Friday, January 12, 2018

An Ode to this Roller Coaster we Call Parenting

I woke up from a restless sleep to see that I had been given a snow day.  As a teacher, snow days are such a gift.  They are the gift of time- extra time at home, extra time with your family, extra time to get caught up, extra time to sleep, etc.  

As a part time teacher, snow days have taken on a different meaning for me.  While still the gift of extra time with  my boys, they make me fall short of what I needed to accomplish before my teaching partner takes over.  Also, in the case of this year so far, I've been the only one given this gift of snow days, which will make me owe time later, which gets tricky while balancing child care.  

Even though I was frustrated with all I wasn't going to get done at work when the snow day was called, I knew I would feel a lot better when I went in to announce to Nolan and Judah that Mommy would be home today with them instead of at work.  They always jump up and down and get huge smiles on their faces, which helps me feel grateful for the gift of extra time.  

I tiptoed out of our bedroom to meet them in the hallway and said, "Guess what?!" Pause for dramatic effect, "I GOT A SNOW DAY!" And then stood with a grin, eyes lit up, waiting for all the jumping and hugging and excitement to commense.  

It did not.

In fact, what I got was giant tears and wailing from Nolan when his reaction was, "That means Papa isn't coming?!  I wanted Papa to come" Sobs, sobs, more sobs.  He was inconsolable.  He kept mentioning over and over how much sad he was Papa wouldn't be here and how much he wanted to spend the whole day with him, not me.     

Cue all the warm fuzzies. 

I will admit that I was actually crushed and my feelings were super hurt.  So much so that I needed to retreat back into the bedroom to have a really good cry.  Now I was behind in my work AND no one at my house wanted me around either.  Sheesh.

Don't get me wrong, it was I love that my kids love their grandparents- we are very lucky how much they look forward to and enjoy time with my parents and Josh's parents and how close we live to them so they can see all four of them often.  None of that helped my bruised ego.    

A few minutes later, Josh came into the room to console me, understanding how much that interaction hurt my feelings.  He tried, so kindly, to reassure me- reminding me how much Nolan loves me, how his favorite thing about the day before was when I was watching him dance around the house.  He was right, of course, but I was still pretty low.  

After he left, I reflected on how crazy this roller coaster of parenting is.  You have such ups and such downs.  You can be filled with such disappointment one minute and pride that will leave you speechless the next.  You can feel like a super hero and a villain in a matter of seconds.  You can feel like a supreme success and supreme failure many times within a given day, within a given hour. Their are big dips, stomach-flipping drops, loops, and spins that will make you dizzy.  It is quite manic- parenting.

I know my kids are going to hurt my feelings- I know that, I really do.  It's already happened and will continue to happen.  I also know they love me, very, very much.  But in that moment, I couldn't help but question some things.  Wouldn't Nolan know that would make me sad? Haven't I taught him to think of others before speaking?  About empathy?  Am I that un-fun?  Do I spend too much time asking them to clean up instead of playing?  I was questioning everything- where in the world did I go wrong in this situation?  I was only trying to light them up, which would've lit me up.

My door creaked open again, more slowly this time. 

I heard, "Mommy? Are you asleep?"  It was Nolan.  

He walked slowly over to my side of the bed- Josh a few steps behind him.  I sat up and looked at him waiting for what might be next.

Josh began, "Nolan has a couple of things for you- he's been telling me quite a bit downstairs how badly he feels for hurting your feelings and making you think he didn't want to spend today with you."

"I wrote you a note and drew your a picture with your favorite colors,"  Nolan said bringing pieces of paper into view from behind his back.  "Can you read the note I wrote for you?"  He handed me one of the papers.  On it was a note in Josh's handwriting with Nolan's signature.  

I read the words above out loud in that lumpy broken voice when tears are coming.  Then he handed me the picture filled with mostly purple (my favorite color) but also pink (my second favorite).

Josh assured me, several times, that he had nothing to do with this- these papers were not his idea, but Nolan's.

Nolan and I hugged for a long time and I let him know how much better this made me feel and how much I appreciated his kindness.      

Just twenty minutes before, I was questioning so much of my parenting.  Thinking I had screwed up big time if my kid would rather not spend time with me and could find words to hurt me that badly. Now, I was... touched, deeply touched.  So proud, so impressed, so in awe of this little kind-hearted being who knew he may have made someone sad and worked so hard to make it better. I needed to have a good cry again, but for a completely different reason.  This little human is incredible and he is mine.

Again, such a roller coaster and it wasn't even 7:15 in the morning yet.  

I had gone from such a low to SUCH a high.  I knew the rest of the day wouldn't be perfect- there would be more highs, like when we pretended we were in Cancun and went swimming in the bathtub, when Judah went from one side of the couch to the other just to snuggle with me, when Carter said he missed me while he was at school yesterday, and Nolan showered me with kisses.  I knew there'd be some lows too- when the boys took FOREVER to get dressed, when they disagreed and tears were shed, when Carter knocked over an awesome Magnitiles tower built by Nolan and Judah, when we were arguing about how much carrot needed to be eaten during dinner.

This parenting is such a ride.  

Bottom line- I need to keep trusting my instincts, putting in the time, boundaries, and  consistency, and showing these boys an extreme amount of love, patience, compassion, and understanding.  The parenting roller coaster is an extreme ride, but so worth it.    

Monday, January 1, 2018

#OneWord 2018: Less

I don't know why, but each year, I love to decide, as many others do, to try to sum up my new year goals, resolutions, and changes with only one word.  I do find this incredibly challenging since I am not concise and am always striving to change and improve 783 things at once.  How can I sum up all that in one word?! 

After much reflection and thought, I've decided that my #oneword for 2018 is less

Less can often be a word that has a negative connotation: being less happy, caring less, giving less effort towards something, spending less time with someone.  For me though, this year, I'm hoping this word helps me gain more.  

I couple of things I'm going to try to do less of...
- worry less about things I cannot control
- spend less time on things I don't want to do
- purge things in my house so that there are less things, less clutter
- spend less time ignoring myself
- get up less early in the morning (please, please, please)
- say yes less
- check my email less 
- be winded less (I MUST EXERCISE)
- spend less time making decisions
- know my boundaries and limits and stick to them so I am ultimately juggling less

I also can't use the word less without making a reference to eating less or eating less junk food (I'm afraid #hundtbaby4 will pop out a pizza, cookie, or piece of chocolate... like really).

I want to think less, do less, give less, get less worried, and less fired up about things that aren't mine.

As a detailed-oriented perfectionist control freak, I will often take on more and more and more and it can be really damaging.  I can get overwhelmed, frustrated, and begin acting as though my priorities are different than what I actually know them to be. 

I hope that lessening a lot of things will help me get more of what I really want: more family time, more connection with friends, more time to do what I love

I find myself constantly searching for more balance and more peace.

Less can be my key to finding these values that always seem unreachable for me.  

What is your #oneword for 2018?


Sunday, December 31, 2017

My Doctorate in Youth Sleep Studies OR I am Tired

This post is honestly embarrassing for me to write.

The last day of 2017 began, for me, at 5:24am.  I wish I could say that was atypical, abnormal, a fluke, but alas- it is my new normal for about the last six months.

I need to start by complimenting my boys on the things, sleep related, that they do SO well. My boys have never fought going to bed- our bedtime routines have been consistent, positive, and a well-oiled machines since they were very very small.  They go to bed, fairly early, willingly.  They do not come into our room to sleep with us in our bed... ever.  They do not wake up in the middle of the night.  They have never fought taking a nap.  I'm knocking on wood as I write all these things... 

Nolan and Judah have always been earlier risers- they've never slept past 7:00am... like ever.  But, something happened to Nolan and Judah where they began waking up about an hour earlier than they had previously done for at least the last two years.  Their 6:30-6:45 wake up times have now turned in 5:30am wake ups.

I said I was embarrassed writing this post because if I truly admit the amount of articles I've read on sleep, the amount of data I've collected, the statistics I've analyzed, the hypothesis I've gathered, and the amount of case studies I've ran to try to "fix" this problem to get us all more sleep, you, my reader, would start looking at my funny and I won't blame you if you do.  I seriously have done enough field related work and research to have earned me, I believe, a doctorate in youth sleep studies.  I may only currently have two patients: Nolan and Judah, but you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who knew more about youth sleep patterns and the latest research, findings, and studies than I would.  You'd also be hard pressed to find anyone who's tried as many things as I've tried to learn about and analyze sleep.

I happen to firmly believe that starting your day in the 5s for anything other than leaving for a vacation is ridiculous.  I'm sorry.  I'm not asking for my small humans to wake up at 8:00am or anything- I'm merely asking for my day to start with a 6 in front of it.  I used to want the start time to be 6:30 or later for my boys, but now, I'll take 6:01 and be perfectly content.  Is that too much to ask?!   

I'd be a lot better at accepting that this early wake-up time is my new normal if Nolan and Judah could prove that it's all the sleep they needed.  However, when Judah is having meltdowns at 7:15 in the morning and Nolan is falling asleep on the way home from school at 2:45pm begging for a nap, and they both are disastrously cranky at dinnertime, I know what they are getting is not enough.  Period.  They show, often, that they are tired.  

I also know that Josh and I cannot parent to our best ability when our day starts before 5:30am most days.  My fuse is short, my patience is thin, my energy is low.  Every time Carter goes down for a nap, the struggle in my head of whether I should be productive or just take a freaking nap has turned into a moral dilemma, which has lowered my productivity for both my professional work life and my home work life.  On the weekends, one of Josh and my biggest priorities is how to squeak in extra opportunities to get each other some extra sleep.  We, he and I, have not handled this well.  No matter how early you try to go to bed (after tidying up for the day and trying to spend a little time together after people go to bed), 5:30am is early- let's be real. Josh and me are not getting enough sleep.  We also show, often, that we are tired. 

When this first began, we thought it had something to do with the nicer weather coming in spring/summer especially the freaking birds chirping VERY early in the morning.  We already had blackout curtains, but invested in sound machines hoping we could get back on track. Nope.  Summer does offer so much more daylight so we rolled with it a little bit keeping our fingers crossed that more darkness would trigger more sleep.  Then the time change happened in the fall, making our wake up times more like 4:30am and that's when I really started to lose it.  I also happened to be in my first trimester of pregnancy and was in desparate need of extra sleep and wasn't getting it.   

I did what any researcher would do: I collected data... a lot of it.  I studied naps, bedtime times, first wake up times, moods, locations of sleep, bathroom patterns, etc.  Then I hypothesized like crazy making all kinds of conjectures about what was causing this change.  After making these, of course, I needed to change some things up and see if it helped any. 
Just one example of data I collected
 I messed with naps: no naps, shorter naps, longer naps, different nap time start, different nap time end, quiet boxes.  

I messed with bedtime: later bedtime, earlier bedtime, yoga before bed, essential oils, classical music, deep breathing exercises, no drinks, extra potty trips, Nolan and Judah sleeping in separate bedrooms.

I messed with wake ups: alarms set, post it notes, non verbal communication, quiet morning choices, morning walks, morning rest time. 

I read article after article on toddler and preschool sleep written by doctors, pediatricians, other moms.  I offered rewards, punishments, praise, constructive criticism. 

Do you want to look at me funny yet?  Again, I don't blame you. 

Here we are, on the last day of 2017, still tired... all of us.  Well, except Carter... somehow he sleeps blissfully unaware of our struggle until at least 7:30 in the morning. 

My sleeping Bing, blissfully unaware of our sleep woes
I can't say that I'm also not worried about how this early wake up factors with a new baby in the house.  Nolan and Judah yelling that they have to go poop at 5:40am will certainly wake a sleeping baby.  I.Will.Loose.It. Starting my day before 6:00am when I've been up every 2-3 hours feeding a new baby will certainly make Josh and I deliriously sleep deprived. I.Will.Loose.It.  

I am not the type of person to give up on things I want to be different, which is why I'm tackling this thing six months later.  Feel free to offer suggestions to me- I've probably already tried them, but maybe there's something I've missed.  You will be my hero.  I'll also take suggestions on how to function, happily, productively, positively, and patiently on a day that starts at 5:30am.  Please send help.  

Don't worry, I may be exhausted and very perturbed, but I haven't lost all my perspective- I'd much rather be waking up at 5:30am hearing Judah call down the hall that he can't sleep anymore than be waking up at 5:30am to drive to Ann Arbor for yet another doctor's appointment at U of M Center for Reproductive Medicine.  I am tired and I would like more sleep, but I will take this any day.  However, I will keep pushing, trying new things, reading, and researching on this topic because that is my way.  

2017: I leave you grateful and tired, my belly a lot bigger, circles under my eyes a lot darker.  I'm about to walk down the stairs after hearing Judah's second or third meltdown of the day- it's 8:48am.  We have already showered, folded laundry, cleaned bathrooms, built train tracks, ate breakfast, read books, and I've wrote this blog.  I will likely not make it to midnight tonight to see 2018 start, after all, 5:30am comes early...

Thursday, December 28, 2017

"Are you sure you're not having twins?" and other questions for #HundtBaby4

Since being "out" with the pregnancy of our fourth child, I've received all kinds of questions, comments, and reactions.  Some of them have seemed typical things people say such as as wondering when I was due.  Others have seemed a little more specific to this particular pregnancy.  Either way, because of "My Crazy," I always feel a bit awkward talking about a pregnancy out loud as if I'm jinxing it in someway.  

Please don't misunderstand, I am SO over the moon excited, grateful, and completely in awe of the honor of being pregnant.  There have been many moments where I didn't think I'd ever get pregnant, even more still where I didn't think I'd ever stay pregnant, and just as many where I didn't feel like Josh and I could ever do this pregnancy thing on our own without lots of medical interventions.  You don't go through all the infertility and miscarriage heartache without being one of the most appreciative pregnant people on Earth.  I can tell you, being on my fourth baby, that stays with you- that fall-to-your-knees in praise type of gratitude.

BUT---> my fear... oh the fear...that really stays with you too and it does cripple my experience of being a pregnant person and makes me uncomfortable to talk and plan for a baby that isn't in my arms yet.

I explain all this just to help people understand me and know that I am grateful of how many people care to talk to me about this baby even if that conversation is hard for me to have.  Please don't stop asking me questions or inquiring about this baby; I appreciate you. 

Anyway... here are some typical questions I've been asked with some answers for all who might be on the edge of their seat wondering..

- When are you due? I know I look like I'm due tomorrow, but am not until May 8th.  And yes, if you're doing some numbers in your head, Nolan and Judah's birthday is May 7th and Carter's birthday is May 3rd. NO, WE DIDN'T PLAN THAT.  See below... ;)  

- Are you finding out what you're having? Nope- we've enjoyed not finding out with any pregnancies.  It's worked for us and if it ain't broke, don't fix it :) Having Josh see the baby first and be able to tell me who this beautiful miracle is has been a wonderful experience.  

- How have you been feeling? Mentally, exactly the same as the others- mostly a complete basketcase ;) Physically, first trimester wasn't easy... I didn't want a single food.  Yuck.  But now I'm kicking it and feeling just great.  Very winded this time (I can barely walk up the stairs without breathing hard.  I am so out of shape).

- Are the boys excited to be big brothers? Yes! Especially Nolan and Judah.  Carter isn't totally there- I think he likes being the baby.  All the boys would love a sister- they can't imagine having FIVE boys in the house with just me as the only girl. 

Here are some additional questions that seem specific to this particular pregnancy...

- Is this baby 'planned'? Yes! We've always hoped to have four kids. 

- Are you trying for that girl? The short answer to that one is no.  In fact, absolutely not.  I'll be so clear that Josh and I are not trying for a girl.. we will not have five or nine or twelve kids until the baby girl pops out.  We've always wanted a bigger family- always talked about having four kids.  I am at such peace no matter what gender pops out!  If it's a boy- that's incredible! I know what to do with boys, I'll also have three other boys born in May, which means I'll want or need for nothing for this baby.  If somehow we squeak a girl out- what a wonderful surprise.

- Are you sure you're not having twins this time? Don't you think me, a mom of twins, would know if I was having another set?! They do check for that.  And look, I know I'm huge.  I popped right out with this one- that'll happen when your abdominal muscles are near your hips... I've got NOTHING to hold anything in people! My skin is the opposite of firm and tight, thank you, kindly, for pointing that out to me.  And another thing, if you think I've got a big belly now, you should've seen how huge I got with ACTUAL twins ;)  I've been asked this question several times, can you tell? 

- All your babies born within a week of each other? How did you plan that? My answer to that is that you must not know me very well.  Someone who's had as much trouble as we have getting pregnant and staying pregnant cannot plan things like this.  This is an incredible coincidence.  God, you do make me giggle.     

Regardless of what else I might be asked as this pregnancy continues, #HundtBaby4 needs to know nothing else except that he/she is incredibly loved, was incredibly planned for and prayed about, and will be a perfect addition to our family. 
20 week ultrasound


Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Nolan and Judah: 4.5 years

The minutes can sure feel slow, but wow does time ever flyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy.

I have two four and a half year olds- two kids who are closer to being in kindergarten with each passing minute and I can't even.  I've really enjoyed every stage and this one is no different.  Here's what been up with Nolan and Judah.

What Nolan is Into:
Nolan continues to be extremely aware of his surroundings and the people in them.  He has a very deep mind and the capacity to have real understandings of empathy and compassion.  Although he wants others to be happy, healthy, and be taken care of, he also prefers if everything is done the way HE wants it :)  I truly think Nolan was lucky to be born into our family with Josh and me as his parents because his intense emotions, his need for control and order, and his "occasional" bossiness are fully understood by his parents.  We can help him label his feelings, patiently let him talk through whatever he needs to digest, and can recognize when his control freak-ness is really out and help him deal with it.

He is still obsessed with building things- he wants his Magnitiles out first thing in the morning and will build and build and build and build.  The things he makes are incredible- his imagination and creativity rock.

Recycling has been a fairly new thing for Nolan to love.  He loves taking out the recycling, making sure our recycling bin is full, and correcting us if we put something in the trash that we shouldn't.  He also talks about recycling a lot and was a recycling man for Halloween.

I think reading is really close on the horizon for Nolan. He's been sounding out letter sounds and recognizing a lot of sight words, which is just wild to me.  I know this next year or two is going to absolutely blow me away with what our twins are going to be able to do, read, recognize.

Nolan also loves to rake leaves... like so much.  This is fantastic for us because our yard is insane in the fall.  He will chose raking leaves over just about any other method of outside play.

What Judah is Into:
I think partially because Nolan likes to control things so much, Judah does like to seek out areas that he too can control.  He likes to lead the way when we are walking out the door or going up the stairs.  He really like to pick which dump truck he pushes around and has also been exercising his right to control on food.  We've had lots of struggles lately with him and food- getting him to eat, getting him to eat in a timely manner, having to make deals for every single meal on what he will or won't finish.  It's been a bit exhausting I will admit and definitely frustrating especially when he decides not to eat something HE ASKED FOR.  With his wheat allergy, we already have to do enough battles with him trying to limit the intake of things he LOVES- carbs, gluten-packed carbs.  So the extra food battles have not been a welcome addition.  We're working through it though ;)

Judah is a fantastic playmate and friend and his positive attitude lights up any room.

Cars have been one of Judah's favorite activities lately- he loves to dump them, organize them, park them, and have Nolan build elaborate garages and houses for them.

Judah has always had a love for cooking, but lately, he's been a bit more independent to the point where he pretty much cooked us an entire dinner (with Josh supervising ;) )

Now although both of these boys are completely and totally their own human, their love and support for one another also continues to grow as they grow.  When Nolan is scared to get bounced on the trampoline during gymnastics class, Judah sits off to the side with him so he won't be alone.  When Judah isn't feeling well, Nolan makes up a blanket and pillow area on the couch and brings a trash can over... just in case ;)  They were even wiseman #1 and wiseman #2 in the Christmas play at school but got separated because they were hugging each other too much so now they are wiseman #1 and wiseman #3.

Because they are the oldest, as THEY go through new stages, so too do I.  Even though Carter is very much is own person, I at least know some things to expect with him.  With Nolan and Judah, things are truly brand new.  So, as a mom, I've also noticed some slight changes in them that bring with it the bitter sweetness of children getting older.

My boys are becoming so much more independent.  That is such a love/hate word for me.  When they can write their name on their own, I leap for joy as my heart swells with pride.  When they learn something new, I wanna call everyone and brag all about it because I am just in awe of them and truly cannot believe how cool it is when they can build on their own, cook on their own, even dress themselves on their own. 

Then, when they walk up to school by themselves leaving me in the dust on the driveway or ask for me NOT to sing them to sleep, I want to sob uncontrollably and my heart yearns for the time when their entire hand was holding my finger.  I get that choking feeling in my throat until they turn around with a huge smile on their face feeling so proud they walked up the sidewalk alone or ask me to pray with them instead of sing before bed and it makes those changes more okay and more bearable.  Tears are rolling down my cheeks as I even write this.  Being big is so cool and being big also breaks my heart a little.

I know I will blink and they'll be graduating high school-

Ah, being a parent.  What a gift- a heart wrenching, heart swelling gift.   

These two keep me busy and guessing and learning and growing right alongside them.  Five years old will be here before I know it...

Monday, November 27, 2017

Carter: 2.5 years

The Bing has turned two and a half years old recently!  It's insane to me how old he is, how big he is, how much he can do, and how many things he thinks he can do (that maybe he can't yet ;) ) 

Here's what up with Carter...

Things Carter is Into:
Carter loves destroying things- much to the chagrin of his brothers who are often the victim of this.  I know that dumping, running into, and knocking down are super age appropriate for Carter right now, but it's definitely been a bit more challenging this time around since there are older brothers.  When N and J were Carter's age, the only stuff they messed with was mine.  Not that I enjoyed that or anything, but I'd much rather me get frustrated or sad than anyone else.  It's hard to try to help N and J understand they may need to build in a different place or that pretty much any time they are working on a creation, they are taking a large risk that Hurricane Carter may reek havoc.  Carter does seem to feel bad if he's upset his big brothers, but this act is still very much a well-loved hobby.  

Carter is also into books with sounds and flaps and especially books that you press the button and a voice reads the words on the page.  He wants to read the same books over and over and over and over and over again.  He is a lover of reading.

Being outside might be his favorite thing- he loves stoller rides, playgrounds, riding his balance bike (he FLIES on that thing), pushing strollers around, and generally walking around and exploring.  He will chose to go outside as opposed to any other choice of something to do.  He often cries when it's time to go in and don't ever promise to go outside and then not deliver.  You will regret it oh so much.    

I am lucky to have an extremely verbal child.  His vocabulary is just insane.  However, he's been into only making noises and whines especially first thing in the morning, after naps, or just when he really wants to bug people.  I can't even with that. He sounds EXACTLY like how Curious George sounds.  This kid is so lucky to have the words at his lips to say pretty much whatever he wants and when he doesn't use his voice, it infuriates me.  

He loves playing a game, particularly with Grammy, called 'Jumping and Sleeping.'  It is pretty much just how it sounds- he jumps around like crazy and then goes to sleep for about three seconds.  Then he wakes up and does it all over again.  He also likes puppets, puzzles, making people laugh, and playing anything his brothers are playing.  

Things Carter isn't Into:
Potty training is certainly the thing Carter is most NOT into.  Seriously, no interest.  He loves reading about potty training, but wants NOTHING to do with toilets, potty seats, big boy fancy pants, getting out of diapers, etc.  Nada. I learned a lot from potty training N and J and fully believe the child needs to drive this bus, not the parent, so I am trying to be patient.  I keep thinking to myself "oh surely by the end of the summer, he will have gone in the potty a few times" (nope). Or, "He'll be in such a different place by Christmas" (don't think so).  Maybe by three years old we'll have some progress?!?!?

Carter is not into sitting still... at all.  He wants out of his high chair, out of his stroller, out of his car seat, out of the shopping cart, etc.  He is on the move constantly.  I'm a seasoned veteran at that because big brothers are and were EXACTLY the same but sheesh... it is freaking hard to keep up with all three of these constant movers.  We've definitely had some scares with him- he can exit our newly fenced-in backyard in a second, he will take off at stores and museums, and will flee the scene if you're trying to get him to sit still to put on shoes and coats to leave the house.  You've gotta hang on to this kid tightly, I tell you what. 

I'm so thankful he's growing into such a caring, smart, and funny little mover and shaker and can't wait to see what the next sixth months has in store for him.   


Friday, October 20, 2017

A Letter to the Bride, Myself, 10 Years Ago

Dear Kristin Pavona (2007 addition),

Today is your wedding day!  You are about to become Kristin Hundt.  This is a day that you have been planning in your mind for as long as you can remember.  It's here! 

Today, you choose a man, Josh Hundt, to walk along side you as your partner, your equal, your biggest cheerleader, supporter, your knight in shining armor.

As you patiently wait for Grandma Ort to arrive in the post-tornado/curfew traffic that is the thriving metropolis of Williamston, Michigan, you are certainly thinking about your husband, how much you love him today, and all the reasons WHY you feel in love with him.

Now that I've been married to Josh for ten years, which I think gives me the ability to be pretty legit on the subject, let me drop some knowledge...

First of all, you will love Josh more in the years to come than you do right now... like a lot more.

I hope that gives you some peace.

Second, I know that you fell in love with Josh because of how different he was from you.  He was everything you were not.  Ever since you met him, his care-free attitude, sense of humor, radiant positivity, and his laid-back personality and zest for life made him quite appealing to you. 

Josh        is         not         that         person. 

 He is not the ying to your yang, but instead the yang to your yang.  He is an anxious worrier JUST.LIKE.YOU.

BAM. Mic drop.

 Now before you lose it and question the decision you have made to spend your life with him- don't worry!  You will find this out very quickly and it will be quite alright.  Different than you thought, yes, but completely okay.  The deep and profound way that you will understand each other will be incredibly helpful through crisis, through stress, and through joy as well.  Opposites don't have the be the only ones that attract :)  You will also be pleasantly surprised at the way one of you always steps up to be the calm, collected, rational thinker when the other one can't.  It works, fear not. 

As a seasoned married person to Josh Hundt, I want to give you, the almost bride, some extreme reassurance of what you are about to do by asking you to remember what makes Josh and you so special and so unique...

You can admit to yourself that you loved this man, in some form, since you were fourteen years old.  For those ten years up until now, your wedding day, Josh has been a huge part of your life- the person you kept going back to again and again and again.  When you were in your early teenage years, you chose him.  When you were in the weeds of teenage angst, you chose him.  When you were deciding what to do with the rest of your life, leaving high school to go on to college, you chose him.  When you graduated college, starting adulthood, you chose him.

A lot of changing and growing went on during those stages of your life and both you and him kept coming back to each other.  This is the key to what makes Josh and Kristin so special.

That will continue to be one of the best parts of your relationship- as you grow and change, you will still come back to each other, you will still choose each other. 

You don't know this yet, but from your wedding day until your ten year anniversary, life is going to get legit real quick and you and him will both grow and change... like a lot.  You will endure deaths in the family, cancer in the family, drug addiction in the family.  You both will never be the same after that and you will still choose each other.

You will change a tremendous amount again as you maneuver the world of infertility, bad news, countless doctors appointments, countless tests, countless medications, countless pokes and prodding.  Romance will die during this time- schedules and timing will be all that matter.  Shuffling appointments will run your life.  You both will never be the same after that and you will still choose each other.

Josh and you will love two babies, make plans for two babies, dream of two babies, and never hold those two babies.  Your grief will be immense and crippling.  It will forever change the way you look at pregnancy and add extreme worry and extreme stress and extreme fear to the beautiful baby-carrying experience.  You will both never be the same after that and you will still choose each other.

When you hold your babies after full term pregnancies for the first time, you will both sob in gratitude, overcome with a new deep love for other human beings.  First smiles and laughs will make you want to explode.  Going from crawling to walking will make you smile and cry all at the same time.  When you accomplish something you'd waited for, hoped for, prayed for, worked damn hard for, and didn't know would ever happen, your both will never be the same after that and you will still choose each other.

The reality of work, grading papers, catching up on emails, balancing schedules, sleepless nights, potty training, preschool, shuffling people around from one activity to the next, and ALL that comes with parenting and adulting will sometimes make you feel like you are a completely different human.  You will barely recognize yourself some days.  You will have very little time or energy left to do much of anything else including pumping time into your relationship.  You will both never be the same after that and you will still choose each other.

Time will fly.  There will be more joy than you imagined and more sorrow than you imagined, but never EVER forget how often you've chosen each other.  It is what makes you special, strong, unique and one of the reasons I know you are so sure about what you are about to do.

Your wedding day will be fabulous- soak it all in and take time to enjoy it.  And every time that you look at that groom's face throughout the ceremony, the picture taking, the reception, know with all of you heart, you made the absolute right decision.

With so much love,
The ten-year older, hopefully ten-year wiser, Kristin Hundt (2017 addition)