10 months old!

Stephen is 10 months old.

I think this is my favorite age. (Course, I’ve been saying that for a few months now.) He’s mobile. He sleeps through the night. All you have to do is look at him and he laughs. He can’t climb yet, but he knows how to safely go down steps. It’s just a lot of fun.

He’s on the verge of walking – in fact, he took a few steps last weekend, but it hasn’t progress passed that yet. Probably this month, I’m guessing!

He’s also changed up the way he crawls.  He used to crawl normally, but for the past few weeks, he won’t bend his knees.  Here’s a really fuzzy video:

His scrapbook page:


Here are some recent pictures:




Highs and Lows

They say “bad things come in threes”, don’t they?  Or is that good things that come in threes?  Either way, these past couple of weeks have seen some highs and lows.  It’s at the point that it’s kind of comical.

(This is, by no means, an exhaustive list.)

  • I got promoted at work.
  • My nephew broke his ‘shin’ bone and is casted from his upper thigh to his toes.  He’s 7.  Just 3 days before school went back for the fall.
  • I turned 35.
  • We started potty training Phinehas.  I thought it started well.
  • It isn’t going well right now and it’s been a week and a half.  “Not going well” = lots of accidents (more than successes) and some protesting.
  • He still loves wearing his “unders” though.
  • Last Friday, I didn’t have a plan for dinner, so I took a meal out of the freezer that I had frozen.  I didn’t wrap it well cause my burritos were soggy and gross.  Even I wouldn’t eat them.
  • Then Saturday, since we didn’t have the leftover burritos to have for lunch, I made a frozen pizza.  Burned it.  Still edible, but who burns a frozen pizza?
  • Yesterday, I tried a new recipe and it wasn’t very good. Edible, but not very good.
  • Phinehas also went upstairs and made “ba bas for the baby” (bottles), which consisted of him dumping formula into a bottle that he got open. And shaking it.  I took a picture cause it was a mess!
  • Today, I was baking 4 pounds of chicken when my oven stopped working.  The new one we bought 2 months ago!  It’s all electronic and stuff and it just won’t heat.  It won’t take the temperature you try to set it to and says “Function Not Available.”  Who has ever heard of an oven where you can’t heat it!?  Arg!  Serviceman coming on Wednesday.  Pizza ordered for dinner.

It doesn’t help that I’ve been cranky lately.  Mostly ‘easily irritated’ would be a good description.  Just all kinds of doubts that I’m good at this mothering thing.  This wife thing.  This human thing.

The good news?  My car is regularly starting! And the microwave isn’t broken!  Nor is the dishwasher or the fridge!

We’ve been in the “we just had a baby/have a young baby, so we better stay home” mindset for, oh, over 2 years now.  But a couple of weeks ago, we took a chance and went somewhere as a family that was purely an optional thing.  Like we weren’t going to someone’s house for a family dinner.  And we weren’t on our way to church.  We just decided that “hey, I don’t think it’d be too bad for all 4 of us to go out, so let’s see how this goes.”

And it went really, really well!  Stephen’s dropping his morning nap most days, so we’ve kind of learned that going out in the morning work out okay.  In the last two weeks, we’ve started venturing out more and more, just to do fun things.  It hasn’t been without some tears, but they’ve all been manageable!

In particular, last weekend, we went to Mahoney State Park since Jeff’s company was having its company picnic out there.  We ate lunch and then went to the Activity Center — so much fun!  It only costs $2/person (and kids 2 and under are free), but it was free to us that day because Jeff’s company picked up the tab.  They have a huge kid’s indoor playground — like the kind at McDonald’s or Chic-Fil-A.  But…it’s 3 stories tall!  We left after 90 minutes, but Phinehas would’ve stayed if he could have.  He loved it!  Which is not surprising because he climbs everything!  Really, everything.

Since the revelation that getting out isn’t so tough, I enjoy getting out more for a few reasons:

  • It’s just fun to make memories!  Even if they boys don’t remember, we will.
  • It’s an easy opportunity to play with our kids.  Playing is a kid’s love language.
  • It provides good opportunities to help Finn become more obedient and, yet, independent.  Letting him walk by himself (as long as he stays close) — that kind of thing.
  • It builds skills that normally can’t be taught at home – like meeting people and climbing onto big ropes and taking turns.
  • It builds camaraderie.  Yeah, our kids won’t remember these days 20 years from now.  But there is something good and right about sharing fun experiences that helps bond people (including parents and kids) together.  So helpful for those moments where we do have to correct.

I still really like us being at home — I’m still a ‘home body’.  I don’t like always having something to do.  But getting out of the house all together for a couple of hours a week has been a lot of fun lately!




Last thoughts on marriage from someone who has been married for a whopping 4 years…

Thought #7: People should glorify God

In summary:

You can read a list like this and think “No way!  No way do I want to be married if it’s going to be like that.”  To that I say: if you can stay single and honor God, go for it!  If staying single makes you content and you don’t really long for a life-long partner or children, then awesome for you!

To the rest of you (us), just know that this isn’t the majority of marriage.  At least not for us.  We aren’t always selfish, have different value, make bad assumptions or are radically different from when we got married. It just happens some times.  Occasionally.  Same as with any other relationship — it’s just that the stakes are higher because we’re married.

There isn’t a “Get out of jail free” card to be played.  And that’s awesome!  That’s one of the things – maybe the greatest thing – about marriage that I like.  It’s until ‘death do us part’.  On Earth, it’s the closest thing we can get to a forever relationship with another mortal.

And it’s even good that it has conflict at times.  Iron sharpens iron, you know.  God knew that there would be conflict in any human relationship – amplified even more so in marriage.  And yet, our marriages should honor God.  Glorify Him.

People should be able to look at a typical day in a Christian household and think: “Wow, they really love each other.  What helps them to do that?”  Not that we love each other in a hokey way or superficially.  But that we really love one another.  Just like God loves us.

That we really are dedicated to each other.  Just like God is dedicated to us.

Marriage should glorify God because the people in the marriage should glorify God.

More thoughts on marriage from someone who has been married for a whopping 4 years…

Thought #6: People can be selfish

If I’m frustrated with Jeff, it’s most likely because I feel that he’s being selfish. But really, it isn’t that his selfishness that bothers me.  I can handle that.  What really bothers me is when his selfishness sometimes prevents me from being able to be selfish. (Note that he might not really be selfish, but in my mind, I assume that he is.)

An example: Our kids are early risers. Apparently, we subscribe to the “Early to Bed, Early to Rise” mentally around these parts. This serves us very well during the week and on Sundays, but they haven’t exactly recognized the concept of sleeping in on Saturdays. (I know, I know, wait til they’re teenagers…) And up until a couple of years ago, Jeff & I both got to sleep late(r) on Saturdays.

We try to let one of us sleep in and the other gets up with whomever wakes up first (usually Finn). We don’t usually decide who will get up on a Friday night; it’s usually a spur-of-the-moment decision on Saturday morning.  A few factors go into deciding who gets up.  Does one of us wake up and doesn’t feel tired?  Has one of us had a particularly rough week, sleep wise and could really use the extra hour or so?  But sometimes, we’re both really tired. And both really want to sleep in. But one of us has to get up.  Sometimes I get frustrated with him if he wants to sleep in.  But only because it means that I can’t.

Other times, it appears in our finances. He wants to put more money in a Roth IRA and I want to spend more money on updating the house.  I (wrongly) interpret his desire as selfish because it’s what he wants and not what I wants. He’s making a smart decision, one that’s wise and certainly not selfish. But his desire is at odds with mine.  So I label it as selfish.


  • People can be selfish.
  • Even when people aren’t being selfish, sometimes we think they are.

I try to remember that Jeff might not be selfish and to remember that marriage isn’t 50/50. And that I rarely regret being generous (with time or money)!

More thoughts on marriage from someone who has been married for a whopping 4 years

Thought #5: People make assumptions

I make assumptions all the time.  You do too.  I assume that my car will start in the morning. I assume that when I set the alarm, it will go off.  I assume that restaurants serve properly cooked food that won’t make me sick.  Most of the time, these assumptions serve me well and aren’t any big deal.

But sometimes, I make bad assumptions.  Sometimes, I assume that when Jeff cleans up the toy room, he’s making a silent commentary on my housekeeping skills.  Or that when he doesn’t want to make changes to our life insurance that he doesn’t really care what happens if he were to pass away.  Sometimes, he assumes that when I use sarcasm and say something that hurts his feelings, that I’m intentionally being mean.  (I’m violating the “We only edify” rule!)

In reality, he just wants to help me out.  In reality, he is still thinking about the insurance policy changes.  In reality, I just wasn’t being careful with my words and thought I was being funny.

I try to assume good things.  And to ask questions about what he really meant.

More thoughts on marriage from someone who has been married for a whopping 4 years

Thought #4: People Have Different Values

People have different values.  I don’t mean “I value honesty”.  I mean “I value having a comfortable home that reflects my style”.   Or “I value taking my kids on road trips”.  What one person values isn’t necessarily important to the other.

The above are good examples.  I value the home that reflects my style (once I figure out what that is!).  Jeff values taking road trips (when the kids are older, of course). The problem is that I’m not so excited about road trips.  Now I can handle road trips as long as he means “drive 3 hours to Kansas City where we’ll spend the long weekend watching baseball games and visiting amusement parks”.  But if it means “drive 24 hours over the course of 2 days visiting different destinations along the way”, then I’m not excited.  At all.

Same goes with Jeff.  He’s okay with remodeling the house as long as it means “we hire other people to do things and we spend a little bit of money.”  But if it means “we do everything ourselves and everything is a mess for a long time and we spend lots of money”, then he’s no longer excited.  At all.

So, we compromise as best we can. I’ll get on board with road trips, little by little because it’s important to him.  He’ll get on board with remodeling if I can put a real plan together, we can pay for it in cash and it doesn’t impact too much of our other financial goals.

But some things don’t have an easy or obvious compromise.  And that makes things tough.  But if you’re in this for the long haul, you keep working on it.  You mess up.  You pick yourself up and you keep at it.


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