Sunday, October 12, 2014

YOU WERE INVITED...I just forgot to mention it

Ever planned an awesome party and never sent out the invitations?

Well, I'm not sure this is quite that bad, but a LONG TIME AGO I did get an awesome present that I should have told you about.

 RRL, the amazing, set me up on wordpress and made "" officially MINE!

 How thoughtful was that? And he did all the work rolling forward the old posts on the new site for me- and wrapped it all up and gave it to me for my birthday. LAST YEAR.

 So- If you find yourself here, on this old site that I haven't logged on to in months.  OOPS. I'm sorry i didn't tell you sooner.

Hop on over to where the real fun is:
To hear about:
Our matching but not twin boys

Our hilarious Easter photo shoot

Dressing seven small children as cows to get free food

And our Lemonade stand with our bonus 3 kids

Among other fun (and some serious).

See, you haven't missed much.
Unless you consider adding three more kids to our house for a while being very much.
which I do.

And don't forget to add the REAL to your blog reader of choice so you never miss a party again (that I forget to invite you to).

See ya soon!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A letter to the one who left church

To the one who left church because of me:


We were running late to service.  It is one of my husbands least favorite things about Sundays.  With four (and on that day, seven) kids in tow, it is rare that we can get them all picked up from various Bible classes, delivered to children’s church and us to our seats before the opening hymn.  Maybe I talk too much.  Maybe.  


I don’t know you, but you’ve changed something in me.  I know you’ll likely never read these words, but you are now a part of my story.  To be honest, I never considered before that our rushing to our seats might impact someone else.  I guess the fact that I consider the section “mine” is my first problem.  Its just that we ALWAYS sit there.  The seats in the way back are on a slope and kinda make my feet hurt.  I thought about my feet again this Sunday and was willing to forge forward to find prime seats.


I’m sorry that in seeking those seats, I misunderstood you.  When I asked if you were saving any of the  seats around you- two on one side, three on the other- I understood the answer to be “no”.  When I asked if you minded scooting in, you clearly said “I’d prefer not to”.  No problem, we’ll sit around you- hubby and I on one side, 3 in-laws on the other.  Only it was a problem.  Apparently it was a big problem to you.  Within minutes you gathered your belongings and left, minutes later you came back for something forgotten and left a second time in quite a huff.


I’m sorry because I know now it wasn’t about the seats.  The conversation we had after I followed you out of the auditorium went so poorly.  I have a feeling that nothing I said or did in those moments would have made a difference for you.  The pain and anger ran too deep for me to “fix”.  But I still hate that I couldn’t.


I’m sorry because as I stood there listening to the hateful things you said about me, the ridiculous nature of the blame you placed on me and the emotion with which you carried it all, I could only think “This is like nothing I’ve ever experienced from a stranger.  And a stranger IN CHURCH. My word.  


But as you walked away and said “You didn’t even see me.  YOU ARE THE REASON I CAN’T BE IN CHURCH,” I knew my persepective had been wrong.  Completely wrong.  Especially in church.  And I’m so very sorry.


I want to apologize; because it is absolutely true- I followed you for me.  Not for you.  I wanted to fix it so that I could make myself feel better.  Surely if you knew me, I could make it ok.  If you knew why I’d been consumed with myself that morning, you’d understand.  If you knew about the kiddos I’d brought with me- desperately hurting children- you’d be compassionate.  If you knew my pain over having to decide where they were going to live- you’d see my heart.  If you knew about the conversation I’d just completed, the first healthy conversation in 3 years with someone I love, you’d understand why my mind was consumed.  


I just knew that if you could just SEE ME, you would understand my blinders.  And you’d understand why it was a simple as me moving to a different seat, you coming back to service and definitely forgiving ME so I could eat my lunch after church without another thought to the matter.


But it wasn’t that simple.  Because what rocked me was a realization that I had missedwhat I rarely consider in my Sunday rush to my seat.  As I come to worship, I rarely consider that we all come into that auditorium the same way.  Maybe in varying degrees of blindness, but all with things in our own lives- whether joys or sorrows- that keep us from seeing.  Really seeing each other.  


I am sorry that I felt so justified in my self-consumption.  I do have some tough stuff in my health, in my emotions, in my life. But as a result, I could not see you.  Even now, I remember you were wearing a blue sweater, but for the life of me, I can’t remember your face.


I am sorry because just before you stormed away, you gave me a peek into your pain.  And I could tell it ran deep.  You mentioned grandaughters that you never see.  You alluded to a hope that they would join you that morning.  Before your anger out-weighedit, I saw a glimer of your hope and emotion.  But only in retrospect did I realize that my pain had kept me from asking you for any information about those girls.


I am sorry, for I may never know if they were the root of your pain.  I will never know if ill-begotten seats represented their faces to you.  I may never know whether you meant you were leaving the auditorium that day or leaving the Lord.  And for that, I’m so incredibly sorry.  


I’m sorry I did not see you.  

I’m sorry that my pain blinded me from yours.


But I want you to know, it did not destroy me.  And the efforts Satan made that morning to trap me in a pit of self-pity, were conquered by a God that I went to worship in the first place.  And you were a vessel in that deliverance.  I can’t promise you that there won’t be more Sundays of self-consumption.  But I promise to try to see.


Thank you for opening my eyes.  You helped me realize that I am neither alone in my pain nor alone in my desire to have it quenched.


Thank you for putting a name to my self-consumption.  You helped me hear clearly that morning that even “God-work” can be an idol in which I place my self-worth and which dictates my actions and emotions.


Thank you for giving me the will to fight off the blinders that have swallowed me.  You restored in me a spirit that does not want to be consumed, that wants to see others and more than anything wants to be present.


Thank you for reminding me why I come to Worship.  You showed me that in worship, not just in that auditorium, I AM BEING RENEWED- despite my flaws, despite my pain, despite my busy-ness, despite my longings.  


I’m writing so you’ll know that I’m praying for eyes to see those around me.  To not be consumed by my own life in a way that keeps me from living beside others.


And most of all.

I’m praying that you find your way back to Church.  Not a building full of people who can’t always see, not an auditorium full of seats that get too crowded, not worship that is a band playing in volumes with varying degrees of audience preferences, but CHURCH.  A body of believers, encouraging each other while we hope for what we can not see.  Worship, the experience in which we can be our messy selves, yet full of so much more.  You helped me find my way back there on Sunday and I hope you’ll join me.  I don’t want you just to join me in those crowded seats on Sundays when we come together, but join me in giving what little we have to the One who always ALWAYS sees us.


And give me a chance to see you.

I’m sorry that I didn’t.

I’m sorry that sometimes I won’t.

But thank you for helping me want to try.







Saturday, January 11, 2014

Our LEGENDARY Family Roadtrip

I have to laugh when anyone asks what we did over Christmas.  Because to be so amazing, I sure haven't talked about it much.  It may not be very well documented, but to us it was kinda a big deal.  Our little family of 6 drove to North Dakota.  It wasn't a secret.  Not an intentional one, at least.  Its just that we spent most of the 10 days fairly unplugged and we arrived back to L-I-F-E.  

So, here ya go.  FINALLY.  The not-secret-on-purpose details of our Christmas adventure revealed in a format kind of like the 12 days of Christmas (only not at all.  don't try to sing it, it won't work).  We didn't send out Christmas cards this year, didn't give teachers Christmas gifts until we came back to school, didn't do a lot of things because of one amazing trip.  We spent several weeks planning our roadtrip north, days packing for the excursion, and then 10 days away from home.  And at the end, I'd say it far surpassed all expectations.  If you were one of the haters who pointed out how cold it would be...well, you were right.  But we loved every minute of it.

12 Family members under one roof for Christmas
For years we weren't together.  Between peace core commitments and deployments, we experienced just enough empty spots at the Christmas dinner table to know it wasn't our favorite thing (like WAAAYYYYY down the list).  So, this year when my baby brother (seems weird to say about a Captain in the AF, but still true) said he couldn't get leave to come from North Dakota to my parents house for Christmas, the choice was simple.  Minot, here we come.

We were together.  And it was worth it.

Here's where I should shout out to my parents.  They were so gracious to give up Christmas at their house- which I know they love- to make sure this could happen.  And THEN they helped in lots of ways make sure we could all get there.  I love what they teach me about family.

Even bigger shout out to my precious sister-in-law who helped my brother be able to host this whole crew in their home.  Yep, we ALL stayed with them.  Including the bonus of the two doggy-cousins.  (See Cbugs new best bud, Champ, below).  The Captains worked so hard to make sure we could all stay at their house and maximize our time together.   They really went above and beyond in having rooms ready for everyone and meal plans and spoiling us in every possible way.

11  hours spent at the Mall of America
Our gifts to our kids this year were all "trip" related.  From new boots and warm clothes to tickets to some fantastic places.  Like the Nickelodean Universe amusement park...

...and the Lego and American Girl stores in the Mall of America.  They all were very brave about riding rides, the boys LOVED spending their "santa money" on Legos and Libby got to take my-now-her Samantha for a makeover.  Over the course of two days, a total of 11 hours, at this fun place- our kids had a BLAST.  Ok, so did their parents.

10 Days away from home
Its already crazy enough that we drove to North Dakota.  In December.  But to make it all the more crazy (and awesome), we didn't go the short way.  We drove up via a West route that added about 5 driving hours to our trip and south via an east route that added about 2 hours.  I hate to brag on my kids (except i don't mind at all)- but they ROCKED this road trip.  We did watch some movies and played some video games, but a lot of the time they read and played with toys and entertained themselves and talked and laughed.  oh, and ate.  YOU SHOULD HAVE SEEN the backseat collection of crumbs.   

We all learned some things.  My kids learned to unbuckle and put coats on BEFORE opening van doors and to knock mud and snow off their shows everytime they re-entered.  I learned to feed Tito applesauce by reclining the seat until I was next to him and wrapping my arm around his rear-facing self.  Talents, people.  Tito enjoyed feeding snacks to his favorite travel buddy, "Mel-mo".  

All of us were a little batty by the time we got within a few hours of arriving home.  But other than that last little stretch (see crazy face pics below),  I am AH-MAZED at how smoothly this went.

9 states traveled
This is one of my favorite things about our Christmas.  We actually slept in 5 different states, 4 of which I had never been to before. We drove through Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, and Missouri.  Shew.  I had a great plan to take pictures at every state sign.  Which didn't really happen.  But I was absolutely determined to get a perfect family photo at the North Dakota sign.  This was worth documenting.  So, even though the temps were well below zero, RRL got the tripod set up, we bundled everyone up, set the timer, ran to the sign, did the cutest family pose (sweet Lou in cheerleader position) and then ran back to the car to unbundle, rebuckle and admire the results.  Which is why it was both hilarious and so sad that it turned out being only RRL's backside and the rest of us not even in "ready" position.  Camera timer fail.  Just like the ND motto on the sign and just like our little trip north- the picture is LEGENDARY.  (as runners up, I also really like Cbugs interpretation of SD's "Great faces" motto and my hubby and i under "the good life" in Nebraska).

8 days we saw snow
Snow is a commodity for our little crew.  KJ and Cbug, especially, loved romping in the snow, hiding in the snow forts their uncles helped them build and having snow ball fights.

7 suitcases loaded in the van
Packing for this trip was interesting- especially since we needed everything from swimsuits to snowsuits...times 6. I had a crazy awesome system for packing us for all the different stops so that we wouldn't have to load/unload the whole van each time.

Unpacking was easy- it all just exploded into our entry way when we got home.

6 People to spoil small children
We spent nearly 4 days actually in Minot and by far the best part of that was watching my kids be so well loved.  Between Aunts, Uncles and Grandparents our kiddos always had someone to provide sweet treats, play games, read stories, snuggle...

...and of course provide some much loved Christmas presents.

5 Original Bradfields
And it wasn't just my kids that were so well loved, I was, too.
No family is perfect.  But I sure love mine.  For years and years, I've loved the five of us...

...but now that we've added spouses, I love this group EVEN more.  I'd drive and drive for moments like this one (or I should say "ride and ride", let's be real I drove exactly none) .  We got all the kids in bed on Christmas eve and then enjoyed an "adults only" dinner.  Luckily, KJ needed a drink of water, mid-dinner, and came upstairs just in time to be picture taker.

4 Different hotel rooms
We learned all kinds of tricks for making small spaces work well for the 6 of us, and we actually really didn't mind most of our hotels at all.  We mostly stayed LaQuinta and found them a reasonable balance of well priced and well kept. And bonus, we stayed in so many on this little adventure that our last night was nearly free.

A "we've been in hotels too long" story I love to retell was when Cbug yelled "MOM, Tito is pushing buttons on the Ah-Mah-Nah" again.  And when I finally figured out what he meant, I thought it was THE FUNNIEST THING EVER.  The fact that I found it so hilarious, and even took a picture of it, made me realize- I MUST GET HOME.

But my FAVORITE hotel memory is the night I spent dining on the floor with this guy toasting 12 years of marriage- with McDonalds sweet tea.  I won't sap you out now, but if you wanna read about that night, I posted about it here.

3 Huge waterslides at the indoor waterpark
Like I said, this Christmas we gave our kids the gift of experience.  Each day, for 12 days leading up to Christmas, they got to open something.  Sometimes it was books to read in the car, sometimes snacks, but once it was a hotel WITH an indoor waterpark.  Apparently, these are pretty standard in the area we visited in South Dakota, because even our LaQuinta was attached to one.  And they were SUPER reasonably priced compared to the one in our town.  Our boys were in HEAVEN.  Libby loved it, too, but the boys really enjoyed the slides.  Cbug would literally RUN up the 70 stairs (one time I made him count them so I could catch up), slide down and do it again so quickly that he swallowed enough water to make himself just about puke.  So, he started a new routine of stairs, slide, toilet (just in case), stairs, slide, toilet.

KJ had quite the adventure in the lazy river (which is anything but lazy with boys).  He and I were playing bumper rafts (see- not lazy) and he hit is face on the front of his float, knocking out his (very loose) front tooth.  It sunk straight to the bottom (which he found hilarious) and he was missing his two front teeth for Christmas (which I found adorable).

2 Crazies playing in the snow at Mount Rushmore
Another "gift" was National monuments. We saw two this day- the still-in-process Crazy Horse monument, and Mount Rushmore.  If you haven't been to Mount Rushmore, I can't quite explain the feeling of standing under it.  Its just like the pictures- faces carved in rocks- but for some reason it is just about one of the coolest things I have EVER seen in person.  As you walk up to the monument, one of your first glimpses is between the rows of state flags.  I know I'm sappy, but that moment was so powerful.

I absolutely LOVED the time I got to spend with Cbug, playing in the snow in the ampitheater that is right at the base of Mountain.  Everyone else mostly stayed inside (again with the FREEZING cold temps), but he was determined to play.  How could I say "no" to "may I go play in the snow" in front of Mount Rushmore.  How many kids can say they've done that (or adults for that matter).  Not very many.  In fact, approx 5000 people PER DAY visit Mount Rushmore in the summer.  But only about 100 in the winter.  There is a reason for that BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR, but its kinda cool that we were among the few this year.

Crazy Horse

1 Detour to see the Badlands
Have I said "my favorite" yet?  Well, then this was my "surprise favorite" part of the trip. If I hadn't been researching this trip like crazy, we might have missed this gorgeous slice of our country.  Seriously beautiful.  But the main scenic route was under repairs so we had to really work to get ther.   As we turned off the main interstate onto a small road which turned into an unpaved road into what seemed like the middle of nowhere, I really doubted myself.  You can't see the spectacularness from the interstate so you might just miss it, but when you do finally arrive- wowzers.  And covered in snow- double wowzers.  I do wish we had been there sans small children so we could do more exploring, but we all enjoyed the views for a little bit and the visitors center was fun for the kids.

Which is actually a perfect way to sum up this trip- the whole thing was quite an unexpected blessing.   It was a Christmas packed so full of goodness, I could have never seen it from the road before we arrived. We didn't necessarily plan it to become a tradition, but giving the gift of experience might just be our new favorite part of Christmas.  Because, just like the North Dakota sign, I have a feeling this Christmas will be least for 6 of us.


Friday, January 3, 2014

My very favorite 6-year-old

For weeks I've been kissing Cbug goodnight and saying "you are my favorite 5-year-old," only to have him respond "Not for much longer.  Pretty soon I'll have to be your favorite 6-year-old." And today is that day!

Dear Cbug-
Man you make our lives fun! Without even trying, you make me laugh more times a day than I could possibly count.  The pictures in this blog (taken by THE THREE) are some of the very few I have of you not making a silly face.  I do love these pictures, but I'm so glad we have the silly ones, too- never a dull moment. 

 I feel like I probably say the same thing each year in your birthday letter, but only because it is so very true...You live life in big ways, you never do anything half-way and when you are in- YOU ARE ALL IN!  Sometimes this is frustrating because it is so difficult for you to change gears or stop something before you are finished, but most of the time it is a delight to see you face a challenge and barrel forward. I love watching you complete Lego sets at lightening paces, read books, play nerf wars and your most recently discovered talent- making things at the craft table.  You've made Christmas cards for family members, angry bird ornaments for the Christmas tree and today you spent well over an hour making your own Happy Birthday sign.

You've had a big time this year in Kindergarten.  You've blown our minds with how quickly you are learning and how much you love all things academic.  You are suddenly way into reading.  And we were so proud of you when you ROCKED your reading of Christ's birth for the Christmas show.  Seriously, it was a shining star moment, dude.  

You are just slightly (cough cough) obsessed with numbers- always counting things or wanting us to try to stump you with math problems (which is difficult to do), and you love to know/remember dates.  Whenever anyone comments on your missing tooth you respond "yep, I lost it on November 29th."  

My favorite thing about your school year, though, is how much you love your classmates.  You've even proclaimed "mom, I'm pretty great at making friends".  While we may need to work on your humility, I would have to agree with you.  You do seem to have a knack for noticing others who need a friend and for being able to play with just about anyone.  Everywhere we go, you come away with a "new friend" and I couldn't be more proud of that characteristic.  

I also love how comfortable you are with your position in our family.  My heart melts when I watch you as the Big to Lou and Tito.  You are so sweet to play with them, help them and watch out for them.  You play with Lou as easily as you do with KJ and I love that you are so content either way. People often assume that you and KJ are twins, but you are quick to point out that he is your big brother.  I even overheard you at church recently telling someone, "Actually my big brother is even faster than me at races."  You may look him squarely in the eye in stature, but there is no doubt that you look up to him.  I so often hear you asking his input or listening to his "wisdom" with the sweet response of "ok, KJ" that quite literally makes my heart melt.  

I'm so thankful that you love and lean-on your big brother.  I love that the two of you are a team and that you seem to show miraculously little rivalry at this point in your lives.  But this year, my birthday prayer for you is that you'll continue with a confidence that strikes out alone sometimes, too.  I've prayed for years that you wouldn't feel your identity defined by the brother you follow so closely behind.  Ever since you were born, it's been tough for others not to compare you to him in size, especially.  Here's the thing I want you to believe- you are both smart, but in different ways.  You are both talented- at many different things. You both love your family- but show it in different ways.  And you will both leave an impact on the world- but the marks will be totally different shapes. I love the glimpses we've gotten as we watch you make a name for yourself in Big School... With different teachers than KJ had, we've started to see you just become and be recognized as Cbug.  Your daddy and I know that as you use your zeal for life, your endless supply of energy and your amazing ability make new friends, others will see what we've known for 6 years... You are one of a kind.  Created for big things.  By a mighty and powerful God.  And you'll bring Him glory, just by being you.

It's true, buddy. You absolutely are my VERY favorite 6-year-old!
I love you,

Family name restored: Christmas program version

Probably one of my most retold stories from parenting was the one where my sweet oldest child was a not-so-gentle shepherd in his preschool Christmas show.  It was simultaneously incredibly embarrassing and absolutely hilarious.  Truth be told, I probably wouldn't trade that memory for a thousand pictures of him being any other way in the nativity scene.  At least now that the embarrassment has worn off a bit.

But this year, on that very same stage, another member of our family stepped up to the plate to restore the family name.  And he rocked it!  Cbug was asked to come back as a graduate of the preschool to read about Christ's birth.  
He read all of Luke 2:1-14 from the NKJ version.  No small task, but he was more than up for the challenge.  The video picture isn't awesome because of the dark auditorium, but turn up the volume and listen to this sweet voice read about our Saviours birth.  And then try not to swoon.

Don't be fooled, though, he's still a Team L boy.  Not minutes later, he was crawling all over the friends gathered around him while we watched his sister. 

 And, also during the performance, he managed to use my camera to take pictures of anyone he could capture...

Including going up on the stage to catch his favorite director on film.  Mid show.  With the flash on.  Awesome.  

Whelp, I guess you gotta love us like we are. 
 But seriously.  Can we just focus on that video?

Thursday, January 2, 2014

A styrofoam cup kind of Anniversary

Some years we have an elaborate celebration.
This year it was rather simple.

Some years we plan for weeks to set aside time to celebrate.
This year we had to wait to find an opportunity and then snag it.

Some years we get a babysitter and maybe even splurge
for a hotel room for some extra time alone together.
This year we did splurge on a hotel room, but only because we were traveling. 
The splurge was an upgrade to a two room suite at the LaQuinta. 
Our little darlings were sleeping in the next room.

Some years the meal is elegant, the dishes breakable,
the table setting gorgeous and we dress in our fancy best.
This year we were tired and grungy from traveling and exploring with our little family.
We did have food from a fancy restaurant, but we sate on the floor 
and ate from a hotel end table with plastic dinnerware.

Some years we toast with glasses that make a perfect clink
and sparkle like our eyes did on our wedding night.

This year we toasted with styrofoam McDonald's cups because our 
fancy-restaurant-take-out didn't offer sweet tea- and that seemed like a shame.

I loved our celebration this year because it really was a reflection of our marriage. Both of us just wanted to flop in bed and celebrate later, but instead we waited until the kids were asleep, laughed together about our hotel floor dining, watched some of our wedding video and reflected on the last 12 years. We chose to be together. It wasn't elegant, it wasn't what we would have planned, it was a little messy and took some effort from both of us to make it successful.

 Just like our marriage.

Because in marriage...
The past is how you choose to remember it.
The present is what you choose to make of it.
And the future is how you choose to dream it.

Cheers to 12 years of marriage, RRL. Whether it's a fine china day or a take out and McDonalds tea kind of day- I promise to choose you EVERY day.


Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Years Goals: The ones with a plan B

I've tried all kinds of approaches to "New Year's Resolutions." Everything from swearing them off all together to making a detailed list of them. This year, I'm taking yet another approach. One that (hopefully) works for an accountant who is also a mom of 4 small children. Because if you have little kiddos, you know that it is quite rare that anything go according to plan. You know the essential nature of a "plan b"- you gotta have one in your back pocket. AT.ALL.TIMES.

May I present my 2014 goals-
including plan B.

Plan A: Plan out and stick to a training schedule that includes exercise at least 4 times a week.
Plan B: When I have to go up and down the stairs 947372949272 times a day, I'll run. And count it.

Plan A: Develop a regular sleep schedule for going to bed and getting up.
Plan B: Learn to walk in my sleep so I always feel like I slept through the night.

Be intentional about what we eat
Plan A: Plan out a biweekly menu, trying new dishes and incorporating healthy choices.
Plan B: Plan out a biweekly menu that incorporates healthy choices. And also incorporates the occasional breakfast for dinner and eating out nights. Allow for spontaneous "tonight I just can't cook".

Spend intentional time with my children
Plan A: Plan monthly one-on-one dates with each child. Help them discover their talents and special interests.  Plan learning experiences for the whole family.
Plan B: Recognize the spontaneous opportunities I get each day to teach my kids.  Take them with me to the grocery store, even if it means sweating more.  Talk to them about money and Jesus and friendships and family while we drive in the car, while we snuggle together on the couch and while we eat dinner together.  Be present.

Be involved at the kids' school
Plan A: volunteer more in the classroom, find an organization to be part of, get to know the other parents from our classes by inviting them over.
Plan B: take sonic drinks to the teachers when I think about it.. Say thank you more often.  Say yes when others invite us on play dates.  And recognize moments like taking a forgotten lunch or homework as opportunities to encourage kids I see in the hall and the adults who take such good care of my treasures each day.

Get to know our neighbors
Plan A: Invite neighbors over for dinner and play dates.  Plan regular block parties.
Plan B:  Play in the front yard more.   Hire someone to mow our yard so that when we do get around to having people over we aren't already on the neighborhood naughty list.

Deepen relationships with others
Plan A: Set aside intentional time each week to visit with friends. Send encouraging notes and texts. Listen more.
Plan B: Pray that I'll still have some friends when I do come up for social air.

Do my part to grow our marriage
Plan A: Plan frequent dates.  Find a study or other learning experience to work through together.
Plan B: say thank you more.  Be frustrated less.  Be quick to point out successes and slow to measure by unfair standards.  Always give the benefit of the doubt.  Say I'm sorry.  Have fun together.

Grow in relationship with the Lord
Plan A: Plan out and stick to a daily Bible study plan. Get up early to start my day with the Lord.
Plan B: Pray to become a morning person. Ask for a heart that sees His presence in the busy-ness of each day.

Sweet readers of DRRF- Here's to you and your fresh start in this new year.  I hope 2014 finds you with a spirit that is willing to dream big and set lofty goals.  But also cut yourself some slack this year.  Sometimes as a spouse/parent/neighbor, you'll find that if you'll allow yourself to embrace it- plan B isn't so bad after all.