Category Archives: Hubby lovin’

Daddy’s gifts…..priceless loveletters…

My husband recently returned from a work trip to Florida with two little yellow ducks for Mini Me and Miss Missy. Work trips are always hard on the kids but sometimes Daddy will surprise them with a little “I was thinking of you” present. As I came in Miss Missy’s bedroom to give her a little kiss goodnight, I saw her sweet little face asleep with her arms wrapped tight around that duck……with her arms wrapped tight around the neck of her dad, cause…let’s be honest….that’s really what this duck is all about. This  little duck reminds her that she is loved….deeply….by her daddy. Who wouldn’t want a crazy, yellow duck!!!!

Two girlies and a duck

Two girlies and a duck

Vintage Teddy Bear Figurine Collection

It looked something like this……=)

This duck reminds me of my own “duck” growing up. It was a teddy bear figurine that my dad had purchased in a little country store in North Carolina. But to understand…..let’s go back for a minute….

When I was a young girl, my dad wasn’t very involved in my everyday activities. My mom would buy me birthday presents and say that they were from my dad and he would smile, looking to see what he got me. I was a kid…but I wasn’t stupid. I knew my dad would have no clue what to get me or what I even liked. But, I was a daddy’s girl and I hung on his every word. I longed for anytime I could get alone with him, which wasn’t very often. My dad was traditional…he worked long, hard hours as a fire chief, and expected his wife to take care of everything “inside the house”. However, I think he neglected to see his true “calling” as a young father. His upbringing lacked the tenderness that my children get from their dad, and I believe that made it difficult for him to assume that he would really know how to be tender…he just struggled not to be rough. I think he neglected to see how vital he was to my upbringing. What he didn’t realize was that…I thought he hung the moon…=)

My birthday weekend, my dad was out of town. His dad was physically struggling and my dad had returned to his childhood home to help out. I will never forget that night when he returned home. He said, “hey…Tammi. I have a birthday present for you”, and handed me a brown paper bag. My mom, who was busy in the kitchen, came through to see what it was. I’m sure she was just as stunned as I was. From that bag, I pulled out the coolest bear figurine. My dad proceeded to tell me that he stopped off at our “family favorite ” antique store and picked it up for me. At the time, I was obsessed with teddy bear figurines and had started a collection on top of my dresser. I had NO IDEA that my dad even knew that. After thanking him, I ran to my room to find a place on my dresser for that bear, a huge smile across my face. My dad…remembered. =) My dad…thought of me….=) My dad doesn’t remember that bear or that memory….but I do. That bear found his way to my college dorm and later in my first born’s baby nursery.

My dad was the first “knight”, this princess ever met. He taught me to respect myself and desire the best. What about your princes and princesses? Do they have a knightly daddy? or A queenly mommy? As parents, we must constantly be aware of the genuine needs our children have for love and affection. Our children just want to be loved. To be cherished. To go to bed at night with happy memories of a childhood filled with yellow ducks and teddy bear figurines.

God bless,

Tammi

One of the biggest lessons we can teach our kids…..”I’m sorry”

I start countless blogs and often postpone them til I feel like I should share them. Then other times ….I feel that God calls me to share a blog I had no intention of writing. So…apparently some of you need to hear this today as much as God feels I need to say it. =)

photo(2)

the early years…about 2007 when I was pregnant with the Fashionista

I’m sorry……

Two words that can move mountains. However,…It’s what we say or do after these words that can make or break us.

I grew up in a family where we rarely just say I’m sorry. It was always “I’m sorry….but you shouldn’t have had your foot there.” or “I’m sorry…..but if you didn’t make me so mad”.

In my opinion, there is an unnrighteous name for it called “justification”. You try to “justify” your reasoning for doing what you did. But…is that really justice for the person that you hurt?

I spent the first few years of my marriage (ok….8….=)) struggling with this notion of “I’m sorry”. It was the perfect storm: mix a husband who is open with this feelings; very confrontational, quick to admit fault and take action, with a wife who justifies all her wrong actions ; is extremely emotional but doesn’t discuss her feelings.

Confrontation, discussion, justification, lack of resolution, crying wife, mad husband……

and repeat….daily, weekly, monthly…..you get the picture….

we both felt like hamsters in our own wheels…….running the race as couples, but going nowhere.

 I have this vivid memory of my husband saying this to me during one of our arguments:

You are such a child. Why can’t you just see how this hurts me? Why can’t you just say “I’m sorry?” Why is that so hard for you?”

Because…that’s how I’ve done it for….YEARS. My husband would come to realize that I had baggage. I had ways of handling my own fears of being “imperfect” and this was one of them. I didn’t want to upset him….and seeing him point out an area where I caused the hurt was too much.

That’s the “beauty” of justification….you get to “hide” behind the truth that something hurtful was not your fault. If what I’m saying resonates with you…you need to free yourself from the notion that you can do no wrong…it’s a hold that is enslaving you. True love is true freedom. Freedom to be yourself. The screwed-up but lovable you!

I believe that we pass on our strengths and our weaknesses to our children. So, as much as this lesson is for me and you…it’s for our children. We want them to be loving and have the fullness of freedom. Here are four little “mini-steps” that I work out in my mind:

  1. Pray for a sincere heart.
    How many times have we attempted to get into a conversation to apologize and found ourselves thinking, “I don’t want to apologize to you anyway.” Pray that the Lord shows you the error of your ways and that you can enter the conversation being sincere.
  2. Say “I’m sorry”.
    Just those two words. When I’m talking to my kids, I like to hold them while I apologize. I want them to feel how sorry I am and how much I love them. My hubs…I tend to hug him around the waist when I apologize.
  3. Acknowledge that it was  your fault (if it was or if it is necessary)
    Sometimes skipping to #4 is fine. However, sometimes you need to acknowledge your fault in a situation. “I’m sorry. It was all my fault. Mommy totally forgot about your baseball practice today.”
  4. Acknowledge the feelings of the person that you hurt
    “I am sorry that when I didn’t call you that you felt like I didn’t care.” “ I’m sorry that when I was late picking you up that you felt all alone.” Not.…”well, I’m sorry but you try and get 5 kids out of the house”…um…nope…not at all. But…we’ve all said it and been there.
  5. Make amends.
    “I’m sorry that I missed your game. Maybe you and I could go out for ice cream and you can tell me all about it.” “I’m sorry that i promised to call you and I forgot. Could we try and reconnect tonight or tomorrow? What is a good time for you?”

My prayer is that all of us spend more time apologizing for our actions then letting yourselves be “enslaved” to our own pride. I know that hearing my children’s earnest apologies to each other really warms my heart and let’s me know that they will not have the same difficulties that I had in my marriage. That I can help break the hamster wheel for my kids.

Top five loveletters from the hubs…..

149910_1530686785182_4091586_nChocolate, jewelry, wine….all great gifts…but to really know me is to know what makes me really happy. As a mom of five kids, life can get pretty hectic and the hubs has figured it out pretty quickly that giving me anytime to myself or taking a responsibility off my plate…is sure to reap great benefits. =) Here are some of my favorite “loveletters” from the hubs. =)

Grocery Shopping- I reaped the benefit of this last night. The hubs had been working a lot and knew that I was just exhausted. He called me to let me know that he would take care of it so I had plenty of time to menu plan and get my list together. So, I took the kids out for dinner and he shopped for the week. It was so nice to unload groceries that I didn’t shop for. =) No need to bribe kids with cookies in the store. No correcting while I peruse aisles. And he even nabbed me some bars of dark chocolate…for my healthy heart..of course. =)

Sleeping in/ taking a nap- My hubs is NOT a morning person. He has been an insomniac for most of our marriage and he’s always tired. I’m the spouse that falls asleep at any time, anywhere, and NOTHING can awaken me. I’m a night owl…but I pay for it in the morning with kids. Once in a while, the hubs will make a sacrifice and let me sleep in. I know it’s not easy for him. He is definitely putting me first.

Running one of my errands: since the hubs has a home office, sometimes he will offer to take the kiddos to one of their weekly activities and suggest taking along a child or two or making it a date for them.  It’s never planned and is such a welcomed break. When the Fashionista was taking gymnastics on Monday mornings at 9:30, it was so nice to just continue my homeschooling and not to have to break up the morning or load kids in the van. Often times, he would grab her a donut or take her out for a quick breakfast since they were alone.

Drawing me a bath:- So…my hubs has been known to draw me a bath complete with lit candles and music. It’s such a welcomed surprise after a rough day. It always seems to happen when I need it the most. (hint, hint…hubby)

Letting me bitch: Yep…just what I said….letting me bitch. Being my best friend and letting that little, annoyed, frustrated, tired Tammi talked about her terrible day. Not trying to “solve” my problems….no constructive criticism… not thinking less of me as a wife or mother……just a good listening ear followed by a sincere comment like “I’m so sorry, babe”.

It’s so nice when someone goes out of their way or performs a self-less act  for love of us. It’s one of the greatest gifts that can be given.

Praying that you have open eyes to see what loveletters God has placed in your path this week!!

God bless- Tammi

Motherhood….we all just want to be appreciated…

Tomorrow is Mother’s Day and I felt the need to share a little bit about myself and this holiday with my readers. Every year my little family spoils me on mother’s day. Tomorrow the kiddos and daddy will be in charge of whatever we do. It is usually an all day event and I am eager to see what tomorrow will hold. Typically, I get awaken by little arms hugging me, homemade cards, and lots of love. Mom gets “off” for dinner and I usually sleep in or grab a nap in the afternoon. What mom doesn’t crave sleep??? This year was no different in terms of being spoiled, but it was nice to have gifts arrive before the big day:

The past two years, I was surprised with Mother’s Day brunches at two really nice places. The children were so well behaved which made it that much more special. I’m not a real “breakfast person” so I love to go out to brunch where I can get endless choices of everything. =)

Mother's Day 2011

Mother’s Day 2011

Mother's Day 2012

Mother’s Day 2012

But Mother’s Day is not about chocolates, and flowers, and nice dinners. It’s about honoring a vocation and the women who commit their lives to that beautiful call.

Ever since I was little, I wanted to be a mom. I wanted to hold a little life in my hand that was “flesh of my flesh”. I wanted to have those cuddly moments with a baby, and close my eyes and just feel love and be loved. I wanted a baby to nuzzle into my neck and love me. Thankfully, God has blessed me with five little souls to nurture and love. As I see it, God has entrusted me with the responsibility of being the best mom that I can be. So what does that mean?

At the birth of Miss Missy

At the birth of Miss Missy

To me, it means:

  • loving my children tirelessly…through their non-sleeping infancy, their terrible threes, and the ” I know everything” big kid stage ( Obviously, my oldest is 9. I’m still in most of these phases)
  • it means having the “tough conversations” that I want to avoid like good sportsmanship, purity, character flaws, and violence in the world.
  • it means making every moment “teachable”….remembering that every time I open my mouth..my children are listening….will they hear charity or anger? love or hate?
  • it means embracing my laundry because I have beautiful kids that wear them….
  • it means teaching my girls to find their value in who they are …..not what they wear
  • it means maintaining and dominating my housework so that I can provide a safe haven for my family…and teaching my children to become good stewards of everything they are given
  • it means being a goofball and enjoying fun times with them.
fake moustaches and goofing around

fake moustaches and goofing around

  • it means riding the fine line between giving my kids “everything I didn’t have”  and spoiling them.
  • it means teaching my children the value of hard work and being charitable
  • it means teaching my children that we are Christians first…..that we follow the first commandment and “love one another as Christ loves us”.
sisters!!!

sisters!!!

  • it means having a “girls day” one day and having them hating me on their bed another day
  • it means creating moments with them that will last a lifetime….

    halloween

    halloween

  •  it means showing my son how to respect women by respecting his mom first
  • it means being the heart of my home and always giving my children an ear to hear them.

But on MOTHER’S DAY…….what do MOMS really want???

we want to be appreciated.

Enjoy your day tomorrow!!

=) Tammi

Puerto Rico!!!!….(can’t I just go back….)

Our resort, the El Conquistador

Our resort, the El Conquistador

Vacation……even the word makes me smile…….

it was just like I imagined….hot sun….cool breeze…no rush…

The hubby and I just returned from a trip to Puerto Rico. It was an opportunity to be spoiled, by his company for a great sales year, and a chance for us to be rejuvenated, and refreshed. We stayed at this beautiful resort called the El Conquistador, that was nested in the side of a mountain. It was heavenly.

Here are some of my favorite “souveniors” from the trip:

  1. I am married to my best friend. Our marriage requires my time. Our relationship needs to be nurtured outside of monthly dates and business meetings. On this trip, we made sure we held hands and turned off our phones during our dates. We enjoyed not discussing our jobs as parents, but just talked about each other. We didn’t need a reminder that we are in love…we just needed time to indulge in it.
overlooking the Caribbean sea after drinks

overlooking the Caribbean sea after drinks

getting fancy for dinner

getting fancy for dinner

2.) Sometimes its fun just to goof off. To take insane photos and laugh about them later.

because...we think we are funny...

because…we think we are funny…

all for my son....he would have let that iguana crawl on him if I could get a shot...

all for my son….he would have let that iguana crawl on him if I could get a shot…

acting like I'm a model...can you tell I just went shopping before the trip?

acting like I’m a model…can you tell I just went shopping before the trip?

3.) Be willing to do something that you have never done before. You will gain a new sense of confidence and pride that you don’t expect. The hubby and I had so many opportunities for fun when we were in Puerto Rico. It was just a matter of making the time/effort and going. One of these opportunities included taking a water ferry to a private island called Los Palominos and going horseback riding. It was, initially, very intimidating and scary. Neither one of us felt confident in handling a horse up the mountain top and being in control. We were going up a rocky mountain on the island and it was stressed that we needed to be able to be calm and exhibit control. It was tought…but the view was sooooo worth it.

A view of Los Palominos

A view of Los Palominos

yep....

yep….that was one bad ass horse. She gave me trouble the whole time. I felt like I was correcting one of my kids.

the hottie hubby

the hottie hubby

our view from the top

our view from the top

4.) Enjoy MANY of the local favorites…..no worries there.

mango daiquiri

mango daiquiri

appetizer and drinks

appetizer and drinks

5.) Never take beauty for granted. Stop and take in the beautiful surroundings. I think I must have taken several pictures of the same things. I was so overwhelmed by how gorgeous everything was.

view of the marina

view of the marina

the view from our tram looking down into the marina.

the view from our tram looking down into the marina.

hot tourists...

sorry…that one was just “begging” to be in the mix. =)

view from our hotel room

view from our hotel room

the cathedral in town

the cathedral in town

6.) Take pictures together. Make a point of having other people take photos for you. Try and not delete them.  Treasure those memories even if you think you look fat, or short, or whatever.

before the beach...

before the beach…

before dinner

before dinner

7.) Most of all, try to “capture time”. This last picture is my favorite from the trip. It really shows how relaxed my husband and I are. It was taken our last day in Puerto Rico, and we were leaving in a few hours to go home. At this point, we were ready to see our kids….ready to get back to reality…..cuz, see….we really LOVE our life!!!

lovin' this guy

lovin’ this guy

Sometimes love knows best……..

Flowers

I love my husband….truly my best friend. Talk about someone who really loves me….truly knows what I need. These beautiful flowers came after a long, exhausting week. The little note was  a brief “peek” into next week……. asking “would you be my date for Puerto Rico?”

Sipping some wine with the hubby in Cancun in 2010

Sipping some wine with the hubby in Cancun in 2010

This was our trip to the Riviera Maya in Cancun in 2010. It was our most recent trip paid for by one of Dan’s companies. It was fabulous!!! Totally not a trip we would ever splurge on ourselves so it was so great to be spoiled. It couldn’t have come at a better time. Mini Me, who was almost a year old at this time, was diagnosed at one week old with two displaced hips. We had had three separate surgeries, three body casts, and physical therapy before the age of one. It was exhausting and yet rewarding. So, we were nervous to leave her in a body cast while in someone else’s care, but….we really needed the break. It was very rejuvenating for both of us.

The hubs works in software sales, and just had a stellar year. We are being rewarded with an all-expense paid trip to Puerto Rico. Four days and three nights of hot sun, cool drinks, and plenty of romance….just what these parents of five need. Additionally, since I didn’t start this blog until a few months ago, many of you are not aware that my husband came down with encephalitis and a viral meningitis in the fall of 2011…one month before the birth of Miss Missy. It has been quite a journey seeing him struggle to complete daily tasks because of the brain trauma and then to exceed his quota for the year….is so characteristic of his unwavering work ethic. He truly deserves to hang up his “hat” and phone for a few days of relaxation. =)

In my mind, I want to be there NOW. However, I’ve got so much to do before Thursday morning……shopping and packing for the trip; getting meals planned; kids off to their activities with friends/family; grocery shopping for my parents who will be with the children; bills paid and household work completed. Tomorrow I will have a day to myself. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT??!!! Wait for it…..I’m going shopping for myself!!! No errands…..just focusing on me. To really know me,  is to know that I NEVER shop for myself. However, tomorrow I am doing just that. The hubby is sending me off to get myself a few outfits for our trip. I mean….who doesn’t want a confident wife??!!!

I kinda figured tonight would be about me “pulling the heavy”….putting the kids to bed by myself, while my hubby went out for the night. I mean…why not? He will be with the kiddos tomorrow. However, that’s not what my best friend had in mind……..

This was my night…….totally perfect…..a large glass of vino and checking out Woman’s fashion on Pinterest……focusing on the planning for my day tomorrow…….

Friday evening

The hubs decided to take the three older children and do a huge grocery shop for me. They were eager to have some time with dad and I LOVED having my pantry and fridge stocked!!!My night was so peaceful….putting Miss Missy to bed early. Cuddling with Mini Me, while watching a little Team Umizoomi and then tucking her into a comfy bed……

The beautiful flowers, in the beginning of the blog, just sealed the deal on a great day. My husband knows that I still love to be courted….that I still need him to fall in love with me daily. He knows that to be a strong woman, that I need to be more than the mother to his children, but that I need to be appreciated as his help mate. What a wonderful way to get me excited for our trip!!!

Sometimes loving someone is not about showering them with gifts…..or long handwritten letters. Sometimes…its about putting your desires aside for love of another. Sometimes it’s about feeling like you are loved and appreciated just for what you do everyday.

Cheese, wine and hubby time…..

IMG_5171Cheese…..love it…..Wine…well, obviously…it’s in the name of my blog!!!  It recently occurred to me that I have never posted about one of my favorite “date night at home” activities……..wine and cheese night!

People often ask us how we have time “together” with five kids and what kind of activities we do together. We love to get a babysitter and go out, but sometimes you just want to curl up next to each other on the couch, and share jokes or events of the day and just be together. Sometimes sweats sound better than fancy heels and you are just worn out from the day. Wherein the idea of “stay at home dates” begin to form.

I love going out to a fancy place and ordering a bounty of cheeses on a cheese board. I love how they pair cheeses with honey or a fig jam. I sometimes feel that I could just eat only that all night. So when the hubby and I want to have a great night in….our grocery list always includes some delicious cheese and a good wine. If you are interested in trying some fun cheeses for your next date, here our some of our favorites:

  •  danish blue cheese drizzled with some good honey
  •  alouette spreadable garlic and herb cheese pairs well with a club cracker or baguette
  • brie cheese topped with raspberry preserves, wrapped in puff pastry sheet and brushed with a beaten egg. Cook in a 350 degree oven for about 20 min. or until a golden brown.
  • goat cheese. We like to buy the kind that is wrapped in cranberry and cinnamon. It’s unreal…..
  • sharp , extra sharp cheddar, or a baby swiss are great options for serving kids.  They pair well with pepperoni or salami and are a  great option for people who aren’t as adventurous in selecting a new cheese.
  • Smoked gouda is also a mild cheese that pairs well with apples. This is a great option if you love mild cheeses like cheddar.
  • Gruyère cheese is also rather mild.
  • In the summertime when my basil is beautiful, I love to buy fresh mozzarella and roma tomatoes and make “caprese” bites (tomato slices topped with a fresh basil leaf, sliced fresh mozzarella, and drizzled with olive oil, salt and pepper)….yumminess!
  • As for wines, the hubby and I are really into malbecs (red wine) right now. However, we love to try different chiantis, and bordeaux wines.

A toast…….to great company, great wine, and great cheese! Make it memorable……

Lenten lovin…

homemade coffee cake

homemade coffee cake

The hubby is heading out of town for work up in New York. When he leaves, things can get a little crazy around here and I am always trying to prepare to be a “one parent” family until he returns. We tend to sit down and discuss what my schedule is for when he’s gone and how he can help me to prepare for his absence. It’s truly a blessing to have a husband who tries to help me maintain my sanity.

So as the “sanity maintainer” in the family, I like to send him off with some lovin’. So this seemed like a good morning to introduce you to my Cinnamon/coconut/brown sugar crusted coffee cake. Just saying it ….makes me get all warm and fuzzy inside……..

My hubby gave up sweets for Lent and he LOVES some good pastries and baked goodies. So with today being Sunday, and NOT a day in lent, it seemed only fitting to have him wake up with the smell of coffee cake. That’s WAY better than any alarm….=)

I’ve had this recipe for years so I’m not sure where it is from. I have tweaked it over the years and it’s just so simple and delicious.

the ingredients

the ingredients

You will need:

  • one box of cake mix (I like the butter recipe cake mix)
  • 3 lg eggs
  • 1/3 cup of vegetable oil
  • 1 cup of chilled coffee (I like to use a flavored coffee k-cup so I can just brew one cup, and then put it in the fridge for a few minutes)
  • 1 cup of brown sugar
  • 2 tsps of cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup of shredded coconut
  • 2 handfuls of chopped pecans (about 1/2 cup)

Mix together the cake mix, 3 eggs, vegetable oil, and coffee until well blended. Pour into two 9 in. round cake pans or 1 -9×13 in. cake pan. Combine the brown sugar and cinnamon and mix well. Add the coconut. Top both cake pans with the crumb mixture evenly. Add one handful of chopped pecans to each pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Let cool.

* this recipe is great to make when you want to deliver a little morning treat to a sick friend or a new mommy. You can easily save one circle pan for yourself and place the other cake in a disposable dish to deliver!!!

Hope you enjoy it as much as we do!!!