Dating My Spouse & The February 14 Day Challenge

“If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.” -Mother Theresa

“Love is friendship that has caught fire.” -Ann Landers

 

Dating My Spouse: Planning a Year of Date Nights

I love my husband.

And like many couples, we have had a difficult time planning date nights this past year because of our chaotic schedules.

Yes, there were a few occasions in the past year where we planned a small getaway or a date night. But, the date nights didn’t show up on our calendars very often. They were usually scheduled at random when we realized we had a day off together.

Reading over that, it sounds terrible to me that we didn’t put more emphasis on our quality time together this past year. Cringe!

My husband and I both value our marriage and the commitment that we’ve made before God, our family, and friends. In order for our relationship to continue to grow and flourish, we need to put in quality time and effort into it.

Thanks to watching Jordan Page’s vlog post on planning out their family’s entire year, we decided to follow suit. We sat down this past month with our calendars and planned out our year, including our date nights. Yes, date nights for a whole year!

Initially, it does sound a little crazy to actually plan date nights for a whole year. Schedules change all the time, including ours. BUT, we realized that if our date nights are on the calendar, we will value that time and make the effort to keep it in our schedules.

Our goal for this year is to plan two date nights a month.

When we initially agreed on two date nights a month, I thought it would be so easy to plan, no problem. And then as I looked at our calendar for each month, I realized just how crazy our work and family schedules can be.

Just to give you an idea of the craziness, usually when my husband is working, I’m at home with our son, and when I’m working, my husband is at home with our son.

There’s usually only a few hours within each day to where we see each other or are able to catch up. And sometimes that is nonexistent if my husband gets called in to work early, has to stay late, or there are other obligations for the day, like doctor’s appointments, grocery shopping, errands, etc.

We don’t want our work schedules to get in the way of spending quality time together, and so we realized that putting these date nights on the calendar for two days a month is really needed in order for our marriage to thrive and grow.

Looking back at the month of January, I shutter realizing we didn’t have a single date night. This month flew by, and we did have some quality family time together, but the date nights were not on our schedule.

So, fittingly enough, we are starting our date nights in the month of love: February. And our goal is to continue these two date nights a month throughout 2017.

I’m looking forward to this opportunity, and I’m thankful for Jordan Page’s vlog post about this great date night-planning idea! You can check out her vlog post here.

 

14 Days of Remembering to Love

This next month, I’m going to remember to love my husband by taking on the “14 Days of Remembering to Love” challenge.

Marriagelaboratory.com has provided a unique way to share love with your spouse during the month of February by creating a list of “Love Prompts” that you can respond to about your relationship.

I’m hoping these “Love Prompts” will bring about some quality conversation between my husband and myself and also show him how much I appreciate who he is and what he does for our family.

If you’re interested in joining me for this 14-day challenge, I’d love to hear about it in the comment section below!

 

Thanks for reading and stopping by the Fish Full Life blog.

 

Thanks, Rachael Schirano photography for our wedding day photos.

Winter Favorites

What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness. -John Steinbeck

To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven. -Ecclesiastes 3:1

 

Winter Favorites

It’s the middle of winter, and who couldn’t use some pick-me-ups with some winter favorites? Hot cocoa, fuzzy socks, a good book…gotta appreciate the little things!

I love when I come across a blog post or a YouTube video where someone shares their favorite things for the month or season. It’s a nice surprise to come across some new products, places, activities, books, technology, etc. that might be fun to try.

 

My favorites for the season include…

  • A great book for parents who have children in athletics
  • The wonderful FREE activities offered at the local library
  • A YouTuber who is so creative and helpful in her hair tips
  • An adorable video taken of a Snow Day at the Oregon Zoo

 

Some of my favorites are not specifically winter related, but they have definitely uplifted my spirits during these cold winter months. So, without further ado, here are my current favorites for the season…

 

Book: Overplayed: A Guide to Sanity in the World of Youth Sports by David King and Margot Starbuck

Oh, my goodness, as a coach and a mom I was thrilled to not only hear about this book through Focus on the Family, but to have the opportunity to read it.

No, my child is not quite at the age where we are engaged in youth sports (On a side note, baby swim lessons are adorable), but youth sports have been and still are a big part of my life thanks to being a swim coach.

Since the young age of six, competitive swimming has been a part of my life. As a competitive swimmer, I had many ups and downs in my swimming career. There were both physical and emotional highs and lows in the sport. But I continued through college, and loved the challenge that it brought to my life every day.

And I now have the privilege of being on the pool deck, on the other side of the sport, as a coach.

It’s such a rewarding job, where I get to help develop not only the swimmers’ strokes in the pool, but more importantly, I’m helping teach valuable life lessons and character skills that will hopefully endure throughout my swimmers’ lives.

 

What I really enjoy about Overplayed is that it breaks down the myths that we (parents, coaches, well-meaning adults), often believe about what’s best for a child in athletics. It looks at what our culture is telling us about athletics, and how parents and children can easily lose sight of what sports and activities are really all about.

The book gives common sense answers and questions for families to consider when discussing what’s best for the child and for the family before signing up for that travel league, high-profile sports team, or shelling out the money for all that equipment.

One chapter that I enjoyed reading, breaks down the myth that “Good Parents Attend All Their Children’s Games”.  It discusses the mindset behind this thought, and how this idea is interpreted by the athlete and other family members.

One of my favorite quotes from this chapter is as follows,

When parents attend every game, family time is redefined because it becomes centered on the athlete. Children experience security when they know that the adults are the glue that holds the family together. A family that begins to revolve around an athlete, especially when there are other siblings, becomes lopsided. While we love our children, they should not rule our lives. Yes, we need to give them unconditional love and the time they deserve, but we are also responsible to take care of ourselves. It’s well known that during the child-rearing years, parents often focus their relationship on their children instead of each other. And in this season of life, when parents can’t afford to forsake their relationship, practices and games actually offer built-in time to nurture it! Skipping a practice or even a game to have coffee, go shopping, or visit a museum with your spouse will likely be more beneficial to your entire family than getting tense on the sidelines.

 

 

Another chapter I really enjoyed reading discussed the myth “My Child Should Specialize in One Sport”. A quote from this chapter that really impacted me and that I could identify with from seeing friends specialize in a sport early on in life is as follows:

 

Mark Messier (NHL alum and winner of 6 Stanley Cups) notes that .007 percent of kids who play hockey make it to the NHL. “If your kid is in hockey to become an NHL player, you’re missing what sports is really about. Sports is about the mental and physical and emotional well-being of the kids.” He adds, “Youth sports have got to be about the life lessons that you’re learning, the camaraderie… and the way you become good teammates.” Messier recognizes that early specialization is robbing children of what sports should be about. Age seven, he claims is not an appropriate age to begin one sport year-round. Nor is ten. He even claims that age twelve is “young”. Messier suggests age fourteen, offering, “At fourteen they’re old enough to realize themselves exactly where they want to go.”

 

 

Some of the other myths discussed in this book include, but are not limited to Because We Owe Our Children Every Opportunity, We Can’t Say No to Youth Sports, There’s No Harm in Participating in Youth Sports, and possibly my favorite, The Money We Are Investing into Youth Sports Will Pay Off.

The best part about this book is its emphasis on knowing your child. Each child is different and not every child thrives in an environment of competitive sports, leagues and tournaments where tons of money is being thrown into equipment, travel, etc.

This book emphasizes the importance of family and Christian values that should shape the decisions we make when putting our children in youth sports.

Do you have to be a Christian to read this book and find it beneficial? Absolutely not. I would find this information helpful to anyone looking at putting their child in youth sports or who have a child in youth sports.

 

Place: Our Local Library

The winter months definitely bring lots of challenges when it comes to finding things for a toddler to do, other than hang around the house.

Between my dog getting stir-crazy and my son getting fussy going through the house and playing with the same toys over and over again, this mom gets to a point of needing to leave the house for a bit!

Earlier in the summer, I had the opportunity to try out a wonderful KinderMusik class near our home. If you haven’t heard of KinderMusik, it’s a wonderful experience for children to get involved with music, song, and dance, and meet other babies, toddlers, and children, while in the process.

We had a wonderful experience. The instructor was great, and her education background was in teaching music. The other parents and their babies were wonderful as well, but the one problem I had with the class was the expense and the distance for us. The class takes place about forty minutes, one way, from our house. And that’s a lot of driving just for a little guy. Sorry, son, momma has other things to do.

The expense was also not too appealing. I love the idea of my son being around singing, dancing, and instruments, but I knew there had to be some other options.

Thankfully, we quickly discovered the Wee Read program through our local library. It’s free (well, I mean we pay taxes, so yes, I guess we do pay something), but I was surprisingly shocked with how similar it was to the KinderMusik class that cost so much.

Our librarian reads the babies and toddlers a book (please note, the babies and toddlers were welcome to move around during this time- yes, not that many sat still, unless they weren’t mobile yet). The librarian then offers a music and dance time for the kids with scarves and bubbles. And the class came to a close with a sensory-toy play time.

Each class is about thirty minutes in length, so it’s the perfect amount of time for the little ones to have some fun and wear themselves out a bit before a nap.

My little guy has gone several times, and I have to say it’s been a great opportunity to get out of the house, and for my toddler to enjoy some socialization time, and for mom to have some adult conversation.

The local library is such a great place, and I’m very thankful for librarians and the work they put into the children’s programs.

 

YouTuber: Kayley Melissa

I’ve briefly talked about Kayley Melissa in a previous blog post from the summer. I love watching her hair tutorials, even though it’s hard for this mom to find time to do her hair. But, I still enjoy seeing her creativity, positivity, and great ideas year-round.

Recently, Kayley posted a great video about taking care of your hair during the winter months. Did you know silk pillows help your hair have less static? Did you know a dryer sheet in a hair brush will help quickly get rid of static in your hair? Yep, neither did I.

Feel free to watch her winter hair tips video here.

 

Oregon Zoo Snow Day!

If you made it this far, congratulations! Sorry, there’s no prize, but there is a cute video.

Who doesn’t love a good snow day? At least, when we were kids, right? Check out this cute video taken at the Oregon Zoo of the animals enjoying the snow. Who knew animals could have so much fun in the snow.

 

Those are my four favorites of the season. Do you have any favorites that you’d like to share? I’d love to hear about them!

A New Year: This Little Boy Has Changed My Life Forever

“Make this year a year of finding, of fulfillment, of joy, of peace, and purpose.” -Unknown

“Tomorrow is the first blank of a 365 page book. Write a good one.” -Brad Paisley

“For I am about to do something new.” -Isaiah 43:19

Here we are: 2017

A new year, a new beginning.

I can’t say I had a terrible 2016 by any means. I’m very grateful for the memories, the relationships, and the experiences that came with the year. But, it’s always nice to look forward to a new year with a fresh start.

I like the fact that the new year always starts in the dead of winter. It’s a little ray of hope, a reminder to look up and to move forward during a month that can hold some of the coldest, darkest, and bleakest days of the year.

New Year’s Eve

Our family’s New Year’s Eve celebration did not entail the revelry that often comes with celebrating a fresh start and new beginnings. This was my second New Year’s (since being a child), that I did not stay up until midnight. This mom was in bed and asleep by 9PM.

The best part about the changes that have come with motherhood, is that even though the changes can be hard and require much sacrifice, they are so worth it

Every.

Single.

Day.

 

As many “Mom Life” memes on Pinterest and Facebook have reminded me: The days are long, but the years are short. And this is undeniably true.

Even though my son is just over 15 months old, I’m still in disbelief with how quickly the time as gone, and yet how slow some of the days and weeks feel with the labor of love that is motherhood.

The changes that come with motherhood have become a part of who I am, and they remind me of something and someone greater than myself- a sacrifice made on a cross.

 

This little boy has changed my life forever.

 

And if you are thinking that being in bed at 9PM on New Year’s Eve sounds super “lame”. I have to tell you it was absolutely not a lame New Year’s Eve for me.

Thanks to the “non-planning” that went into how our family spent our New Year’s Eve, we found ourselves at the grocery store early on New Year’s Eve to do our grocery shopping.

Yes, that probably sounds like a terrible idea (we procrastinated), but to our surprise, there were several young families in the store with their children at the time that we went.

Many families were picking up sparkling juices, ciders and snacks for New Year’s Eve celebrations. It was absolutely adorable to see all the smiling faces and excitement that so many young children had about spending the New Year’s with their family and friends.

I think I saw the most babies and toddlers in Wal-mart that I’ve ever seen in a grocery store visit. It seemed all the young families had the same plan: get in, get out, and get home early. And maybe they even went to bed early like our family.

 

While we were in the store, my husband had the great idea to do a fondue night. We ended up adding some extra items to our grocery list, finished our shopping, and drove home.

(Side Note) The first memory I have of visiting my husband’s family, when we were both just college swim team friends, was of his parents preparing a fondue night when I stayed at their home. I’m not the biggest fan of cooking and preparing food, but it was definitely a special memory. The whole process of cooking everything together around a table, while socializing and enjoying different vegetables and meats made it a nice communal moment.

 

My husband and I enjoyed our time together on New Year’s Eve with another special fondue night of cooking and eating together around a table with our son. We had some enjoyable conversation that we often feel too rushed to have at the table. We reflected on the year we were leaving behind, and we shared the hopes of a new year.

Along with the impromptu fondue night, we ended up watching a couple of movies, relaxed and enjoyed being together rather than feeling the need to go somewhere or do something. It was a nice change of pace from the New Year’s celebrations that we have had in the past.

I can’t say I didn’t miss being at a lively party, playing games, and catching up with old and new friends, but there was definitely something special about just time with our small family, embracing the comfort of home, and having some time to relax.

 

New Year’s Day

Another priceless and precious moment came to fruition on New Year’s morning. My son, as usual, woke up around 6:30 AM, and was wide awake and ready to go. The morning was so peaceful. The sun was out, it had warmed up outside a bit, and some of the ice had melted on the roads near our house.

No one was out. The quiet and stillness of the morning were both unquestionably refreshing.

It wasn’t much later in the morning, that I decided to take my son on a walk- all bundled up in his stroller. Walks during the winter months don’t come all that often, so I wanted to take advantage of the warmer temperatures while I could.

We shared some special moments on our morning walk. His little face would make eye contact with mine and he’d smile. His two little dimples would quickly appear and his whole face would light up with pure happiness and contentment.

I was able to watch his sweet face look around in wonder as he took in the quiet that surrounded us on our walk. I can’t say I’ve ever seen it so quiet out. And it was beautiful.

2016 had its ups and downs, but I’m thankful to have a fresh start in 2017. And I’m thankful for the opportunity to share in this journey ahead with my loving family and friends.

 

May you and your family have a blessed New Year!