A few months ago I took a wonderful parenting class at my church it was based on the book Being the Parent You Want to Be by Drs. Les and Leslie Parrot.  I went to the class hoping to get a few tools for my parenting tool belt but what I got instead was a Divine Intervention that quite possibly may have saved my marriage.  Now there isn't really anything wrong with my marriage right now mind you  except that all my time and energy is spent taking care of my kids and then what little I have left I use to attend to my Spouse.
I've been to two different parenting presentations and told by two different Marriage, Family, Life Therapists that you have to take time out for your self (happy, recharged mommy = better mommy for the kids) and time out for just you and your spouse.  This as we all know is so much easier to say than to put into practice.  But in all honesty I've noticed that in the 14 years I've been married I feel like my spouse and I have drifted the farthest apart in the last 4 years (post kids). This is not his fault and it is not my fault. Life just happens.
This weekend my husband and I attended a marriage seminar at church titled The Art of Marriage, and guess what. There it was again, this idea that the marriage has to be before the kids. WHAT?!  But here is why and it makes sense.  The kids will grow up and leave when they marry their own spouse. They will Leave their mothers and fathers to Cleave to their own spouses. This is God's design and how wonderful that is.  Our spouse is God's Gift to us. Our spouse should be valued above all others with a certain reverence that demands our attention, our love, our understanding and patience and our forgiveness.  Our loyalty should lie with our spouse.  So often I hear other women talking negatively about their Husbands- his short comings, his latest offenses etc.  I too am guilty of taking part in this. But NO MORE. I get it now. My Spouse is the one person who is a true confidant, the person I can be myself with, the one person who will cheer me on to be a better person always, the one person who will be there- ALWAYS.
Now I LOVE my children, they are the world to me and I want all sorts of happinesses and successes for them. But the GREATEST gift I can give to my children is to love their Dad first and always.  This will give them confidence, security and a great role model of what a healthy loving relationship should be. When I think of the marriage I want for them (happy and loving, with attentive and forgiving spouses) I realize that I need to first have that and model that. I can not do that if they get 95% of me and my Husband gets 5% of me.
I don't want to find out in 15+ years as my children leave for college that my spouse and I have grown so far apart that we are really strangers with little to nothing in common because I was so busy taking care of the kids that I neglecting his needs. I am living intentionally in the present making time for my spouse and I to reconnect often. It might just be making a special dinner once a month for just the two of us after the kids go to bed, or taking the time to walk into his office and rub his shoulders for two minutes while he's working.  I make sure to kiss him before either of us leave the house and to acknowledge him as soon as one of us return home.

We found out the results of Sam's blood work. He has cancer in the lungs, in fact the xrays show several tumors. He is coughing a lot and we have him on predisone. We had a nice talk with the Princess so she now knows that Sam has a "doggie sickness". We didn't want to use the "C" word or say he was sick because he is old or anything else that would scare her. We were honest and told her that he would die sometime soon and that he would not be with us for another Christmas. We told her that he had hard lumps in his lungs and it made it hard to breathe.  We explained that he would get sicker and when he got really sick Mommy and Daddy would take him to the vet to get some special medicine that would make him feel a little better but wouldn't heal him and that he would not be coming back home when that happened.  It was hard to talk about it and I was so glad my hubby and I had discussed what we were going to say ahead of time. I started to get all teary eyed and got  a huge lump in my throat so the my dear hubby did most of the talking.

I thought she would ask if he was going to go to heaven and what would happen when he died. I had read up in my 200 questions kids ask about God and the Bible and 104 questions kids ask about heaven and angels and I was ready--  but she didn't ask. So, now we will try to make Sam as happy as we can for the time we have left with him.
This weekend we had an impromptu visit from Grandma and Grandpa. The kids were over the moon. Friday night Grandma and Grandpa took them to a pizza place for dinner (one of those places that has games and tickets), while me and my dear husband got to have a nice dinner out together at a restaurant we hadn't tried yet. Saturday my sister joined us and brought her daughter and we all went to the Duck Pond together. Grandma and Grandpa got to spend time with all three of the California grandchildren.

My hubby didn't get to join us at the Duck Pond because he had to take our older dog to the vet. Our dog, Sam, had been coughing quite a bit and seemed to be running a fever. He called me while we were at the duck pond to tell me that the vet had taken x-rays and it looked like Sam may have lung cancer, but it also might be a viral infection and we could have blood drawn if we want to rule out the viral infection.  So $220 for the x-ray and $240 for the blood draw later--- we are waiting to hear the results. The vet seemed pretty sure that our boy has cancer though.  He is eleven and we've had him since he was 10 mos old. So, he is an old guy.  Now we have to figure out how to break the news to the kids.