My Trip To Agrabah...I mean Dubai

I had the exciting opportunity in April to travel with my husband and our daughter to visit Dubai for a week and it was just AMAZING!  I had the best time and wanted to share some of the highlights of this incredible experience.....

If you get the opportunity to go to Dubai...GO!  You will not be disappointed.  And it doesn't have to break the bank either!  There are tons of ways to save some cash and enjoy all Dubai has to offer :)

Cant wait for our next adventure!

Get In Line

Mommy, are you and Daddy going on a date?

Yep! We sure are!

*gasping* Without me?!?!

Yea, without you!

*sarcastic tone* Oh, because you don't love me enough?

Of course we do, crazy kid.  But I have to show Daddy I love him too.

*sarcastic tone with added drama* I know, I know, you have to love Daddy more or else our whole system will crumble and fall apart!       -Kennedy, age 5

 

What does she mean???  She means that she has been taught from early on that Daddy is Mommy's #1 person and that Mommy is Daddy's #1 person. She is very aware that they, the kids, are "#3". God first, then Mommy/Daddy, then kids.

It's a really hard concept to grasp in today's society.  I see all around me where parents are in a friendship relationship with their children.  They call their kids their "best friend".  They put their children on a pedestal higher than their spouse.  IT'S NOT RIGHT.  It's not biblical.  By doing this, you are doing your family, your kids, your spouse, God, and yourself a disservice.

I understand that not everyone shares my beliefs or my walk with God but I do believe that most everyone could agree that biblical principals are morally good and have shown to support a strong family unit. 

Have you known families where you can tell the child is the boss?  Or have you seen a kid ask his parents for something and one parent says 'no' and the other says 'well, why not?'?  Or sometimes it looks like that mom who brings the kids into bed after hubby said he wanted some one-on-one time.  Maybe its the dad that lets the kids watch a movie that mom said they couldn't watch.  It could be Mom making plans for the kids to go to a friends house or spend the night with someone or go on a trip without asking Dad first (I've been guilty of this, oops!  I have since made an effort to NOT do this).  It can look like a lot of different things.  The underlying similarity though is that decisions are made between a parent and the child, not decisions made between the parents FOR the child.  

I could go into it more about how these kids become spoiled and entitled adults because they've always been put first so they expect everyone else to do the same for them....but I won't because that's not the point of this particular post.

The point that I'm getting to is that God gave us a guideline for our family unit to benefit us.  It's not there to say "well...this is one option..."; it's saying "HERE!  THIS IS THE BEST OPTION!!!  This is what I've intended for you because THIS is what will bring strength and life to you!"

Being that I work better with bullet points, I'll list a few reasons below to further explain my statement.

My husband is my partner; my kids are not. 

My husband will be with me long after my children are grown and have started their own families. Our relationship has to be more than just being parents.  It has to be deep and firmly rooted so that when our children are gone we are not left empty.  We must invest in our relationship with each other.  

We become our kid's "normal".

Have you noticed someone who seemed to always be drawn to the "bad boy/girl" and then their kids grew up and seemed to be stuck in that same cycle?  It becomes a cycle because it's what they're used to.  It's their "normal".  I want to show my kids that having Mom and Dad totally in love and completely dedicated to each other is "normal".  I want them to know that when you plant your family in biblical principles that you are building your home on a solid foundation.  

Divorce is NOT an option.

Ya'll, divorce is rampant in today's society.  It is so easy to say 'I'm done. We're not in love. I'll start over. I'll find someone better. They're not the 'right one'.'  Don't hear what I'm not saying; I'm not saying every divorce is "the easy option".  I'm not saying people who divorce are bad people.  I am not judging anyone else's journey.  I am saying that when divorce is off the table completely, when it becomes out of the question, it forces two people to WORK together, to FIGHT FOR each other, to FIX the problem.  

When you chose to stand before God, your friends and your family and vow to love each other 'until death do you part' you willingly entered into a life-long commitment with your spouse.  I don't take that lightly.  That commitment is important, it's valuable, and it honors God.  Being in a marriage isn't about choosing the "right one" it's about becoming the right one.  Its about honoring your marriage.  God never gives up on us and we are commanded to love our spouse as He loves us.  When you really think about that it's like....woah.  My husband is commanded to love me the way that God loves the church.  What greater love is there?  That is an incredibly high standard to be held to!  Wives are commanded to submit to their husbands.  

Don't let divorce be an option.  It breaks families.  

Seek counseling.  Never stop learning together.  Love is WORK.  Love is NOT A FEELING.  Put each other first and always, always pray for your spouse.  Love like God loves.

 

*None of us are perfect, Lord knows I'm not.  We all make mistakes and have setbacks.  We are so fortunate to be children of a Father who forgives and who already paid for our shortcomings.  Do YOUR best and keep your eyes on Him.  He WILL direct your path if you seek Him.

 

As always, I love to hear your thoughts and opinions.  Be kind and considerate and know that I am always willing to communicate :)

Thank You Amy Maddox Photography!

Thank You Amy Maddox Photography!

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Am Woman, Hear Me ROA...wait...

This topic is something I feel very strongly about so hear me out…

 

Definition of feminism
1 :  the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes
2 :  organized activity on behalf of women's rights and interests
-Merriam-Webster

 

 

Unfortunately, I feel that this word, this idea, has been skewed in today’s America.

 

Let me just start this by saying that I am so incredibly proud to be a woman in America today.  I am so grateful for the strong women that went before me and fought to gain the rights I am fortunate enough to have today.  I feel so blessed to be able to raise my daughter in a society where she is able to thrive and flourish.  I’m able to raise her to believe that she really CAN be anything that she sets her mind to.  She CAN have things if she works hard to gain them.  I don't have to make her hide.  I don't have to make her believe that she is ONLY good enough.  She can be more than that.  She can be more than a wife if she chooses.  She can be more than a bearer of children if she chooses.  She can be more than someone’s property.  She can be seen.  She can have a voice.  She can speak what she believes.  She can LIVE what she believes.

 

We’re very lucky.  We’ve got it good. 

 

My problem is that the word “feminist” seems to have gotten twisted somewhere along the way.  It seems to have turned into something that I don't want to be and I don't want to raise my daughter to be. 

 

See, the thing is, we have earned the right to be considered equal….and we are.  Women have equal rights.  Women are not discriminated against, at least not because they are female.  If a woman wants birth control…she can get it.  If a woman wants to have an abortion…she can get one.  If a woman wants a job…she can get one.  If a woman wants to breastfeed her child…she can.  If a woman wants to run for a political office…she can.  

 

This is the part where I want to say “WAKE UP AMERICAN WOMEN!!!!!!!!!”

 

Sometimes you have to WORK for the thing you want and sometimes you have to PAY FOR IT.  Why should we be handed things just because we were born female?  Why should we be entitled to receive free birth control?  Why should we be entitled to paid maternity leave?  You know what I think?  I think that if I want to take birth control, I should have to pay for it the same way I would anything else that I wanted.  I think that if I want to have children and I want to stay away from my job for a period of time, I should pay for it.  My boss certainly didn't ask me to become pregnant.  Why should they be required to pay me to stay home?  They are still paying their male employees who are actually present and covering my duties.

 

Now, don't get me wrong.  There have been plenty of studies that show how these “bonuses” boost overall performance and morale in the workplace, and that's great.  And if an employer wants to run a workplace full of boosted morale and happy employees than that’s even better!  However, I believe that should be up to the employer.  I mean, you don't accept a job without knowing the pay and benefits right?  

 

Okay, I’m straying from my point.  

 

My point is that what I’ve seen from these Women’s Marches has me concerned.  I suppose I’m really not sure what the goal is.  From what I understand these were a few of the basic points:

“We want Trump to know we have a voice.”

“We want to ‘take back’ the ‘P’ word”

“Back the funding of Planned Parenthood”

“To hold Trump accountable for his statements and actions”

“Opposition and protest to Trump being elected”

“Protect our rights as women”

 

Okay…again….women do have a voice, no one took it away.  No one is taking our rights away.  

 

I dont want to “take back the P word”…I don't want that in mine or my daughter’s or my son’s vocabulary at all.  In fact, if I heard my child say “this p**** grabs back (written on many shirts and posters in the march)” I would be ashamed and embarrased.  Remember, adults, you don't have to jump off a bridge just because the person infont of you did.  Maybe instead of plastering these things all over our posters and clothes AND OUR HEADS (I mean, REALLY??? These hats…c’mon) we could teach our next generation that what he said was wrong and that we need to hold ourselves to a higher standard.  You know sometimes when we respect ourselves and act with dignity and grace, people treat us with such.

 

I do believe that Planned Parenthood does some good.  I do agree that there are women who are benefited from this organization.  I DO NOT agree with abortion.  I feel that there is always another option.  Feel free to disagree with me or argue your points about certain circumstances but I’m set on this topic.  But that’s beside this point.  EVEN IF Planned Parenthood lost their Federal funding, they would not be entirely defunded.  They receive other funding as well.  Women would still have access to all the same benefits but, here comes that nasty little point that women hate, it may cost you.  You wont lose your right to your body.  Even if these points are handed over to the states, you still have access to the care.  You may have to work for it, you may have to pay for it, you may have to travel for it, but you still have access to it.

 

Protesting the election or our President?  Well, ladies, guess what:  unless he breaks the law in office, which he has not done to this point in his few days as our President, he is just that, our President.  If you reside in the great United States, he is your President.  Whether you like him or not, whether you agree with him or not, he was fairly elected to lead this country.  If you want to make a change, Like President Obama said "Grab a clipboard, get some signatures, and run for office yourself”…no ones stopping you.

 

 

I want to raise a STRONG woman.  I want to be one.  

 

To me, that doesn't mean wearing a vagina hat and normalizing vulgar language.  To me, it doesn't mean expecting things for free.  To me, it doesn't mean protesting the peaceful transition of leadership.  To me, it doesn't mean showing my whole body publicly.

 

To me, being a strong woman is being a wife that respects and honors my husband.  It’s being a mother that raises my children in a way that honors God and brings them respect.  It’s raising my son to respect and honor women.  It’s showing him how to be a man of God. It’s being a neighbor that can be trusted and depended upon.  It’s being a friend who is supportive and encouraging.  It’s treating my body with respect.  It’s walking with grace and dignity.  It’s showing kindness and not being judgmental.  It’s being a steward for the Lord.  

 

I am always willing to learn.  I am always willing to listen to other opinions and viewpoints.  

These are my views and opinions based on my Faith.  I live my life and raise my family according to God’s Word to the best of my ability.

I believe that women are beautiful and powerful.  I am grateful that God chose me to be one in this country where I’m free.  My hope is that we can use these freedoms in a way that makes us strong and respected and in a way that brings us honor. 



Proverbs 31:26

She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.

 

1 Peter 3:1-2

1 Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2 when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.

 

Titus 2:3-5

3 Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4 Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

 

I know this was long….thanks for sticking with me.

 

*I am always open to discussion.  Please be respectful with your comments and opinions.

How To Train Your Husband

I absolutely adore my husband.  He's an amazing father.  He's a great provider that never lets us go without.  He's loving.  He's funny.  He's smokin' fine.  He's Mr. Wonderful.  Has he always been?  Smokin' fine, yes.

We've been married for 5 years now and are raising two awesome kids together.  We bought our first house together.  We have two dogs together.  We're doing this whole marriage thing the best we can and so far were doing a pretty darn good job.  Our bills are paid.  Our kids like us.  Our dogs like us.  Even our cat likes us (and that was quite a feat being that she came into the relationship with me and is...well...a cat).  So, to me, that's a success in itself.  HOWEVER, we did have our issues at first.  I realized there were a lot of things that annoyed me and I was spending far too much time feeling disdainful in my marriage.

My husband needed some training. 

So naturally, I did what any good wife would do...I made a list of his faults and the things I wanted him to change and I got to work on my game plan to fix him.  Now, these weren't major things.  In fact, my BIGGEST issue was that he is a super messy sleeper and when he gets out of bed he slings the covers and sheets everywhere and that drove me nuts....I'm a little OCD...Ive accepted and embrace that about myself.

Wanna see my list?  Okay, here goes:

  • The messy bed.
  • There was almost always some type of beverage container on the table.
  • There were these awful shorts with holes all over that he was obsessed with and I hated.
  • He cooked meals that I didn't like.
  • He got undressed and left his clothes on the floor.
  • He would get our daughter dressed and she wouldn't match.
  • He would make plans for us without consulting me first.
  • He would buy the 'wrong' brand of toilet paper...or cheese...or whatever.
  • He would try to get into 'debates' with me about politics and/or beliefs.

 

To get started, anytime he did one of those things I didn't like, I would nag and complain.  He'd get out of bed and throw the covers and I would loudly sigh and say "You KNOW I hate when you do that, why can't you just sleep neatly?!" Or I would pick up the glasses and and wave it in his face saying "Look! Another glass you left out!"  To my utter shock...that annoyed him.  Crazy, I know!  I soon realized that this approach wasn't exactly working.  SO, I decided that maybe I should do a little reading and go for a biblical approach instead.  So I prayed.  I prayed for God to fix him.  I prayed that he would see the error of his ways.  I prayed that he would 'get better'.  

Still nothing.

A few mornings later as I was making my bed up to military perfection I had a bit of an epiphany.  "Maybe it's ME...maybe I'M the one who could make a few changes..."  So I went about my day cleaning up, doing laundry, taking care of the baby, you know, normal stuff.  But this day I decided I'm just going to keep my mouth shut.  So I did.  When he got home that night and sat down with a glass of wine and then left the glass on the coffee table and went to bed I cleaned it up without complaining.  And when he left his clothes on the floor before he messily climbed into bed I picked them up and put them in the laundry.  This crazy thing happened...I realized that I wasn't as annoyed to do those things.  But surely the rest of my list still needed to be tackled so I looked it over and decided I would keep an open mind and open heart as I did so.

 

  • The messy bed- My hardworking husband isn't sleeping well so he tosses and turns and then gets up early.
  • The glasses- He worked hard again today and wanted to sit down to decompress.
  • The holey shorts- They just so happen to be comfortable and why shouldn't he be comfortable at 4AM?
  • Meals I didn't like-  My husband cooked our family dinner.  Which also means my husband made it possible for us to have groceries to cook said dinner.  Maybe I should branch out a little and stop eating like a toddler.  Hey, this pasta is actually pretty good...
  • The clothes on the floor- He's tired, Caitlin, just pick up the clothes.  Does it take that much effort to just pick up after him a little?  He does make it possible for you to stay home with your daughter after all...
  • Mismatched daughter- My loving husband is not only spending time with our daughter and nurturing a relationship with her, he's nurturing her independence and allowing her to have some creative freedom.  She is dressed.  She would be adorable in a trash bag.  Its not like she's going to a ball like that.  Oh yea...his income allowed me to purchase those clothes.  I could have laid something out and didn't.  She is clean and fed.  
  • Plans without consulting- My husband wants to spend time with me.  He wanted to surprise me with a fun outing.  He enjoys my company and wants to have me around.  He wants to make me happy.
  • 'Wrong' brands- Caitlin, you're kind of a control freak.  You don't necessarily HAVE to have the toilet paper with the aloe...he did get the soft stuff and it all does the same job.  Relax.
  • Debates- My husband is trying to communicate with me.  He actually wants to get into my brain and know what I think and why I think it.  He wants me to have a strong belief system and be able to support why I have it.  He wants to GET TO KNOW ME BETTER.

That hit me like a freight train.  I suddenly had so much appreciation for him and our relationship and the things he does.  Since that light bulb came on in my head and more importantly in my heart, out marriage has thrived.  Of course we still needed to get on the same page about some things but we had the tools to do so.  I continued to pick up after him without complaint and make the bed without nagging.  He would come home to a clean house which is what made him happy and I did my very best to keep an open heart and show appreciation for what he did instead of complain about things that really weren't that important.  When he was able to come home to my support and have me take some of his stresses from him he began to sleep better...which meant he wasn't tossing and turning and slinging covers everywhere.  Which made me happy.  Everything began to fall into place once I got into my biblical role as a wife.  

We go to counseling.  We go to marital classes and conferences.  We continually work on our marriage because its a living thing.  We nurture it and grow it.  Now, we RARELY 'fight'.  We talk, we listen, we try to fix it before its a problem.  We are a team instead of two individuals.

So how do you train your husband? You train yourself to be an amazing wife.

 

Photo Credit Two Little Loves Studio

Photo Credit Two Little Loves Studio

Go To Sleep Ya Little Babe

Okay, I'm new to blogging but Im gonna jump right in...

This has been a topic that seems to plague most parents I know...

How To Get Your Baby To Sleep....In Their Own Room!

I'll go ahead with my disclaimer:
*I am not a doctor.  I am not a nurse.  I am not a psychologist.  I am just a parent who seems to have awesome kids who do what I say, respect people, and sleep.

I see so many parents complain that they can't get their child to go to sleep, sleep in their own room, go to bed at a certain time, etc, etc.  I just so happen to have gotten both of my kids to sleep THROUGH THE NIGHT, IN THEIR OWN ROOMS, AT A CERTAIN TIME from 2 weeks old and 6 weeks old.  I didn't use voodoo, magic tricks, drugs, or duct tape.  The main ingredient is CONSISTENCY.  Be consistent and start early and you can have that perfect little dreamer you never thought you'd get and that glorious sleep you've been missing :)

I completely understand that when you're a new and/or first time mom you want to hover over your baby and make sure they are breathing every minute and you could never fathom locking them in a room on the other side of the house...OH THE HORROR!  Well...you are welcome to continue living your life like a zombie.  I love The Walking Dead but I don't want to be one of them.  If you want to have some alone time with your hunny, watch a grown-up movie (keep it clean, folks), eat ice cream without sharing and then not worry about baby waking up every 3 hours then you are in the right place...I have the answers!  Well, I have my answers anyways.

For my family's schedule I have my kids go to bed at 9:30 every night.  I don't have to get up super early so that works best for us so they wake up about 7:30 every morning.  That gives me time to have coffee and get dressed before they wake up.  My daughter is 4 and I don't have to use most of these things on her anymore so my step-by-step tips will be focused on Baby.

Step 1:  Feed Baby right before bed.  For the bedtime bottle I always make it bigger and add organic oatmeal to make him fuller.  Please don't use rice cereal!  Its all starch and leads to increased risk of obesity and diabetes....another topic...

Step 2:  Wait 5-10 minutes to see if Baby will poop/pee. 

Step 3:  Change diaper.

Step 4:  Pajama Baby...I like footies with a zipper, personally.

Step 5:  Place Baby IN THEIR CRIB, IN THEIR ROOM.  Hopefully, you have figured out whether your baby likes being on their back or tummy to sleep.  Both of mine preferred tummy and recently my son has decided he likes sleeping on his back.  It seems like pediatricians will tell you one or the other based on what week it is so I keep my crib safe (tight sheets, no pillows/stuffed animals, no heavy blankets) and do what works for my baby.  Im sure you've also determined whether your baby prefers a paci or not, mine doesn't want one, mine prefers to hold his lightweight, breathable blankie.

Step 6:  Turn off the lights.  Use a sound machine if you think you have to.  I never did, it seemed to do more harm than good for my kids.  I don't like kids getting used to those things and thinking they have to rely on it to go to sleep.  I prefer my kids to be able to sleep anywhere I deem necessary.

Step 7:  This is the hardest part....WALK AWAY(dun dun dunnnn)!  Shut the doors.  Quit worrying.  Relax.  Your baby will be fine without you standing there.

They might cry a little, but it shouldn't last long with a full belly and clean diaper.  Avoid the urge to open the door and peek in.  If you do, you just ruined all the progress you made.  Baby will see you and start all over again.  Just give it some time.  Sometimes you have to take your emotions out of parenting for Baby's sake and your own.  You have to take care of yourself to be a successful parent!

Please don't tell me this doesn't work on your toddler...you shouldn't have waited so long!  Sleep training a toddler is different than a baby.  I did that too and I can tell you how I did it successfully in another post :)

I welcome your feedback, or questions!  I don't have all the answers but I do my best.  I get compliments on how well behaved my kids are all the time and I only want to share tips and tricks Ive learned to get them and keep them that way :)