How Marriage Works for Us

Monday night was date night. Our babysitter came over and the boys practically shoved us out the door. We jumped in the truck and headed to a restaurant that we reserve for date nights. It is not conducive for four small children; at least, not in our opinion. We talked about a little of everything over our Japanese food: dissertations, podcast interviews, homeschooling. Then we went to Lowe’s. Because every good date night ends at Lowe’s.

(Honestly, I haven’t figured out if that’s because we’re getting old or because we live in a small town. Either way, I usually come home with another houseplant so I don’t question the decision too much.)

When we were almost home, Justin mentioned that he really liked me. (Gag alert: we often have these conversations about being each other’s favorite person.) Of course, I started thinking about why our marriage works.

Short answer- Jesus, duh.

Getting A Vision

My office belongings are currently in our front hallway. There are stacks of books and Justin’s bag of basketballs. There’s a rolled-up rug draped on top of the speaker, artwork leaning against the wall and shelves stacked in the corner. My notebooks and mugs of pens and books that I keep close lay neatly in the out-grown cosleeper.

We’ve moved the three older boys into their new room. Their new curtains will be here Thursday and we’ll hang them. I’m slowing pulling out the last of the things that won’t be staying in their new room. I’ve cleared a corner in the new office to assemble the crib one last time. I’ve got the measurements for the standing desk to go in the opposite corner.

I have a vision for both of these rooms. I want spaces that allow our family to flourish and thrive in our home. A space for the boys to grow. A space for Luke to sleep comfortably, undisturbed. A space for me to work in a somewhat organized fashion. (I can’t tell you how much I’ve missed my desk the past few weeks.)

Celebrating Ten Years of Us

Justin and I are celebrating our ten year anniversary tomorrow. I distinctly remember writing our seven year anniversary post and it feels like the years are just flying by, regardless of how hard and slow they seem day by day sometimes.

One of my favorite memories of marriage this year is from when I was in labor with Luke. I was sitting on the hospital bed, holding a popsicle during a contraction, and he quietly walked over and took the popsicle from me. When I mentioned this to him several months later, he didn’t even remember doing it. But he knew me (this was baby #4 after all) and he was paying attention.

Raising Boys in a Sex Scandal Society

Recently, there has been a long string of sex scandals or allegations revealed by the media: Harvey Weinstein, Roy Moore, Matt Lauer. The hashtag #metoo has reaffirmed that sexual assault and misconduct are common. The same story is repeated over and over. Men don’t respect women. Men use women. Men objectify women. Thankfully, not all men. There are few things better than good men and I know men that I would trust with my life or with the care of my children. But that kind of character can’t be assumed, even in the church.

Even IF we didn’t see the same behavior in the church, I find the church has little space to speak life to women who have been abused or violated or shamed because the church is largely responsible for electing a president who thinks this behavior is perfectly acceptable. And he said so long before he was sworn in. We ruined our credibility on the subject.

This is largely why feminism exists. If you think feminism is the ultimate evil, check yourself (and I’m not endorsing current-day feminism). I have seen grown men comment publicly on the internet that it is no big deal to grope a strange woman, that she should feel honored that she’s attractive. No one actually believes that garbage, right? If women were treated with dignity and respect, as people with something important to contribute, there would never have been a need for feminism.

Fighting Overwhelm When Life is Crazy

Four is the number of children. Not the perfect number (unless that’s what you have, of course), not the number to aim for, not the number because it’s “even.” Four is the number when people start counting your kids when you go in public. I always wonder if those people think they are being subtle because I can almost see them moving their finger from head to head as their mouths drop open. And then they ask, “And that baby is a boy too, isn’t he??”

Yup. Four. All boys. Yes, they are all mine. No, you don’t need to feel sorry for me.

Of course, there’s a certain amount of crazy you sign up for when you have four small kids. It can be crazy when four small children all need something at the same time and you’d be surprised how often they all need something at the same time.

6 Reasons Why I Sleep Train

I’m a fairly relaxed sleep-trainer. We need to be flexible because of our lifestyle; we will not be home every single night at 8:30 to put the baby in his bed. (You need to know why you are sleeping training and what results you want to be successful at this. Don’t just adopt someone else’s plan.) I want to have a consistent nap routine and bedtime and to be able to put him in bed awake and him go to sleep on his own.

This is not a how-to post. There are tons of great resources on sleep training that you can Google. You can even take my favorite method: read a bunch of different stuff on it and cobble together something that works for you. This is a WHY post. I want to share why I sleep train and why that makes a difference for our family. Our home needs to work for everyone and this is one of the ways we’ve made that happen.

(And, as always, if you don’t sleep train, feel free to click away and go on with your life. No judgment here. This is what works for us.)