7 Years

We had our 7 year anniversary on May 22nd. We didn’t do much on that day to celebrate since we had just gone to Arizona, but we did go on a date that weekend to the Gateway for dinner. TJ sure is a catch!

Six Years Time Warp

On May 22nd, it was our six year anniversary. We spent the day by having the plague in our house, aka Hand Foot Mouth Disease. Eva was getting over it and TJ was in the middle of it. So, it was pretty terrible and a little disappointing to spend our anniversary like that. But we postponed it to the next weekend when everyone was feeling better. We walked around Temple Square, which honestly brought tears to my eyes as we walked around the same place we were married. To see our little kids with us, teach Eva the importance of the temple, hold TJ’s hand while pushing Finn in the stroller… it was the best day. We are so blessed. It’s been a great six years. Not always easy, no. But worth it, yes. I love you, dear TJ! Thanks for being such a kind, funny, supportive husband. One who will put up with my nagging, be a good sport when I ask you to do face swap on snapchat, and let me watch The Office every single day.

Six Year Anniversary-family of 4 in SLC

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Five Year Anniversary-we were about to move back to Utah

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Four Year Anniversary-Les Mis on Broadway!

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Third Year Anniversary-FIRST day in NYC, dinner at Grimaldi’s

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Two Year Anniversary-Spent apart, TJ was in NYC for his summer internship

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First Year Anniversary-just baby faces in Kiwanis Park, pregnant with Eva!

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Wedding!

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Happy Birthday, TJ!

It is TJ’s birthday today! We celebrated with an ice cream cake and time at the pool with family on Saturday and then last night got to have a date to see Jurassic World together! TJ is such a hard worker, incredibly talented artist, easy going guy who puts up with his overly sensitive pregnant wife, and fun dad! Thanks for being you, TJ!

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My Bushka

T.J. has been working so hard this year. He’s in a new team at work and it’s required more hours at the office. Last night he got home after I went to bed (1:30 AM ah!) and left this morning before I woke up. I felt flashbacks of our first years of marriage when that boy used to work on design projects all night long, day after day. I honestly don’t know how he did it. I envy his work ethic and am grateful he works hard to support us. Thanks, T, and please treat yourself to a Dr. Pepper today 🙂

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Date Night in the Financial District

Have I talked about my love of the financial district to you all before? T.J. says it’s “too shiny” whatever the heck that means. Well, I think it’s perfect. I’d love to live down there. A two bedroom down there is about $7000/mo. though, so until the CEO of Johnson & Johnson hands the company over to T.J., we’ll just have to settle for visiting that area. Fortunately, it’s just a hop away from where we live and so we do visit that part of Manhattan quite often. I had heard about the new Brookfield food court from a couple of friends, so we decided to go there on our date last weekend. I got a burger and T.J. got sushi. We sat and watched the sailboats on the Hudson as we ate… perfect. Next time you visit NYC, go to Brookfield!

Afterwards we went and saw the new movie 100 Foot Journey. It’s about an Indian restaurant that sets up shop in a little French town. It was clean, beautifully shot, funny, and charming. One of my favorites for sure. Go and support the movie! It’ll make you want Indian food, though… I had to make curry for dinner that weekend! Delicious.

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A Valentine’s Day in NYC

We swapped babysitting for Valentine’s Day weekend, so T.J. and I got to have a date in the city together! It was so romantic to walk the streets of NYC on Valentine’s Day… even the Empire State Building was lit up with bright pink lights.

We got a quick bite at a tex-mex restaurant near T.J.’s work. It was absolutely delicious and we got there before the rush so we didn’t have to wait at all. Then we took the train up to 42nd St, walked through Bryant Park, Times Square, and saw Monuments Men at a movie theater up there. It had once been an Opera Theater, so the lobby is really neat!

It was such a great Valentine’s Day. Much better than last, when we were with a recovering RSV/Croup one-year-old. We love you all! Hope you had a great V-day!

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Date Night at Chelsea Market

Last weekend, I did a little babysitting swap with my friend so T.J. and I could go out on a date and then she and her husband could have a night out as well. It worked out really well and so hopefully we can keep it up in the future! Free babysitting and a night out? The best.

The funny thing about NYC is that sometimes I get this mentality of Go Big or Go Home. I feel like when we have outings with Eva we really have to take advantage of the city and all it has to offer or we might as well just be back at home. But there’s SO much to do and so many places to eat that oftentimes I get overwhelmed! I want to try new things and restaurants, but spending money on a place I’m unsure about it always tricky. We also are on a budget, so even though we would love to go see a show every date night, it’s unrealistic for us right now.

So, after stressing out about where to eat and trying to find something awesome to do in the city, we decided to just keep it simple and go to my favorite taco place at Chelsea Market (to be fair, I haven’t tried too many other taco places in the city, but this one is really delicious!). After dinner, we walked around the market, got some treats, star-searched (last time we were there, Blake Lively was in front of me in line), and rummaged through a little sample store where T.J. let me buy a new button-up.

In the end, it was just good to go out and be a couple again. Being a mom is amazing but sometimes I forget I’m first and foremost a wife. It was nice to be with my hubby for some uninterrupted time!

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Being Alone

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A week ago I got a message from a friend who had just found out her husband got an internship out of town, meaning they are going to have to spend the whole summer apart since she can’t go with him. She asked for tips, mostly just for motivation, to know that she can do it.

It made me reflect back on this past year. I can’t believe that in May, it will be a whole year since T.J. left for his New York internship. That alone, should make you realize how quickly the experience  can go. I remember last April I was in Kentucky when we found out he got the internship at J&J and would be leaving in just a couple of weeks for FOUR months. We decided it just didn’t make sense for Eva and me to join him in New York for a number of reasons. I felt overwhelmed and depressed. I couldn’t even enjoy the remaining weeks we had together because I was too upset about his leaving.

But the inevitable happened. T.J. left and started his job, our schedules didn’t mesh well and I immediately realized that I was very much alone for the next third of the year.

So, I guess that’s why I wanted to write this post. I want to write to everyone out there who may be in the same situation, who is so upset about having to spend the summer away from their spouse.

It doesn’t have to be a drag! You’ll miss your spouse and at times it will be hard, but you can still have fun and use that time to your advantage. Here are some of my tips:

 

  • If possible, find a friend or family member to move in with you so you’re not home alone all the time. My best friend who I roomed with for several years moved into our basement for three of the months. It was like a slumber party every day. BTOML. We watched lots of episodes of The Mentalist, went to the pool often, made piña coladas, and felt like we were college girls again. I’ll never forget the night when I returned from dropping T.J. off at the airport. I was a wreck. But there on my table was a card, chocolate, and beautiful flowers. Amazing.

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  • Travel. The summer went incredibly fast for me because I got to visit T.J. in NY, went home for 6 weeks, and went to St. George  a couple times. Traveling splits up your summer and gives you something fun to look forward to.

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  • Visit your spouse. The absolute BEST moment of 2012 was when I surprised T.J. in DC. although we were together just for a weekend, it was so incredible.

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  • Have a goal that you want to accomplish while they’re gone. Mine was to lose a certain amount of weight. But it could be to read a certain amount of books, or to write a blog post everyday. Just have a goal that you can track and work on every single day. It will be a good distraction for you and something for you to do other than mope.

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  • Stay busy. Try to get out everyday. The more you stay in, the harder it will be. Summer is probably the best season for you to be away from your spouse (if there can be a best time?) because it’s warm outside! Go on hikes and drives through the mountains, go to the pool, invite some friends over, hang out with your family, exercise, watch an obscene amount of The Office. I found a couple of girls who were in similar situations and we hung out all the time.

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  • Stay connected with your spouse. T.J. isn’t a huge phone talker, but we still tried to talk once a day even if was just for a moment to check in. We also tried to pray together over the phone when possible. The days we did that were notably easier.

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  • Treat Yo’ Self. On the days you’re having a hard time, treat yourself to a little something. Get an icecream cone or pick up some pretzel M&Ms (you’ll notice I like to treat myself with food… but it could be anything, obviously). Treat Yo’ Self is the best motto I’ve ever made in my life. 

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  • This one is a tip my mom has engrained into my head since I was a kid. When you start feeling sorry for yourself, remember the many people who have it a lot worse than you. For example, I thought about the families who have a parent in the army and are away in dangerous situations for months or years. I could go on and on with examples of horrible scenarios, but the point is, life is probably not that awful. So, find someone to serve and get out of your rut!

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When T.J. returned, I realized I had learned to be content alone. The whole experience actually was good for me because when T.J. has long days and nights on campus now, I’m fine by myself and don’t get upset (as much) anymore.

Anyway, I hope the experience is as positive for you as it was for our family. We kept saying last summer that it was a sacrifice that we had to make and hopefully, will never have to make again. You can do it!

 

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A Complete Change

I don’t want to get too personal in this blog post but it is something I do want to share with you all. We have four family new year’s resolutions:

  1. Go to the temple regularly (We decided every other week.)
  2. Read the scriptures together every day
  3. Hold Family Home Evening weekly
  4. Kneel in prayer together at night

We have had these four goals since we’ve been married but, honestly, haven’t been great at all of them at the same time. It’s not that we purposely were trying not to do them, but life gets busy and it’s hard to get in those habits. What’s made it really difficult is the scheduling. Almost everyday T.J. comes home just for dinner and then heads back to campus to do homework. By the time he gets back, I’m either asleep or we are both dreadfully tired.

At the end of 2012 we knew we needed to do something different. Those four resolutions aren’t just goals. They are all CRITICAL components to a happy and loving marriage. I’m sure you’ve heard it a hundred times. But still. Step back for one minute and take the time to analyze your marriage. When you aren’t doing those four goals, do you feel like you’re happy with your marriage? Happy with your spouse? Do you two get along well? Do you feel like the Spirit is in your home?

If you’re not working on those four goals continually, then the answer to all those questions can’t be a solid yes. And for us, a lot of times the answers were no.

So, we decided we had to try something new. In the past, we had been trying to pray and read together right before bed. What that turned out to be was us rushing through a couple verses because we were eager to get to sleep. Our prayers weren’t very thoughtful. They were the same ones every night. Our plan? We found a new time. Right after dinner. As soon as dinner is over, we read from the scriptures then we kneel together in prayer. The best part is that Eva finally sees us reading and praying together every single day. One day this week she even hopped on my lap and pointed to the scriptures while we were reading, pretending to follow along. Also, if it’s Monday, we do FHE right after dinner.

I am not kidding when I tell you that this has literally changed our life and changed our marriage. In fact, it brings me to (happy) tears to think about the night and day difference. It’s only been three weeks, but I am literally in awe at the change it has created in our home. Not only has it brought a strong spirit of peace, we also are growing spiritually together. Who would have thought that just moving the time back a couple of hours when we are still awake would make such a huge difference. Since we aren’t half asleep, we take the time to really dive into the scriptures and pray with real intent. We also have noticed a huge difference in how we get along. We rarely fight or get offended anymore. We are more considerate of each other and see in each other so much spiritual potential.

Going to the temple is the last key to this change. We hadn’t been to the temple together for a while because it’s hard to make time when you have kids. But I will tell you what… It is crucial. Go. Make a goal and stick to it. Find a babysitter. I know it may seem inconvenient when you have kids, but it makes such a huge difference. So, just go!

I hope that this post doesn’t come out all braggy. I don’t want you to think that I’m saying, “Hey, my marriage is awesome and we are a perfect Mormon family!” We always will have hardships and every day isn’t a dream. But the point is…

When you are working on those four goals, you and your spouse have the power and strength to get through anything together.

It’s true. I know it is. And I really hope that, if you find yourself in the same rut that we were in, you try this!

Alright. I’m going to step off the pulpit now. Just call me Sister Derrick from now on.  🙂

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