Fits to a "T"

Declan is the most hilarious, sweet and adorable kid I know. He is also, hands down, the most difficult kid I know. We are so keenly aware of this. Fortunately, I found a book when he was younger called Raising Your Spirited Child. Fireworks filled the sky...we are not alone! What's a spirited child?

"The word that distinguishes spirited children from other children is more.  They are normal children who are more intense, persistent, sensitive, perceptive, and uncomfortable with change than other children.  All children possess these characteristics, but spirited kids possess them with a depth and range not available to other children.  Spirited kids are the Super Ball in a room full of rubber balls.  Other kids bounce three feet off the ground.  Every bounce for a spirited child hits the ceiling."

If you know my son, you're "amen-ing" right now after reading that paragraph. The main characteristics of a spirited child are him to a "T".

Intensity - Some spirited children display their intensity in ways anyone can see.  They don't cry - they scream.  They play noisily.  They sing loudly in the shower.  Other spirited children are quietly intense and observant , with their intensity turned inward.
Persistence - Spirited children are goal-oriented and unwilling to give up.
Sensitivity - Spirited children are keenly aware of their surroundings and respond to the slightest noises, smells, lights, textures or changes in mood.
Perceptiveness - Spirited children notice everything, and everything calls for a spirited child's attention.  They are often easily distracted and accused of not listening.
Adaptability - Spirited children are uncomfortable with change.  They do not shift easily from one activity or idea to another.
The author Sheedy Kurchinka also writes that there are four "bonus" characteristics that can make raising a spirited child even more difficult.
Regularity - Spirited children can be extremely irregular, and it can be difficult to figure out when a child will sleep or eat, and it seems impossible to get them on any kind of schedule.
Energy - Extreme energy!  Spirited children can be filled with energy.  They tend to be busy at all times and possibly fidgety.
First Reaction - Some spirited kids display a quick withdrawal from anything new.  Any unfamiliar person or place may be met with a resounding "NO!"
Mood - Some spirited kids can be very serious and analytical, meticulously reviewing experiences, finding flaws, and making suggestions for change.

Right now, we are struggling to work through the daily things in life without Declan trying to negotiation every darn thing with us.  We are also going mad trying to discipline him. Seems like he only listens if we raise our voice. We are both sick of doing that and know there is a better way. I'm re-reading Raising Your Spirited Child and we just ordered Transforming the Difficult Child - The Nurtured Heart Approach. Excited to dive in to that.

Everything said, I would not change his personality for anything! He's such a joy. If we can figure out how to harness all this energy and other characteristics, we will for sure see Declan develop in to a future leader, or CEO, or talented athlete, etc., I know it!

VEGAS, baby!!

Well, this post was going to be labeled "Mexico, baby!" but plans changed. Mark got laid off about a month ago. It's turned out to be a huge blessing in disguise. He was accepted in to an intense (Software) Developer's Boot Camp program and will changing careers come this Fall when his schooling is complete. So excited for him! So our week long Mexican vacation felt like a little much now that we are a one income family. The best solution was changing our flights and going to one of our fave destinations, Vegas!

We just luuuurve Vegas. It's sensory overload so a quick vacay is all you need. We returned to the MGM because our stay there in 2011 was awesome and their pools are some of the best on the strip.
 We got to the hotel and immediately changed in to our suits. It was HOT and the pool was callin'.
This trip we decided to book a show every night. It gave us something to plan around and look forward to. Living Social (Vegas) helped us score deals on two of our three shows and, when we booked our hotel with Travelocity, we scored a deal on the 3rd show. Yeah baby.
Night 1 we went to see a Michael Jackson impersonator. It was incredible! Mark wanted to sit just far enough away that we couldn't tell he didn't look exactly like MJ. Success! Coulda fooled us. Good times.
 The next day brought 4 hours of pure relaxation. If you haven't gone to Vegas during the week (we went Mon-Thurs but usually go Thurs-Sun), you need to do it! The pools were so slow and everything was a little less busy. We scored seats right by this little ledge and ordered lunch poolside so we didn't have to stop reading and laying out. I read two books this trip. Very rare for me!
 We almost missed KA. I had times screwed up but thankfully it was in our hotel so we booked it down there and made the show. Phew! It was AMAZERS. Seriously fabulous. This comes from people who have seen a lot of Circ du Soleil shows. Here's a little of the set:
 I didn't gamble much this trip except for this super fun penny slot. Mark said if you are going to play penny slots, you might as well enjoy good music. My max was $20. We lost it all but spent awhile losing it since we kept winning (then playing it and losing). Regardless, fun stuff.
 We didn't do a lot of nice sit down restaurants. We have in the past but we were watching the dollars so, after KA, we hit up Wolfgang Puck's restaurant. It didn't disappoint. Best salad EVER.
Next day, more pool time. More lunch and tasty frozen drinks poolside. More relaxation and more happiness. :) Oh, and a fabulous nap in there too! 
Our last night we were seeing Mystere. We decided to taxi down there (broke my pinky toe on day 1 so I couldn't walk as much as I usually do and Mystere was at the other end of the strip). We arrived early enough to figure out a place to eat. We weren't impressed with the hotel choices so we ventured out on to the strip. We weren't totally sure where we were but walked out to find we were steps from our favorite Vegas sushi joint, RA! Best.discovery.ever. We haven't missed a RA stop in our last 3 trips. It was delish as always.
 The famous "Vegas Roll" (okay, famous to us):
 "Hot Mess" as introduced to us by my brother-in-law and sister-in-law. It's balls of rice battered and fried with ridiculously yummy toppings. (Drooling as I type):
As always, we had a blast. Until next time...



Declan loves "making recipes" these days. Unfortunately we are box bakers (hey, if Betty.Crocker got it right, who am I to mess with perfection?!)
 My dad is officially a full time realtor with me now. Here we are both writing offers. Yay!
 Crosby, my heart melter.
 Mark got laid off a month ago (blessing in disguise) so he's home with Declan and pursing a new career/schooling. I'm gone a lot more now and miss my baby! I came home to this ador-able chalk drawing. It says "I love you" and then has alternating chalk body drawings of Declan then Mark going all down the driveway. Made my day!
 Jack reincarnated! He always sat like that. ;)
Bags are packed...(see next post)



Thursday we celebrated TEN years of marriage. As young, innocent 21 year olds we had no idea how this journey would play out. Fortunately, it's played out pretty incredibly. Times haven't been perfect (who's are?!) but we somehow scratch our way through to the other side time and again. Praise God because I love "us".

In honor of this big milestone, I want to share 10 of my [very non-expert] tips to a healthy marriage:

1. I truly believe the not-so-secret secret to marriage is to first build a very strong foundation of friendship. Sometimes it's all you have to fall on.
2. Remember that love comes very naturally at times and, at other times, you have to choose to love.  
3. Do the mundane together: run errands, grocery shop, etc.
4. Know who you are in Christ and who you are as a couple. Decide together what matters most and be ready to be challenged.
5. Be each other's soft place to fall. Family support is awesome. Best friends are the bomb. BUT...there should be no softer place to fall than your spouse.
6. If things hit the crapper (because they will), remind yourself that your marriage is worth the fight. Don't be too proud to ask for help.
7. Laugh together. It's easy to slip in to a business-like relationship with kids and work and crazy busyness. Don't forget to laugh together
8. Consciously seek out something that will stretch you. I'm so guilty of getting comfortable. I don't like change, I'm pretty darn controlling. Mark helps me push me out of my comfort zone and vice versa.
9. Find things you love to do together. Let's face it....as the years go by, you drift. Your interests drift and change. Take what you love (Husker.Football, dinner+movie, Vegas trips, time at the pool, working out) and do them together.  For us, there are times we are living parallel lives and are busy with our own stuff. I always get a little unsettled and distant with Mark. Then there are times we are doing things we are mutually interested in all the time. If you start to feel disconnected, pick out some of your favorite things you've done in the past and do them! 
10. Be humble. Locking horns is stupid. There is almost always fault on both sides of an argument. Sometimes you have to humble yourself and own your part even if you feel more wronged. Don't let petty crap drive wedges. Life's too short.

Thanking God for such a great man. Lucky girl. Here's to 10 more...