marriage after baby // keepin’ the knot tied tight

   

I received an infinite amount of baby advice before Ezra arrived. So much, I didn’t know what to do with it all. I felt as if I needed to carry around a pen and paper so I didn’t miss out on pertinent information that would save me down the road from a major crisis. But I have found that the most important piece of advice is often left out. That is, keeping your partner your top priority. I ran across this article and it really spoke to me. As I was going through the self test questions I found me answering, “no…no… no… I am NOT easy to love!” Ok, step one – recognizing the problem, complete. As terrible as it sounds, sometimes I have to stop and think,
“this is your companion, your best friend, the person you vowed to be there for through thick and thin! Now WHY ARE YOU SO UPSET??!!” And this is the thick ladies and gents. Whether you just had a baby and things seem to be coming loose at the seams, (laundry, sanity, maybe even literal loose seams with the extra lbs we tend to put on during those difficult times), or you are going through something else, or hey, maybe your marriage is great, but could always use some improvement! I believe these tips can be used in any sitch…

Found this article on familyshare.com. It spoke to me. It made so much sense. I have placed these little questions in the back of my mind for a couple weeks now, practicing being an easier spouse to love, and I truly believe it has made a difference. Maybe Clay hasn’t even noticed, but just for me, and my crazy psyche, it has been a lifesaver. I couldn’t remember the last time I initiated the “i love you.” Clay says it every day! And I say “I love you too”. Telling Clay I love him, as silly as it sounds, made a huge difference for me. Hope you find this article as helpful as I did! Let me know what you think!

                                                                                                               

Let’s face it: Sometimes marriage is just hard. There will be days when you and your spouse can’tagree on anything, there’s a mountain of laundry to be done, the dishes are piled high in the sink, there are unpaid bills scattered across the counter, and a baby is crying in the background. At these times, it’s very hard to feel love toward one another. I’m ashamed to say that, at these times, I find myself taking my frustrations out on my patient, long-suffering husband. As if things weren’t already hard enough for him, he’s now got a shrew of a wife blaming him for everything that’s gone wrong.

Are you a wife who is easy to love? Do you give your husband reasons to sing your praises and brag about you to his buddies? Honestly, I know I’m not always that kind of wife, and I’m betting there are others like me out there. You can test yourself on your own loveable-ness by answering the following questions based on your experiences and actions. Consider the possible answers as being Always, Often, Sometimes, or Never.

1. Do you give your husband credit for things he does to help around the house?

Everyone likes recognition and men are no exception. Make sure you notice what he does to help out — running a load of laundry, vacuuming a room, playing with a child so you can have a few minutes to yourself — and thank him for it. He’ll be more likely to do it again.

2. Do you tell your husband you love him?

I’m not talking about the knee jerk, “Love you, too,” you say when he tells you he loves you or a sleepy, “Love you,” as you lie in bed at night. I’m talking about an intentional moment when you give him a hug or a kiss, lock eyes with him and tell him in all sincerity, “I love you, sweetheart.” Men like to hear the words as much as women.

3. Do you perform acts of service for him?

Men have tough days, worries and frustrations just as frequently as women, but they’re not always as vocal about it. Any little act of service you can do to show your husband how you appreciate him can make his day a little brighter and his burden a little easier. Give him a back rub, make him his favorite meal, run the car through the wash without his asking you or do some other thing you know he loves but doesn’t get to experience very often. There’s nothing more gratifying than the look of surprise and gratification in a man’s eye when you surprise him with something he loves.

4. Do you have open lines of communication?

Don’t suffer in silence when something is bothering you. One of two things will probably happen: either you’ll end up shutting your husband out, making him wonder what he did wrong, or you’ll make the problem worse because you’re not addressing it. Make sure your husband knows what’s going on in your life. That way he can work on changing the offending behavior or help you deal with whatever is causing you to stress.

5. Do you accept his compliments?

Women have a hard time accepting compliments because they often feel they don’t deserve them or the person complimenting them is “just saying that.” Chances are your husband really means it when he tells you your hair looks nice or your dress is sexy. He doesn’t analyze statements or motivations like you might do, men just don’t think that way. But if you don’t accept his compliments or you laugh them off and not take him seriously, he’ll be less likely to compliment you in the future.

6. Do you ask for his help?

Men like to feel needed. One way they can demonstrate their love for you is by helping you when you need it. If he’s not busy or sick or stressed himself, don’t be afraid to ask for his assistance with the kids or dinner or the cleaning. It’s another way he can show you how much he cares.

How did you do on those questions? You can easily score yourself. If you answered Always or Often on most of the questions, you can be reasonably assured you’re a wife your husband can easily love. Those questions you answered Sometimes or Never might give you ideas of how to better show your husband love and allow him to do the same. Implementing those ideas will bless your family and your marriage.

Article Written by Katie Nielsen for FamilyShare.com

One piece of advice I have to constantly remind myself is to KEEP IT LIGHT! Life doesn’t have to be so serious. Jam out in the car together. That seems to do it for us. :)

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You came with the rain // A letter to Ezra

IMG_2606You came with the rain. Two weeks ago today. We had decided a rainy day would be the best kind of day for you to arrive. And I guess you felt the same. You took your time, that’s for sure. You made us wait in anticipation for what seemed like a lifetime. We just couldn’t wait to meet you.

I was so excited to feel the first pains of labor on a Saturday morning around 9:00. Your dad was so religious about keeping the time between each pain. We weren’t sure if it was “real labor”. So we decided to take a walk… and it being rainy outside we went to the only other place that made sense. Target. We walked around for a good hour or so, pains became closer together and more intense, we headed home.

Contractions continued for the rest of the day, we started getting a pretty good sense you’d be here soon. Dad went on a mad cleaning spree, he wanted to make sure everything was perfect for your arrival. I tried to relax.

Aunties Erin and Lindsay arrived that evening. They drove hours so they could be there when you arrived. Erin made us spaghetti, I played the piano for you, and we tried keep the house mellow and calm.

Contractions went on for a good 12 hours. Around 9:00 pm I decided I needed the midwives there. Contractions were about 3 minutes apart and they were no picnic, I’ll tell you that much.
When the midwives, (Michelle and Emily), got there, they checked your heart beat right away. It was so clear and strong.

There were many times throughout my labor that they would check your heart beat to find that same steady beat. I was constantly thinking of how strong you must be and what YOU were experiencing through all of the madness! It was such a journey for you too!

2:00 am rolled around and we all thought you’d be here any minute. I got into the warm birthing tub, trying to stay as relaxed as possible. Your dad massaged my back, gave me mental and physical support, and was in position for you to come. But somewhere in this transition I think you got a little confused on where you were supposed to be and when! You flipped to the other side and dilation stopped completely. For 5 hours. We tried everything! Lunges down the stairs, stomping around the kitchen, it was REALLY hard and excruciating work. Finally there was a moment I KNEW you were almost here.

I literally bolted up to our bedroom, refusing to have another contraction on those stairs. I told Michelle I felt like I could push, that you were close. She checked and sure enough, you had decided it was time. The last 20 minutes felt like such a relief. We were finally working toward something and could see the light at the end of the tunnel. I got in the tub, your dad held me up by my arms. I could feel his body shaking, he was exhausted. He hadn’t left my side for the entire 24 hours.

After what seemed like only a few short pushes, you made your entrance. You were so beautiful. So full of life, I cant describe it. I was in shock as I held you, it didn’t feel quite real until I noticed your dad, hugging us both and crying tears if joy. At that moment, it was real. You had your eyes open immediately, so eager to meet your parents and see the world.

Your dad and I can’t wait to show you everything that is beautiful. You have been such a joy already in your short 14 days of life. I cry just thinking about how much you have changed already. Everyday I want you to stay just as you are, but as each day passes I love you even more.

There are so many people in your life that love you. So many people excited to meet you and watch you as you grow. I hope you know that and remember that forever. You are my true joy.

I love you, Ezra.

Love, Mom.

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Some Serious Photo  Cred: Erin Fonnesbeck Photography

a bonfire kind of february

Processed with VSCOcamIt was about one year ago that Clayton and I had “the great debate”. We were toying with the idea of moving to California for quite a while… back forth, back forth. We finally decided to take a trip to California to visit some friends in the dead of Utah winter. They took us to the beach, we had a bonfire and s’mores, dolphins were jumping in the sunset, (literally, they were), it was totally magical; and the great debate ended up not being so great… the decision to move to Encinitas ASAP was unanimous without much struggle. We got back to Utah, put our house up for sale and it sold the next day. Sooner than we had realized our lives were moving states, we had our little cars packed to the brim with two dogs in tow.Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Processed with VSCOcam with g3 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

When we had our friends Brady and Lindsay visit us a couple weeks ago, we knew the only way to get them to move here, (which is always the main focus when friends visit), would be the magical bonfire/dolphin duo. We didn’t see any dolphins, but we did see a whale. Good enough, check. Perfect February weather, check. S’mores, check. Frisbee at sunset, check.

So what do you say you guys? What’s it gonna be?! :)

It is mind blowing how our lives have changed in just one short year. And there isn’t much I can complain about. We kinda really love it here. Especially in February.

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our maternity photoshoot // erin fonnesbeck photography

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These pictures really make me want to bawl my eyes right out. It seems so real now-a-days thinking of the little one that will be joining our little family in a mere 9 weeks! I can’t even wait! As I am writing, his little foot is joyfully jabbing my side and I am watching my belly roll like a wave… he’s getting pretty strong in there! He’s trying to show off. :)

We had the most amazing experience working with Erin. She had so many cute and creative ideas… I cannot even begin to tell you how happy I am with how these photos turned out. While we were taking the photos, Clay and I were being goofy, laughing, thinking… there is no way these are going to turn out to be anything I want to show anyone. This is way too much fun! But after each shot, Erin is so excited and insists, yes, these are going to be so good. So Clay’s confidence builds, and his “model/serious” face comes out. Thats my favorite. :) We couldn’t have been more wrong with our prediction, and when she sent us the photos, I fell in love… my eyes got all teary-like. They were beautiful; she made us beautiful, and captured a magical time in our lives that I will be so happy to look back on later on.

Thank you, thank you, thank you a million times, Erin! You are the best at what you do.

Head on over her website to see more gorgeous photos! Erin Fonnesbeck Photography

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10 tips for planning a FAB wedding under $10,000… it’s possible I swear.

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Tomorrow is our one year wedding anniversary and I am being taken back to the happiest moments in my life: when I was running around the city, picking up scraps of wood from neighbors yards, making midnight runs to the local Kinkos, spending a whole lot of time in Home Depot, and frantically piecing together our “perfect day”. It was a lot of work… but when it came down to it, I couldn’t have been happier with how it turned out.

I am going to preface these tips by saying they are not for everyone…  definitely not the faint of heart. It takes A LOT of work to plan a wedding for under $10,000, while still trying to accomplish everything in your “fabulously imagined every since you were little” dream wedding.  Many people opt for a wedding planner to do all of this for them, which would kinda be nice… but sometimes you just gotta do it yourself!

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1. Think Outside the Bridal Salon

I searched every bridal salon in every neighboring state and couldn’t find a dress that I loved within my budget. I am sure so many brides-to-be have this same problem. Wouldn’t it be great if we could all just fly to New York and go to Kleinfeld Bridal Salon and get “jacked up”? That was my VERY unrealistic dream. So I decided to take matters into my own hands after much discouragement. I searched the World Wide Web for designer DRESSES. Not wedding dresses, but just white dresses.  The dress I ended up wearing was actually a “summer” gown I guess you could say. I found it on www.theoutnet.com which is a designer discount online shopping HAVEN. I immediately fell in love. It was originally strapless but I had in mind what I wanted the top of the dress to look like. So I ordered the dress about 7 sizes too big and took it to a tailor. They cut the dress to my size, and had enough fabric left to design the top how I wanted. GILT may also be a good resource, or try shopstyle. You can search white dresses within a specific budget.

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2. Check Out Your Local Bakery

Now if you are looking for a 10-tier wedding cake covered in flowers and requires some sort of contraption down the middle keeping it standing, then maybe this tip isn’t for you. My taste is pretty simple I guess… (and chocolate satisfies it pretty well.) We ordered our cake from a local bakery called City Cakes in Salt Lake City. I looooved the cake and they were so professional, had my cake there on time, on the stand, and just said “bring a check by later when you can”.  That’s the kind of service you get when dealing with small local business and I love it. Oh, and the triple chocolate cake with white cream cheese frosting was AMAAAZING.

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3. Take Advantage of Poor College Students

This sounds terrible I know, maybe I should word it differently. Naw, it’s funny. Here is the story: One afternoon Clay and I were having lunch at a small coffee shop in SLC while two young guys were playing classical guitar. It was so mesmerizing and relaxing… it just kind of flowed. When we were planning our wedding we went back to that coffee shop and asked them the name of the two guys that play on Saturdays. We called them soon after, and they were SO HAPPY to take the job! There are so many great musicians out there that would just love to play at your wedding. You just need to know where to find them. And the school is a great place to start. Put up an ad in the music department building. Be specific about what type of music you are looking for. There is a good chance you just might find it… and at a price you won’t find ANYWHERE else. We ended up paying our guitarists $50 dollars each for a couple hours, (this was their pricing), when everyone else we were searching for was in the $500 dollar range.

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4. Be Crafty

This just might not be your thing… but if it is, or if you can pretend it is for a few months there is some money to be saved here. I was stressing about what to do for our center pieces on the tables. So after seeing a dreamy picture of long tables and wooden boxes down the center, I decided to make my own. I went to Home Depot and with the help of my hubs, made 25 wooden boxes for center pieces. The whole project cost maybe $50. Where else can you get center pieces for 4 20 foot long tables for $50?! We also found these long aspen branches and asked a family friend (who has a wood shop in his back yard) to help us cut them into small pieces and drill holes in them for candles. Total cost for that project: $25 for the Nordstrom café gift cart we bought him for helping us. Think of using FREE resources. Like things in nature. Haha Sounds hokey. But, seriously. Also www.save-on-crafts.com was a LIFESAVER and will give you sooo many ideas! It has every crafty thing imaginable at wholesale prices.  Good luck!

 

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5. Grocery Store Floral

I reaaaaally wanted blush pink peonies. And I wasn’t going to stop until I got them. The only problem was the florist was going to charge $8.00 for a single stem! WHAAAAT?! Are you serious?! So I was ecstatic as I was walking through the local grocery store, only to find GORGEOUS blush pink peonies at 5/$8.00. I immediately called my florist and asked if I could buy them and bring them to her to use later. She said, “of course!” so I proceeded to buy every one of those bundles and took it to the florist’s fridge. Search your local grocer for flowers. Or Costco is another good option! If you have a good florist who will work with you, he/she probably won’t mind you wanting to be thrifty. Just let them know your intentions beforehand, and that you are REALLY on a strict budget. They will understand.

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6. Forego the Alcohol

For so many weddings, alcohol is one of the biggest expenses. If it is AT ALL possible, save yourself thousands of dollars and skip the cocktails. Pretty self explanatory I guess…

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7. Search Craigslist for Vendors

If you decide to go with a wedding rental company, you WILL be charged an arm and a leg for your rentals. Yes, for some things it is necessary and we used a rental company for tables and chairs. But for the lighting and dance floor we decided to go a different route. We found a guy on Craigslist who rented out a dance floor he had bought for his daughter’s wedding; and a couple who had a tiny lighting business who just ran the thing out of their home. Each one included set up and at a HUUGE discount. Our rental company quoted us $750 for our dance floor and $1,200 for lighting. We paid $200 for the dance floor and $250 for lighting. See? Try it!

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8. Skip the Reception Center

If you are willing to get creative with your wedding location, you may just be able to save a bundle! Is there somewhere special you and your fiancé love to go? Do you have a friend or family member with an awesome yard? No, it doesn’t look tacky, and with all the money you will save, you can have a little extra to really make the place stand out. The location we chose is actually the building where my husband’s parents live. It just so happened to be pretty awesome.

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9. Don’t be Shy.

Don’t be afraid to use your friends of friends! (Most likely you want your close friends there to celebrate with you,) but don’t be afraid to use your contacts is what I’m getting at. Do you know someone who is a great designer? Have them help you create your personal wedding invitations and get this printed yourself. How about hair and make-up? Music? DJ? Photographer? Videographer? Anything helps when you are on a budget.

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10. Don’t Spend on Things that Don’t Make a Statement

I am going to share with you my spending regret, which led me to create this tip. Don’t spend things that don’t make a statement, or that don’t matter. I decided early on that I really wanted to have a lounge area with couches, tables, just a place for guests to relax. It ended up being pretty expensive, and pretty unnecessary. Nobody really even used it, and if it hadn’t been there I think we would have managed. Plus, there were like 150 chairs on the premises. Did we really need more seating? No. Just make sure when you are planning your wedding that every detail is necessary and will increase the enjoyment of yourself and your guests. If it doesn’t, forget about it.

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And one more for good measure: Keep Track of Every Dime

I know this one might be one of the hardest ones of all. But I promise you that if you do this, you will walk away with a lot more money after the wedding than if you didn’t. Use a spreadsheet. Excel is the best program for keeping track of your dollars in one place. EVERY time you make a purchase, even something silly like CRAYONS for the little ones. Make a note of it and add it to your spreadsheet. There are so many things that go under the radar when planning a wedding. $50 here, $70 there, it adds up so fast and at the end you’ll wonder where all the money went! If you keep track, you will be less likely to make silly unnecessary purchases

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There are so many ways to save when planning your big day! I would love to know ways that you saved on your wedding! I am sure other people would like to know as well. There is so much stress that comes along with getting married, which is a little unfortunate. In most cases, this it is inevitable. If you stick to your pre-determined budget, so much of that “money” stress will disappear. I promise.

Good luck! And Happy Wedding Planning!

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Vendors and other Resources:
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Photographer
 I couldn’t be happier with how my wedding photos turned out. Our day was captured just as I remember it. I would recommend these ladies to anyone!
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Wedding Dress
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I DO, I DO Kids Wedding Book Printable
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Thank you place setting card printable & Back of Chair Bride and Groom Printable
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Crafty Supplies
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Tables and Chairs Rental

driftwood DIY by Design Sponge

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First of all, I honestly don’t know what I would do with this little driftwood hanger. But still, I feel the need to make it. I snagged this DIY tutorial from the cutest video of a collaboration between Banana Republic and Design Sponge… (great team), which takes place in The Hamptons. Lobster, shopping, puppies, what more could you ask for in a summer inspiring video? (Except maybe not the lobster. Not sure about that, never had lobster.)

…you may fall in love with The Hamptons.

Notice I did not use one single exclamation in this whole post. (I got in trouble from a Mr. Man who told me I was a little too enthusiastic with my exclamation usage. He might be right. So Mr. Man, if you are out there, I am sorry I put you in so much distress and gave you anxiety. But thanks for putting me in check.) But just cause…. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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etsy and west elm… could it get any better?

I really dont think it could (get any better that is…). This little clip makes me incredibly happy. Every single one of these designers find joy in the little quirky and magnificent things they create. I would have loved, Loved, LOVED to be there in Los Angeles, mingling with these minds. Can someone call me next time this happens? Or text, email, instagram hashtag ME, whatever. I’ll bring the punch.

SUPPORT THE LITTLE GUY! and west elm still though. because it is also great.

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currently obsessing // ink by sincerely

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Okay, so I downloaded this new app that I am so excited about. Maybe I am out of the loop and everyone already knows about this but me… This seems to happen. But I am pretty sure everyone should have this if you have a smart phone if you do not already. I absolutely love sending cards… I am the one who buys a box of thank you cards on just about every trip to Target or Paper Source. I’m a sucker for typography and sending warm fuzzies in the mail. So with this app, you are able to send cards… minus the stamp, mailbox, and everything else that is annoying about sending cards. The app is called INK. It is so user friendly and creates beautiful cards in just MINUTES!!! The best part: the app is free and to send a personalized card, PRINTED & SHIPPED, is only $1.99. Can’t beat that!

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They have so many to choose from and for just about every occasion. I just send a birthday card for my Dad and it turned out so cool. On the front of the card you can add a personalized picture and tagline. Then on the back, there is a place to write a longer message.

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You can also sync your contacts to the app and it will remind you when a birthday or anniversary is coming up. I haven’t gotten that technical yet, but I’ll be doing that shortly.

Anyway, hope you love it as much as I do! Let me know! HAPPY GOOD FRIDAY everyone! Hope you all have an amazing Easter weekend!

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happy friday… all day.

happy friday

Wonderful, Beautiful & Glorious Friday. How I love thee. This weekend I look forward to breakfast at home, bike-rides on our new (but old) beach cruisers, and perhaps a beachy bonfire. And maybe a few other things that start with B. Because I am beginning to see an alliterate trend and feeling a little like Dr. Seuss.

Somehow stumbled upon the blog: By Jessie Kay and so happy I did. I am obsessing a little bit over the graphics, mood-boards, and well maybe just a little bit of everything else. She is brilliant. There is so much inspiration to be found here; Jessie, if you ever read this, you are my design hero.

Above Graphic by Jessie Kay. See? Stunning, right?!

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fab four // earrings under $100

earrings

Any of these pairs will be sure to spice up even the drabbest of wardrobes. Lesson: you can still be chic without spending a fortune.

1 // Horus Drop Earrings – 32 -

2 // Alex Bittar Thorn Drop Earrings – 95 -

3 // J. Crew Cab Fan Crystal Earrings – 75 -

4 // Anthem Wares Cliffrose Stud Earrings – 61 -

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