Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Rose is a professional at saying darling things. Today while in the car:

"Mom, if you woke up in the morning and a billy goat kicked you down the stairs, What would you do?"

"Mom, have you ever married a prince?"

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Boever lending library

In regards to amount of books that grace our home, I am often unaware at how many we really do have. We own a couple thousand books easily. There are books in every room of our home. With homeschooling, books are such an essential part of our day and consume most of our learning. I usually forget to record each child's current favorites, but want to remember because it usually is read over and over and over.


Her favorites right now are ALL books to the extent to which she can SHRED them. One of her nicknames is "Shredder." I hear several times a day "Mom, Vianney is shredding." Office Max had a sign up last month in the window that read "Stop Shredding at Home." I drove the kids by so we all could get a good laugh and we all agreed "STOP SHREDDING AT HOME!"


Do you see who she is reading too?
I am sure they both loved the story. Personally, the very sight of seeing her sitting there reading to her doll, makes me grit by teeth to a low stubble because it is so precious.
NOTE: the infamous pile that follows me around

Like all things Zellie, even her books are cute, the way she looks at them are cute, the way she pronounces their names are cute, and the way she listens is cute. Her current favorites are:

The Enormous Carrot

The Enormous Carrot
By Vladimir Vagin

Before naps I tell her to pick one book and she always says, "Normous carrot." too which, I ask as though I didn't hear her and ask again "Which book?" She says, "Normous Carrot."The first two characters in the book are Floyd and Daisy. I purposely act like I really don't know the rabbits names at the beginning of the book just so can hear her say them again. She falls for it everyday and several times a day.

me: "Zellie, what are the rabbits names?"
Zellie: (thinking and acting like she doesn't know their names) "Fwoyd and Daisy." Did you catch that? Fwoyd. She said Fwoyd. Two-year-olds shouldn't say Fwoyd.

Her current next favorite is:

Pancake Dreams
by Ingmarie Ahvander

This is a cute little story about a boy named Stefan whose family moves to Jordan and he misses his grandmother's pancakes which he use to eat everyday when they lived near each other in Sweden. Stefan's friends in the book are Ahmed, Mayank, and Deniz. They know the names of his friends and it cracks me up.
Again, I always ask Zellie "I forget, what's the boy's name?" She wrinkles her middle brow and says, "Hmmm, Ste-fawn." Two-year-olds shouldn't say Stefan either.

Everyday, she gets a huge pile of books and will flip for hours. I went to check on her the other night to see if she was asleep and she was flipping through books in her bed. The only light that was provided was the light coming through the window from the moon. She had been in there a good hour. Poor thing. She's gonna look like this if I don't get her a reading light soon.

Others that are hot on her reading list:

One Was Johnny
by Maurice Sendak


If only there were enough hours in the day to read to Rose. She will be playing in the other room, and if I even begin to read she is at my side in less than one second completely entranced by every word. She is doing well at reading on her own, but is at the cute stage of adding a long "e" to every word. Cute-e. It doesn't matter what I read to her as long as I am reading. Although, if I have her pick these are her favorites

Catholic Children's Treasure Box
By the Maryknoll Sisters

She specifically likes book #3 which is about St. Therese and her father. There is a part of the book when he calls to Therese and says, "Come little Queen, give me kiss." She loves this part and always asks to read it over and over. So of course, her nickname is "Little Queen or Come little Queen." I even hear Zellie saying, "Queen, you took my baby."

This leads to her next favorite

Where the Wild Things Are
By Maurice Sendak

In the book, Max is titled "The King of all Wild Things." I change the words to Rose "The Queen of all Wild Things." giggle. giggle. "Mom, please read it right." To which I reply, "Oopps, sorry." They fall for it every time. cute.

The Tale of Tricky Fox
By Jim Aylesworth

This fox outsmarts two little old ladies, but didn't fool the third. She is a clever old bird. Another one by this author that they love is:

Aunt Pitty Patty's Piggy
by Jim Aylesworth

They all love this book because there is a repetitive chant throughout that says,
"It's gettin' late, and piggy's by the gate saying', 'No, no, no, I will not go?" We all shake our fists and shout it every time. Often, if they ask to do something when it is near bedtime I will say this chant to them.
"It's gettin' late, and piggy's by the gate saying', 'No, no, no, I will not go?"
giggle. giggle.

Do you see the fat hobbit on the end? She is just waiting to shred.

She, too, is another one that I could read to for days and she won't blink. I am sure it is their age, but I'm so glad they love to read. Lillie is doing wonderful with her reading and loves it. She works hard everyday doing her readers. Right now, I find her several times a day reading to Zellie. Zellie follows me around most of the day saying "Read to me on this couch. " Lillie is eager to comply when I am busy. We used the book
"How to Teach your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons" with both her and Rose. It is a fabulous book and works very well. Those on the top of her list right now are:

The Seven Silly Eaters
By Mary Ann Hoberman

I love this book. I love reading this book to them. They laugh every time like it was the first time I read it to them. On a side personal note, I am overly-sensitive to books that portray big families as crazy and chaotic. The mother is a mess in the middle of the book from her ridiculous attempt to make seven different meals for all seven of her children. Goof ball! BUT, it was nice to find a book not published before 1962 that portrays children as a gift.

What could be better than this?
by Linda Ashman

I love discovering books randomly at the library that are so good. This is a beautiful story about a King and his wife who in their single days were very adventurous and happy, but knew something was missing. They met each other and fell in love and began their new life together. Even though they loved each other deeply and were surrounded by anything and everything their heart desired, they still felt something was missing. They end up leaving the castle and all their wealth and start living in a simple little cottage. Their first son was born and the rest of the story is filled with the "True beginning of their lives." This baby. In a sense, it was as if they had a second chance to see life again as a child once their child was born. My favorite line is:
"And when they could listen, and move at your pace,
The world had a new sort of grace:
It seemed quite a magical place."
The couple is sitting watching their son play by the ocean and they are content, deeply enjoying their new pace.

He is at the wonderful age where books are like candy to him. He loves reading and his idea of fun is heading to the library "Just with you, Mom." I love watching him in the historical section scanning and picking out his favorites. We've been trying to read the classics this year and these are the tops on his list.

He is always reading something, somewhere.

The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
Moby Dick by Herman Melville
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

We are currently reading Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson.

He also loves the Hardy Boys and the Magic Tree House Series. We await eagerly each time Mary Pope Osborne publishes a new book. He writes it on his calendar. They contain a lot of great historical information.

Books are such a part of our day that I need to write down more often how each child changes their affections to new stories. We've been known to check out 70 books at a time at the library. I love seeing them come home and spread them all out and go through each one hunched over.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Diaper Bag Love Affair

I have a slight obsession with finding the perfect diaper bag. I've tried many, but none seem to be my best friend yet.


It's from Petunia Pickle Bottom. The very name of the store makes me want to pinch somebody.
I know Audrey Hepburn would have shopped at this site if she were picking out a diaper bag. What Audrey does, Lindsay does.

Look at this loveliness...

Oh don't worry, it comes in many shades such as Apple Tart Cake, Buttercream Cake, or French Gooseberry Cake. Those clever folks at this store knew that by naming each purse after something delicious suddenly makes spending $325.00 on a decorated diaper carrier seem essential in the life of an mother.

Or, I could just settle for the Licorice Pudding Cake Society Satchel

Don't worry, I've not lost my mind and won't go right over to a beautiful baby boutique store tomorrow that closes at 5:00 PM, but aren't they elegant and classy?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Why most families have 2 children.

This could end up being a controversial post, but not intended to be. The average American household size is 2.5 persons with the average household having .90 children. Wow! When I looked up this statistic tonight, I was shocked by the number. The number of children per household has drastically fallen since I last checked about 10 years ago.

Not until I had children did I ever understand why people only had two children. In my dreamy world, I grew up wanting hundreds of children. Truly. I dreamed of a home full of children and babies. I didn't understand the realities of motherhood at all. I didn't know what it felt like to have morning sickness. I didn't understand how pregnancy is hard for most people and very scary at times. I didn't know what it felt like to be up all night for several weeks at a time with a new baby only to be woken in the morning by a very rested 2 and 3-year old. I never thought about those things. I didn't know what the pain felt like to hover over a sick child worried to death. I didn't know what it felt like to continually ponder a child's future and formation. You see, I was confident and ignorant. Then, I had children.

I had my first child and fell desperately in love. Like most mothers with their first, I was meticulous about everything. I made sure I read to him 40 hours a day, taught him baby sign language, made all his baby food, took him outside everyday, and read every parenting book to make sure that I wasn't messing him up for life. Looking back though, I was very overwhelmed. You see, when a woman gets married and has children, the life you once knew has now completely changed. Your life is not your own anymore...forever. You are now responsible for entire human being. I remember thinking when he was sick for the first time, "If I don't take him to the doctor, nobody will." You have to make serious decisions about things like vaccinations, schooling options, medicated or unmedicated birth, allergies, parenting techniques (i.e. to spank or not to spank), sleeping troubles, temper tantrums, eating issues, etc., etc. There is no barometer in motherhood. You do not get a medal at the end of the day that says, "Well done, you handled that fit well" or "Well done, you chose wisely on the vaccination decision" or "Great diaper change!" So, for the first time in lives of most women you are faced with a scenario that makes most feel like they started preschool again only this time the textbooks are on the level of your post-doctorate.

It seems around the 2-year mark, most people venture out and have another child. BAM! ENTER... why most people never go beyond this point of having more than two children. Yes, I know, some say it is for other reasons i.e. financial, challenging pregnancies and even scary pregnancies. Although, when you get into deep conversation with a woman, you see the longing and the loneliness on her heart for more children. She may not even know it. For me, I had my first child whom I gave ALL MY ATTENTION. I then had another child WHOM I FELT AS THOUGH I HAD TO GIVE ALL MY ATTENTION. This truly was an impossible task. Who can do that? I remember when I would go anywhere I would make sure I had army of people to help. Truly. I admired mothers of large families and felt so inadequate next to them. I would be at the zoo with my two children and six of my sisters to hold each of their arms and legs and possibly breathe for them...if they needed that. Then, I would see mothers of ten children...GET THIS...BY THEMSELF AT THE ZOO...and actually smiling. When we lived in Oklahoma, I would pack enough toys for the eight hour drive so that they would have something new to look at every 2.3 minutes. It was ridiculous. At mass, we would bring a buffet so that not a moment would go by that HOUR that he wasn't eating or looking at something. I would NEVER drive anywhere more than an hour by myself because HE MIGHT CRY OR SOMETHING and that just isn't right.

It is the first time in motherhood you are experiencing a toddler and then also having a new baby. My mom always says that most babies become normal at their one year birthday. Meaning, I have seen it time and time again. You have this sweet, beautiful, innocent baby who does everything he is supposed to for his first year of life and then...something happens. They start developing opinions. How dare they start thinking for themselves? Suddenly, they throw fits in public, arch their back, lay on the floor, climb on everything, go fishing in the toilet, become a picky eater. They are a mess and you are mess. I remember one of my dear friends crying at her sons baby pictures because he had morphed into some sort of something his second year of life. Never before are you faced with constant decisions on how to handle the octopus that now lives in your home. On top of that, you have a new baby who decides that the middle of the night is his favorite hot spot. Side note, the toddler whom has been sleeping in the other room for 13 hours didn't get the memo and still wakes up for party time at 6:00 AM. How come he didn't know that you just fell asleep around 5:30 AM?

Really, who would do this again and again? You are so tired and overwhelmed that you know that God doesn't want someone to exist in such a way. You will say, "I'm not being a good mom to the two I have, why would I have more?" "I can't imagine feeling this way the rest of my life." "I can use my talents in much more productive ways besides having more children." "I was much more patient before I had children." "I am of no use to anyone in such a state." This little voice in your head is not from God. It is the devil trying to discourage you from THE MOST IMPORTANT WORK you will ever do.

You see, like every new job something begins to change after two children (some say three children, but most say two). You begin to settle into your new job. All your little fears and questions really aren't present anymore. You start seeing trends with your children and know that usually "this too shall pass." You begin to have a peaceful acceptance of your promotion and begin to look at it as such. How come I felt more overwhelmed with one than I do with six children? How come I wouldn't think much about driving 8 hours by myself with all of my children, but a few short years ago, I wouldn't have driven 30 minutes with one? How come I will drive to see my mom three hours away and each child will only bring one book to look at and be content the whole drive when in the past they had a toy for every 5 minutes and most trips were very hairy and stressful?

YOU BEGIN TO CHANGE. You begin to see each child very differently. You begin to look at your oldest as not being five-years-old, but as only having 13 years left at home and that takes on a whole new perspective. You start cherishing their baby hood and know that most things are phases. You start realizing how fast it really is going and you start to slow down. You know that they will eventually sleep and even if they don't, it suddenly and weirdly becomes "okay." Why does that happen? When I just had Dominic and was getting up with him in the middle of the night, I truly was the most tired person in America. Really. I would take two naps a day because I thought I was so tired. You adjust. I don't feel anymore tired now than I did with just one. You just keep going and God keeps you going. A very wise mother of nine told me, "The days are long and the years are short." I want to change it to "Some days are long, but to me the years are way too short." You begin to see things changing from one season to the next, and you start to change. You will say, "Just last summer, he loved to ride his bike outside, now he is more quiet and wants to stay inside while we go out."

You see, these are the lessons in the school of motherhood. With each new child, you are promoted. God chips away at us and refines us and makes us beautiful. Why are mothers of large families edifying? Why do we want to be near them? Do not misunderstand my words that mothers of two children have nothing to teach us. That is not what I am saying. What I am saying that with any job, usually the person whom has been there the longest and has the most experience is pretty wise.

There are those who want children and can't conceive. Are people not wise unless they have children and especially "lots" of them? No, not at all. Everybody has something to teach us. I am not here to pat myself on the back (I am still a work in much progress). I am here to encourage and simply say keep going. The world tells you to stop. My whole point is simply that if you are blessed with the gift of fertility, please let us see it as such. If for some reason, God decides not to give us anymore children, I pray that we use our lives to glorify Him in whatever avenue he chooses to take us down. I have many friends and family members whom have not been given children yet, but glorify God beautifully through their lives with their openness to adoption and other great works.

I write to encourage young and older mothers to keep going. One more life. One more soul. A whole new person. The possibilities in one person are breathtaking. I meet so many women who wished they would have had more children, but I've never met a woman who wished they didn't have so many. God gave women the gift of fertility really for a few short years in the perspective of a lifetime. I pray that I treasure this gift and use it wisely.

My brother Dominic was born seventh in our family. Little did my parents know that a few 18 years later, he would be caring for my father during his last days on this earth. The scenes I saw with Dominic and my dad still make me cry. To see a young, strapping 18-year-old lift his crippled father into his wheel chair all the while giving him such beautiful dignity. I would see Dominic turn and cry so often. It was so moving. What a gift and privilege Dominic had to take care of him. John's uncle Fran is the third youngest of twelve children. He is a physician and has spent many years doing mission work in Australia for the poorest of poor. He has repaired peoples lives with his gift of medicine. He has restored vision and hearing to hundreds. One life, his life, has changed many lives. I believe all work is important, but nothing is more important than bringing souls to this earth with the possibility of eternal existence with God forever.

I beg you to realize how privileged you are as a woman to even have children. Let us give God our whole beings without reserve and let Him write the story of our lives and the lives he chooses to bring. For some reason, God does not let us know the end of the story of our lives. So we must trust. As Mother Teresa said, "I want to be a pencil in his hand."

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

To remember...

This is one for the mothering notebook. I love how she takes the time to buy her little girl a hot chocolate, let her get her baby ready to go to the grocery store and then read books for hours.
I think about this so often. I cannot stand saying to our children "Hurry up." It seems so pointless. Let us hurry up to get in the car, so we can hurry up to where we are going, so then to hurry there, and then hurry up to get home. Why are we in such a hurry to rush through the one lifetime we have together? The hours I waste on the internet. It was freedom giving up facebook today. It was an even bigger freedom to not check the internet today and only have limited time to do what I seem to think I need to do.
I want to use my time wisely. I want to be fully present to our children and not just "uh-humming" through their little stories each day. I cannot even begin to record the stories Dominic tells me each day that I am only partially listening too. I want to be more aware of how darling it is that Zellie practices the piano everyday like her siblings. Really. It is very serious to her. I hope I learn the lesson this lent.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

When does it change?

We took the kids to eat at Valentino's tonight for Fat Tuesday. They love to go there because Tuesday is Kid's Night complete with clowns, cotton candy, and ice cream. We just enjoy watching them enjoy themselves. I looked over at Dominic at he was trying to fit his Valentino hat on his head. He worked on getting the right size for a while and then settled back into eating his food. I asked John when it all changes. When does he realize that the Valentino hat looks silly or "thinks" it looks silly on him? When we were leaving, I watched him pull on his hood and put the Valentino hat over the hood. He walked out smiling and peaceful holding his cotton candy.
For some reason, these moments are precious and heart tugging to me. They seem so fleeting. I am glad I am watching. Always watching to catch these ordinary moments that are beautiful, pure, and innocent. I don't want the days to come that he doesn't put the hat on anymore so for now, I am so grateful to be in their childhood with them.

Lent by Dominic Boever

Dominic has been talking for about three weeks about what he is going to give up for lent. This has really encouraged Lillie and Rose to be excited about their lenten sacrifice. He is giving up computer games, movies, and sweets. He has done this diligently for the past two to three years. We were amazed last year how he never even asked for any of the things he gave up. It was like they never existed.

He said today, "Mom, I can't believe lent starts tomorrow. It is going to be tough, but really fun. It will be good for us."

Yes, Dominic you are right. How come he gets it and I don't? How come I never want him to change, but I need to change some of my ways so much? When I think of his inner goodness, I often reflect upon his love of lent every year. It is very inspiring. You are a gift, my sweet boy.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Pancake Tuesday idea

Found this great idea from Catholic Cuisine:

I was thinking for Pancake Tuesday, why not make the pancakes festive Mardi Gras colors?! :-)

Just make your favorite pancake recipe, mix in some
food coloring, and cook them like you always do!

Voila! Mardi Gras pancakes, fresh from the griddle!

You can read more about the Catholic roots of Mardi Gras here

PS. I'm aware that artificial coloring is not everyone's cup of tea, so if you're not a fan, just disregard this idea. :-)

Baby book notes

John was reading "Peter Pan" to Zellie. He pointed to Tinkerbell and asked her who it was. After hesitating, she replied "Jingle Bell, all the way."
Tinkerbell -v- Jingle Bell, all the way...close. cute.

Vianney (11 months) stood up from a sitting position today for the first time in the middle of the room. Big stuff.

Lillie (5 1/2 yrs.) is really writing more and more words by sounding them out phonetically. She wrote everybody in the family today. She spelled Vianney like Veone. Great job, Lillie.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Vianney 10 and 11 months old

Dear Vianney,
I am sorry I am behind. I didn't forget your 10 month birthday. I took the picture and then that month just floated right by us. That was the month your blond curls popped out. It was the month you took your first steps. We had went to Beloit for Christmas and right when we got there your Aunt Hilary asked if you've taken any steps. I said, "NO" and literally right in front of us you took 3 steps. We screamed and you cried because we scared you. Anyway, you didn't practice your new trick much that month. You went to the Emergency Room for the first time. We were at a birthday party and suddenly you spiked a very high fever. You really were fine all day and then it came upon you like a pile of bricks. Your face turned red, you got very limp in my arms and tried to fall asleep. I watched you for a while, but then your breathing started to get labored. We decided to go home and then it just went down hill from there. I called a friend of ours to say we were dropping off your siblings at home and headed to the E.R. We were flying through red lights and I was praying and slightly hyperventilating myself because I was so worried. I don't do well in those situations. Of course, the E.R. got everything under control and sent you home with a diagnosis of pneumonia. You recovered well. Here is your ten month picture.

Your eleventh month brought about new tricks, new words, and new foods. I think most of our babies have done the head stand trick, but we think it is really cute every time. You wait until someone looks under your legs before your crawl off. I told Mechie that I don't think you will ever walk because you LOVE to crawl. I mean LOVE, like as in someone who loves to do marathons. You delight in yourself when you crawl. You look back at your little legs when you crawl. I think it is your hobby. But, I noticed five days ago something changed. You decided to walk more. You are now taking ten steps and walking from thing to thing. I miss your love of crawling. You can say mama, papa, and "a dee". We started you on whole milk which you love. I am trying to get you on more table food but you are moving v.e.r.y slow. You love MUSH! I will keep working on it.
In the mornings, I always give you a bottle, feed you breakfast, and then right before your nap give you another bottle. On Sunday, we were at mass and forgot to bring the second bottle which has been your routine since you were little. We didn't know how much you looked forward to it until you kept looking at me signing "more." Then you would look at your papa and sign "more" to him. We were laughing because you kept looking at both of us like, "Hey, I know you know what I mean. Please deliver the goods." You would give up on me and then turn to your papa. Cute.
Your hair gets curlier and curlier everyday. I couldn't love it more.
You ALWAYS have a cold. I am sure it is some form of milk allergy. You are on raw milk, cod liver oil, and coconut oil now so I hope it helps. Enclosed are a few pictures of your darling head stand and us looking at you.

I love this picture because sometimes you do your head stand even when you are standing up.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Essence of Perfection

Please, please take the time to read her story. It is long so please read it when you have time to savor every word, look at every picture, and cry (A good, beautiful cry). It is the most beautiful story I've read for years and years.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

What did I do before this was invented????????

I may have found the #1 household item.

Brush on kRAZY Glue

Before I found such wonderfulness, my hands use to look like this after using regular super glue.

Actually, I very much disliked Krazy Glue before they invented the Brush-On style. The tube was designed to fool people and I usually spent a good 2-3 days glued to the items I had recently fixed. I had a hard time playing the piano, putting my contacts in, holding the baby. So, when I saw this I rushed right over to Hobby Lobby and bought it. It works great and my fingers never even touched the glue.

My mother had recently given me this beautiful old pitcher that was my great great grandmother's brought over from Europe, carried on horse back, fought off Indians with, and nursed many sick aunts and uncles back to health. I have loved it since I was a little girl. She gave it to me for my birthday this past year. I was elated. A couple months ago, I was dusting our buffet and broke the pitcher. I almost did my best karate move on the buffet for even existing and having the gall to sit in our living room and hold the pitcher. My mother isn't attached to worldly things AT ALL. But when I told her my crime, I think she may have buzzed my hair and eyebrows off if she lived in Lincoln at the time. SOOOO, I was determined to fix it. This is the moment I fell in love with Krazy Glue. Look at the pitcher now!!!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Begging for Prayers again...

I posted this a couple weeks ago regarding a woman named Colleen Mitchell. I just read
today this news and am just heartbroken for this family. PLEASE, PLEASE pray for them and offer any sacrifices you can. May God Bless them!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Life got you your kids swimcaps

John and I decided that our family would benefit from a membership to the YMCA. The kids were giddy and were beyond anxious to go swimming. We didn't want them coming out in the cold with wet heads so I meandered over to Scheel's with Rose and let her pick out a swim cap for everybody. I had no idea the amount of laughter swim caps could bring into one home. In the first picture, the girls are laughing at John and I laughing. It might have been up there on our top 5 laughs of my life. You really can't tell from the picture, but the caps pulled Lillie and Rose's eyes UP and pushed Zellie's eyes DOWN. So, if you've had a bad day and need a good, hard gut hurting laugh, go buy swim caps for your kids and you really don't even need to go swimming. Or maybe we are just odd folks.

Easter Egg Heads

Lillie looked rather "alien"like so John said "Take me to your leader." She tells people that now. I overheard her telling my sister about their caps and she said, "Papa calls my cap "Take me to your leader."

Monday, February 1, 2010

On being a wife

I have been blessed to know a lot of women who are good wives. I don't mean good mothers, homemakers, or money managers. I mean women who love their husbands beautifully and treat him as a gift from God. Specifically, I think of my Aunt Ange. She and I talk all the time about marriage. She has about a 12 year head start on me. I want our daughters to know this wisdom if God calls them into marriage. So, if for some reason I am not around when they are wives, I want to write to them this wisdom.

1. I try to give John 30 minutes when he gets home without asking anything of him. Nothing. I want him to be glad he's home and not put directly to task.

2. They have been working all day and are HUNGRY. Most of the time, dinner isn't ready, so try setting out cheese, crackers, and a beer. I remember being excited to do this when we were first married, but have forgotten to the more children we have had. I want to return to that. Even if it is carrots and dip or chips and salsa, I want him to have something to munch on while I finish dinner. More importantly, you are saying "Welcome home, thank you for being here."

3. My aunt told me that it is so easy to forget that after a baby is born and really anytime in general, your husband needs a break too. I specifically said after a baby because that is when I feel most overwhelmed and occupied. Their lives "seem" to not have changed as drastically as the mother's have. They go to work like usual, sleep through the night like usual, but they have changed. They have another soul they are responsible for, a wife to hold, comfort, and encourage in the early days of postpartum. Mainly, I just want John to know that I am not taking him for granted. I know it feels as though I've not looked at you in the face for a couple weeks, but I SEE EVERYTHING YOU ARE DOING.

4. Please take time to notice all the small things your husband does. THIS is up there on the most important. From sweeping the floor, holding the baby, making a bottle, warming up the car, dropping you off so you don't have to walk in the cold, getting your coat, bathing the children, putting people to bed, reading a story, offering to help, taking the trash out, telling you how nice you look, always giving you the bigger portion. Please notice and say thank you.

5. Never correct your husband especially IN FRONT OF PEOPLE. No one likes to be humiliated, but why would you do this to the person you took vows to and promised to love until the end of your days. It is our job to correct our children, not our husbands. If something needs to be discussed, it should be done in private. I remember an incident once when we were with friends and our husbands were involved in a very loud and crazy athletic game. We were all staying in a hotel and I remember a lot of the wives really chiding their husbands for being so loud and inconsiderate of others in the hotel and made them quit playing. I may have agreed, but I do not feel it was my position to put John in his place and tell him to stop. He is a mature, considerate adult and can decide those things for himself. I said to myself, "He wouldn't be partaking in this if he didn't think it was appropriate."

6. Never, ever bash their job. It would be the same as them bashing our motherhood. It is much more personal to them than we know. We are to be their voice of encouragement, not their voice of doubt. It may require being content on a meager salary, but being their support will only create strength.

7. Be content with what you have. Most men want to please their wives and give her beautiful things. To make them feel as though it isn't enough, will lead down a path that has no end. What's next? It is a trap. You cannot say to yourself, "Once I build a beautiful home, then I will be content." No, we must be content with what we have now and make that beautiful.

8. DO NOT NAG. DO NOT NAG. DO NOT NAG. DO NOT NAG. DO NOT NAG. It will only make him flee if not physically, he will mentally. He, like you, will make mistakes. My friend was so angry at her husband for wrecking their car. Really? Since he did it, on purpose? No, it was an accident. Say to yourself, "He would never hurt me on purpose." He will do things that you think are wrong. Guess what, you will do things that he thinks are wrong too. DO NOT NAG. DO NOT NAG. DO NOT NAG.

9. The teenage years are about YOUR MARRIAGE. My mom says that nothing tests your marriage more than teenagers. Please remember what really is going on. The devil is trying to ruin this marriage, to separate us, to put us at odds against each other. "Divide and Conquer" is his motto.

10. Lastly, but most importantly- Intimacy. My aunt and I have talked endless hours about this issue. I do not want to seem unladylike to even bring up such an issue on a blog, but the value of understanding this issue in marriage is so very important and so very personal. You want your husband to know that "I am always here for you, to love you, to know you." So unless I am in the Emergency Room or have the flu, you want your husband to know that "I, too, want to be with you." Please do not misunderstand my words. Life presents itself in many different forms, but the underlying message is that you want your husband to not feel this is a source of contention between the two of you. The world paints this issue as "that selfish husband who doesn't understand his tired wife." No, really, he just wants to be with the one he loves most and that is his perfect form of expression to her.

Love your husband desperately. The time, effort, and love you put into your marriage will only produce beautiful fruit. It is easy to be a good mother. Loving your own offspring is natural. It is saintly to be a good wife. It is against our nature to give so selflessly, so continually, so diligently to someone whom we didn't produce. Nurture your marriage. Protect your marriage. Your children will come and go, but we will always be with our husbands. Cherish that.