. I love these boys SO much. They’re just such a blast! If you’re in the same age range as us, what are you loving about this age?! Do share 🙂

This time goes by really quickly. We blink, and they are toddlers. We blink again, and they are teens. I’m doing all that I can do truly cherish and celebrate every age and all of the joys that come with it. Of course there are the struggles too…but in the end, I can’t help but celebrate the blessings of God that I get to witness every single day.

Operation stay at home daddy in FULL effect!

My family is in a new season of our lives as operation SAHD is in full effect! I started working full time again as a teacher last Tuesday. If this is all news to you, check out my previous blog posts both here and here about how we came to a decision for my husband to leave work and stay at home full time. This means that we are down from two incomes to one. We had a bit of a savings to help us get through the summer and so we have been able to make it work. Our thought frame now is –

ok, what next?!

Some of the things we are considering – having my husband work part time, having him go back to school full-time/part-time, and also continuing to launch his photography business . These are all exciting possibilities and ones that we are trying to consider very prayerfully. In my heart, I would love for my him to go back to school for something ministry related because I know that’s where his heart is. Because of my firm belief in this, today I surprised him with a ticket to Dallas, TX to check out an amazing school of ministry during their “Campus Days” in October. I registered him for the event, bought the ticket, and told him all about it today! This all happened this morning and he’s still in shock but so excited. I think it will be an amazing opportunity for him to truly check out this school. He’ll also have a chance to spend time with his sister and my niece (remember – I road-tripped out their this summer with them to help them move!) so it’s a win-win all around. Being a SAHD provides for lots of moments like this –

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My boys loveeee having their daddy with them all of the time. It’s a true blessing and honestly – a true sacrifice…but the benefits are worth it. It’s especially been such a major help because this year has been particularly overwhelming so far. I live super close to my job and have been staying after work for hours and hours every day just because it seems like there isn’t enough time in the actual day to get things done. It’s been helpful to have my husband home with the boys because it gives me the time I need at work and most importantly, I know the boys are in the best hands possible. This season in our life has felt a bit isolating as well. My friends are in their spending money glory and I’m over here penny pinching and trying to live on a super tight budget. I’m not going to pretend it’s easy…it’s not! But it also helps me put things into perspective. What’s TRULY important to me?

Is is having the latest Coach purse? The trendiest clothes? The fanciest home?

No. For awhile, those things were important to me, I’m not going to lie. It’s very easy to get caught up in the comparison game of who has what, especially when not everyone sees things the way that you do. I do work with people that are, in fact, extremely materialistic. I know for a fact that in the eyes of some people, we would not be considered “successful” because so many people define success by how many things and material possessions you accumulate. Having things is wonderful, but I can’t put a price on what I have right now – my boys have their daddy with them ! That’s pretty precious.

My husband has been really wonderful. When I come home from work, there is usually dinner in the works. The boys are bathed, fed, and happy. The house is tidied up. Basically, he makes it easy so that when I come home I can focus on spending 100% of time with my boys and family. He knows that it’s not easy being away from them for the majority of the day. He knows that I’ve been really stressed out because of work. He knows that the last thing I want to do when I get home is have to do another zillion things so he makes it easy for me. I’m really blessed in this way.

Things have not been absolute perfection though. We both have to check ourselves inwardly every day. We don’t want to develop resentment, unrealistic expectations, or anger towards one another. That can slip in easily. I don’t ever want to feel superior to him or vice versa. I don’t want to place all of these demands on him either. I still want to help out…so we do our best to keep the lines of communication open. There have been tense moments (not going to lie!) but we’ve worked through them and continue to talk everything out. We are open to whatever it is God has for our lives. It’s just such a new season all around! We are also still in the process of trying to find a church to call home.

In the end though, the song that keeps resonating in my heart is:

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.It is well with my soul,

 

 

 

Very Inspiring Blogger Award

I’ve been nominated with this awesome award by the lovely Elisha over at Waiting for Baby Bird .

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It’s pretty amazing to be nominated by her because her blog is such an inspiration to me. I you have not yet followed her blog, I beg…yes, beg you to do so. Not because she lacks followers (in fact, it is quite the opposite!) but because she really is such a dynamic inspirational person. Truly. She walks through life with grace, dignity, and strength…no matter what comes her way. Anyway, I was nominated by her for this cool award. Basically, I’m supposed to list seven facts about myself and then nominate other bloggers. I nominate: Less to More, Vapor and Mist, and Paige Ewing Ministries. They are each amazing in different ways. Less to More inspires me in savings, thriftiness, and all things awesome. Vapor and Mist pretty much renders me to brokenness every time I read, yet encourages me and inspires me at the same time. Paige Ewing Ministries is also an amazing, uplifting blog read. Please check them out! Cool? Let’s do this.

1. I would wear a pretty dress every day if I could.
I absolutely love all things girly. Pink? My favorite color. Glitter? Yes please. Ribbons, bows, and such? The more the merrier. That being said, I love to wear girly dresses. Some of that is attributed to the fact that I’m short and dresses are simply easier. Needless to say, I own about a zillion.

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2. Every member in my family plays an instrument. Except me.
My mom is a bass player, my dad a guitar player, my older brother a drummer and guitar player, and my younger brother a piano player. My mom used to play in a legit family band when she was younger. They traveled throughout the US and throughout South America as a missionary musical family…when I was younger I tried to get them to teach me, but they had no patience lol. Therefore, I sing.

3. Every Sunday is Hallmark Sunday.

I started this tradition when my husband was working Pretty simple – I watch Hallmark movies every Sunday. They are cheesy, corny, and ridiculously predictable. However, they provide me with some wholesome television. My husband dreads it, I love it…it’s a win situation. For me.

4. It took me five years to “master” Spanish rice.

…and the truth is, I still haven’t mastered it. lol. Spanish rice is so darn tricky to make! Unfortunately, it’s a staple of a Puerto Rican’s diet (being stereotypical, not all…but most) so learning how to make it was a necessity. The problem is, anyone that has tried to teach me can never give me any true measurements. “Add a bit of this, some of that, a spoon of that….” I don’t work like that. So for now, I will continue to attempt to make yummy Spanish rice that is not day glow orange and mushy. Prayers please.

5. I’m a Plato’s Closet junkie. 95% of my clothing comes from here.

If you don’t know what that is, you have not lived! It’s basically a thrift store for young women. I LOVE LOVE LOVE to shop here. When I shop here, it’s an experience. And I mean, an experience. I leave everything and everyone at home, take only the friends that can hang (if you can’t shop for more than an hour here…stay home) and I may or may not have made my husband wait in line early to get some special coupons on a big sale day. Everything is pretty reasonable, I always have a 20% off coupon, and I find unique things from different stores. It’s like having the experience of shopping at the mall without actually having the experience. Uh-mah-zing.

6. Teen Fiction. Yes, yes, yes.

Thank you Kindle Unlimited and Amazon Prime for providing me with a bevy of teen fiction all within my fingertips. I don’t naturally read a lot of it, but usually in preparation for September I try to read some things so that I can connect with my students and also recommend books to them. Nonetheless, I am officially hooked. I will be doing a post on some of my recommendations.

7. I hate yoga pants.

I heard the collective gasp from the blogosphere when I read that, but alas, it is true. I HATE yoga pants. HATEEEEEE. They sell them everywhere and everyone wears them but they are not for me. If I could eliminate them from the existence of the world, I would do so without hesitation. Not sorry world.

So there you have it, seven random facts about me! I have lots of posts in me so hopefully I can crank them out asap. Future topics:

  • Being a mom, still amazing, but still HARD!!
  • It didn’t get easier.
  • I love them, but they run me.
  • My house has been taken over by a host of little people and toys.
  • Oh Lordy, please bring on the chocolate.

And other posts as such (okay, okay…I won’t be posting all of these but yeah, there will be some…goodness do I have some things to let off my chest..) and I also still want to post pics of my boys’ 1st birthday party, my road trip to Texas, and other things! Until then friends, until then.