Monday, April 28, 2014

Eleven for Eleven...

Jeff and I celebrated eleven years of marriage on Saturday. I thought in honor of the occasion I would make a list of eleven things I have learned or appreciate about marriage. Here goes nothing..

1. On April 26, 2003 I really had no idea how hard marriage would really be.
2. I love watching Jeff parent our children. Nothing makes  me prouder. Our children are so very blessed.
3. I am so grateful we took a luxurious honeymoon. I have no idea when we will ever have the time or money to do something like that again.
4. Even though it sometimes drives me crazy, I appreciate Jeff's conscientiousness about money!
5. I love that Jeff supports my career goals and helps me be a third shifter! I can't imagine doing it without his support!
6. I love that we truly balance each other out. Jeff's personality compliments mine in so many ways.
7. I wish I had taken the generous amount of money my parents offered us in lieu of the big wedding and had invested it in our future.(But the big ol'wedding and party sure was fun!)
8. I am grateful that Jeff and I have a shared faith and belief in God. It is truly the rock that hold this marriage together.
9. I love that no one knows me like Jeff. To be married to your best friend, someone who knows the ugliest and worst parts of you and loves you still, priceless.
10. I am grateful for the example my own parent's marriage of 43 years has set for us. What a legacy.
11. Above all, I am grateful for every moment of these last eleven years. Like I said, I had no idea what I really was embarking on eleven years ago. I certainly was naive and idealistic. I suppose that is good and the way it should be. I would hate to begin my marriage believing and hoping for anything but the best. As time goes on, I realize there are many hard days, but every day is better when you are known and loved. Believed in and forgiven, cherished, in good times and bad, in sickness and in health, till death do us part! Happy Anniversary!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Crazy Matty is nine!

Nine years of motherhood and nine years of having Matthew in our lives. I really can't believe how far we've come in nine years. I have documented all of Matthew's life on this blog. It has been such a blessing to look back over the last nine years and read about all of our adventures with "Crazy Matty" and the rest of the Simpson gang. The times I was losing my mind, the times we added a sibling, encountered obstacles such as Matthew's cerebral palsy and OT issues. Seeing how much he has matured. On the days when parenting still gets the best of me, which is MANY, this blog reminds me, time and time again, that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. That babies do eventually sleep through the night, that one day you will change your last poopy diaper, that you will be able to take all three kids to the store without wanting to cry your way through it. The weather today is very much like it was the day our boy came into this world. It has made me nostalgic for that day nine years ago when I thought for certain I would die from the pain of labor. When I realized how things weren't going well due to the doctor and midwife's alarm (and swearing!) as they literally sat on top of me trying to free the baby who had gotten stuck trying to make his way out. Waking up alone and scared, no baby, no husband, and a very blurry memory of them finally getting that baby boy out. Hours of waiting followed, panic growing stronger as time ticked on wondering where my baby was and if something was wrong. I remember when I finally got to hold Matthew, saying to him, "I am your mommy!" I remember thinking his coney, jaundiced face was the cutest thing I have ever seen. I remember thinking that the dream I had, for as long as I could remember, to be a mother, had come true. I have realized though the years of parenting Matthew(and Caroline and Ellie too), that I certainly underestimated parenting and motherhood in every single way. It is the hardest job I have ever had. It is the most rewarding, most demanding, and had revealed many of my deepest flaws to me. Above all, I feel overwhelmingly that I am privileged to be able to shape these little people. I pray that I am doing them justice. Happy Birthday sweet Matty man! We think you are a wonderful boy that is thoughtful and funny, caring and compassionate. We can't wait to see what your bright future holds!!

Monday, April 07, 2014

Sometimes there isn't enough wine..

I am cracking myself up over here at my title. Perhaps because I have just poured myself a delicious glass of wine and am trying to survive this Spring Break. Disclaimer: What I am about to say will undoubtedly seem very, very bratty. But, this is my blog and I can be a brat if I want to!! So, for my entire childhood I was privileged to go to Florida for nearly every Spring Break. This was because my father traveled so much for business and had frequent flier miles and my uncle managed hotels and got us great deals. So, every March, I would board some airplane and lounge in the sun, soaking up all the rays I could, for the thought of NOT being the tannest person in my high school was devastating to me. Fast forward through college where I took more fun trips, paid for by my parents, and post college where I was lucky to go to places like Mexico, Grand Cayman and St. Lucia. Then, kids and jobs and being an actual adult with a husband who can never take vacation during spring breaks and student loans and three kids who can barely make it to Paw Paw on the way to Chicago let alone an 18 hour car trip to Florida. And, you have five fairly miserable people trying to make the most of it in freaking MICHIGAN. Oh, I forgot, Michigan, this winter was literally a frozen tundra of hell. Snow and cold like I have never seen in my life, and I have spent most of my life in this state! If ever there were a time that an escape to anywhere southern was needed, it was post WINTER 2014! But, for all the reasons mentioned above, we did not go further into debt to buy plane tickets, We opted instead to visit friends in Chicago, go to Shedd and have an overnight at a reasonably priced water park/hotel nearby. I have also been fortunate enough to have eleven days off work so I can spend this quality spring break time with the kids(note: this statement is DRIPPING with sarcasm and sauvigon blanc!).
One of the goals of this break, besides having great time together as a family, is to get my mess of a basement organized and the loads of crap I have stored down there for the past year, ready for our neighborhood garage sale in a few weeks. Many of you will remember that my friend Nicole blessed me with her organizational services a few years ago. Three years ago that  basement was pristine. But, fast forward,, THREE years and life has happened. Grad school, holidays, birthdays and grandparents that insist that KIDS need TOYS, has happened. The basement was a mess. In fact it was so messy that sometimes I fantasized a huge flood ruining everything in it so I could begin again. But, one day last week, my gracious mother in law offered to take the girls and Matthew was off playing with friends so I had no choice but to tackle it. I will admit that when I first went down there, I thought to myself, "NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!, I can't, I won't!" But, I started with one basket and soon I realized if I tackled the basement one basket/bin at a time, that it was doable. That I could make sense of the chaos that it had become. Three short hours later, the play side actually looks good. I couldn't help but see the lessons my messy basement was screaming at me. That I tend to become overwhelmed when I don't need to. That really all you need to do is take each day and sometimes each moment on and not worry about the big picture. That sometimes we do need to throw ourselves into the messy projects and miss the fun in order to have less stress in our lives. That sometimes we can feel bad that we think we the ONLY family in Portage, Michigan NOT on Spring Break. But, at the end of the day, we are blessed that we are able to have friends to visit and money to go to aquariums and movies and b-list water parks. Sometimes there are lessons for my kids and their grouchy mommy in the mess of the basement and learning to have fun and be a family, in any circumstance. And of course, there is always enough wine:) Kidding, kind of !