Small is the gate and narrow is the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.


A Tail of Two Weekends

Last weekend was great! We celebrated Adam's 30th birthday by going to Red River Gorge with some friends. Having never been before I wasn't sure what to expect, but the park was very nice with TONS of trails. We rented a huge cabin for the six of us and arrived late Friday night. Looking back, we wished we could have arrived earlier on Friday but at least we will know better next time and there will be a next time. We got up Saturday morning made breakfast and headed out for our longest walk. We were about halfway through the trail and taking a break while Adam took some long exposure pictures when a group of Asians descended upon us. Seriously! It was a huge group of Asian tourists. Nothing against Asian's as a race, but if you've ever traveled you know that tour groups of Asians are like a swarm of wasps. You just don't want to be anywhere around them. I don't know why they were "touring" the park, but they were. We had two dogs with us and they started to ask my Brother, well more like motioned, if they could take pictures with his dog. Seriously, they are funny like that. Here is the proof...

My sister-in-law and Brother were sitting on that log when this guy came over and wanted to sit there to have his picture taken with their dog. We joked that they should have charged him for the use of their dog and he wasn't the only one that asked for a photo op with Biscuit. After getting behind the tour group we decided to turn around and do a few different hikes instead. We hiked most of the day Saturday then went back to the cabin, cooked out, had a few drinks and played crazy train. On Sunday we made breakfast then went on short hike before heading home. It was a great weekend with great people! Red River Gorge is a great park and only two hours from Louisville so completely doable in a day. I would recommend it to anyone wanting to spend a day outdoors and exploring. I'm looking forward to being able to take Landon in a year or two.

I love these guys!
Going to Switzerland  last year really opened our eyes to hiking and it's something we want to start doing more often. Actually, there are a lot of things we want to do more often. For our second date Adam wanted to go rock climbing at Rock Sport, but I was worried about him seeing my butt in a climbing harness so we never went. Ten years later, on our anniversary, we finally made it. I don't know why we waited ten years, because it was so much fun, but it made me realize that there are so many places and things to do locally that Adam and I have been wanting to do and saying we were going to do for so long, but never actually have. Since going to Rock Sport, we've started to make a point to do one thing each month as a date day. You need more than a few hours at night to spend as a couple. This month was a date weekend/birthday weekend so we did it up big and included our friends. Next month we are going to visit one of the local distilleries and try the Old Kentucky Home Dinner Train. I've heard the train is kind of cheesy and Adam doesn't drink so it might make for an interesting day, but usually just being together is enough for us to have a great time. Point being, there is so much to do in and around in Kentucky and we seem to always think the opposite. It's fun to get out and explore the area you live in.

This weekend was the complete opposite of last weekend. My two days off are Friday and Saturday so Friday's are spent with my favorite little man while my big boy works. I had to be at a 7am physical therapy appointment for my knee. I really did a number on it last weekend hiking after I hurt it running and I'm glad I finally got in to see someone. I'm a big advocate of physical therapy and hopefully after a couple weeks I'll be able to get back to exercising. After therapy we went to visit my Mom and took Landon to her neighborhood playground. Going to My Mom's house always makes me miss living in Oldham County. My Mom lives in the best neighborhood and I was so lucky to grow up there. I'm glad Landon gets to experience it as well.

After the playground and a nap, Landon and I set out for a late lunch with some very close family friends. Have I said how important friends are? They are my life blood. I've known these people my whole life and although they are not related by blood, they are most definitely family. We had a wonderful lunch, went to a nearby pond to visit the ducks and got some frozen yogurt. As I drove home feeling so happy that Landon is blessed to have such amazing people in his life, I kept thinking about how much good relationships add to one's life. A great day with wonderful people is a natural high. It's an amazing thing about life that other people can bring you so much joy and fulfillment.

When we got home Adam was there so we spent the rest of the night relaxing as a family. My favorite place in the world is laying on Adam's chest. Landon usually plays on his train table or with his cars, but when he wants to snuggle and lay with us he will climb on my back.

I love my family!
Saturday morning the boys got their haircut. When we got home it was raining so we all took a nice nap and when we woke up Landon got to ride his new bike for the first time. We've had the bike for a week, but either the weather has been crappy or Daddy hasn't been home so after much anticipation Landon finally got to ride "MY BYKE!" He didn't really get the idea of pedaling and a few times he got overwhelmed with the whole thing and wanted off, but he kept wanting to try again and loved being pushed on it. I know it will just be a matter of time and he will be riding all up and down the driveway on his own. We spent the rest of the night playing with play dough and just hanging out. It was nothing special and very special all at the same time.

Last weekend and this weekend were completely different and yet each were great in different ways. Life is all about balance! Sometimes finding a balance is hard and there are days I just feel worn down, but with EVERYDAY comes something to look forward to. The people that fill my life in the everyday and the every so often add so much to it. I don't know what life would be like without them and I'm so thankful for all of them. Every life is beautiful and the more people we have in our lives the more beauty we experience.


10 Reasons to Travel Outside of the US

When I was 16 years old my Dad took me on my first trip overseas. I was young and going through the struggle of being a teenager (see picture). We started in Rome and as soon as we landed, and I walked out of the train station into the streets of Rome, I was in love. I was in awe. I was in shock. And my life was forever changed. We visited Croatia where my Grandparents were born. There I met relatives, visited my Great-grandmother's grave, and saw the house my Grandmother was born in. A house that still to this day doesn't have running water. No single event in my youth changed me like that trip did. I was humbled by Croatia, I was awakened by Italy, and most of all, I was addicted.

Venice 2001

It was four years before I was able to travel overseas again and by this time I had met Adam. Together we signed up for college course that included a trip to Europe. Lucky for him, and our relationship, it only took one trip and he was hooked as well. In the years that have followed we have had the opportunity to visit many places and people are often surprised how much I have traveled for my age and ask how I do it. It's expensive and I get that. I haven't always made the smartest choices with my money, but I've never regretted a single trip. So many people get married, have kids and become so engrossed in daily life that they don't take time for themselves to do what they want to do. If you want to travel and see places, you have to make it a priority You have to plan and plan and plan some more, but I swear that no matter what sacrifices you endure, it will be worth it. Every. Single. Penny. So for people that haven't put the time or money aside for travel, I've made a list of 10 reasons why I think everyone should take at least on trip abroad and really experience traveling. 

1. You realize how lucky you are to live in the US
It takes going abroad to truly realize how nice we have it in this country. There are so many things we take for granted in this country including free refills, ice in drinks, cheap gas, light switches for controlling lights, large comfortable beds and unlimited space. In less than a day in another country you will start to wish you had little things that you took for granted all of your life. Once you return home, you will always be more aware of all the luxuries that afforded to you and you won't take things for granted as much. It's a good lesson to learn. 

Sign right off the road warning of landmines and not to enter.

2. It makes you realize how vast and diverse our world is as well as how much commonality people share. 
When you travel you get to meet amazing people and hear their stories. It is fascinating to here stories from your parents' past, but it is just as fascinating to hear a total stranger talk about their life in a completely different part of the world. They have different experiences and exposures that you won’t have, but hearing their stories and learning about them is priceless. Being in Japan and seeing people do things we do everyday like hugging loved ones, hanging out with friends, seeing a couple in love on a bench, or a Mom carrying her small child made me realize that although I could in no way communicate with them, we had a lot of common ground. Going to church in Croatia where my Grandmother used to go as a small child made me so connected to her and the people in the area. I didn't know them, but going to Mass, which is the same worldwide, brought me closer to them in a way I never imagined possible.

3. It improves the relationships with those you travel with.
You bond, form memories, share experiences and come home with lots of stories. Some of my greatest memories with my family have happened while traveling. We've had deep conversations, laughed until we've cried, and worked together in stressful situations. No matter how much they can drive me crazy, I've always felt closer and bonded more with my family while on a trip with them. You learn about each other and learn together and it's priceless. I know that one day when my Father has passed, his children will all be together reliving our famous stories of trips with him. We will be telling our stories for the thousandth time and still dying of laughter. If family is important, then traveling with your family is the best way to enjoy your time with them.

Adam and I waiting to see the Egyptian exhibit in London.

4. It enriches your life and makes you a more well rounded person. 
You gain life experiences. You learn to deal with stressful situations, how to navigate, how to pack up everything you need in a small bag and how to be responsible for all of your belongings. You learn to read directions and follow signs. You learn to respect and conform to other cultures rules and lifestyles. YOU LEARN…a lot! Life experiences give you wisdom and in a three week trip abroad you will learn more than you will at any four year college. The more you know and can do, the more well rounded you become. There is a saying that I love from Mark Twain that says “Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”

5. You learn history and culture- the good and the bad. 
 Seeing it first hand is totally different than reading about or seeing it on tv. There are no words, pictures or video that can explain what it feels like to stand inside St. Peter's church. No history book can explain the size of the Roman Forum. No documentary of the Yugoslavian war can prepare you to see buildings bombed out or feel the emptiness that embodies Pompeii .The best way to learn the history is to experience it. Rene Descartes said, "Traveling is almost like talking with those of other centuries" and it’s so true. Want to understand the Japanese culture? Go to Japan. Learning about a country's history and their culture before you visit is valuable, but living it first hand will leave a lasting impression.

Standing where the Emperors throne was in Ancient Rome.

6. It will make you happier. 
This is a big one. Taking time for yourself and breaking away from everyday life makes you happier. Getting away form the hustle and bustle of daily life, work and responsibilities and spending some time just having fun, eating out, and doing stuff you wouldn't normally have time for will increase happiness. Anyone who loves to travel wishes they could do it all the time because they realize how happy they are when they are exploring the world, but that high from travel stays with you long after you return and the anticipation and excitement of an upcoming trip also makes you happier. 

7. You step out of your comfort zone and push yourself.
You try new things, you explore, and are more adventurous. Everything is exciting and new and worth trying just once. A huge part of travel is the adventure. Walking through the street of foreign city can sometimes be an adventure in and of itself, but when you are out of your comfort zone you also tend to try new things that you would have the ability or the guts to try at home. Adam has eaten food in Japan he would never dare try in America. When in Rome, do as the Romans do so to speak. We've been skydiving, rock climbing, and hot air ballooning in places that we couldn't pass up. While some of the things we've done abroad are available here, you don’t always have the drive to try new things in everyday life. Getting out your comfort zone and trying new things will open your eyes to new passions and make you proud of your accomplishments and yourself.

Hang-gliding in Interlaken, Switzerland.

8. You get to experience the beauty and majesty of the world we live in.
Part of travel involves getting to see different parts of the world with landscapes so vastly different from what you are use to and would never otherwise get to see. You don’t have to go across the globe to reach a beach, but what about walking through a bamboo forest? Or seeing trees so big you can drive through them? So much of travel is just soaking in the landscape and enjoying mother nature. Going to Switzerland last year I was transformed by the beauty of the world in a way I’ve never been before. It changed me as a traveler and now Adam and I are much more interested in exploring land and not just cities. When asked what my favorite experience traveling has been I usually reply with scuba diving. While going to cities all over the world is amazing nothing compares to the beauty of a whole different world 100 feet below the waves. If you experience the world you will be in awe of it. It is a spectacular sight to be seen. 

Berner Oberland, Switzerland

9. It is something that can never be taken away from you.
Having a nice house, car, or clothes is nice, but traveling isn't something material and so once you gone somewhere and taste their food, or smelled their country or seen the beauty it’s a memory forever ingrained in you that no one can take away. Travel is the only thing you cannot buy that will make you richer. It’s not a physical good, but it’s a physical, mental and emotional experience and once you've had the experience it will stay with you forever. People and things will come and go, but memories last a lifetime.

10. It will strengthen your faith.
It’s hard to experience the world without being in complete awe of it. You will realize this world is full of billions of people, living their life, their own meaningful and important lives with their own story and history and it makes you realize there is something greater than all of us. You will witness beauty, compassion, suffering, and nature and if you are believer it will only strengthen the idea that only something greater than all of could have dreamed up such an amazing place. Standing on top of a mountain looking down to the world below one cannot help but truly know that there is a God. 

To quote Mark Twain "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." Travel is the best investment in your life and I can only hope that everyone gets to experience a place beyond their wildest dreams at least once in their lifetime.


Foodie Friday

In an effort to lose weight I've been trying to exercise on a daily basis and eat better. I've been reading other people's success stories and doing some research on my own. I recently started the C25K and was really enjoying it until I did something to my knee. Well, I don't think I did anything, but my knee seems to be a little weak so I'm having to take a break from running. I'm going to be doing some physical therapy to try and strengthen the muscles around my knee. It's frustrating because right now I cant exercise at all, but I'm a big fan of physical therapy so hopefully I'll be back at it in a few weeks.

Just because I'm not able to exercise much right now I'm still trying to eat better. I've been counting calories and trying new foods in a effort to find some good-for-you foods that I like. One of the blogs that I've been reading for motivation is Mama Laughlin. I really appreciate her constant struggle and realness. After reading her blog and looking at her 'Products I Love' tab, I decided to try a few of the foods that she enjoys.

First off, think thin protein bars. I've never been a huge fan of protein bars, but since these are available at Kroger's individually and only $1.69 a piece, I decided to pick up a couple and see what I thought.

 I LOVE THEM! To be fair, I've only actually had the creamy peanut butter and the chocolate fudge, but I will be trying all of the them soon. Each bar has between 230-240 calories and 20 grams of protein and NO SUGAR, but you wouldn't know it. Sugar is a serious addiction for me so I'm really trying to limit it. The first morning I ate one, I was starving. I had gotten up extra early, been to a doctors appointment and was about to go into a long conference call. I figured I would eat one really quickly and hopefully it would do the trick. I was amazed at how full and satisfied I felt. The only downside I have found is that they are really rich. So have a big glass of water to drink while you eat one.

My next new find of the week is...

 PB2 is simply powdered peanut butter. It comes in two flavors regular and chocolate. I bought the chocolate (see previous sugar addiction comment). It is in powder form because they have taken out all the oils and fat, turning it into a powder form. In that process it loses most of it's fat. See picture below of the comparison between the two peanut butters. (Click the picture to make it bigger)
It says you take two tablespoons of PB2 and mix it with one tablespoon of water to achieve regular peanut butter. It doesn't taste exactly like the JIF pictured beside it, but I also bought the chocolate form and so the chocolate taste definitely comes through. I was a little skeptical, but their website (here) as a ton of recipes you can use the PB2 in and from scouring the internet I was most interested in making a smoothie with it. While I haven't had time this week to make a full smoothie with it, I have paired it with this other new find to make an AMAZING shake. 

Almond milk is nothing new, not even to me. My Mom has been drinking it since before it was cool, but I've never given it a try. I've never drank a ton of milk myself and when I did it was always skim so I never felt the need to try Almond milk, but all the recipes I found online said Almond milk so I figured I would give it a shot. Since I was short on time, I just mixed one cup of almond milk and 2 tablespoons of PB2 in a Blender bottle and shook it all up. It was wonderful. The bottom of the shake had a little PB2 that didn't mix up, but it took all of 5 seconds to make and was only 105 calories. It honestly tasted like a creamy peanut butter milkshake. If anything the PB2 is worth buying it just to use it in this way as I believe it would completely curb a sweet tooth craving. I am however looking forward to using it in many other ways and trying the recipes from PB2's website as well as substituting it in recipes like THIS that I have found on pinterest. PB2 is found at some Krogers, but you can also buy it online, at Whole Foods or Rainbow Blossom.

Lastly, I've tried a new type of hummus. I've always liked hummus and been meaning to make it on my own. I have a great recipe that I will share when I finally make it, but I've never "kept it on hand". Well all that has changed since I tried this variety...
 The Roasted Red Pepper is AMAZING! I swear it taste just like a pepper cheese spread. Yesterday, I had  it for lunch on baby carrots and a serving of wheat thins. Then I had some again on a slice of bread for a snack and again at night as a late snack. Yeah, it's that delicious and I'm really hooked. 50 calories for two tablespoons so although I had 8 tablespoons yesterday it was only 200 calories. Not too bad! I love cooked vegetables  but have always struggled with eating them raw. It seems like dousing them in ranch or other dipping sauces defeated the purpose, but this hummus has changed that. It will go great on everything and will probably be a substitute for me for butter and cream cheese on breads. It's available at Kroger in the case with the "fancy cheeses".

So those are my four new favorite items of the week. I hope you given them a try. I promise you won't be disappointed. In other news, it's my favorite person's 30TH!!!! birthday on Sunday!! I can't believe I'm going to be married to an old man. For his birthday we are renting a cabin at Red River Gorge and spending the weekend hiking with friends. We've never been to the gorge, but we love to be outdoors and hiking and there is supposed to be a meteor shower this weekend. My husband is an avid photographer and so this meteor shower is an unexpected extra birthday gift. It's going be a great time with two other favorite couple friends. Just wish my knee luck! Since we have a cabin we plan to stop at the grocery on the way down to get foods to breakfast and grilling. I decided to take few things from home that I thought we would use...

Now I realize my knee AND my diet need luck for this weekend! In my defense, the brownies will be Adam's birthday cake and the girl scout cookies I'm just trying to get out of the house. The marshmallows and Graham Crackers are because my dear friend has never had smores!! How is that even possible?? I'm hoping to stay on track and continue to count calories despite how badly this packing list is already looking, Hopefully the 6 mile hike on Saturday will even out any indulging that happens to take place.

Have a great weekend!


Boston and a Food Struggle

I've decided, in an effort to blog more often, I am going to stop putting pressure on myself to have something worthy to say and just write a post about whatever comes to mind...

First and foremost, the events in Boston. Adam found script from the General Audience address given by Pope John Paul II after 9/11.

"Yesterday was a dark day in the history of humanity, a terrible affront to human dignity. After receiving the news, I followed with intense concern the developing situation, with heartfelt prayers to the Lord. How is it possible to commit acts of such savage cruelty? The human heart has depths from which schemes of unheard-of ferocity sometimes emerge, capable of destroying in a moment the normal daily life of a people. But faith comes to our aid at these times when words seem to fail. Christ’s word is the only one that can give a response to the questions which trouble our spirit. Even if the forces of darkness appear to prevail, those who believe in God know that evil and death do not have the final say. Christian hope is based on this truth; at this time our prayerful trust draws strength from it"

This is so very eloquent and something all Christians should try to consider in times like these. When situations like these are out of our control, you have to have faith and lay all your trust in it.

In other news, I forgot to pack my lunch today which is big mistake for someone counting calories. I truly believe that one of the biggest ways to fall off the wagon is to not be prepared or have your meals planned ahead of time. Since that was the case this morning, I spent a good amount of time at my desk trying to calculate how many calories certain lunches would be. With a 1,300 calorie count per day and really trying to avoid fast food, I felt limited in what I could go get during lunch. First, I figured up that my FAVORITE vegetable plate at Cracker Barrel would be 610 calories. Not too bad since I had dinner planned already. Some tempting chicken nuggets and a medium fries at Chick-Fil-A were 650 and would have been DELICIOUS!!! But, I decided that once I ate that yummy fried goodness I would probably have a harder time resisting. So, I settled on Subway. There is nothing I love more than a club sandwich and after researching different sandwiches and their respective calories (seriously some of those sandwiches are high in calories) I decided to indulge a little and get the Subway Melt. I needed a drink as well so I rounded out the meal with the combo. I decided to try these new Lay's Kettle Cooked Sun Dried Tomato and Parmesan chips.

They were great and only 180 calories which isn't bad for potato chips. Give them a try! So my lunch came to 570 calories which I was completely comfortable with, that is until I went to pay. Just my luck, it was free cookie day!! How could I pass up a free cookie?? So I got it and even though I looked up the calories before eating it, and it said 215, I couldn't resist. It was moist for crying out loud! Oh well, lunch ended up being 785 calories and I'm not going to beat myself up over it. I'm glad I didn't go to Chik-Fil-A because I do think the more fried fast food I eat, the more I crave it. So although I could have had had my regular breakfast and lunch and still not have eaten nearly the calories, I'll count it as a victory because I did resist
the all powerful and evil fried fast food. I will be sure to take the time tonight to make make some tuna salad.

Lastly, here's a cute picture of Landon and Papa in the tractor that I took today.

Landon LOVES the cows and the tractor and he knows the "!". It's been quite the battle trying to explain to him that the cows eat grass now. He KNOWS better and there is no telling him otherwise. Papa found him a perfect little place for him to sit and when he got out he said "my tractor". I told him it was actually Papa's tractor and so he relented and said "my seat". Love that little boy!


Raising a Marriage

I am awful at blogging. Not awful in that I cannot write, but awful in that I don't make time for it. There are a lot of things I would like to do, or do more of, but don't make the time for. This is one of them. I constantly think of things I would like to blog about in my head at night before falling asleep, but that is as far as I've gone since 2011. Yes, I'm really bad at blogging. So why did I wake up this morning and decide that what I thought about last night, as I drifted away, was really worth making the time? I didn't. It decided for me. It's something I want to get off my chest. I want to let it go. Not necessarily to share it with others, but just to get it all out. So here it goes...
Last night Adam and I ended the night on a sour note. We didn't get into a huge fight or argument; No fists were thrown or nasty words yelled at one another, but he wasn't happy with the way the day progressed and I wasn't happy because I felt like I couldn't win. I'm a busy person. I have a full plate and unfortunately at the end of day there are always things I wanted to do or get done that I didn't. Adam had wanted for me to take some time out of my day for him and once the day was over and he was ready for his time, I was half asleep. It sucked. He got his feelings hurt because he felt I didn't care and I ending up feeling like crap. Total crap! We came to the conclusion that we are just different. Men and woman are different. SHOCKING! But as I tried to go to sleep I just couldn't stop feeling like the worst person in the world. Why? As I laid there trying to hold back tears I also realized that the reason such a little miscommunication (one  that we had actually resolved and came to a new understanding) affected me so greatly is because my marriage is the most important relationship (in this world) to me. It's no new revelation for me as I've always known and made it known, but when things go south, even for just a minute, it is the only thing that has the capacity to make me feel like I've really failed. I then realized I haven't failed; Far from it. I failed for the day; Yes, but hopefully everything that happened will only make us stronger and understand one another better.
I know a lot of other woman with kids will sometimes feel like a failure as a parent. If your child makes poor decisions or does something wrong, they will blame themselves. On a micro scale, I know a lot of parents let little things make them feel badly. A lot of people feel like a failure when they have to work or take time away from their children for themselves. I've taken a lot of criticism from many people for taking an extended vacation away from Landon. Adam and I went to Europe for two weeks last year without our son and I cannot tell you the number of people who said something directly to me, my husband, or my sister-in-law when they found out we were leaving Landon at home. Some people were appalled, most commented on how hard it would be on us, and almost everyone was aghast to find out we're are leaving him again this year (but for three weeks instead). I let the criticism of others roll off without hesitation. I don't subscribe to the parenting of this current culture. So other people's thoughts and opinions on how I will feel or what I should do mean nothing to me. I don't lose sleep wondering why Landon isn't as smart, happy, advanced, etc. as other kids. Mainly because I don't concern myself how other parents and/or kids are doing. I don't read the parental books or forums to see what progress Landon should be making at his age and when people tell me he is so smart I just shrug my shoulders because for all I know he could be a year behind. More than that, I don't care. I just don't put this kind of pressure on myself as a parent.
Why? Because I raise Landon with goals in mind. Goals for what I want to instill in him while he grows. Although there are many things I want for my son I try to focus on three major ones. More than anything in this world I want to raise Landon to be a good person and to be happy. I think happiness is the key to life and I think happiness and goodness go hand in hand. I think only good people can be truly happy. Moreover, I think people who find God have a much higher level of happiness than those without God. Leading a life in the way that God has called us leaves us fulfilled, happy, and of course good. If I could have one wish granted this would be my wish for all of the world and the most important thing I can ever hope to instill in my son. Secondly, I want him to find a person that will increase his happiness to a degree he never even imagined possible; A spouse. Someone who will make him want to be a better person everyday and will give back to him just as much as he gives to them. There isn't a single human relationship that is more fulfilling than one from a spouse and I know many people go their whole life without having this. If Landon can be a good person and a happy person I think he will have a better chance and I hope to show him how to truly love. Thirdly, I want him to appreciate, respect and love his family. Whomever that may be. If he is childless that is his choice, but as long as he has family, I hope that he always cherishes and respects them. This goes for people that are in blood, in laws, and people that he willingly brings into his life and thinks of them as family (friends).
I don't know how to raise Landon with these three goals in mind without living them everyday myself. Leading by example so to speak. I think the best way to instill this three things into Landon is for him to see them first hand everyday. I try everyday to be happy. Sometimes it comes so easy that is spews from my heart and I feel like I cannot even handle the amount of happiness and joy I have in this life. I take time to do things that make me happy even if that takes away from time with my son and/or husband. Seeing my husband and my son snuggling on the couch literally makes my heart grow three times it's size and makes me the happiest person in the world. Other days it's a complete struggle. I wake up and just want to be unhappy and nasty, but I've learned that my feelings should never guide my actions. I'm a girl! Letting my feelings run the show could be a very bad thing. So being happy is a personal struggle and victory. One that I work on everyday that I have to. On top of that, I try to always live in a way that reflects my beliefs in God and Jesus Christ. I have found that the more I go to church, the happier I am. For Lent I decided to try go to church everyday and everyday when I left Mass I came out happier and more fulfilled. Living a life centered around God has made me a better, happier person and has taught me to be a better person. I strive to always maintain that relationship.
In finding a spouse, I've come to realize that there is large amount of luck involved in finding the person you were meant to be with. I was fortunate enough to find that person, but holding on to them isn't about luck. We've been together over ten years and it's been amazing! When Landon was born and I almost lost my life, I feel that is when our love story truly began. At a time when most people are bonding with their newborns, my husband was vigilant by my bedside as I hung on to life in a medically induced coma for five weeks. For the four weeks that followed during my recuperation, I saw my son only twice while depending on my husband the same way Landon should have been depending on us. It was a life changing experience to say the least and it made me realize that the most important relationship in my life was being nurtured and growing in the oddest of times. What I was gaining from this horror though was more worthwhile than all the pain it had caused. I truly believe that the only way I can show Landon to be a good spouse, loving husband and soul mate is to show him through the relationship that his father and I have. For this reason, I put this above my relationship with my Son. And showing Landon will not stop when he leaves the house. I think adult children can learn as much, if not more, when they are in their own relationships. It may be the first time they even pay attention. I know I learned more in my ten years with my Husband about love from watching his Grandparents. Seeing that relationship be nurtured and watching it endure has had the biggest single impact on ours.
Lastly, I hope that Landon can see our family and friends and how close we are with them. This is also where I hope to teach Landon about raising children. I hope he realizes how much we love him, but also realizes that love does not mean letting him get his way, but always doing what is best for him. This will be another lesson that he won't be able to fully appreciate until he is much older. I hope he can see how important family and friends are and how much they can contribute to ones life. My Brother and his wife are the closest relationship to us outside our parents and we let them teach, as well discipline, Landon. I hope he can not only learn from our family, but grow from having them around as well. Sometimes family will test you and drive you crazy, but as long as he sees that in the end a family comes first then nothing else will matter.
So when I see the shock on another parents face when they find out that my husband I and are going to Europe it doesn't make me rethink everything. What they think has no bearing on my parenting. As long as I am trying and doing everything in my power to raise Landon in accordance to three components, then that is all I care about. Taking three weeks away for my happiness, to strengthen my marriage and to spend time with my husband is logical to me. I hope one day Landon can do the same when he is older. We realized that we are raising Landon, not playing a popularity contest with him or any other parents and that takes so much pressure off me as a parent. I don't feel guilty when I cannot keep up with others or can't give Landon everything his heart desires, because to me none of that is important to me.
Laying in bed last night beating myself up over a day that didn't go as planned only made me realize that I wasn't a piece of crap wife that I thought I was. I was a wife struggling that day and not succeeding in the way that I wanted for my marriage. When I was finally able to drift off to sleep it was only because I realized that I was raising my marriage and setting examples for my son. I will work everyday to maintain my goals and try to always maintain my happiness. I will succeed and in my goals and hopefully live along to see Landon succeed as well. After all, these are my ideals of success and I couldn't ask for anything more.