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Category: Family

Our Amazing Anniversary Weekend!

This past Saturday marked mine and Joe Daddy’s 15th anniversary! We aren’t big celebrators, but we do enjoy taking a little time each year (on our birthdays and anniversary) to spend a few hours alone.

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At 9:45am on Saturday morning, we woke up to a surprise breakfast of ham, egg, and cheese sandwiches, made by Taylor.

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Bleu wanting in on the action! LOL!

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Taylor also helped The Littles make us some sweet cards! #HaveAGoodHappyLUCKEYAntiversy #DaddyWorksAndMommyWorksOut

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Joe Daddy brought in some red roses, like we had at our wedding, and the flutes from our wedding and filled them with apple juice since I don’t drink anymore. #39DaysAndCounting.

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He even sprinkled little drops of water on them to make them even prettier (knowing I would be taking a picture of them)! #HeGetsMe

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We spent the first part of our day just hanging with the kids at the house. Then at 4pm, we picked up my mom and dropped her and the girls off at my sister’s, even though she was headed out for the night as well (to a wedding). Our mom and her dad and step-mom were gracious enough to agree to add our crew to the bunch they were already keeping tabs on for the night! I don’t normally trust just anyone with my kids, but Nana, Opa, and Cherie are on the very short list! It’s kinda crazy seeing my mom and ex-step-dad get along so well, but I’m super thankful since we all end up having to be around each other so much.

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Our typical date of choice is dinner and a movie. For dinner, we decided to try a place on a neighboring town square that has a little rooftop you can eat on. It was super cute and had a great view of the cute little town square, but because we got there at 5pm, it was pretty sunny out, so it was a little hot.

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Joe Daddy ordered the ahi tuna BLT on focaccia bread and I ordered the Santa Fe chicken sandwich with avocado and pico de gallo. We both chose fries as our side, even though I was kinda interested in the kale slaw. We split our sandwiches and traded halfsies (which we typically do when we eat out). My sandwich was sooo good. Joe Daddy’s was disappointing. The ahi tuna was pretty flavorless and the bread was like styrofoam (the bacon, lettuce, and tomato were the best part of the sandwich 🙁  ). Over all, we enjoyed our experience, but I doubt we’ll go back. It wasn’t anything to brag about.

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We had about an hour to kill between dinner and the movie, so of course, we ended up at Walmart (our favorite store). #NoShame

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Taylor was really unhappy about having to spend the night at her cousins’ house, so we bought her a poop emoji pillow to cheer her up. Right about the time we were walking out to the car with it, she texted me with, “I hate you.” So I replied, “I guess I’ll take this back then,” and sent her a picture of the pillow. After that she was much nicer and actually helped Cherie take care of the little kids. I don’t always bribe my kids, but hey, whatever works! #TeensAndTweensWillNOTBeTheDeathOfMe

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After we got bored in Walmart, we headed to the movie theater, but still had some time to kill, so we made a pit stop at Ross. I actually found something I’d been looking for: mats to cover the messed up floors in the living room where the girls’ play kitchen is! I was even more impressed that I only found one thing! LOL! #Shopaholic

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We love scary movies, so I was stoked there was one out that we both wanted to see! It was sooo good y’all!!! I was jumping and screaming and squeezing my man for dear life! I love a good scary movie! My heart was racing for a good half hour afterwards! That might have also been in part to all the sugar I ingested between the M&Ms and cherry Sprite 😉 . #DontBreathe

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We got home close to 11pm, watched some TV, played a little dress up 😉 , and cleaned the house til 2am. We couldn’t resist this Ted suit when we found it in Walmart! The kids love it too! LOL! #ISleptNextToMyVeryOwnRealLiveTeddyBear #HeSeriouslyFellAsleepInIt

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We woke up around 9:30am the next morning so we could pick up the kids by 10am. We scooped up the girls first. Cherie said they didn’t give her any problems and that Taylor was a big help (success!). Then we grabbed Jules from his friend’s house and got everyone a biscuit from Hardee’s so we could finish picking up the house before Pa came over to watch the kids while we went to the tattoo parlor. We took one last picture(s) of ourselves without our new tattoos.

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A couple years ago, we decided to start getting tattooed for our anniversary. We were 31 and 32 when we got our first tattoos! I went ahead and got two, since I couldn’t decide between one for me (the peacock feather) or one for the kids (the 5 bird silhouettes). Joe Daddy knew he wanted a hunting sleeve eventually, but the artist he got just copied one of the pictures he brought in instead of coming up with any original ideas. I remember it hurting like hell, during and after, so I was pretty darn anxious, especially when my artist said it would probably take two hours from start to finish!

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Well, it took three. It was the most God-awful pain, but it was totally worth it! It’s not what I envisioned or asked for, but it came out beautifully. I got the same guy who did my first two tattoos, which is kinda cool, only now that he’s given me two tattoos that aren’t what I asked for, I think I’ll go with someone different next time 😉 .

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I think next time, I’ll ask for Joe Daddy’s artist! He did such an amazing job, and gave Joe the deal of a lifetime! #Jelly

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Joe Daddy’s half sleeve took six hours to complete, but it looks amazing!!! The guy drew it on his arm with a sharpie, which took about 3 hours, then…

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…he outlined it in ink, taking another 3 hours. Look at those clean lines and all that detail! He stayed an hour after they closed to finish it and charged the same price as they charged for mine! #WhatADeal

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Of course, we got home too late to take our “after” picture (it was after 8pm, so the sun had already gone down 🙁 ), but Joe Daddy got home in time tonight! Yep! We totally hopped back into our dirty clothes from yesterday to take these! I think we look so much cooler with our tattoos! #CouplesThatGetTattooedTogetherStayTogether

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My shoulder feels like someone punched me in it twenty times and then viciously rubbed it with sandpaper. I knew it was gonna hurt, but that really doesn’t make it any easier. I still made it to Zumba this morning. I even wore my new red snakeskin pants that I also found at Walmart on Saturday (which I’ve been wanting for a while, but they didn’t have my size at any of the Walmarts I’ve been to over the past couple of months). I was in excruciating pain for most of my class, but it’s Zumba. You can’t not enjoy it!

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I also got to try my new amino acids this morning, and I gotta say: they are AWESOME! My cousin encouraged me to try them. I’m so glad I took his advice! I had more energy than ever…and I only took half the recommended dose! I can’t wait to see how awesome they make me feel when I’m not in so much pain! LOL!

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For those of you keeping count: I’m up to 12 pills every morning. Shew!

And that was our amazing anniversary weekend! I can’t wait for next year! I’ve already got a bunch of tattoo ideas ready to go! #NotStoppingTilImCovered

15 Reasons My Marriage is Amazing

15 years ago, I chose Joe Daddy to be my husband and he chose me to be his wife. We swore an oath, for better or for worse, to stay faithfully committed to one another until we die. Of course, when you’re madly in love, it’s easy to make that promise. Honestly, staying faithful to my husband hasn’t been hard at all, it’s staying committed to making the marriage the best it can be that has taken all the effort.

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Here are 15 reasons my marriage is ahhhmazing:

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We love each other unconditionally. Marriage is a commitment. It’s choosing to love someone despite their faults each and every day. Most of the time, I’m pretty lovable. Sometimes, I can be a real pain in the ass. Same goes for my husband. We choose to remember that we’re not perfect and don’t let the bad days outnumber the good. That takes intention. Loving someone at their best is easy. Loving someone at their worst takes commitment.

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We put each other first. I love to be right (mostly b/c I always am), but over the years I’ve learned that I care more about the happiness of my husband and the health of my marriage than being right. There are times when I just have to hand over my pride and let my husband figure out how wrong he is all on his own 😉 (there are even times when I don’t mention, “I told you so!”).

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We don’t sweat the small stuff. Nitpicking and nagging are exhausting (whether you’re on the giving or receiving end) and rarely solve anything. I’ve learned that while I can certainly influence my husband, I can’t change who he is as a person, nor should I want to. I have embraced his quirks and accepted his faults. I’m sure there are plenty of things I do that my husband doesn’t like, but he doesn’t complain (like ever, which could just mean that I’m perfect 😉 ). Just like with the kids, we pick our battles wisely.

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We try to “air grievances” and “discuss possible solutions” rather than fight. I know a lot of people say you should never go to bed angry, and that’s a nice idea, but sometimes, that’s exactly what we’ve needed. We’ve had a few instances where we’ve come to an impasse, called it a night, and woke up feeling much more like compromising.

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We tell each other everything. Communication is sooo important. My husband tells me so much about what goes on at his work and the things he and his friends talk about (more than I really even care to know), and I do the same. I’m sure we bore each other at times since we’re not really interested in all of the same stuff, but I enjoy the fact that he is so open and honest with me, and I’m grateful to have someone to vent to that just listens and offers moral support.

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We choose to trust each other. Could my husband be cheating on me every time he says he has to work late? Yes! Could I be having an affair with the postman while he’s at work? Yes! (Well, actually no…he’s a woman 😉 ). But instead of questioning each other and looking through each other’s phones or email accounts (or even worse: sharing them), we choose to believe that we’re doing exactly what we say we’re doing…until we have a reason not to.

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We respect each other’s beliefs and opinions. I think at our core, my husband and I agree on a lot, but we have somewhat different religious beliefs, political views, and ideals on how our children should be raised. Thankfully, we respect each other enough to agree to disagree and realize that neither of us are right or wrong, just different. We choose to enlighten our children in both of our beliefs and opinions and let them choose for themselves what they want to believe. There are times when we butt heads because we honestly can’t understand how the other person can think a certain way, but we’ve come to realize that those things don’t change who we are to each other.

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We know it won’t always be this hard. Our kids are our world and they have certainly enriched our lives, but they make everything more complicated. As if living with and loving another person unconditionally wasn’t hard enough, we had to add five more people to the mix who we have to feed, clothe, bathe, transport, provide for, and love with every fiber of our being, independently and as a unit. Kids make financial decisions more complicated, dinner decisions more taxing, and making time for our relationship as husband and wife nearly impossible. I’m glad that as they get older, it gets easier to find that time.

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We make time for each other. We know that one day, we’ll have nothing but time for each other because our children will have their own children making their marriages more complicated, but we also know we can’t just put our marriage on the back burner for 30 years, so we just keep squeezing out drops of time from our busy schedules to dedicate to each other. Every night after we put the kids to bed, we sit on the couch, vent to each other about our days, and watch a little TV. It doesn’t seem like much, but just being in the same room as my husband without the kids makes me feel grounded. My husband works long hours, so on his days off, we spend as much time together as a family as we can. The only time we ever really go off together is on our birthdays and our anniversary. Somehow, it’s enough for us, for now.

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We make time for ourselves. We are not one person. We don’t have the same likes, hobbies, friends, or interests. I love that my husband loves to hunt, I just don’t want to go with him. My husband loves my photography, but he doesn’t want to sit and watch me edit a bunch of pictures for hours on end. His friends are old high school buddies who like to go beer tasting at breweries. I don’t drink beer. My friends are my sister, my neighbors, and anyone with kids that my kids want to play with. My husband doesn’t like other people’s kids. There are a lot of things we do have in common, but those aren’t the only things we ever want to do. So just as we make time for each other, we let each other make time for ourselves.

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We have mastered the art of compromise. I think one of the reasons our marriage works as well as it does is we both know when to sacrifice our own desires for the happiness of the other. I’m sure I get my way more than my husband does, but there are times when he makes it known that he feels strongly about something and I’ll give in and let him have his way. It doesn’t feel like giving something up though, because I enjoy seeing him happy. I think our biggest compromise over the last 15 years has been how often we have sex. There is one of us who still has the hormones of a teenager and is ready to go all. the. time, and there is one of us who would be happy just to sleep next to each other in the bed every night, except maybe once a month (I’ll let you decide you is who 😉 ). We’ve managed to meet in the middle so that the horn-ball feels somewhat satisfied and the old geezer doesn’t have to wear their self out, haha!

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We know each other’s love language. Mine is vastly different from my husband’s. He craves physical attention. He likes to cuddle and kiss and…well, you know. I, on the other hand, enjoy my space, rarely like to be touched, and would rather he show me he loves me by helping out around the house and with the kids. Of course, my love language was a lot more like his 15 years ago before we had kids, so it’s taken a bit of adjusting on both of our parts to come to understand how different we are and respond appropriately.

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We’ve accepted that, like life (and our bodies…and our hair), love changes. My husband and I started our family when we were 18 and 19 years old. We fell hard and fast. We were living with each other within the first month of meeting each other, engaged a month after that, and expecting our son 3 months after that. Just a year after we met, we were parents to a baby boy (who is getting ready to turn fourteen next week…oh, my gosh, make it stop!). A lot of the people we know who started out the same way are no longer together. We got lucky. Instead of growing apart year after year, we’ve grown closer together. Sure, it’s taken some trial and error, lots of “sanding and repainting,” but we’ve remained committed and now, we’re stronger than ever! We both feel like we’re more in love now than we were 15 years ago because we realize: that love was easy. That love was full of hormonal passion and desire and didn’t have any baggage or complication. The love we have now is despite the baggage and complication, and full of intentional passion and desire. It’s a love we’ve nurtured like a fire. Love grows and changes, and that’s a good thing!

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My husband is the yin to my yang. Just as yin and yang are seemingly opposing forces that interact to form a dynamic system in which the whole is greater than the assembled parts, my husband complements me. Where I am weak, he is strong, and vice versa. I know it’s cliche to say “we complete each other,” because we firmly believe that we are complete people all on our own, but without him, I don’t feel as whole (and I’m only speaking from the few experiences where he is away on business or out hunting for short periods of time).

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My marriage doesn’t look like everyone else’s. What works for us, doesn’t necessarily work for everyone, and that’s OK! Comparison is the thief of joy. My marriage isn’t perfect, but it’s amazing, and it’s mine, and I love it!

And in case you didn’t get enough of our adorableness, here’s some more for ya! 😉

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Happy Anniversary to the one I love! I look forward to many more years of growing in love together!

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“If you’re a bird, I’m a bird.”

All The Things I Didn’t Say On Father’s Day

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Yesterday was Father’s Day. It was the 14th Father’s Day I’ve celebrated with my husband, the best father I’ve ever known.

I never really had a father.

Obviously, there was a man who helped create me, but that man took his own life when I was 3 years old, leaving my mother all alone to raise two kids by herself.

I no longer hate him for that. I feel sorry for him and pray that he has found peace in a better place.

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Oddly enough, I still love him and miss him dearly, despite not really having any memory of him.

That just tells me how important fathers are.

We need them.

I often wonder how different my life would be if I had a father throughout my life.

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Fortunately, I now have an amazing father-in-law that I know I can count on for anything.

But I know it’s not the same.

Yesterday, we did what we always do when my husband has the day off.

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We spent the day together as a family.

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We were woken at 8:30am by Taylor, who “cook the eggs with lots of love for the best father in the world!”

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We didn’t have to be up for another hour, but at least we got to enjoy a nice breakfast, LOL!

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We went to the late service at church so I could hear my friend give the sermon while the pastor was on vacation.

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She did wonderfully, despite being a little nervous about sharing a personal testimony.

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Then we went to Waffle House, one of my husband’s favorite places to eat (and the restaurant we frequented the most when we first met).

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After lunch, we went to a local state park to meet up with my father-in-law to fish, swim, and grill out.

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I’m not a big outdoors-person, but I love going camping, fishing, and hiking with my family because it forces us to focus on each other.

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There’s just very few distractions in nature, except awesome ones that bring us together.

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Joe Daddy got busy hooking worms, while the rest of us enjoyed the scenery around us.

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I was particularly enamored by these super large ants on these yellow flowers.

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I also enjoyed watching the paddle-boarders and kayakers on the lake. Joe Daddy and I are really eager to get a chance to go off and do something like that ourselves!

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The Littles were picking and playing with every leaf in sight. I pray we don’t all end up with poison ivy.

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Taylor really liked playing with the worms. Yum.

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Jules just sat glued to his phone while he waited for a pole, when he totally could have been helping. Hey, I pick and choose my battles with this one. He’s a teenager. I force him to spend every Sunday with us, clean his room, feed the dog, and baby-sit his sisters, and because he does all of that without complaining, makes straight A’s in all advanced classes, and only wants to be on his phone or computer 24/7 because he likes to learn about writing code and programming for computers, draw comic book characters, and speak Japanese, I give him enough space to do as he pleases. We call him “Fuddy Bubbie” for a reason. He rarely wants to spend time with us, but I know it’s not because he doesn’t love us, it’s because he doesn’t enjoy the same things we do. Plus, he’s an introvert like his mama. He enjoys being alone. He still enjoys talking to us and hanging with his friends, so I don’t worry about him. He didn’t want to fish, but he did it anyway, because that’s what we were doing on Family Day. That’s all I ask.

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I love that my girls love to fish. I don’t really enjoy fishing myself, just because we don’t actually use the fish. As long as I buy my fish from the grocery store, I don’t see the necessity in fishing. I know how to fish and I do think it’s an important life skill to learn, which is why I support my girls fishing with their dad. I’m happy to get to sit back and soak up all of the beautiful scenery with my camera (phone)!

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The girls really wanted to go to the beach too, so we left Pa and Joe Daddy to fish by themselves for about an hour.

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The beach was crazy crowded, but they enjoyed their time there.

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Jules and Taylor actually hung out together on the buoy (gasp!), and The Littles hung out near the beach where they could touch (even though they kept their floaties on the entire time).

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I went swimming for a little while, but decided to stay in the shade on the beach so I could keep an eye on everyone.

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It wasn’t the ocean, but all the sand does make it feel beachy.

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When we went back to start making dinner, the kids switched up their fishing spots.

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The bridge proved to be the hot spot for success. Everyone caught several fish!

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Taylor caught 8!

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Ty caught 2!

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Trini caught 9! (Tristyn caught several fish too, but I never managed to get a pic of any of her catches).

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Pa and Joe Daddy  lost count, they caught so many!

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Once we got home and settled down for the night, Joe Daddy started going through the pictures I posted from our day.

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He got to this picture and said, “Everyone else on Facebook is writing essays on how great their fathers and husbands are and here you are: ‘I picked a good ‘un!'”

I immediately went to my defense on how many long winded posts I had made on behalf of my better half, but I was stopped short.

“No, I liked it. It was short and sweet and to the point. I like that.”

I smiled, inside and out. One of the things I love most about my husband is how simple and down-to-earth he is.

That’s probably why we work so well together. He’s the Yin to my Yang.

My short post was only out of necessity. We had a busy day and I just didn’t have time to write about how wonderful of a father he is.

“I picked a good ‘un!” sums it up, but oh, is there so much more.

So here’s all of the things I didn’t say on Father’s Day.

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I love how hard you work to provide for our family. I love that you don’t complain about having to work so hard. I love how proud you are of each and every one of us.

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I love that you don’t need fancy vacations, fancy meals at fancy restaurants, or a bunch of friends around to have a good time. I love that you just want to spend your time of with your family. I love our little adventures together. Especially the ones that don’t cost a thing. And I love that you love food just as much as me!

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I love that you don’t get caught up in how different you and Jules are. You accept him for who he is and look for the common ground between you. So many fathers want their sons to fit into a particular mold, but you love him despite the fact that he rarely wants to do the things you and your father enjoy doing together.

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I love that you treat our girls like capable human beings instead of helpless princesses. I love that you embrace their eagerness to do things like hunt, fish, and camp with you.

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I love your slowness to anger, your patience, your compassion. I’m glad our children have one good role model for those character traits! LOL!

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I love your energy, your playful attitude, and your sense of humor. Life can be exhausting and draining, but you never seem to lose those things.

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I love the way you love me. I love that you acknowledge my hard work, respect my boundaries, have compassion for my failures, and treat me as your equal. I love that you lift me up when I’m down and point me in the right direction when I’m lost. I love that you make me feel like I’m the most important person in your life. I never question if I’m cherished or wanted.

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I love your presence. When you are with us, which isn’t nearly as much as we would like, you are there, heart, mind, body, and soul. Our kids are so blessed to live a life unlike the one I lived. They get to have 2 parents who not only love them more than anything else, but love each other passionately and unconditionally. They are learning how to take care of themselves, live in this world with faith and integrity, and work together to overcome life’s obstacles.

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I love getting to walk through this crazy wonderful life with you.

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I love you. Every little piece of you. Heart, mind, body, soul. Forever.

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And I’m thankful for your father. I know how very important fathers are. I’m glad you got a good ‘un!

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Happy Father’s Day!

 

Spring Family Pictures

My family hates taking pictures…at least the kind where I ask them to wear coordinating outfits and pose in an outdoor location. They have no problem asking me to take their picture when they’re in their underwear, house looking like it blew up in the background. No problem at all then! Haha!

Like it or not, I still demand that my family take pictures together a few times every year.

I want to preserve as many memories of our life together, because let’s face it, we won’t all be together for very long.

I’ve let up on the amount of family pictures I require them to take. I still try and get shots of us together when we go places, but as far as making plans to get gussied up and take “official” family photos, I try to keep those to a minimum: spring, summer, fall, and winter.

It’s been working out to just take our winter family pictures during our family gathering during Christmas. Not only do I get a shot of our immediate family, but our extended ones as well.

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Likewise, it just makes sense to take our spring family pictures on Easter.

Last year, my friend at church, who happens to be a photographer, took everyone’s family picture at church on Easter for free! 

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He did the same thing this year, only we decided to join my mom and sister at my mom’s church, so we missed out :(.

We still carved out a few minutes before our family egg hunt to strike a pose…in my sister’s front yard of all places! Haha!

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Everywhere we went, people went crazy over the girls’ dresses! Obviously, I thought they were cute enough to buy them, but I think people were probably more excited over the fact that the girls all matched. I don’t typically put the girls in the exact same dress because I prefer to coordinate instead of “match,” so I’ll put them in the same style dress in varying colors or prints, or the same prints in different colors, or the same print in varying styles of dresses, but when I came across the sale for Jelly the Pug dresses on Zulily for $12.99 last summer, I couldn’t pass them up! I figured the best way to let the girls stand out would be to put the rest of us in white. Mission accomplished!

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After I took a shot of all 7 of us together, I got individual shots of the kids. I typically get a shot of just the kids together, but I was feeling rushed since we were getting ready to do an egg hunt with my niece and nephews.

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My sweet Tristyn 🙂

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My sassy Trini 🙂

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She can be sweet too ;).

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My cutie pie Ty 🙂

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She has this habit of turning her head to the side when she takes pictures…

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I have no idea why she does it, but I’m constantly telling her, “Just smile! You don’t need to touch your head to your shoulder!” Hahaha!

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Better 🙂

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My just-turned-10 tween! I don’t know how much longer she’ll let me dress her like The Littles, but I’m gonna milk it as long as I can!

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I tried to get a full-body shot and a close up of each kid, but the close ups I got of Taylor were awful. For some reason, she couldn’t smile anymore without looking constipated.

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See? WTH???

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Jules wasn’t much better. He looked stoned in every picture I took of him. He tried to blame it on the sun…it was overcast. At least he wore the Mr. Roger’s sweater I got him! I love it!

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His eyes look the least squinty in this one.

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He thought it was hilarious that his eyes looked like straight lines in every picture I took. I did not.

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So I made him take a selfie with me. Best punishment I could think of at the time ;).

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Joe Daddy actually enjoys taking selfies with me :).

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I got a full body shot of us too :D. Love.

10 minutes after I set up my tripod, I took it down and started hiding eggs.

I didn’t take award winning photographs, but I captured our family as we are in this moment in time, quickly and for free.

I wouldn’t have it any other way!

How often do you get your family’s picture taken?