Our Love Story for Valentine’s Day

A few days ago I entered our love story in a contest with the local paper.  While we did not win the contest we were asked if we would share our story in a front page feature.  We were so excited to be asked to do this.  We were sent a list of questions to answer and email back.  One of the questions asked about our children and we saw it as a great opportunity to share the news of our pregnancy with our friends and family in a unique way.  Well, as we all know, journalism picks and chooses what they want to say and although we felt blessed to be asked to share our story I didn’t feel like it was a true reflection of our love story or our heart for marriages.

Here is my submission:

Our love story started with a handshake at a bonfire and continues with a crazy love for each other after almost 8 years of marriage. Little did I know that my husband had a list of qualities he was looking for in a wife and was checking them off in his head the night he met me. We’ve been through the in sickness and health, for richer or poor, through good days and bad together and look forward to embarrassing our children with our love in hopes that they see how husband’s and wives should love and treat each other.

Here is the exact questions and answers we submitted:

1.) What is your husband’s name?

My husband’s name is Zac Holmes

2.) What city do you live in?

We live in Waterford

3.) What are your kids names? How old are they?

Our son Reese is 4 1/2, our daughter Emery is 2 and we are expecting in September {SURPRISE MOM’S AND DAD’S!}

4.)  What are some of the hard times you guys have gone through that you talked about?

We have been through a lot of trials in our marriage but always end up coming out of it stronger and more in love with each other.  One of our biggest heartaches was in January of 2011 when we unexpectedly miscarried our second child. No one can truly know or understand a mother or father’s heart until they experience it themselves. My husband was so helpful and supportive during this time. Even when he didn’t know what to say he gave me time to think, to cry, to snuggle, or to scream.  When I was rushed to the ER a week later with complications he sat with me in the cold, white room while we waited for results. My biggest fear was that I would never be able to have children again. Praise God that He had bigger plans for our family because we were able to get pregnant right away with our now 2 year old daughter!  Zac never left my side, he never made me feel like a failure, and he never questioned my emotions.

I’ve had plenty of times to be the one by his side too. From job changes to visits to the ER for health issues to huge financial setbacks for our family, it is important to me to let my man know and feel that he is a good man, a great supporter for our family and that it is not my job to shame him.

5.)  What do you love about your husband/wife? What kind of person is he/she?

Amy–One thing I love about my husband is how he shows our children his love for me by not letting them be disrespectful toward me.  He is a man full of never ending patience and support. He is a well of knowledge in a variety of areas and people respect him enough to ask his opinion or advice on buying electronics, purchasing a car or parental advice.  I can tell by the look in his eyes everyday that he loves me, respects me and is truly my partner in all of life’s trials.  I love when he rocks out in the car to his favorite songs but not so much when he uses my legs for his air drums!

Zac– Amy is a lover. She loves me, she loves kids, she loves people. She has an awesome sparkle in her big brown eyes. She is a joyous woman who has never met a stranger. I love how unrelenting she is when it comes to us–she loves me fiercely and is very supportive of the decisions I make for our family.  She is a fantastic combination of gentle and strong and brings the right kind of balance to our crazy life.

6.)  What would you like to teach your kids about how husbands and wives should treat each other?

And do you think this is lacking in today’s world?

Our generation is composed of a lot of hurting people who are either products of divorce or view marriage as disposable. Zac and I were married a little over a month after I turned 21. In our almost 8 years of marriage we have seen multiple divorces among our friends and age group.

The word divorce isn’t even in our vocabulary. When we decided to get married we made a life commitment to be “in it to win it”. Marriages are important to us and we strive to fight not only for our own but for others, especially those in our generation.  We believe that many couples stop fighting for their marriages, stop respecting each other, stop communicating, stop touching each other.

As a product of divorce myself it is very important to me that our children see us live out our marriage in front of them.  Zac and I dance in the kitchen often, kiss, cuddle on the couch, make dinner together, do dishes together, hold doors open for each other, pray together and even apologize. Without living this out in front of our children they will never know how husbands and wives should treat each other.

Just because it sounds fairytale-ish doesn’t mean it’s easy. Every day is a battle but it takes the recognition that it’s more important to fight for our marriage than to fight to be right.  Marriage isn’t a contest but a partnership. In our marriage we have three partners-God, Zac and Amy.  It is our goal to act this out not only in front of our children but those we encounter along our day who might need the encouragement to fight for their marriage.

*Here is a little more about our back story.

We met in the fall of 2005 when Amy has just decided to move back home from Taylor University in Indiana.  We learned along the way that we had many mutual friends over the years but never met until that one Sunday night in September at a bonfire. Amy arrived with her youth group friends, noticed people she didn’t know and decided to walk up and introduce herself.  That’s when I met her for the first time and began to know throughout the night that she was the girl I was going to marry.  A few months earlier I was talking to my pastor’s wife about how I was longing for a wife. She encouraged me to write a list of qualities I was looking for–no matter how silly some of them would seem.

Amy took my number that night and contacted me next day. We talked for hours every night that week and went on our first date that Friday night. From there, we were inseparable. She said that the night we went on our first date, she walked out of the house declaring to her family, “This is the man I am going to marry.”  As we began to talk and date God started to remind me of my list and I started checking things off in my head.

I knew very quickly that in fact she was the woman for me. I wanted to propose to her at Christmas but felt like God was telling me that it wasn’t quite the right time. I waited until Easter Sunday in April and proposed to her in front of the entire church during our Easter service.  We were married 2 1/2 months later on July 1st, 2006 with the help and support of many people we consider family and life-long friends.  We know that God brought us together for a reason and we are excited to see what all that entails.

Mommy Wars

I came across a great little article with lots of great visuals that I think is just fantastic.

Today I engaged in a conversation on a Facebook Mom 2 Mom site that was wondering what families in our community thought about our local school system or why people have chosen to remove their children from the school district {a question that was directed because of a decline in enrollment and possibility of closing or repurposing 4 elementary’s}.

I was hesitant to interject my opinion because I hate conflict but I just felt the need to express our choice. We are pretty much set on homeschooling Mr. Man starting this fall but I have yet to hear back from the program we will be utilizing.

What I learned watching this conversation occur is that people view things in different ways, everyone’s reasons for their child’s schooling is unique to their own family or situation and parents will do anything for their kids! Just because it is our choice to homeschool Mr. Man doesn’t mean it’s the same reasons that you should homeschool your little Susie or Bobby.

When I saw this link online I just LOVED the way it portrayed these thoughts. Whether you are a stay at home mom or work out of the home, breastfeed or formula feed, vaccinate or not vaccinate–we all do what we think is best for our family. And none of us are wrong! We may be different but my way isn’t right and your way isn’t wrong. I base my decisions on what works best for my family or even to take that a step further, I make my decisions based on each child and their needs, abilities, or desires.

Please take a minute to look through these pictures and see that each mother is right in her own way. How can you view your friends or family members differently after seeing these images? We’re all in this together!

http://herscoop.com/posts/empowering-photo-series/

Library Card for the WIN!

Today was a monumental day and will be recorded in the Holmes family history books.  It was the day Mr. Man got his first library card.  You can see his excitement here…

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This morning was a rough one for me.  After a long night of very little sleep due to a heavy, wheezing chest I was running a little slower than usual.  Getting ready for school seemed to take longer than usual.  I even contemplated keeping him home from school just because I didn’t want to venture out.  I knew better.  We finally made it to school a few minutes late and then Little Miss and I headed off to the store to buy diapers.  It was a dreary, rainy morning and all I wanted was for 11:30am to roll around on the clock faster so we could go home, get in our pajamas and watch classic Disney movies all day.  Somewhere along the morning I realized that I would have to either lay on the floor in their room all day or move their TV into our room so we could watch all the VHS tapes we wanted.  Since I didn’t really feel like doing either of those I remembered that you could check movies out at the library!

I decided to tell Mr. Man all about my plans and see what he thought.  I was hoping he would think it was cool–and he did!  I told him that he would get his own library card and he could borrow books and movies for a few days then we would have to bring them back and get some more.  I reminded him that we did the same thing with life jackets from our friends Miss “Mannie” (Annie) and Mr. Joe this summer.  We didn’t have any life jackets so we asked them if we could borrow theirs, used them on the boat up north and then gave them back when he and daddy got their hair cut a few weeks ago.  That little story didn’t help as much as I hoped because all he took from it was that he was upset that I took them back and he didn’t.  Oh how the specifics can tear at his little heart strings sometimes!

We drove to the library as he asked lots of questions about what they had, why he needed to use an indoor voice, what movie he could pick, if his picture would be on his card, etc.  After a quick diaper change for sis in the parking lot we ventured inside.  The librarian wasn’t as cordial as I had imagined her to be.  I thought it would be a joyous moment filled with lots of pictures of her handing over a card to him while they both smile and give me a thumbs up.  DID. NOT. HAPPEN.  Mom expectations!  In fact, he almost didn’t get a card.  She said that they don’t issue library cards until a child can sign their own name.  She asked if he could.  Dude, he’s 4 1/2 years old–of course he can write his own name but he would need a dinosaur sized box to do it in…not a little mousey box.  There is no spacial sense in a 4 1/2 year olds world.  Seriously, for hoping to cultivate a love in children for reading and discovery I think the library needs to make it a little more user-friendly for their smallest of book worms.

Since I learned there is no limit on books or movies you can check out at one time I decided just to get one for myself and use it as a family.  Mr. Man begged me for a card and I distractedly told him we’d see about it on the way out.  Being as it was our first time at the library I walked right up to the librarian and asked her if she had a list of book recommendations by age for the children {mommy expectation #2 for the day}.  She said they did not.  I casually mentioned that the Rochester Hills Public Library had a list on their website called 100 Books Every Child Should Experience {I heard of this list from a high school friend who has completed the list {maybe even twice now} with her children.} and then the kids and I walked away. We ventured into the unknown library by ourselves.  I was a bit overwhelmed.  I knew that I wanted my children to grow to love reading, walking through stories just by looking at pictures, take adventures and using their imagination.  I just didn’t know where to start.  I stood there thinking “Amy, you were a preschool teacher.  You know the good books.  You used to read them everyday to your class.  Think of the good books in your head and check a couple of them out.”  I just couldn’t think in that moment what MY children would like.  I didn’t really have a starting point since we already have our own little library at home and have read the “basics”.  Soon the librarian walked over to us and handed me the list of 100 books from the Rochester Hills library and said she just printed it off for me.  Score.  {and yet kind of embarrassing for them to have to use a different library’s resource instead of having their own.}

I tried to find several books on the list that I knew we didn’t have at home and I really struggled to find them.  Many were not there.  It made me wonder just how good our local library was going to be for us.  Finally, we settled on 3 books for each child and made our way over to the movies.  Again, disappointment.  I am thoroughly saddened by their lack of movies for children.  Remember I said I was in the mood for classic Disney movies?  Yeah.  Didn’t find them.  In fact, about the only “Classic Disney” I found was Peter Pan.  I also decided on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood since Mr. Man has been loving him some Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood and I realized he had NO IDEA where the character originally came from or who Mister Rogers was.

After choosing those two DVD’s  we checked out.  I let Mr. Man do the process himself and he loved it since it was all digital and “express”.  We turned to say goodbye to the ladies at the front desk and he quietly pleaded again for his own library card.  I didn’t know what to do.  The ladies could sense that I had a little debacle on my hands and asked how they could help.  I told them he wanted his own card and they suggested we tried.  There is a space for your “printed name” and a space for your “signature”.  They said I could print his name and he could sign it.  They led us to a table where he could try his hand at signing it.  After a few unsuccessful strokes of the pen I realized that he needed my help holding the pen upright to even produce pen lines on his card.  He’s so used to using crayons and markers that will write no matter what angle you held them at.  He had no idea how to use this pen correctly.  I held the top of the pen and he looked at me and asked what he was supposed to do.  I told him to write his name just like he does at school and I would just guide his pen so he could see the lines.  After at least 3-4 minutes we finally finished and he “signed” his first library card!  No picture with the librarian.  No picture on it.  No thumbs up for a new adventure for him.  Nope. just a handing off of the pen, followed by a picture in the parking lot in the drizzling rain, standing in front of the library with his “loot” and official card in hand.

Reese Books

Fake Smile

Reese Books2

Overly excited smile!

Reese Library Card

The official look of the card.

Library Books

All of our loot.

Emmy Books

Sis showing me a “bug” in the book.

Emmy Books2

Exploring our new finds.

{By the way: I really hope that after a visit to the library alone some day I can learn more about the children’s section and grow to love what they have to offer.  I’m holding out hope that there are some treasures in there somewhere, but has anyone else felt the way I do when they’ve visited this location?}