Saturday, July 31, 2010

5 Years and Counting

July 30, 2005

I love this guy so much!! Happy 5 year Anniversary, babe!!

Tad and I met at Moody Bible Institute our freshman year in 2002. We were friends right from the start and served in ministry in Cabrini Green together and were on the same brother/sister floor at Moody. We started going to the same church, and the hour and a half commute there helped us to get to know each other quite well. Though we came from very different backgrounds, we hit it off right away. I'm so glad that we really developed our friendship that first year instead of rushing into a relationship. It got to the point where we were very comfortable together; we were friends before we pursued a relationship.

My cousin, Emily, came to visit me at Moody, and I had to go pick her up from the train station, so I asked Tad if he would come with me (I am still not good at navigating those things!). He subsequently asked if I would like to go on a date with him before we picked her up. So he knew I liked Italian food and researched to find one of the best little authentic Italian restaurants in Chicago. We dressed up, and I can still remember him leaning over the desk on the ground floor of my dorm waiting for me to come down. After we ate dinner, we got on the train, and he told me that was his first date!! I was completely taken back!! It was the sweetest thing and I could hardly believe I was his first date!!
From there, we didn't start "dating." We mostly hung out in groups, at church functions, in ministry for Moody, or on our bro/sis floor outings. It wasn't until that summer that we officially started dating.
Tad and I are complete stark opposites. We still laugh that God put us together, but we really balance each other out. Tad- listener. Steph - talker. Tad - peacemaker. Steph - fighter. Tad - sports. Steph - academics. Tad - homeschool. Steph - public and private school. Tad - big family. Steph - small family. Tad - lived all over the world. Steph - northeast Ohio. Tad - spontaneous. Steph - planner. Anyways, you get the picture!!
Our common interests right off the bat were that we wanted to be in ministry overseas, and we wanted a big family. We both ended up graduating from Moody with degrees in International Ministries, and hope to one day be living overseas doing some kind of ministry.
Our marriage has not been without its hardships, either. Our first year we were still in school, in choir, on exec for choir, and I got pregnant 4 months into our marriage. That summer, Tad worked 2 jobs and I barely saw him. Finally, I gave birth to our beautiful daughter, Madelynn. Tragically, 12 days later, Tad's brother was killed in a car accident with 3 of his friends. It was probably the best and worst time of Tad's life, and it was definitely hard on our marriage for the next couple years. I didn't know what it was like to lose a sibling. He didn't know how to talk about it. Nevertheless, we made it through.
There were some rough years in there, but looking back over this last year, we have really grown together, deeper and stronger in our relationship. In December of 2009, we welcomed our first son, Judah Paul, into the world. He is such a joy, and we love being a little family of 4!!
I never used to understand how people said, "I love you more today than the day I married you" until now. I loved Tad when we were dating. I loved him when I said, "I do." I loved him after our first baby was born, and after his brother died. But over these last 5 years, and 8 years since we have known each other, our love has deepened. I love him so much. I can't imagine spending my life with someone else. I still can't get enough of him. I count down the hours until he comes home from work. We text all through his shifts at work. We love spending time together as a family, and as a couple.
Tad, you are the love of my life. Thank you for making me a better person, for pushing me to do better, and for loving me unconditionally, no matter how bad I screw up. Thank you for not fighting, yelling, or being unkind. You are a kind, gentle spirit, and I hope to learn that from you. You are an amazing father to our children, and they absolutely adore you. I am so happy with you as my best friend and soul mate for life. I cherish your wisdom, see you growing as a man, and love you more than ever. Happy first 5 years!!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Nocturnal Mom

I wish, as moms, that we didn't have to sleep. Oh, sleep? That's just for the baby. Me, I'm good. Those babies need lots of sleep, but once you are big and all grown up, you just don't need sleep anymore! But on the contrary, I think I could sleep as much as my little baby. As much work as it is to take care of kids, not only through the day, but through the night as well, I am wore out!!
Sometimes I am up so much at night with the kids, I may as well stay awake all night. That way, I don't have to wake up, fall back to sleep. Jump up, put in pacifier, go back to sleep. Go in Maddy's room and wait until her night terror is over, go back to sleep. Here Maddy's door and go see why she is up, go back to sleep. Stay up for a half hour to nurse, go back to sleep. And then kid #1 wakes at 5:30 am. Good Morning!
Sometimes I feel like I was up more than I was asleep. I know this is just a season, but Dear Sleep, I miss you so!
If we didn't have to sleep, we could get so much done during the night, kid-free, whining-free, activity-free. It would be amazing. Our kids would wake up and we could have spent time with God, deep cleaned the house, had guests over, read a book, spent time online, spent time with our husbands, gotten breakfast ready, and felt fresh for the day. As it is, we wake up (hopefully to a clean house), and start the day with a list of things to do, all while trying to entertain little ones.
Maybe someone has mastered this already, but I find it kind of daunting. How am I suppose to keep my house cleaned, get dinner ready, nurse a baby, school a toddler, get out for an activity (or else Maddy goes insane!!), keep up with emails/Facebook/blog, keep up with finances, be in tip top shape, have a time with God daily, have the energy to work on my marriage and not let it just "happen" get the picture. I'm just saying if I had eight extra hours at night...
So, in conclusion to my rantings, and I know every mother feels this way, I am tired. I wish I didn't have to waste my time sleeping away naps and sleeping away the night time, but my body needs a rest after these crazy days! Someday, I will have time to deep clean my house and have guests over kid-free, but for now, I want to cherish these days where I do have my little kids to take care of, my little babies who need their mommy in the middle of the night, little mouths to wipe off after I have fed them, and a little one who climbs into my bed during a storm. So sleep tight, little ones. Mommy will be up with you soon.

Monday, July 19, 2010


Ahh, finally, a much needed vacation!! Every two years, my grandparents pay for a big beach house for my mom's side of the family to all gather and spend a week. We rotate between the beach and the mountains, and this year was the beach at Outerbanks, North Carolina!! Tad loves the mountain vacations, and I love the beach vacations, but both are really fun!! Tad likes more active trips, so for this beach vacation, he rented a kayak and a surf board. More on that later!!
We drove to the beach house, and it was an excruciating 23 hour drive!! We left at 8pm on Friday night and arrived at 7pm Saturday evening. Needless to say, the kids were ready to get out, but it was definitely worth the drive!!
This is my idea of a vacation. This is our pool at the house, and one day while the kids napped, I got to just lay out, listen to music, read a magazine, and get a tan. Well, a sunburn, but whatever. This is a rare treat for me these days with 2 kids! I enjoyed every minute of it!

Judah's first swim trunks, and he was having fun splashing in the water. I know, he's adorable!!!
Before we left for the trip, Maddy learned to hold her breath and swim. She was swimming with floaties and jumping into the pool. But while we were at the house, she learned to swim without her floaties, at 3 years old!! Tad used to be a swim coach and said he couldn't believe how much she was doing at her age!! She can jump in the deep end, hold her breath, and swim to Tad! It certainly takes a lot of worry away with swimming pools to know that she is learning how to swim!! Good job, Maddy!
We not only used the kayak in the ocean, but in our swimming pool. As you can see, like father, like son. Start 'em young.
A little kayak adventure in the pool.
Nana and Papa enjoying a well-deserved vacation. It was good to see them and spend time with them on vacation. My parents work so hard, and I'm glad they could come down!
Well, the waves weren't too big in the pool, but the girls did get their surf on!!
Carting the kayak down to the beach. Tad and my cousin Emily.
My brother-in-law Bill, and my nephew Gabe.
Judah just chillin in the baby backpack.
This girl is such a fish! She could have spent all day down at the beach. She loves the water, and the sand! And collecting jelly fish rings, or whatever they are called.
A little flip with the kayak, but everyone is ok!
Love this time of night, the beautiful colors over the ocean.
Judah had to get used to the waves crashing over his feet, but then I think he liked to cool off after sitting in the hot sun.

I could seriously get used to this.
Trying to get some more family pics on vacation!! Family pic #1.
Chocolate sandwiches (nutella) were the favorite of the trip. Swim hard, play hard, and come back and each chocolate sandwiches and then crash for a nap.
Boopa (Grandpa) and Judah. They are so cute together! 79 year difference. They almost have the same birthday!!
Each family takes a turn making dinner for everyone. Tad and I made spicy Indian style chicken kabobs, grilled asparagus, savory quinoa, and a chocolate trifle for dessert!
My cousins Emily and Charlotte, and me. Their family is in China serving as missionaries. They couldn't come back to the states this summer as planned, but the girls will be going to school here so they were back and could go on the trip with us!!
Happy boy!
Entertained by daddy! We love when Daddy doesn't have to work!

Nana and the 2 grandsons!
Swimming, swimming, swimming.... Oh and by the way, that is my niece Arianna.
Who needs clothes on a beach vacation??
Family pic #2
Awesome storm brewing over the ocean. We were all taking pictures from the third story deck.
Getting closer.
Arianna. She will be going into 1st grade in the fall already!!
Maddy! Homeschool Preschool in the fall!
Auntie Em, Auntie Em!!
It's a twister!!
After the storm we saw a double rainbow! Awesome!!
Kinda hard to capture, but it was beautiful!
A big Thank You to our grandparents for making this trip possible!! Thanks Boopa!
Thanks Grandma!!!
Family pic #3
My cousin Emily and Maddy. Her and I had some good talks, a run by the ocean, and quality time together. So good to see you, Em!!

Huge jellyfish!!!
Ahhh. Vacation.
I LOVE this guy!!!
Tad rescued a balloon out of the water for her so she dragged it around with her on the beach.

Maddy's footprint.
She never wanted to come out of the pool. Usually accompanied by kicking and screaming. Well, at least screaming.
That's my husband!! I think he caught a couple waves. He said it's much harder than it looks. But he gets an A for effort!!
Yes, he's eating wipes. Gotta keep the boy entertained somehow!!
Sunset not getting any justice from my camera.
We brought Maddy's new big girl bike (which she named Chum-Chum) to the beach. She loved it. Actually she rode it more in the huge beach house than she did outside!! But at least it kept her entertained!
Lifeguard post by the boardwalk to the beach.
Cool sand art. Maddy wanted to ride it.
My cousins from Florida minus one who was in Colorado. Jacob, Boopa, Jessica, Grandma, me.
Last night of vacation, walk on the beach.
Right before he zonked out in the backpack.
Family pic #4 + 2 random dudes in the background.
We had a great time!! We are still getting into the swing of things, being back. Catching up on sleep, adjusting to routines, getting Judah back on his schedule. Thanks for checking out our pics!! We were glad for a little break and time off work for Tad. And a big thanks to Jason for feeding our fish, Tweety, and watering my plants!!!
Happy Vacation!!