Why Should You Celebrate Valentine’s Day?

I’m a succor for a good holiday. Give them to me and I’ll celebrate like it’s 1999. Fourth of July, Easter, St. Patrick’s Day – whatever the occasion, it doesn’t matter, you’ll find me loving it. It’s the not the gifts, or the Easter Baskets. It’s not the chocolate or fire works or the singing. It’s the tradition of it all. It’s the history that lies deep inside each special day. Not only am a I a succor for a good holiday, I’m a succor for a tradition and a story. Valentine’s Day is no different, and I think it gets a bad rap. I can’t tell you how many people have told me, “Oh it’s a manufactured holiday, created by greeting card companies,” or “We don’t need a designated day to show our love!” Sure, all this is true, sort of; but I love Valentine’s Day and I fully believe to in celebrating a day that is really special. And just like with many holidays, greeting companies and department stores have created a commercial nightmare! But do we stop celebrating Christmas and Easter like we do Valentine’s? I mean do I really need a special day to acknowledge my faith and my believe in Jesus Christ? Nope!

what is Valentine’s Day? Why should I celebrate it?
One of the best illustrations of what Valentine’s Day is really about can be found in the children’s radio series, Adventures in Odyssey. I know, I know, sounds silly. But in a special series entitled “Wooten’s Whirled History” my kids have been exposed to the story of Valentine. I too have enjoyed listening to these stories with my children. In “The Last I Do,” we hear the story of Saint Valentine, who in the third century, performed marriages despite an edict brought down upon the people by Claudius. After he was arrested he attempted to convert Claudius, which led to his execution. While it is a sad story, it highlights the belief in love and marriage and that is simply lovely. 
Here we are almost seventeen years and three kids later, looking towards our twelfth year of marriage. Valentine’s Day might look a little different, and we may not exchange elaborate gifts every year as we once did, BUT we still both believe it is important to take a moment and make the day a little more special. This year was more low key, hubby bought me some flowers from CostCo, I got him a card a snoopy chocolate heart. Maybe next year we’ll get a sitter and dress up and go out! I still remember many of our Valentine’s Day dates vividly. They aren’t any more important than another day, but they were significant to our relationship none the less. Big or small, you make them what they are, and they are but a small reflection and “Day of Remembrance” to celebrate our love {and for us} our marriage. I don’t think anything is wrong with that, and in fact I encourage you all to do it. Don’t let the argument that Valentine’s Day is simply a Greeting Card holiday. Don’t let something like that rob you of what it can really represent for you and those you love. 

 All beautiful you are, my darling; there is no flaw in you.
~ Song of Solomon 4:7 {NIV}

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Preparing For A Little One: Babyproofing your Marriage

Preparing For A Little One

Happy Friday ya’ll!  It’s the weekend everyone…however not really a weekend for us.  This is our Sunday.  So lame.   This is the final link-up for “Preparing For a Little One.”  I’m kind of a little bit sad.  I’ve had fun thinking about each of the topics, remembering what I did with my kids, what I would have done different.  I really had fun reading the other posts from the link-up, making a connection based on the fact that we had similar ideas.  Our amazing host, Kaitlyn, is about to have her little one and I’m pretty excited about that too!  Babies being born…swoon…it’s so much fun.  There have been so many wonderful topics in this series.

Our final talking is about Babyproofing Your Marriage.  There’s no doubt that children change things.  How could they not?  You have a new little human being that you are responsible for.  You are recovering from the birth experience mentally and physically.  Between lack of sleep and adjusting to things like breast-feeding and maintaining tasks around the house, the whole marriage part might go by the wayside.  Truthfully we are guilty of just hanging out in survival mode.  After three kids and a crazy military career, survival mode can become the mode you live in all the time.  For me, depression was something I dealt with after my 1st and my 3rd child.  PPD can add a whole other element to the equation.  We aren’t alone though ladies!  Unfortunately “mommy wars” and “women wars” have ruined a lot of the built in support systems that would otherwise be in place.  Surround yourself with a wonderful support group and you’ll be well on your way to recovery both mentally and physically.  Before I give my tips there’s also a book and website that I came across with the title of or topic today.  Many of the articles I’ve read are witty and helpful.  So check out the site for yourself.

Five Tips for Babyproofing your Marriage
1. Get out!  Fresh air can do wonders!  Talking walks by yourself or with your mate can clear the air in your head.  I used to bundle up my littles, grab a coke and a popcorn at target (super cheap) and just walk around.  I know its so hard to not spend money when you are in target.  I know whenever I’m in there I’m like “ooooooo look, shiny….must have!”  Whenever I took the time to go out, either for a walk, or an actual outing I found myself refreshed and more focused when the hubby came home from work.
2. He knows what he’s doing.  Even if he doesn’t know what he’s doing let it go.  Whether it be the actual care of the baby (he doesn’t put the diaper on just perfectly, he holds the baby different than you do when feeding or burping) or the care of the house.  If the man offers to do the dishes but loads the dish washer differently, or maybe he cleans the bathroom and just uses Windex on everything…let it go.  If he wants to take the baby while you take a nap, do it and relax.  I’m guilty of it and many of my friends are as well.  Correcting him at every turn will only frustrate him and he’ll probably stop helping eventually.  I know I couldn’t do it without him and I make sure he knows that!
3. Find a Babysitter and go on a date!  This is one area I’ve never struggled with.  I actually had a harder time leaving my kids in the nursery at church for the first time then I did leaving them with a sitter.  We use Sittercity and we’ve never had a problem.  If you’re military (including Guard and Reserve) you are eligible for a free account.  You can run free basic background checks as well.  We have about four sitters that we have (day and night ones) and I’m super grateful.  Get involved with a moms group and get recommendations.  Alone time has always been a re-sparker in our marriage.  We recently just left our kids for one night with friends and had a local vacation.   I recommend as regular as you can get date nights (either out or in – rent a movie and make some popcorn), and trying to get away when you can.  We try to do it at least once a year even if it’s just for the night.
4. Non-couple time is just as important.  Letting your man have a poker night or your going out with your girlfriends is just as important before baby as it is after baby.  In fact I might argue that it is more important after baby.  Your life is changing for reals, and there’s no going back.  If you lose yourself then your marriage will surely suffer.  Before we moved across country Hubby was fairly regular about getting together with a couple of his guy friends.  I try to plan having girlfriends over if hubby is gone, or going out for a drink.  I’m currently planning a girls night for next month.  Maintaining who YOU are whether or not you have kids is so important.  This has always been a priority for both me and the hubby.  This will not only keep your marriage healthy now, but when the kids are grown and gone you will known who you are.
5. Talk about Sex.  After my first baby it was bad.  It was a difficult experience and I had to have a somewhat emergency episiotomy.  The recovery from it was much longer than the normal six weeks.  We didn’t really talk about things like we should have.  My husband was and is a saint, and I tell  him that all the time.  It was a rough time in our marriage, but we took measures to not repeat that with the next two.  Acknowledging that he has needs that might be different than yours is important.  We know that all a mommy really wants to do for the first little bit is snuggle that baby and sleep.  But maintaining an emotional and physical connection is vital to a marriage.  Don’t be afraid to talk about it, even before the baby.  Talk about your expectations, worries and fears.  You will find yourself closer than you ever thought.
Thanks for stopping by.  Make sure to check out the other blogs, as well as our host, that are linked up for this.  If you’re a new follower make sure to let me know.  Also if you have some time 50 of us Military Mom bloggers have been named Top 50 Military Mom blogs by Voice Boks.  Vote for Cammo Style Love or another one of your favorites.  No signing up for anything and it’s a one-time vote.  I know all of  us would appreciate your support.

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#MilitaryMonday – Bent, Not Broken

Music has always spoken to me.  It reaches inside my soul and grabs hold.  Getting emotional listening to a song is a common occurrence.  Many important times and events in my life can be closely tied to a song.  Right now the song that want to hear all the time, that I turn up and sing along with as loud as I can, is “Give Me a Reason,” by Pink.  Its the part about being bent, but not broken, that is really getting to me I think.  I’m really in a rough season in life.  There has been frequent short-term travel (at least a month), continuous long hours that are really nothing new.  Being here is wonderful.  It’s what we’ve wanted for a very long time…but its not home.  We aren’t near family and our friend and support base is growing, but still really small.  Not having my medication issue worked out yet is, I’m sure, playing a role.  But I’m bent.  This life has been hard and I think I’ve hit the eleven-year wall.  I’m tired of it,  I’m over it and I feel like I’m drifting.   Its like a constant state of reintegration, pre-deployment, deployment and back to reintegration.  I’m not sure of another way to describe it.  The days he has off I feel are just days of scrambling to catch up, get things done that I couldn’t do alone, or needed his help with.  Its a panic-stricken time of trying to get the most squeezed out of every second.   It just ends up being a mess.  
 Just give me a reason, just a little bit’s enough.  Just a second we’re not broken just bent and we can learn to love again.  It’s in the stars, it’s been written in the scars on our hearts, that we’re not broken, just bent and we can learn to love again.

Our relationship isn’t in jeopardy, in a literal sense.  But our relationship is just so different than it has been before that sometimes I don’t recognize us.  I do feel like my heart is scarred, at least surrounded by heavy guard sometimes.  Its exhausting.  When will it end?  Will it ever end?  Is this how are relationship is, is it just developing into some sort of mature state and I’ve just been watching too many chick flicks?  Who knows.  I really feel like these scars are real and need to be healed.  We need a healing (how silly does that sound), but its true.  But where does one start when they need a healing?  I know my husband loves me, I know he wants to be with me.  Why can’t I shake the feeling of separation between us.  

I’m sorry I don’t understand where all of this is coming from.  I thought that we were fine.  Your head is running wild again my dear, we still have everything, and its all in your mind

Oh tear ducts and rust, I’ll fix it for us.  We’re collecting dust, but our love’s enough.  

I know that our love is enough to get through anything, scars and all.   My head does run wild, when I’m alone and thinking of him…..but I know I’m not alone in that.
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