Saturday, June 28, 2008

Good Hard Questions

Jen and I have a great relationship, though it is not absent of hard times. As I sit here and write I think back to those hard times and see them as the greatest growing periods. I often think that the hard times present the greatest opportunity for growth and realization. I think I have always known that what you put into something you will get out, but never really focused on the "putting in". A couple of years ago a good friend of mine spoke on the topic of growth and asking the tough questions that would lead to growth. The topic centered around your relationship with your spouse and when I heard the exercise I immediately thought that this was something I would adopt. I considered them the "Good Hard Questions". Somewhat scary to ask but 100% necessary to really get a picture of how your spouse views the state of the relationship and the direction it is going. I haven't asked the questions in about a month so I figured I would do it here (it has definitely helped Jen and I and hope it will help others too.) So here we go.

Question #1 (from Jared to Jen):
What is one thing I am doing that you want me to continue doing?

Answer (from Jen to Jared):
I am so thankful for the time you spend with Andon. Every night when you get home from work, after dinner, you take him upstairs and play, read, wrestle etc. and then give him his bath. That is my first alone time of the day since he no longer takes a nap. So I am so thankful for two reasons. My alone time and your together time. :)

Question #2 (from Jared to Jen):
What is the one thing I am doing you wish I would stop doing?

Answer (from jen to Jared):
Well, since we're getting ready to move we have to downsize from our 2200 sq ft house to a smaller one for a while. I wish you would stop trying to get me to get rid of all my great furniture. I can find a way to make most of it work. I know it's just stuff but eventually we will have to buy it again and I don't want to.

Question #3 (from Jared to Jen):
What is the one thing I am not doing you wish I would start doing?

Answer (from Jen to Jared):
Oh my, where to begin! :) haha... just playing.
I would love if you would surprise me with date nights and little things. When we were dating you would always bring me york peppermint patties and little things. I loved it! So I guess random little surprises would be fun. :)

OK, here's the important part, it's easy to ask the questions. The real test (and payoff) happens when you take the answers in, apply thought towards solutions which lead to growth... -Jared and Jen

Monday, June 23, 2008

Little Ninja Turtle

My sweet little boy. I just love his imagination and free spirit. He has always loved to dress in differant costumes. We've gone through them all. Spiderman, Superman, Ninja, Buzz Lightyear, Cowboy, Pirate and so many more! He's actually starting to grow out of it and I'm bummed because I think it is so funny.
So yesterday morning he saw a commercial with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and wanted to get dressed and watch the movie. Of course, after watching the movie he thinks he's a REAL ninja turtle! Jumping and kicking all over the house with a very serious look on his face. I just had to take a few pics to share! ~ Jen

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The value of EARNING a dollar!

"Daddy can I have Incredible Hulk?, can I have Ninja Turtles?, can I have this toy and that toy?" So I venture out back to the money tree and... look at that, it's not blooming anymore son! Actually as a result of Andon asking for so many things lately I decided that now is a good time to bring a few things in line. Andon already helps around the house (cleaning his room, feeding the dog etc) but Andon has to be told (I know, what 4 year old doesn't need to be). My thinking is it's never to early (or late) to learn something. If Andon wants toys he needs to earn them. If Andon wants to spend ALL of his money on one toy then Andon can do that (I am sure I will have a chart for responsible spending in the future!) What I want now is to start teaching Andon the value of earning things.

So we set off to get supplies to build Andon a visual chart. I want Andon to see each day that his hard work and contributions have an effect on not just him (getting money) but assisting the family as well. He completes a chore (setting the table, cleaning his room, feeding the dog) he earns a smiley face. Each smiley face equals $0.25, three chores a day will equate to $0.75 and each week he can earn $5.25 per week. If Andon chooses to not do a chore he gets a write up, three write ups and he's fired! (just kidding, sorta!) On Daddy days or the weekends when Andon is out with us and he begins the "I want" speech, this will be our opportunity to teach Andon about what he has vs what things cost. Stay tuned for the "I want a raise" talk...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

My first tag!

My sweet friend Sunday tagged me, so here goes...

1. Where is your cell phone? Who knows.. My husband gets so frustrated when I run errands and he trys to call me only to hear it ringing in the other room.
2. Your significant other? Watching something on tv about space.
3. Your hair? Light brown
4. Your mother? Strong
5. Your father? Good Ol' Country Boy as Sunday would say. :) Very sweet and simple.
6. Your favorite thing? Going on the boat and hanging with my boys.
7. Your dream last night? I have no idea
8 Your favorite drink? Sweet tea
9. Your dream/goal? To have a bigger family.
10. The room you’re in? Dining room.
11. Your hobby? I like to scrapbook but I really need to get more hobbies. I would love to learn to make jewelry and sew.
12. Your fear? Not being safe.
13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? It's hard to think that far. My baby will be 10! Hopefully we'll have a few more little ones!
14. What you’re not? Messy
15. Muffins? Banana Nut
16. One of your wish list items? I don't have a wish list for myself.
17. Where you grew up? Florida
18. The last thing you did? Take some pictures of Andon wearing Jared's clothes!? He's so funny!
19. What are you wearing? Capri's and tank top
20. Favorite Gadget? Computer
21. Your pets? Yellow Lab named Sadie
22. Your computer? Mac
23. Your mood? Happy
24. Missing someone? Yes, my sister
25. Your car? Honda
26. Something you’re not wearing? Makeup
27. Favorite store? Target and Baby Gap
28. Like someone? Of course
29. Your favorite color? Green
30. When is the last time you laughed? Today
31. Last time you cried? Last night

I'm probably supposed to Tag someone but I don't really have anyone to Tag! Hope that's ok!! ;) Jen

Monday, June 16, 2008

Be 4 for a minute!

I love watching Andon play. I have a very vivd and active imagination. Watching Andon play stirs in me the desire to not only join but add to his imagination. We spend a ton of time playing outside. Our garage has a larger driveway area in which we ride bikes, skooters, heelies etc. We are getting ready to move and as such have plenty of packing to do. I needed to get some boxes and this presented an opportunity to "Play". Andon wouldn't get tired of things to do with one box, so imagine what thirty could do!

I decided that what we needed to do is build a castle as an extension of the garage that he could drive through with ease and play around in all day. Two of his cousins were over so let's get to work!

First daddy announces we are building a castle (MISTAKE! children want what you say the second you say it). In the garage we go, I enlist the troops to do certain jobs (You there, close the boxes and hand them to him, you there, tape the box shut and hand it to her, you there, stack the boxes so I can see what we need to use). After about thirty minutes we have enough to start so I consult the design team (children) on what looks best, functions best and what they would want (Jordan, Andon's older cousin, requests a bridge and a second floor!!! not gonna happen) Thirty minutes into construction I have lost the interest of my design team, been abandoned by any adult and am praying that my last helper (Roger, Jens younger brother) sticks out the last thirty minutes (or hour, we'll see).

I complete final construction of the archway (only after battling the wind, poor taping decisions and mis calculation of load bearing walls etc (ha ha). I reassemble the team for the ribbon cutting ceremony and open the castle for destruction. If you are thinking I go overboard at times I would agree. Will this change my approach in the future? probably not! All in all it was fun, the kids got to play, ride in and out etc. It became our hang out spot for the day and it was another opportunity for me to be 4 for a minute with my 4 year old. - Jared

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Early Father's Day

Well, here it is. This is where I will start. :) Jared and I have started this blog together because I wouldn't post enough to keep anyone's interest. :)

Father's Day is tomorrow so I wanted to write a little about my sweet dad and my sweet husband. My sister's and I treated our dad out to lunch a week ago at a local seafood restaurant he loves. He was so sweet eating his seafood platter thinking about what he was going to save my mom. They both LOVE seafood! Too cute. It was a fun time sitting there with him, my two sister's and brother. Just chit chatting and looking out at the water. My dad is such a sweet simple man. He's the kind of person who feels more comfortable giving than taking. He's actually uncomfortable accepting any kind of gift, even us taking him to lunch! I love him very much and love that Andon loves to go see Papa.

My sweet hubby is such a wonderful father to Andon. I couldn't have asked for anything more. They are so much alike in so many ways! They both love to laugh and have fun all the time. Dancing, acting like super heroes and goofing off. I try to include myself in the goofing sometimes and will imitate them to only hear Andon say "Mom, that's not funny"!? haha. They have such a sweet relationship and I love watching it grow. Almost every day Andon tells me when I grow up I'm going to be like daddy. He has even started to measure his hands and say they're getting as big as daddy's. Too cute!
So I asked Andon what he wanted to do for Daddy for Father's day and he said he wanted to make him a cake and get him an Optimus Prime (Transformers). So we printed this Optimus Prime off the computer as a card and Andon wrote Happy Father's Day Daddy.

Then off to the cake. Well, I had no frosting but thought I could just make my own. Mix a little cocoa, butter, powdered sugar etc. (the recipe's on the side of the cocoa container) and there you have frosting. It tastes ok. Betty Crocker and Duncan Hines got that all figured out so next time i'll just go to the store. But, it was so fun to make with Andon and hold at the door when daddy walked in from work Friday night. I know, we're early around here. :)

So, Happy Father's Day Dad and Jared I love you both so very much! Love, Jen

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The beach (torture) experience!

So we decide we are going to the beach (I automatically think of all the work, get all the supplies, stop for more supplies, lug all the supplies on fiery sand with Andon asking a million questions and never doing what you want when you need. Picking a spot on the beach away from the crowds, unloading all the supplies, sand in EVERYTHING and so on, you get the picture) This time I decided it best to focus on the kid's (Andon's cousin's went as well) and make the day about them and experiences. Andon already trusts daddy to go in the ocean and brave the waves so it was time to switch it up. I have the bright idea to bury Andon in the sand (photo moment!) so I start digging with a .50 cent shovel from WalMart (piece O junk) and find out real fast that after the first inch down it's all hard sand. The sun is 190 degrees (at least) my back is on fire, I think i'm having a stroke and need to remind myself to breath. After twenty minutes realize i'm only a foot deep... GREAT! "Andon help daddy dig" Andon is actually caving in the sides now while he digs his own hole so I switch it up "Andon go play for a minute, over there" (anywhere but near my hole) After I finish I tell Andon to jump in, fill him up to his neck and let Jen snap some shots. I decide that it's pretty cool and I need to be in the hole with him (What am I thinking after that torture, must be the stroke) and start digging a deeper hole for me and him. 20 to 30 minutes later Jen is pouring water down my throught (I really am having a stroke now, I can't feel my arms and I'm sure the skin on my back has melted off) I jump in with Andon and everyone piles the sand in (WOW, sand compresses your chest and makes it impossible to breath, to top it off it's like an incubator, im dying inside) "JEN TAKE THE PICTURES QUICK". All in all it honestly was worth it, even though I spent a ton of mental time complaining, Andon's look of curiosity mixed with amazement makes all the "torture" worth it! - Jared

Sunday, June 8, 2008

My Family

I love this picture. It really captures in a single moment how I see both my son and my wife. My son is a fun free spirit, loves to play, laugh and have those around him laughing. Andon's eyes have this way of looking through me, releasing me from being an "adult" and reminding me of freedom. Jen is just plain beautiful! I often look at her and am immediately taken away from whatever I was about to say or do and feel breathless about not the way she looks, but the way she is from within. She radiates for me (always has, since the first day we met)