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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Seriously?! Thursday

I decided to link up with Seriously Thursday this week. It’s a great chance to vent about little annoyances and get them off my chest. I’m hoping not to be too negative.

1. Seriously?! A Grande Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks this year rings up at over $5! I’m not liking it, so I am boycotting Starbucks Pumpkin Spice lattes. I thought I had just got more frugal since last year… until I cleaned out my car and found a receipt for this treat from last year… the price has gone up over 50 cents from last year! I am not going crazy. I will be sticking to a Grande Skinny Vanilla Latte for $3.58.

2. Seriously?! I love my new car and totally don’t regret our decision, but I have to admit, I am not digging the gas mileage. 22 mpg vs. 31 mpg that I was getting with the Accord. When I drive 70 miles/day just for my commute to work, it adds up! Boo!

3. Seriously?! Why do people gotta be so dang moody. I feel like I’m dealing with this with a few people that surround me. I just want to shake them and say “Do ya expect me to be there for you to do favors/support you when you conveniently feel like being decent towards me?!” I think people need to be required to take relationship classes and learn how to treat people if you want them to stick around. I’m done going out of my way to be overly supportive and nice ALL the time. Consistency, people.

4. Seriously?! Jesse, I am sick of hearing the honking and quacking of those dang duck and goose calls in our house. STOP!!! I am about to go BSC if you don’t stop! (FYI: BSC=Bat Shit Crazy)

5. Seriously?! I know it’s been a week, but still not too thrilled that that showed Christina Yang getting an abortion on the Grey’s Anatomy premiere. I have a deep love for all babies and it just makes me devastated when I hear about unborn babies being killed… even if it’s just on television. It just seems like anything they start putting on TV becomes mainstream and acceptable.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sacred Marriage: Chapter 2

I left out some details of the group that I joined up with, last time I blogged about the first chapter of Sacred Marriage. Jennifer over at Knee Keep in Munchkin Land, is hosting this book study for more than thirty of us women. We are doing a chapter every other week for 26 weeks, and sharing our insights through our blog posts. Go check out Jennifer’s site, if you’d like to find other bloggers posts dedicated to this book study.

I love that this chapter really focused on the fact that our God is a God of reconciliation. I know that I often look at myself and how often I fail miserably in bringing glory to God…and he still forgives me and reconciles with me. Shouldn’t we try to be more Christ-like in our marriages? Our Father does not keep a record of all the times we have “wronged” him, and maybe we should try our best to do the same in our marriages. This is a hard one for me, but one that I strive to be better about. When we forgive one another, we bring joy to our Father. And the purpose of marriage is more about doing that than bringing joy to ourselves or even to each other.

“In a man-centered view, we will maintain our marriage as long as our earthly comforts, desires, and expectations are met. In a God-centered view, we preserve our marriage because it brings glory to God and points a sinful world to a reconciling Creator.”

It’s also pointed out that keeping a Christian marriage together is a duty, not a choice. I get it, marriage is hard, but the number one purpose of our marriage needs to come first. We cannot call a marriage a Christian one and just hope that it’s what it turns out to be, it's got to be in the forefronts of our minds. We have to live it and it’s HARD! Jesse and I both really struggle with this. This is constantly on my mind during disagreements… I think to myself “Are my reactions and words Christ based, or Stephanie based?” Ehhh, unfortunately 90% of the time I am ashamed of the answer to my question, and then I am again humbled by God's grace and reconcilation with me.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Lots of Changes Around Here!

If you are one of my Facebook friends, you probably have heard that there are a lot of changes going on in the Doyle family! Where to begin....

Let's start with the biggest change... we will be moving to NEW JERSEY in the next 6-8 months. We decided that it would be best for our family for Jesse to stay in the Air Force as his career. His eight years in will be complete at the beginning of the year. We weighed the pros and cons and him staying in just kept outweighing the other options.

Therefore, it would just be a matter of time before we would have to move to another base. Jesse said that he would rather have a say in where we go, rather than just waiting for orders to wherever. So, he volunteered for two positions: a four year commitment in NJ and a 2 year commitment in Papa, Hungary. Both would ensure Jesse to be home with us more than he is now. Well, last Monday, Jesse received orders for McGuire Air Force Base.

We have some split emotions. We are thrilled to know what are future will involve, the unknown was becoming a little difficult. The biggest reason that we are happy for the change is the amount of time Jesse will be at home with us. For the last 5+ years, Jesse has been gone for 200-250 days a year. With this new job, he will only be gone up to three weeks every six months and he will be home for all holidays. That is HUGE for our family! We also have good friends stationed there already, Ryan and Stephanie, and they have a daughter who is only two months younger than Hunter. That will be amazing when moving across the country from my family and all our friends!

We are sad to be leaving where we both consider "home" now. My entire family is here and the majority of our friends, as well. I do feel some guilt taking Hunter away from my parents, who have been such a huge part of his life. But I just need to remind myself that we will be back to visit plenty and anyone is more than welcome to come visit us!

The base is only about 45 minutes from Philadelphia, a little over an hour from NYC, and three hours from Washington D.C. Jesse's mom and sister are both living in DC right now, so it'll be such a blessing to be close to his family for the first time! We are excited to explore the New England states for the first time.

These are the places I want to see:

So that's our biggest change/news around here. But some other exciting things have happened this week:

I booked Hunter and my tickets to New Zealand for 17 of the 30 days that Jesse will be down there for work. Christchurch is amazing and I am beyond excited to take Hunter back there now that he's a little older. Check out the pictures from our last trip, here. I am a little nervous to be traveling there and back on commericial flights with Hunter all by myself. But... worse case, I'll cry all the way there, but I'll still land in NZ, right?! We leave in less than a month! :)

Also, last night we traded in my Honda Accord for an Acura MDX. I am in love with it! I've always liked my cars, but I have next had a "luxury" type car, and man, does it make a difference! :)

Here's a picture of it from the dealer's website:

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sacred Marriage: Chapter 1

A couple weeks ago, I joined a virtual bible study with a group of fellow bloggers. The book chosen is, Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas. It’s an incredible thing, to get together with a bunch of strangers, who have a common belief and faith, and to get to know them. The group has been so active in discussion, prayer requests, and introductions.

Chapter 1:
The main idea of the book is: “What if God designed marriage to make up holy more than to make us happy?” The book states that it’s not a self help type of book that’s purpose is to offer help to get to a more pleasurable marriage, instead it’s a book that offers insight on how to accept the trials that we go through in our marriages as a way to become closer with our heavenly Father.

Marriage is tough. I have a hard time believing anyone who says differently. My experience so far, is that it is a lot harder than parenthood. It is two adults vowing to live a life in unison. We must come to the same decision on all major life choices. What other relationship in our lives do we have to do this? With our family and friends, we can just “agree to disagree” on subjects, intimate marriages don’t work like that. Are we going to “agree to disagree” on the way our children will be raised, how we are going to live out our faith, where we are going to live, what financial decisions will be made, etc. I would sure hope not! These are the things that successful marriages have to come to terms with and work together on! It’s tough, but getting to the same place with these decisions and having discussions is part of what makes marriages strong.

The chapter goes on the talk about romance and how it’s a recently developed concept. I think that the main concept of this book seems very unromantic. Aren’t good marriages supposed to be the ones where the husband and wife still look longingly into each other’s eyes and profess deep love to each other on a minutely basis? Ha! Romantic love doesn’t usually stay in a relationship forever. Sure there are probably moments of romance in every marriage, but it’s not a continuous outpouring of gushiness. If we marry simply for those romantic feelings, we would have to throw in the towel every couple of years and find a new partner, who can fulfill that need, and in turn the new partner could perhaps provide that for a few years, and then what?

We have seen several of our friends go through divorces and on the outside it just looks like they gave up when the honeymoon period ended, and they didn’t make their marriage intimate with a “deeper” love. So, they all moved on the find “new” love.
I pray that Jesse and I continue to have an intimate marriage. I want a marriage that we can admit our flaws to each other and reach out for help and accountability. One in which we can honor, cherish, and respect each other. Marriage is so hard because it involves complete honesty. Jesse and I still get offended by each other’s brutal honesty, but I would rather be offended than to have a surface level relationship that doesn’t involve knowing exactly how my partner feels or what his opinions are about me or my actions. It hurts sometimes, but I know that it brings me closer in my walk with Christ.

I really appreciated the story in this chapter when it talks about the woman “is finding out little by little that she is capable of hating her husband, who she loves faithfully. She can hate him at times as fiercely and mysteriously, indeed in terribly much the same way, as often she hated her parents, her brothers and sisters, whom she loves, when she was a child…” The book says that this is the “reality of living as sinful human beings in a radically broken world.” There are times when I feel hate towards Jesse and I want to pull my hair out when dealing with him. I’m sure he feels the same way about me just as often if not more. J It’s my own sinful nature that allows me to feel like this. I absolutely always love Jesse; I even adore him 99% of the time. And I have to admit, the times of not liking him, used to scare me. Now, I just kind of accept it as part of a marriage that will last forever. Marriage isn’t supposed to be easy or smooth; it’s supposed to be forever.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Weekend in Portland

So, yeah, I've been a very bad blogger, I go through these spurts sometimes when I just don't feel like blogging, and this last week has been one of those. Bear with me.

Jesse, Hunter, and I had a wonderful couple of days in Portland a couple of weekends ago. The weather was amazing!!

We hit the road early on Friday morning so that we could get down there in time for a 10am appointment to get our new canopy put on the truck. I'm really glad we got a canopy, it will be really useful for transporting the dog, Jesse's hunting gear, and to be able to keep things dry in the Seattle rain. While Jesse waited for it to get installed, I took a little walk and found a place to get a manicure. :)

From there, we headed to the Oregon Zoo! We had a pretty good time. But, I have to admit, I don't think I am much of a zoo person. It always seems like a great idea to me to go to the zoo, but once I am there, not so much. Oh well, I think Hunter had a good time seeing the sun bears and the elephants.

After the zoo, we went drove downtown and checked into our hotel. We tried to get Hunter to take a nap... with no luck at all. So, then we headed out. We walked around downtown for a bit and then had dinner at our favorite place... Buffalo Wild Wings! Mmmmm.

Hunter was pretty tired, so we did what all great parents do, we ordered him his first sugar loaded shirley temple. (sense the sarcasm?) Oh boy, did he love it. He was drinking it so fast that we decided that we needed to dillute it with water. While he was busy consuming hundreds of grams of sugar, Jesse and I indulged ourselves, with boneless wings. Jesse is all about the caribbean jerk, but I swear the mango habenero is the way to go!!

The next morning, we woke up to Hunter in our face, yes, he had crawled out of the pack n' play and made his way to us! We got ready and then headed downstairs and had some yummy breakfast. We love the Hilton breakfasts! :)

Then we decided to spend the day at Oaks Park, it's an amusement park down on the Willamette River, it was so much fun!!!

We got there about an hour before the park opened, so we spent that time walking on the beach, skipping rocks on the water, and then walking back through the woods.

After our nice walk, we headed to the rides!! Hunter LOVED them!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Big 2-8!

That's right... as of last Thursday, I have entered into my LATE twenties. At first I was a little bummed about getting older, but I have to to say that life just keeps getting better with time.

27 was a great year for me! I grew so much in my faith, learned more about motherhood, got baptized, made it through a four month deployment, visited Jesse in Turkey, and even managed to lose roughly twenty pounds during that year.

But looking forward, I cannot wait for the next year. I hope that this year hold even more blessings for our family in the coming year. It could very well be a year of major changes in our lives. Jesse will reenlist, we will pretty likely move across the country or even world in the next year, and God willing conceive and welcome another baby into our family. I am excited beyond belief to see what God has in store for my life during my 28th year. :)

We spent the weekend in Portland as a family. We went to the zoo, ate at Buffalo Wild Wings, got a canopy for the truck, and rode lots of rides at Oaks Park. So much fun, don't worry, I will be posting lots of pictures this week. :)

Thank you everyone for all the birthday wishes. I am so blessed to have such a wonderful group of family and friends! :)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Our Family Weekend

Jesse's homecoming was perfect time, right at the beginning of a four day weekend! The only thing that I really wanted... was to have no set plans. I'm kind of funny like that sometimes, I don''t really care if we ended up doing things everyday, I just didn't want to feel obligated to do anything we didn't feel like doing.

And that is exactly what we did. Hunter didn't wake up until between 8:30 and 9:00 every morning! That is unheard of for him, he's usually up by about 7am. It was nice to be able to lay in bed and relax with Jesse every morning before we got sucked into the crazy life of being parents to a toddler.

On Friday, we started the day out with lunch at The Rock, a wood fired pizza place up the hill from our house. I can't really remember what we did the rest of the day... I mostly remember the important things, like eating pizza. ;)

Hmmm, now that I sit down and think about doing a recap of our weekend, I really can't remember what all we did. So, I'll have to skip to Sunday, when we went to church and then our friends Zack & Sarah came over with their two little munchkins to hang out. Sarah and I even snuck out without any kids for a little shopping trip!

Monday, we went to the horse races for about an hour and had fun watching Hunter pet the horses and place in the bouncy toys.

That's about it... just full of relaxing, laughing, enjoying our son, sleeping, and perhaps some typical post deployment bickering... and perhaps some other marital activities. ;)

And now it's time for a photo dump...

Monday, September 5, 2011

Trip to the Ocean

I am a bit behind in blogging, so thought I'd catch up with some pictures from a few weekends ago when Hunter and I went to the ocean with some of my family.

We had a great time and it was so nice to spend some quality time with some of my family that we don't get to spend enough time with usually!

Hunter with his very favorite person, his Grandpa!

Hunter with Grandma, Grandpa, and Henry. :) Playing on the beach!

Digging in the sand!

Ocean Shores is so beautiful! :)

Hanging out with Grandma.

Tyler, Jacab, Brandon, and Jenn hanging out at the beach.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

He's Home!

Jesse got home on Thursday evening, on our 4th wedding anniversary. I don't think the timing could of been any perfect. Hunter was so excited to see his daddy and has not let Jesse out of his sight since he got home. Love having my family back together again!

We are just spending the long weekend enjoying our little family and relaxing. :)

Jesse is active duty Air Force and is originally from southern Minnesota. He has also managed to become a follower of just about every hobby known to man (which drives his wife crazy!).

Henry was born on July 4, 2007. His hobbies include playing with his squeaker toys, barking a little girls, dock jumping, going to the dog park, and being spoiled rotten by his grandparents.

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