4 Years

Corey and I are back at school this week and are trying to get settled back in for the spring semester – our Christmas break was fabulous but it always throws us for a loop when it’s actually time to get back to work! It’s a bit crazy around here lately, but I just had to pop in for a quick post about today because…

It has officially been four years since this amazing man and I got married.

Four years!

We’ve been together for nine years now, and I can’t believe that next year we’ll have been together for an entire decade. He makes me so incredibly happy and sometimes I wonder how I got so lucky to find someone that is so perfect for me.

I love our little family and how much our life has changed over the last year. I’m so excited to be celebrating four years with this man, and have a hard time believing that in just a few weeks we’ll be celebrating our son’s first birthday. How did that happen?

We’re celebrating this weekend with a date to one of our favorite restaurants, gifts (we don’t usually do them, so this is a big deal!) and a movie at home. It’ll be our first “real” date in a while, so I’m pretty thrilled!

Happy anniversary, love!

First Father’s Day

It’s so funny to me how all of the holidays throughout the year that used to be no big deal are now so important and exciting for me. I mean, we’ve always celebrated Father’s Day with our families, but since we weren’t actually parents yet it wasn’t nearly as awesome as it is now. Now? I want to snap a million pictures, soak up all the memories, and enjoy every little holiday to the fullest.

I mean, this is the only first Father’s Day we’ll ever have!

We had a very relaxing Father’s Day this year and it was fabulous. We went out to eat with family, hung out, and just generally enjoyed our little family. I’m so blessed to have such an awesome partner in this crazy parenting adventure, and I can’t imagine doing it with anyone else.

As a little Father’s Day tribute, here are the top 3 things I love about Corey as a dad…

-Jackson’s whole face lights up when he’s interacting with Corey. He looks at him with an admiration that he doesn’t look at anyone else with, and it melts my heart every time.

– I love seeing who Corey is as a father. I’ve always known he was a sweet and wonderful person, but watching how gentle, caring, and just generally awesome he is with Jackson makes me love him even more.

– I love how much Corey loves our son. He gets so excited when Jackson learns something new, and it’s so sweet to see how much he clearly loves him. I could sit and watch them play together all day long – and watching Corey walk around the house with Jackson and talking to him? One of my favorite things in the world.

How was your Father’s Day this year? Anyone else want to share a few things you love about your partner as a parent? Or, if you aren’t one yet, just what you love about your partner in general?

Shifting Priorities and Letting Go

Having a baby changes everything.

No, seriously, let me say that again: having a baby changes everything.

I’m sure those of you who are already parents are rolling your eyes at me, but I honestly don’t think it’s possible to even begin to comprehend how much your life will change until you actually have that tiny little human in your home. Since becoming a parent, I find that I am more relaxed, more confident, and I very quickly learned where my true priorities lie. It’s a wonderful change, but I’m still figuring out what all of these shifts are going to mean for me.

One change that has surprised me the most (and that Corey is the most excited about) is that I have let go of a lot of the things I used to stress about. A messy house used to drive me so crazy that I was in a bad mood until it was fixed – the house had to be just about perfect before I would be willing to invite anyone over, and I spent the majority of my weekends cleaning and organizing. Now? I’m not saying I let my house stay super messy all the time, but I’ve realized that a slightly messy house isn’t the end of the world. I do a bit of cleaning each night to try to stay on top of it, but if Jackson is feeling extra cuddly (or if I am feeling extra lazy), I just don’t do it. And while I do a bit of cleaning on the weekends still, I don’t let it take over my life.

Why the change? Because I realized that a clean house isn’t nearly as important as spending time with my husband and my son. And I realized that if I spend all of my free time cleaning, I have literally zero time for myself. Between work, Jackson, Corey, and the dogs, I feel like I am constantly giving my time to other people – and the little time I have for myself shouldn’t be wasted on cleaning. Since I’ve let go of the cleaning a bit, I’ve found that I’m happier, Corey is happier, and Corey is actually much more helpful with keeping things clean because I don’t do it all before he has a chance to step in.

This is way more important than a clean house! 

Another change that has drastically altered the way we do things around here is that we have significantly shifted our financial priorities. We have a bit of debt (from things like our new windows and other energy-saving upgrades to the house, as well as some we-were-young-and-dumb debt) and we have slowly been paying it down over the last couple of years. But now? Something about having a kid has made me realize I want to get it all taken care of now. I don’t want to pay it off slowly, I want to knock it out as fast as we possibly can and never have to worry about it again. That would be why you haven’t seen any home improvement projects around here in a while – they just aren’t happening because every extra cent we have (which isn’t much now that we are paying for daycare!) is going to debt. And I’m 100% okay with that, which is not something I think I could have said before Jackson entered our lives.

Do I still want to get new curtains for the dining room? Absolutely. Does our carpet still drive me absolutely insane? Yes – and I’m dying to replace it. But I know that if we deal with this other stuff first, we’ll be able to enjoy doing home upgrades with a lot less stress and a lot more wiggle room in our budget. So for now, I’ll let go of the renovations and improvements and live with what we have. And maybe every once in a while we’ll be able to splurge on something small (like we did for our bamboo blinds a few weeks back), but for the most part I am going to be focusing on making our house feel like home without spending any extra money. And I’m constantly repeating The Nester’s mantra to myself – it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful. I’m looking for the beauty in the things we already have in our home, and I’m embracing the imperfections for now. There’s no sense in getting worked up about things we can’t change yet.

So, as I’m sure you’ve already figured out, the blog is going to be shifting focus for a bit. I still plan to write about home improvements as we do them, and someday I will get back to doing them much more often, but for now they’re just not happening. But what is happening is still worth sharing, in my opinion. We’re learning so much about ourselves and our priorities, we’re having a blast with a sweet new baby, and we’re figuring out this family of three thing (six, if you count the dogs) one day at a time.

I hope you’ll stick with me as the priorities and focus of this blog grow and evolve. I’d love to hear from you on what you’d like to see more of. I’ve had requests for posts about baby sleep (our little dude is a rockstar nighttime sleeper!) and working outside of the home with a baby, so you can expect those coming up, but I’d love to know if there’s something else you’d like to read about! I’m excited about letting myself loosen up the parameters of the blog a bit and letting go of the DIY posts for now without feeling guilty. I have a lot of fun ideas, so I promise things won’t get too boring around here.

For those of you who have kids, how did it change your priorities and goals? Anyone else learn to let go a bit?

Our First Date (and a Favorite Recipe!)

A couple of weekends ago, Corey and I went on our first baby-free date since Jackson arrived. We missed him the whole time (though we managed not to talk about him too much!) and worried all night that he was having a rough time, but my sister said he did a fabulous job and he was sound asleep by the time we got home.

We went to see Bobby Bones’ parody band, The Raging Idiots, here in Austin (for those of you who don’t know, he’s a country radio show host who is originally from Austin – I’ve been listening to his show for about 10 years now!) and had dinner at Chuy’s. It was nice to have some time with just the two of us, and we’re pretty determined to make it a monthly thing!

Also, in honor of Cinco de Mayo (it’s May already?!), I thought I’d re-share a favorite recipe of ours for the summertime – homemade sangria. It’s probably the most amazing sangria you’ll ever taste…just trust me and try it!

Anyone else going on baby-free dates lately? What are your plans for Cinco de Mayo?

Date Nights With Baby

I’ll be honest – Jackson is two months old and Corey and I have yet to go on an actual date since he was born.

Those of you with kids probably understand this. It’s almost impossible to find time to go anywhere without him, and quite frankly we aren’t super interested in leaving him alone with anyone else just yet. We’re hoping to go on a real date at some point this month, but over the past two months we have found other ways to set aside time for one another, and in the process we created a new tradition that we are kind of obsessed with.

Game night.

Corey and I have tried to have weekly at-home date nights for as long as we have been married, but over the last year or so they had kind of fallen off our radar. It wasn’t a big deal because we had plenty of time together, and never really felt like we were missing out. But! When Jackson came along we very quickly realized that we needed to start setting aside some specific time for one another again, and thus game nights were born.

Every Tuesday evening Corey grabs a Papa Murphy’s pizza and we eat that while we play some games. We don’t watch television, we don’t zone out at our computers – we just have some good quality time together. It’s a super fun way for us to connect and it’s way more fun than just watching television like we do most other nights.

We’ve gotten really into board games now, and are always on the lookout for new ones. We’ve learned some really unique games and have been introducing them to people we know so we now have lots of friends that will play with us! I still think that 1:1 dates that actually involve leaving the house are important (and our goal is to have at least one a month, starting this month!) but this is such a perfect way to connect a little more at home, and we’re hoping to keep it a tradition even as Jackson gets older. In a few years we’ll probably be playing Candy Land instead of our current repertoire, but we already get excited thinking about teaching Jackson all of our favorite games and having this as a tradition for the long haul.

How do you stay connected with your significant other when things get crazy?