10 on the 10th : 10 Favorite Memories with Will

Once again, I’m a couple of days behind on this one, but it’s such a neat idea that I want to participate. Better late than never (which is my life motto too…).

This month’s prompt is 10 memories with my spouse – seems pretty appropriate for Valentine’s Day, right?

10 on the 10th Link-up 2018

1. The first time we met

We met at a singles group event at a church we both attended at the time. The event was at a coffee shop, and I went with my brother. In retrospect, that probably made us seem like a couple. My brother and I were sitting at a table at the front of the coffee shop, and one of the group leaders told me that he had someone he wanted me to meet. He brought Will over to me, and although we only talked for a couple of minutes, we both realized that we were a lot alike and hit it off! It only took him 4 months to ask me on a date… 😉

2. Our first date

Our first date was 7 years ago today! That’s right…our first date was on Valentine’s Day! No pressure, right? While we were eating dinner, a man in the restaurant proposed to his girlfriend. Our waiter said something about how we would be next, and I yelled “NO!!” I had to tell the poor waiter that it was just our first date because he was mortified after that! After we had dinner, we walked around a bookstore for a while. We were both trying to think of places to go to make the date last longer, but it was a work night, and there wasn’t a lot open. I think we both knew it would be the first of many dates!

3. The night before we got engaged

The Nashville Predators were in the playoffs in May 2012, and I won free tickets. Will and I went to the game on May 4, 2012. We had a good time, but unfortunately they lost the game. He and I were supposed to have pictures made the next day as part of an adoption fundraiser for a family at a friend’s church (wow, that sentence sounds so convoluted!). When we were in the parking garage trying to leave, we got into a small argument that led to him going the wrong way and bumping into a column. I was so frustrated that I said “do you even want to go take the stupid pictures tomorrow?” He calmed me down and assured me that yes, he did want to go take the pictures still. It’s a good thing I listened to him…

4. The day we got engaged


We got engaged during our “stupid pictures!” Yeah, I definitely didn’t see that one coming! We were at a park, and it was pretty warm outside, so I was tired of taking pictures. The photographer asked if there were any more poses that we wanted before our session was finished. I said no, but Will said there was one more he wanted. He then proceeded to get the ring out and propose! Ahhh!!! I’m so glad that we have that moment captured! It will be fun to tell Charlotte about it when she’s older!

5. Our wedding day


There were so many memories from that day (including spending waaaaay too much on makeup), but this picture captures one of my favorite memories/moments, which was right after he pronounced us husband and wife! This picture was one that one of my uncles took, and I love it because it shows the relief and excitement I felt after the ceremony was over!

6. Playing paintball


About a month after we got married, we went with my brother, one of my cousins, and a couple of our friends to play paintball. It was my first time playing, so I had no idea what to expect. It was fun…and painful! It was one of our first outings as a married couple and a time that I tried something that I was a little bit scared to do. Sadly, we haven’t played again since then. Also, I can’t remember the last time I tried something that I was a little bit scared to do. Hmmm…

7. Getting our doggo

I wrote about Koopa in Monday’s Love Stories post, so check that out if you want to know the story of how we adopted him. I remember getting the call that we could come pick him up. I also remember Will riding in the back seat with him because we weren’t sure how he would handle being back there on his own. He was so cute stretched out back there next to Will. I wish we had taken pictures!

8. Finding out our second pregnancy was a healthy one

In June 2015, we experienced a miscarriage, and in August 2015, I found out that I was pregnant again. I called the doctor’s office, and they wanted me to come in for a viability scan after I was at least 6 weeks along. The wait between that phone call and that visit was such a long one! The appointment was scheduled for the Tuesday after Labor Day, and on Labor Day, we were at a cookout celebrating a wedding that had happened earlier that weekend. I remember talking to the new bride, her mother-in-law, and a couple of other women there about how scared I was to go to the appointment and how much I hoped things would be okay. The next day when we saw Charlotte for the first time and confirmed that there was a heartbeat and things looked like they were supposed to, we were ecstatic! I think I even hugged the tech! That was definitely a great memory, especially after such a sad start to our summer.

9. Finding out we were having a girl!


A couple of months into my pregnancy, I found a place in Nashville that did early ultrasounds for gender reveals. My insurance wouldn’t let me have an ultrasound until I was 20 weeks along, but this place did them around 16 weeks. I know 4 weeks doesn’t seem like a huge deal, but when you’re pregnant and wondering what you’re having, it feels like an eternity! Our appointment was on a Saturday, and we had planned to have dinner with our families that night to reveal the gender to them. When the ultrasound tech told us it was a girl, we were so excited! We left the facility and immediately went shopping for baby girl clothes! We made a little scratch off as a cute way to reveal the gender to our moms. The scratch offs were cards with blue and pink paint, and they had to scratch it to see if we were having a little Batman or Wonder Woman. Our moms decided that one of them would scratch the blue one and the other one would scratch the pink one – except the pink one wouldn’t come off! Oops! Luckily, they figured it out with the “try again” message that was under the blue one!

10. Becoming parents


Last but definitely not least was our memory from nearly two years ago when Charlotte joined our family! I’ve never really blogged about the whole labor experience, but I did write it down in a book for her to read when she’s older. The short version is that the hospital sent me home that morning, and Will and my mom made me keep walking around that day and evening. I was so sore and tired! We also went to a Mexican restaurant to see if the whole tale about eating spicy food really helped. I can’t say if it did or not, but it did give me horrible heartburn that made me have to take overpriced hospital medicine! Our lives changed so much that day, and we will never be those young, fresh-faced, skinny people that we were in our engagement picture, and that’s okay! We have gone through so much together – good and bad – and we have grown because of it.

Happy Valentine’s Day, babe! Sometimes you frustrate the heck out of me, and sometimes I don’t like you very much, but I love you so much, and I wouldn’t trade you for anything…most of the time! 😉

Linking up with Erin.

5 Tough Truths About Marriage

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Amber note: I originally published this post in March 2014, but since it’s #TBT, I wanted to share it again!

Lego Bride and Groom

A good friend of mine became engaged a few months ago. She and I happen to also work together, so one day before Christmas when it was really slow in the ‘brary, she asked me if there was anything about marriage that has turned out to be more difficult than I thought it would be. We’ve only been married for a year now (minus three days ha ha), so I don’t consider myself any type of expert, but here were some of the things I thought of:

1. It’s tough to live with a guy:

As some of you may know, I lived at home until marriage, so I technically lived with two guys. However, there’s a big difference between living with family and your husband! My husband is fantastic, but there are things that he doesn’t understand about me and that I don’t understand about him. Some guy behaviors are mystifying to me (how do you shower and get ready so quickly?!?). There are also times that I just need to blab on and on about something, and he responds differently than some of my female friends who will let me over-analyze everything. I could go on and on about the differences between men and women, but I think most of you know them by now and could chime in here also!

2. It’s tough to strike a balance between being comfortable and still trying to be attractive to your husband:

I own footie pajamas. I’m not proud of that fact, but they’re warm and comfortable, and sometimes a lady just likes to wear an adult onesie. However, they’re not the most flattering sleepwear that I own. I also like mismatched pajamas, raggedy sweats, and holiday themed socks. I’m lucky I’m cute and can get away with that kind of casual wardrobe. 😉 Although I know my husband loves me for who I am and not what I’m wearing, I do sometimes think that I need to have better “loungewear,” Then again, with what we keep the thermostat on in the winter, he’s lucky that my Snuggie has only made a handful of appearances over the last year!

3. It’s tough to think of things to cook for dinner:

This one may not seem like a big deal, but it’s really hit me lately, especially as I’ve been working on cleaning up my diet. I know there are thousands menu planning and recipe websites around, but I don’t always think about those when I’m standing in the kitchen at 5:30 trying to figure out what to start making. I’m happy with eating an assortment of whatever I can throw together, but some people like actual food for dinner. This may vary for others, but it’s been a real struggle for me!

4. It’s tough to adjust to each other’s routines, quirks, and habits:

Everyone has bad habits and quirks. For example, I like to just set my stuff down wherever there’s a little bit of room and worry about putting it away “later.” My husband is super easygoing and doesn’t let a lot of my habits bother him, but I’m sure it’s been difficult for him to adjust to some of the things I do, just like it’s been difficult for me to adjust to some of the things he does. A lot of people told me before I got married to “pick my battles.” That’s one piece of advice I’ll definitely pass on to anyone who’s planning to get married. Things can get frustrating, but it’s much better to let the small stuff slide.

5. It’s tough to share a bed:

I’m a sprawler, and I have a bad habit of being hot, then cold, then hot, and so on. Someone I share a bed with sometimes steals covers whenever I’ve kicked them off of me. Sometimes I think it would be easier to just have twin beds that we could push together or apart as the need arises!

Even with these “tough” challenges, I wouldn’t trade our marriage for anything in the world. It’s been a great experience so far, and even when there are difficult times, it’s nice to know that I have a partner who will love and support me no matter what. Also, I can always just make grilled cheese for his dinner, and he’s happy. You can’t buy that kind of love, ladies and gentlemen.

You can do anything, but you can’t do everything

I am worn out.

I wanted to start this post with a fun story about to-do lists or all of the things that women have to do in a day, but everything I wrote kept falling flat. I would reach a certain point and try to transition into talking about my main points, and the words just would stop.

So, I took that as a sign that I need to be real with everyone.

I have been struggling lately. This is a really busy time for me, and I feel a little bit overwhelmed and like I am starting not to be able to handle everything. I feel off-kilter and frazzled. And when I’m frazzled, do you know who suffers? It’s not the relative strangers and acquaintances I encounter daily.

It’s my husband.

It’s my daughter.

It’s my family.

It’s me.

I have determined one big reason why I am burnt out : I want to “do it all.”

I want to be a great wife, a fabulous mother (to the human and non-human children), a hard-working employee, a successful writer, in fantastic shape, have a spotless house, read often, cook real meals for my family, have a daily quiet time, volunteer more, clean up my blog and website, and sleep more, among other things.

Just reading that makes me tired.

So, it’s time to embrace a new life motto : I can do anything, but I can’t do everything. I have to have balance.

I recently had the chance to part of a book launch team for Finding Your Balance: An 11-Lesson Bible Study“>Finding Your Balance: An 11-Lesson Bible Study by Sandy Cooper.

(Yes, I was on two book launch teams at the same time – this one and Finish. Add that to the list above…)

I started reading the digital copy I received, and I didn’t get too far into it before I jumped online and ordered it. If you know me, then you know I don’t really buy books, but I just needed to own this one.

I haven’t read much of the book yet, and I haven’t started using it as a Bible study yet, but I’ve already gotten so much out of the content. There is a section where Sandy talks about how if we look at our daily lives, things look out of balance, but if we look at a weekly picture, we’ll realize that things aren’t so bad.

There’s also a section where she discusses how she accepts the busy seasons in her life but plans around them. For example, when she has had a few days in a row of dealing with a lot of people, she will plan a bit of an introvert day to make sure that area of herself remains balanced.

I can’t wait to dig into this and start realigning myself for the good of everyone around me!

Sandy has created great resources for her new book, including this book trailer :

She also offers a sample chapter so anyone who isn’t sure if this is the study for them can read a little more before committing to buying it. Check out the sample chapter here.

Sandy is starting a virtual group on Facebook on September 25. It does cost $10 to join it, but I think it will be a good investment when it’s tied into the book and led by the author!

Is achieving balance a myth? It sure is, and I can’t wait to drop the balancing act and regain some sanity!

I’ve used affiliate links in this post. Want to know what that means? Check out my disclosure policy.

Let me know if you’re joining the Facebook group on the 25th, or if you would like to meet locally to discuss the possibilities of a study, just let me know!

Love is…

I know I’m a day behind on Valentine’s Day, but since it didn’t fall on a Monday, I couldn’t publish this yesterday. 😉

About two months after we started dating!

Yesterday was the anniversary of when we started dating, so we’ve officially been together for five years. Wow! As time has passed, I’ve discovered some of the ways that he shows his love for me. Here are just a few…

💜 Getting up early with the dog on the weekends so you can sleep in.

💜 Encouraging your not-so-secret dream of becoming a writer.

💜 Comforting you when you find the doctor’s note for work from when you had a miscarriage.

💜 Hauling a bookshelf and approximately 7,000 books upstairs by yourself since your 7 months pregnant wife can’t lift anything too heavy and gets winded just from putting on her shoes.

💜 Actually, hauling anything up or down stairs. We need a pulley system…

💜 Driving your wife to work and picking her up when she’s nervous about driving on ice.

💜 Making the best chocolate milk on the planet. Seriously. The. Best.

💜 Being responsible for cleaning the bathroom 90% of the time. Cleaning the bathroom is the devil’s chore.

💜 Offering you money from his fun money envelope.

💜 Telling you how beautiful you look when you’re convinced that you’re the size of a small country and you still have two more months of growing to do.

And these are just the tip of the iceberg! Happy (belated) Val-i-versary to my husband! If you’re curious about how we met, check out my post on Nashville Mom’s Blog!

Six signs that you’ve found your spouse

My last couple of posts have talked about the girl creature who’s joining our family this spring, but I need to give credit to the one who’s 50% responsible for her, so tonight, I wanted to share six signs that showed me that I chose the one I was supposed to marry.

(Amber note: I know that we’ve been married a relatively short amount of time in the scheme of things, so before all of you long-timers start rolling your eyes about my “sage marriage advice,” consider what you want to add to the list and share your wisdom with all of us!)

six signs graphic

1. You can to talk to him about anything:

During our rough summer and the approximately 15,000 doctor’s visits that followed, my poor husband learned more than he ever needed to about the female body, hormones, and just what was going to happen to me as my body recovered. At first, I was a little embarrassed about him knowing all of this, but soon it just became part of our daily routine, and I was able to open up to him more about the not-so-pleasant things happening to me. To his credit, there was only one time where he asked me to stop sharing information!

You don’t have to go through something like that in order to be a good communicator. He has always had a rule that if we start to tell each other something, we are not allowed to just say “never mind” and change the subject. If it’s important enough to bring up, it’s important enough to talk about.

We also can talk about stupid and goofy things without having to worry about being judged by the other person. So, if you find that you can’t really talk to the person you’re dating about fun stuff or serious stuff, you need to reevaluate that relationship!

2. You not getting married out of desperation:

As someone who didn’t get married until age 29 (such an old maid for a Southern girl), I get it, I really do, buuut just don’t. Think about all of the people you’ve dated. No, really think about them. Could you imagine yourself married to any of them? Okay, maybe there is that one guy, but ignore that. He probably snores really loudly and doesn’t have any money in his savings account. You’ll probably also wake up one day (after a really terrible night of sleep because of the snoring) and realize that he wasn’t what you wanted at all.

Seriously, when you approach long term relationships or marriage out of desperation, they’re doomed to fail. I know it might seem like EVERY SINGLE PERSON YOU KNOW is engaged or married, but they’re not. Plus, unfortunately, some of those couples won’t make it. I’ve never gone through a divorce, but I’m just going to take a guess that the loneliness of being single is much more manageable than the pain of ending a marriage.

Plus, when you’re single, you can sleep in the middle of the bed. That’s got to be worth something to you…

3. You have common interests and goals:

When you spend time together, there have to be a few things that you enjoy doing or talking about. We’re both obsessed with our dog (shocking, right?). We also like watching a lot of the same television shows, which has become our new cheap Friday or Saturday night date night. We also have some common goals and ideas for our family- both in its current and future state. You become a team when you get married, so you have to make sure that you’re teammates.

4. You also have your own hobbies:

At the same time, you should have some separate interests and hobbies. My husband has a few “nerd games” that he enjoys, and despite his persistent trying, I have not succumbed to the dark side of playing them. I ask him questions about them, and I’ve given him some suggestions about things when he’s asked, but that’s about as much as I’ve gotten involved.  When he goes out nerding, it’s his time to be with his friends and just do…whatever they do.  It makes us stronger because we go different places and enjoy different things, and we don’t have to feel like we always have to be glued together to have fun. Also, I bank cool wife points when he gets to go play in tournaments, and those points can be exchanged for household chores. That’s usually the only time the bathroom gets cleaned. 😉

5. You are physically attracted to him:

Yes, you should be the most concerned with what is on the inside, but you have to be physically attracted to his outside appearance too. You also have to think about how that appearance is going to change. I’ve gotten slightly fluffier since we got married, but my husband constantly tells me how beautiful I am, even when I feel less than attractive.

All of us are going to get old and gray and wrinkly. Some of us will grow rounder. Some of us will grow balder. But when you’re in love, you’re going to see the handsome man you married so many years ago.

6. You are committed to sticking it out no matter what:

Times are going to be tough. You are going to get on each other’s nerves (sorry babe). You will wake up with an inch of covers on you with your butt hanging off of the edge of the bed while your husband is lying peacefully on his back in the middle the bed, cocooned in all of the covers that you don’t have.

Uh, sorry, I got a little off track there…

Anyway, my point is, you will have times when you have to fight through things, say some tough things to one another, and really just dig your heels in, and that’s okay. If you’re committed to working through anything, then you know that these are just speed bumps for you two. And, whenever you get through those obstacles, then the next challenges usually don’t seem so big because you know what you’ve already weathered together.

I know there are probably at least a hundred other signs (give or take a couple) that I could list, but I want to hear from you. How did you know you had found your spouse? If you’re not married yet, what are you looking for in your future spouse?