Partners in Parenting: 9 Ways to Work as a Team

Have you and your spouse ever disagreed when it came to disciplining or raising your child? You both stand firm on your position , and that’s when an argument might typically occur.

At some point, most couples will argue over how their children should be disciplined. You’re both very different people, so it’s only natural that you also have different opinions and thoughts on discipline. Some arguments can be expected, but if you work together more and focus on communication styles and different beliefs, you’re better able to work as a team.

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Here are 9 simple and small guidelines that can help you and your spouse avoid battles when it comes to raising and disciplining your children.

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Ultimate Fall Bucket List for Couples

Fall is by far my favorite season! There is something about pumpkins, cider, and donuts that get me all festive! Not only is it my favorite season, but I’m almost certain it’s my husband’s favorite as well. Maybe not for the same reasons, but he loves him a good donut and tasty cider. Lets be honest here, with Fall also comes Football. That said, here is the ultimate Fall Bucket List for Couples including 25 fun activities to participate in together!

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  1. Attend a College Football Game
  2. Visit the Farmer’s Market and cook a seasonal dinner
  3. Visit a pumpkin patch
  4. Rake up leaves and proceed to jump in them
  5. Make a blanket fort and watch your favorite spooky movies
  6. Have an indoor date by the fireplace
  7. Make caramel apples
  8. Bake a pie
  9. Stay in bed all weekend and cuddle
  10. Go through a corn maze
  11. Go on a wine tour
  12. Attend a haunted house
  13. Carve pumpkins
  14. Pick apples together
  15. Celebrate Oktoberfest
  16. Attend a Halloween Party in Couples Costumes
  17. Attend a seasonal county fair
  18. Attend a HS football game
  19. Go on a scenic Fall tour through Michigan
  20. Decorate for Halloween
  21. Go on a scenic hike
  22. Start a bonfire and roast s’mores
  23. Go on a brewery tour
  24. Host a chili cook-off
  25. Host a Football tailgate for the big game

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Be A Kind Wife

I’d like to think that I make my husband a priority, but when I really think about it, I realize I do put a lot of things before him. I feel more disconnected from him the more I push him down my priority list. I don’t think it’s something I do intentionally, but  it does happen.

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Life is busy! We have a three year old and another little boy on the way, we have our jobs, family, friends, projects, to-do lists, errands, bills, workouts etc., and it’s easy to get so caught up in these things that we lose sight of what is truly important. We try to seek balance by clearing our plate from time to time, but sometimes that’s not easy.  I think it’s incredibly important to prioritize our husbands. I know how great it feels when he makes me a priority, so it’s only fair to do the same for him.

I’ve been really thinking about what it means to be a kind wife lately, and I’ve come up with a few recommendations to do just that. I challenge you to be kind to your husband.

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6 Difficult Lessons I’ve Learned in Six Years of Marriage

I’d be lying if I said that marriage was easy. It certainly isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s for the ones willing to risk it all who are brave enough to open their hearts to someone else on a level they have never done before.

Finding that person you’re to share the rest of your life with is beautiful and so incredible, and I wouldn’t trade my marriage or my spouse for anything or anyone.

One thing I think I should point out, and you’ve all seen it, is that social media portrays a picture perfect marriage. One without struggle, heartbreak, disagreements, messiness and  hard times. It’s unrealistic and I’m here to set the record straight. Struggles are legitimate and very real. It’s important that everyone has a realistic picture of what marriage is really like.

With that said, here are 6 lessons I’ve learned in my six years of marriage. Lessons that are great and informative and others that are difficult. Either way, regardless of the lesson, they’re important to share.

Date Nights are Planned

Gone are the days when we can have spontaneous moments and date nights. We used to be able to just go out to dinner or leave on a mini road-trip with little or no thought, but now every plan we make, has to be thoroughly discussed and oftentimes planned out days or weeks ahead of time. When we started adding children into the mix, we had to strongly consider if eating out was worth the mess and chaotic scene we would experience at the restaurant. When we want to go away for the weekend, our truck looks as though we’re moving because of all the things we must pack to accommodate our children and our dogs.

Date night includes scheduling out a few days or weeks and ensuring we have a babysitter or family member available to watch our son.

Every moment has to be planned. Spontaneity doesn’t exist anymore for us, so it’s important to make time for each other.

Parenting Adds New Dynamics into Marriage

It’s challenging to be a parent, and there are days my husband and I wonder if we’re failing as parents. Some days I want to lock myself in the closet just to get some quiet time, but the stresses, successes, challenges and triumphs make our marriage that much stronger, yet weaker depending on the day and the season.

We disagree from time to time when it comes to parenting. We get worn down, frustrated and zapped of all energy, which can take a toll on a marriage. There are other times when parenting makes our marriage so much more beautiful, interesting and so full of love that it makes it all worth it. We learn crucial lessons as parents and as spouses to one another.

Finances Become a Heated Argument (at times)

I’m in charge of our finances as far as budget and paying our bills, and as our family grows, budgeting became more challenging. Do you guys have any idea how expensive diapers are? Holy crap, they’re expensive!

With us both working full-time as well as working on our books and running a business on the side, and being parents, it’s important that we sit down and discuss our finances monthly.

When we work together and both have an understanding of our finances, it really allows us to be on the same page and team.

Give Each Other a Break

Work together to give each other a break from time to time. By letting your spouse sleep in on the weekend or help taking on some household chores allowing them to relax and gives them a much needed mental health day.

I always encourage my husband to go out with his friends every few weeks. I know he needs the break from parenting and spousal responsibilities, and he knows that I need the same, so we work together to make this work for us both.

We actually encourage each other to take some time if we need it, even if it’s just a few minutes to enjoy a hot cup of coffee in the morning or escaping to do some hard work for a few hours. We both enjoy a bit of peace without our children, and that’s perfectly OK!

Support and Be there for Each Other Regardless of the Season

One thing we do really well within our marriage is support each other. We have gone through a lot in the 6 years we’ve been married and almost 9 years of being together: loss of a parent, cancer diagnosis of another parent, surgeries, career changes, moves, infertility and infant loss. We’ve been through enough  to break us, yet we have been supportive and been there for each other throughout it all.

My husband is my #1 fan. I’m not just saying that! He truly is so encouraging, supportive, and motivating, and I try to be those things for him as well.

We aren’t perfect and we still lose our tempers and argue at times, but we’re a work in progress. We are grateful to have each other and to have such supportive spouses.

Have an Open Line of Communication and Speak Your Mind

We are both guilty of speaking our minds. Sometimes we do this before thinking about what we’re saying, so there are times when we say things we really didn’t think through first that may be hurtful. We encourage each other to communicate and speak our minds whether it means discussing tough topics, serious topics or light-hearted topics.

Rather than bottling up what’s on my mind and then having it boil up inside of me resulting in an argument that probably wasn’t necessary in the first place, I’m able to avoid it through openly discussing it. I encourage him to do the same! When we’re upset or stressed, I want us to be able to come to each other and talk things out. That’s an incredibly important part of a marriage.

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Our marriage is far from perfect, but it’s pretty darn perfect for us. We’ve learned a lot in our six years of marriage that have truly made us stronger. We’ve had our fair share of arguments and challenges, but they’ve only helped us grow closer and learn to work together more!

We continue to work, every day, at strengthening our marriage, planning our future together and regularly discussing our finances, our children and life in general. I’m truly fortunate to be married to my spouse, and I’m looking forward to all that the future has to hold for us!

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10 Tips to Stay Madly In Love with Your Spouse

The truth is, I’m madly in love with my spouse. He’s the man I chose to “do” life with, through sickness and in health. We have our share of disagreements and we drive each other mad sometimes, but at the end of the day, we have navigated through this life through 6 years of marriage, 9 years of dating, 1 child and another one the way, multiple career changes and a few moves. It’s been hairy at times, but through it all, we are stronger than in the beginning.

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Love is a choice, not just a feeling, and it’s up to us to team up, partner up, parent together and navigate through life no matter what is thrown our way.

So, how have we been able to get through all of the ups and downs and remain so in love? Here are 10 tips or suggestions on staying madly in love with your spouse.

  1. Show Gratitude:  Thank each other daily for the individual tasks and duties being done by each other.
  2. Encourage One Another: Be each others biggest fans. Motivate and encourage each other daily!
  3. Don’t Compete: Don’t try to one and up each other. Parenting is not a competition, and it’s pointless to compare whose day was harder.
  4. Accept your Body: Don’t beat up your body in front of your spouse. My husband thoroughly dislikes when I criticize my body because he loves my body regardless of the season (pregnancy or non-pregnancy). He did marry me when I was almost 20 pounds heavier. 🙂
  5. Men, tell your Wife she’s Beautiful: This small gesture truly does go a long way. Compliment her mind and body.
  6. Be Affectionate: Make sure to start each and every day with a hug and kiss. The affection will be appreciated after a long day, and it may lead to even more affection!
  7. Make Time for one Another: Life is busy especially when you add kids into the mix. Try and secure a day each week where you can devote time for each other without kids. If once a week is too difficult, aim for twice a month.  This will allow you to reconnect on a relationship level.
  8. Be Patient with Each Other: We’re humans and we all make mistakes. Instead of being impatient with your spouse, grow and learn together.
  9. Protect your Marriage: There will always be outside influences who might threaten your marriage, but it’s important to actively protect your marriage and your spouse from such attacks.
  10. Respect Each Other: One of the most important things you can do in your relationship is to respect each other. Without respect, you’re left with very little.

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This is merely a benchmark to strive for in marriage, and although my husband and I don’t have them all down yet, we are certainly working towards it. When you’re constantly putting effort towards enriching, growing and enhancing your marriage, your children, your spouse and yourself will greatly benefit from it.

 

10 Steps to Stay Connected with Your Spouse During an Argument that Helps Lead to Resolution

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Conflict is a virtually inevitable part of any relationship and it’s unavoidable. Arguments will occur, voices will be elevated, feelings will be hurt and tears will be shed from time to time. Every relationship is subject to conflict, but it’s how you stay connected with your spouse throughout it and how you come out after that’s most important.

Here are 10 steps to help you stay connected to your significant other during an argument.

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20 Signs You’ve Found “The One”

Is there truly a foolproof test to know whether you’ve met “the one” or not? No unfortunately there isn’t, but if you view the below list of signs and find yourself comfortably agreeing with them, then there is a really special connection between yourself and the individual you’re seeing.

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They Like You for You

If your significant other loves you for who you are, then you’ve probably met the one. If they take pride and admire you for who you are without trying to change you, you’ve got yourself a keeper. The less you have to work at impressing your significant other, the better, because relationships are hard enough. Why try to be someone that you’re not? Furthermore, why be with someone that you’re unable to be yourself around?

Similar Life Priorities

Although opposites might attract, it doesn’t always mean that the relationship will last. You must be compatible because it creates a lasting and deep connection that is hard to break. If you sit down and discuss building a future together, have similar life and career goals and your insight is comparable to your significant other, then you’re good to move forward.  If they’re less than excited about settling down and likes to party, then it might not be the best fit. You might find yourself settling rather than pursuing your goals.

Deep Respect for Each Other

Without mutual respect there is simply no way to create and build a solid foundation. When there is mutual respect, the relationship has a strong chance to thrive, communication will strengthen and your connection with prosper. Commitment to each other will deepen and the trust and respect only grows more and more.

You Can Tease Each Other

If you’re constantly walking on eggshells because you’re concerned with offending your significant other, then they’re probably not the one for you. If you can laugh and pick fun at each other in ways others can’t , then your relationship is sure to be less stressful, more carefree and fun. When you’re comfortable to let loose around each other, you’ve found the one.

Time Apart is Okay

If you feel that you are unable to pursue friendships and goals outside of the relationship, you’ll want to double think your relationship. You shouldn’t feel compelled to sustain one another all of the time, and it’s important to understand that time apart is completely normal and healthy for a relationship to prosper and thrive.

You Like Seeing them Thrive

If you’re in a healthy relationship and one that is sure to last, you are happy seeing your significant other thrive. You are happy for their successes and support their dreams and aspirations. If you get jealous of their successes, then you don’t adequately support them.

Effort into Looking Better

When you have found “the one” you make tiny, unconscious efforts to looking better when you know you’re going to be seeing them. Obviously looks shouldn’t be a huge crutch in the relationship, but attraction is important and the gestures of wanting to look great for your significant other is healthy. It doesn’t have to be a daily thing or extravagant, but the little efforts go a long way.

You Consult in Them

You find yourself wanting to consult with your significant other when it comes to making a relatively large decision. When you consult with them about your career, a move or your future, it’s clear that you truly respect and value their opinion. If you find that you’re not consulting with them and you don’t feel bad about that, then you haven’t found “the one”.

You Take it Slow

Your significant other isn’t rushing you into anything. You’re able to take the relationship at your own pace without pressure. You’re living in the relationship now, and you both understand that you don’t need to take the next steps forward unless you’re both ready to do so.

You Find Yourself Doing the “Quintessential In Love Things”

Holidays seem that more magical. You find yourself relating to love lyrics. You look forward to seeing them and spending time with them. You find yourself reaching for their hand to hold. You engage in a bit more PDA (possibly), and although all of those things seem small, they’re so incredibly important when it comes to finding “the one”.

 

Communication is Important

If you both agree that communication is the key to a successful relationship, you’re already ahead of the game. When you take the time to listen to each other and communicated openly, you’re well on your way to making the relationship work. If you find that communication is very one-sided and that your significant other lacks in listening skills, it’s probably best to accept the fact that they’re not “the one”. It’s also important that you both understand the importance of not going to bed angry and discussing your arguments with intentions to resolve them. When you find yourself saying hurtful things, you immediately regret them and wish you could take them back. That’s when you know that you’ve found “the one”.

You Genuinely Miss them When You’re Apart

If you find yourself missing them when you’re apart, you have probably found “the one”. When opposite schedules, work trips or other things keep you apart, you should both be looking for ways to see each other. If this is a joint effort, you two are good to go.

Good News or Bad, You Reach Out to Them

When you lose a family member, nail a job interview or just want to share something with the, you find yourself wanting to share it with them above others, you know you’ve found “the one”. When you want them around when you’re upset or when you’re happy and everything in between, your relationship is thriving. They’re there for you and are there to help you through it all.

Honesty is A Must

You should always be able to be honest with each other. If your significant other can be honest with you with little or no judgement, then you’ve found “the one”.

No Boundaries in the Relationship

If you can’t fart around your significant other, then they’re not “the one”. You should be able to let loose around each other with no judgement passed.

You Weren’t Looking, but Found Them Anyway

Sometimes the best relationships are the ones discovered when you least expect it. When you’re not seeking to find someone and rather effortlessly met someone who you can’t see yourself without, you’ve found “the one”

You Consider them Your Best Friend

You’ve found “the one” when you not only consider them your lover, but they’re also you’re best friend.

You Defend Them and Don’t Down them to Others

You find someone criticizing your significant other and rather than sit back and let them do it, you defend them. You don’t engage in speaking negatively to them to others, and rather than discussing your issues with others you find yourself wanting to work through the issues with them only.

You Wouldn’t Be Who You Are Without Them

When you understand that you wouldn’t be the same without them and you realize your life has changed in positive ways, you’ve definitely found “the one”! You’re significant other loves you for who you are, your outlook on life shifts, emotions and feelings towards them are unlike you’ve ever experienced and the thought of being without them literally pains you, you know you’ve found “the one”

You Just Know

You’ve heard others say “they just knew” when asked about when they knew that they had found “the one”. You start realizing that life without them wouldn’t be as much fun or full of love. You can’t see yourself with anyone else and the thought of them not being around is depressing. You just know that they’re the one, and although you might not have it all figured out, you’re willing to make sacrifices to make it work.

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As you find yourself navigating through your new relationship, and you’re trying to determine whether or not they are “the one’, take a look at the above list. If you’re able to comfortably check off each of the above items, then you own it to yourself to allow the relationship to become all that it’s supposed to become.

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Happy 39th Birthday, Jason!

Jason, Happy Birthday!

God certainly broke the mold 39 years ago when he made you. As you celebrate the last year of your 30’s, I hope you embrace it, fully, and appreciate all that you have achieved thus far in your life. You are a remarkable father with a unbelievable work ethic. You have taught our son so many valuable life lessons that are sure to transform him into a remarkable father some day as well. Since you’re kind of freaking out about this birthday, I thought I’d help make it a bit easier by sharing 39 things about you that I love and that make you so incredible.

1) You’re funny

2) You’re charming

3) You’re hard-working

4) You’re so incredibly handsome

5) You’re an amazing father

6) You provide so much

7) You’re a genuinely good person

8) You’re turning into the Godly husband I knew you could be

9) You have great taste in sports (except Michigan)

10) You’re a great influence on our on son

11) You’re sense of humor is unlike anything I’ve ever known

12) You’re the best dinosaur hunter

13) You tolerate getting beat up by our son, daily

14) You put up with me

15) You have a cute butt 😉

16) You’re an amazing kisser

17) Your singing voice is pretty epic (esp. after a few drinks)

18) You’re thoughtful

19) You’re caring

20) You’re creative

21) You’re a good sport

22) You’re a pretty good handy man

23) You’re a dreamer

24) You push myself and our son to be the best

25) You are such an animal lover even though our pups drive me nuts

26) You’re the best hide-and-seeker

27) You’re a great writer

28) You’re always helping others

29) You’re an inspiration

30) You’re my best friend

31) You’re a pretty damn good husband

32) You take some great photos

33) Most of my favorite memories are with you

34) You make our house a home

35) You’re always motivating me

36) You spoil me

37) You believe in me

38) Yougave me Braxton and baby #2 (Coming Sept. ’17!)

39) You chose me

I am so fortunate to have been with you for nearly 9 years (married nearly 6). You’ve given me the greatest gifts of all: Braxton and our second miracle baby due this September!

I know that 39 is a scary number, but it’s just that..a number!  You don’t act like you’re 39, and you certainly don’t look like it! Please don’t fear FORTY, because baby you’re getting even better with age!

Happy Birthday, my love! I love you to the moon and back!

 

 

 

2016 Reflections

For those who know me on a personal level, they understand that 2016 has been a rough year. With a job change (a good one), continued fertility struggles and a miscarriage, this year has been anything but a walk in the park. This year has been eye-opening, and I’ve learned much more that I could ever have imagined. I’ve learned that life isn’t always fair, and that there will be hard times, tears, arguments and chaos. But, you will make beautiful memories, miracles will happen, you’ll experience so much laughter, hugs and calmness.

2016 started like any other year. A clean slate, hopes, ambitions and dreams of better days ahead. There were a lot of fantastic things that happened in 2016! My older sister and her family moved back to Michigan, Mom beat cancer again, we welcome two new nephews into our family, Braxton celebrated his second birthday, I took a leap of faith and started my own business, Jason and I celebrated FIVE years of marriage, and there were a lot of other little things that happened throughout the year that overshadowed the bad. In July, Jason and I underwent our first round of IVF. It failed, and we were devastated. That was a huge financial blow and it shattered our hearts. Then in November, we did a round of FET which lead to a pregnancy, but we soon miscarried. Again, crushed, devastation, anger, extreme sadness and hopelessness ensued. For the years of infertility we have encountered, nothing can explain the excitement we had when the pregnancy tests started coming back positive. We were absolutely elated, and then just as suddenly as we found out we were expecting, we weren’t. It’s the worst feeling in the world.

As I reflect on this past year, it was easily one of the hardest years for me-if not the hardest. It was an emotional rollercoaster. I won’t completely say that the year was a bust, because it wasn’t, but I will say that I won’t miss it much. I’ll forever be grateful for each year I’m Braxton’s mommy. He is my world. He is Jason’s world also. Jason and I have begun to accept that he might be our only child as we are undecided on further fertility treatment.

Personally, I’m ready for 2017. I’m ready to thrive. I’m ready to have multiple books published, grow my business, explore and try new things, laugh more, fear less, relax, continue working out and eating healthy, work on being a better wife and mother and so much more! I’m more determined this year to accomplish the goals I have set forth for me, and can’t wait to check them off my goal list!

 

There is no denying that 2016 was better to some than for others (including myself), but 2016 did not define me. The terrible things that transpired in 2016 won’t make me lose hope. It hasn’t made me lose my faith. I won’t live in the past, but move forward positively and full of hope.

I pray that for those who struggled in 2016 that you know that God never gives you more than you can handle. If God brings you to it, He will most certainly lead you through it. I pray that 2017 is a year of growth, extreme happiness, lessons, love and laughter.

 

Wishing you and your family the very best for 2017, and thanks for following my blog and my crazy life.

 

God Bless,

Danielle

 

 

To My Husband on Father’s Day

To my Husband on Fathers Day.

I try to make it a point to say “thank you” every day, for all the things you do to help take care of myself, Braxton and our pups. It’s been a hard year for us, so just saying “thank you” hardly seems like enough…

Thank you for loving me for me.
Thank you for loving our beautiful son, temper tantrums, dirt and all.
Thank you for allowing me to chase my dreams regardless of how ridiculous they may seem at times.
Thank you for pushing me to be a better version of me.
Thank you for not ever giving up on me, our marriage or our son.
Thank you for working so hard every single day to provide a wonderful life for Braxton and I.
Thank you for being the best daddy to our pups.
Thank you for letting me speak my mind  while listening even when you might not agree with what I’m saying.
Thank you for doing most of the yard work.
Thank you for allowing me time to sneak away to the gym, work on a project or just relax with a glass of wine.
Thank you for planning surprise date nights.
Thank you for wrestling with Braxton and playing with him as much as you do.
Thank you for fixing all the things that are broken in our house.
Thank you for looking at me the same way you did on our first date, 8 years later. You still make me feel like the most beautiful girl in the room.
Thank you for watching endless hours of Paw Patrol and Blaze with Braxton.
Thank you for believing in me when I cease to believe in myself.
Thank you for holding onto hope and being there for me during our infertility journey.
Thank you for encouraging my growing faith in God and for coming to church with Braxton and I.
Thank you for participating in my many adventures.
Thank you for being you.
Thank you for being the BEST Damn Father to our son.
You are truly a blessing to Braxton and I. God certainly broke the mold when he made you for us.

Thank you for choosing me to go through life with and for loving me unconditionally on the good, the bad days and everything in between.
Happy Father’s Day to the man who helped make me a mommy.
Braxton and I love you to the moon and back.