margin in marriage

Rory and I had a difficult December. Just a repeated scenario of me thinking it was time for him to take over and him thinking he had a job and a farm to tend to. It all came to a head the weekend of Christmas and things I thought had been communicated had not been heard and we both were looking at the other with a "pull it together" attitude.

Rory suggested we go back to the counselors we had seen a few years ago. I agreed.

But then, the day after Christmas, I was rocking Alden and I had this sweet, unemotional, moment of clarity. I saw the issues clearly. Sunday mornings was a trigger for us. It's a lot of work getting everyone up and out the door, and during all of December I never heard a sermon. But I was there. I just was either walking the hall with a drippy-nose Hattie, teaching Sunday school or nursing Alden. I left each Sunday morning in a sorry-for-myself sour mood and aimed the whole of that frustration at Rory. Which made him incredibly defensive, wondering how he was supposed to read my mind.

So I put Alden down, got a piece of paper and wrote out each offense, his side, my side. I honed in on Sunday mornings and wrote down what I know about Rory. He is dependable. He wants to do right by me. He works so hard for our family. He wants me to feel supported and does, in fact, support me in a hundred ways. I was hung up on the few instances that things didn't go according to plan.

Anyway. I called him up to the bedroom. I read out each situation and explained (in writing) how we were in that tricky season of no margin. If he says he'll be in at 5:00, I start watching the clock at 4:37. And 4:54. And 4:59. If he's a little late, I have grace for that. 5:03 is fine. 5:05 I can muster up understanding. 5:06 and I am done. I've had it. He's late. And I turn on a dime in that moment into a frustrated, resentful, tired, hungry woman who will now let this moment ruin the rest of the evening.

We talked about how little grace and understanding we have for each other. And we talked about needing a neutral time to bring up grievances.

And then it hit us. We need to bring back the Family Meeting.  And what is crazy about that fact is that we created the Family Meeting, at this exact no-margin season when Ivar and Elsie were Hattie and Alden's ages. In fact, the issue at hand was the very issue we worked through four years ago in our marriage counseling!

So because of this schnazzy blog, which is basically my personal journal, I was able to look up the agenda that we had created to deal with these issues: menu planning, talking through the next week's calendar, lining up babysitters so we can get out once every two weeks. It was all there. We had some serious breakthrough four years ago. And now we were tapping into all of it again. And not only that, but we felt validated that this simply is a hairy season. But we have the history to know that it is, in fact, just a season.

I wanted to link back to that post in case you, too, are in a season that needs some family organization.

What a great blog!
Good stuff, joyfullybecca.com. Good stuff.

groves family christmas

It was another happy celebration with the Groves. This year had some new twists...family games and a time for family prayer. I was a fan. We did the Christmas Box which will always be a very favorite part of the entire Christmastime for me. I love that tradition. 

We had two eating areas this year...the down stairs was lovely, and made for a fun place for Oma Zina and the cousins. 
Alden was super chill, as always. My favorite parts of the day all have to do with Ivar. First, he opened his gift from Mimi and Papa and got Magic Tracks. He was overjoyed and so thrilled. Later when we gave our gifts to our secret stocking person, he was thrilled to finally reveal that he had Elsie's name. He worked on a card for her for days and days that said 'Elsie is pretty, smart, fun and a helper.' He also gave her a unicorn headband, and a lego set. Also, when Josie revealed that she had Ivar for her stocking person, he screamed a loud shrill. He was just so happy and excitable the whole day.

Finally, he was the winner for the dice rolling/unwrap the present with mittens game. He won a $25 gift card to Walmart and could not contain his excitement. He said, "this is my year! I found the almond in the rice pudding at Grandma's and now this!!"

harrington christmas

Here's my favorite picture from Christmas: The angel Gabrielle, complete with clip on earrings, surrounded by a multitude of heavenly pop cans. Did you know my dad and I have collected pop cans since I was in 3rd grade? We have most of their basement walls covered in our colorful collection. All of them are empty. And the funny part is that our family doesn't actually drink that much pop. But we're always on the lookout for new cans.
We had a great Christmas, eating, hanging out, sledding and taking darling pictures of my sister holding my babies. 
 We didn't have that much snow, but what we did have was like a sheet of ice. After a few runs, the ice broke up and the run was slower, but those first few times down this hill were crazy fast. Elsie actually hit a bush at the bottom of the hill, shot out of her sled into the bush, then back out onto the snow. I started running towards her, concerned if she was okay, but saw out the corner of my eye my sister's shoulders shaking. And I got the giggles. Thankfully Elsie was totally fine so that when I got to her we all got to laugh a long, hard, slapstick laugh.
Grandma gave Hattie a tea set and my dad did all of the dishes. Do you know he does this at every family gathering? He just stations himself by the sink until they're all done. Impressive.
And then Sonna got my camera again and I found all these pictures from unique perspectives. Like Mara and Alden upside down. It was a good family Christmas.

Best of 2017

2017 is a funny year in my mind. I honestly don't feel like we did too much out of routine, except birth a whole lot of new life. Which counts! But as far as our day in and day out life, we are pretty much in a family groove. 

New to this year is the fact that Rory and I wake up each day around 6:00 to pray together. This has become a saving grace for me. The joy of the Lord truly is my daily strength. It is a precious time of peace before the day begins with breakfast, chores, home educating, lunch, naps, quiet time, play time, trips to the library, playdates, lots of time outside, art class, gym class friends over, followed by dinner, church stuff, meetings and an early bedtime for all. 

Rory is very involved in the community as the chairman of the Women's Center in town that helps mother's during their pregnancy and after their baby has arrived. He serves on our police reserves, is an elder at our church and heads up our church safety ministry, overseeing the children's areas and ushers on Sunday mornings. And he runs the farm. And works a job to earn money. Ha! 

I lead our home school mom's support group in town and teach 3-6 year old Sunday school. I feed everyone three times a day, get the groceries and like to keep a tidy house. This year I have made big strides in my homemaking skills, something I have fought for a long time (turns out, you have to do it all anyway, whether you like it or not!) and have found a better attitude towards the daily mundane. It's still work, but on the whole, I'm way more content and positively grateful for this role I have each day with my kids in my home. 

I give you 2017, beginning last January and moving through the calendar year on the farm.

 **I've been doing these year end posts since 2011! I'm so amazed by that. Click here to see the years past...

Alden is 6 months old today!

Alden is an absolute joy, brightening our every day. A pure gift. He is half a year old today and just last week his two lower teeth popped up. This totally took me by surprise...I wasn't ready for him to grow up so quick! I could write and write, but Rory took these pictures last Saturday at my mom and dad's house and I think they sum him up quite well. He's happy to be here, happy to know you and happy to make you smile. Our joy boy.