Privacy: How Modern Dating Rules Are Ruining Marriage

Call me old school. 👵🏼

Photo by The Durham’s Photography:

I don’t care who my husband follows on social media – male or female – nor do I care who follows him. 

In fact, I don’t have any of his passwords and don’t go looking for what he ‘liked’ or didn’t. 

I don’t go through his phone.

I don’t call his friends to confirm he told me the truth about who he’s with, or make him turn on a location so I know where he’s at when we’re not together.

This is a mutual respect we have for each other, and it goes both ways in our marriage.

What kind of children are we (yes, we) raising that are thinking it’s OK to invade others’ privacy like this just because they are in a relationship? 

Courtship or not, we are all still individuals. We all still deserve personal boundaries, space and privacy.

Have I been in relationships before where I couldn’t trust the other person? 


Have I been the person in other relationships who couldn’t be trusted?

Also, yes.

Have I gone through past significant others’ phones and vice versa?

You bet.

But listen sister: if you’ve been hurt before – you’ve got two options moving forward:

Continue your hurt into the next relationship (with someone who doesn’t deserve that hurt anymore than you do!)



Yes, trust is hard. 

But there is no relationship we should want to be part of outside of one we can’t trust each other in. 

Trust is NOT invading another’s privacy to validate our own insecurities💯

Trust is knowing that the person you’re in a relationship with would never intentionally hurt you, and not having to discredit them by invading said privacy.

Every time you go through your partner’s phone, or request to see a picture of where they’re having dinner to prove they told you the truth before they left the house 2 hours ago – you discredit them.

It’s time, sister.

Time to grow.

St. Louis, MO

Month 3 of our 12 months of travel in 2021 consisted of a 3-day spring break trip to St. Louis, Missouri.

I just want to preface this by saying – we were here for 3 full days and didn’t even touch the SURFACE of the activities there are to do. If you are in the Midwest, this is a MUST city to visit! The suburbs were alive with hustle and bustle of people – live music on the street corners, every type of cuisine you can imagine, and activities I’d never even heard of before (I mean…a 10-story museum with an entire skate park inside?!)

Our three boys in Arch Park, with a snippet of the Mississippi behind them.

We started our trip at 4 AM on Friday morning – while it’s only a 4.5 hour drive to the East side of Missouri from Wisconsin, we knew we’d need a breakfast stop, as well as a potty stop with our newly trained 2.5 year old 😉

Our first stop was the St. Louis Zoo! The zoo is FREE and totally worth the $15 for parking. While the zoo is located in beautiful Forest Park, which does offer free parking, I suggest paying to park your car. Not only will your vehicle be in a secure lot, but the park extends for 3 square miles, so you may end up walking quite a ways. The zoo is BIG, so save your steps for the animals!

This zoo is home to over 18,000 animals. We were so grateful for a 60 degree day – and I think the animals were too! The brown bear was out and playing, all of the camels, cheetah, tiger, jaguar and giraffes were out to play as well. And don’t even get me started on the elephants – they have an entire area (4 displays worth) of elephants – they’re beautiful! Because the zoo was free, we grabbed lunch from the small restaurant there (pictured below) but you are able to bring your own food and beverage in if you so choose. I would also like to note that they DO have a Starbucks on campus if you choose a chilly day to go – coffee was a lifesaver in the early morning chill!

Lunch outside in the sunshine. Everyone had hotdog or a burger. Reasonably priced and delicious!

After a full morning + afternoon at the zoo, we headed to Gateway Arch National Park to check out the infamous Arch! Our boys are currently obsessed with the show Gold Rush (if you aren’t familiar, the show features modern day gold miners primarily based in the Yukon. Diggers and excavators galore – a boys dream!) We were so excited to show them the gateway to prosperity – Westward Ho! You get the idea 🙂 There wasn’t much happening when we arrived, but it was a beautiful park. Great for pictures, jogging, bike riding, and of course the Mighty Miss is always close by – it was fun to show each of our boys the same river they had seen on our trip to LaCrosse, WI last fall.

The Arch. So big. Just, so big!

By that time, we were all wiped out! We headed back to our resting place – Holiday Inn Express – Troy, IL. Our hotel was about 20 minutes outside in the city in Illinois. We chose this hotel mostly because it was MUCH less expensive than staying directly downtown, and partly because we knew that after a long day of exploring, we wouldn’t want to have to deal with finding a parking space or navigating cranky children through a downtown area. (Can you tell we’re country folk yet?!) The Holiday Inn was directly off the freeway – perfection. It was very clean, the staff was especially friendly (even when I asked for extra bedding for the spare bed that wasn’t located in our room), and there was a multitude of restaurants to choose from for dinner in close vicinity. Due to the timing of our trip, the pool was closed due to the “pandemic”, so we chose to order pizza to our room and call it a night!

Day 2 started bright and early with a planned trip to City Museum in downtown St. Louis. I reserved tickets online about a week before our trip (only $16/person!) and I am sure glad we did. The museum opens at 10 AM. We arrived at 9:45 and paid $10 to park in the lot across the street. I am definitely glad we decided to pay to park close – it was a secure/monitored lot, and there was a line wrapped around the block of the museum already to get in!

If you’re unfamiliar, City Museum is a hundred year old warehouse that designers have taken and used their imaginations to craft their own city. Life like caves (that only our children could fit in!), a full skate park on Floor 4, a 10-story slide, a full size school bus hanging off the top floor, and SO much more in-between.

There was something new to discover every time we turned around! Tunnels, caves, slides, life size whales and fish. INCREDIBLE doesn’t even come close to an accurate description. If you plan to spend the day here, I highly recommend tennis shoes and stretchy / moveable clothing. I had deeply regretted wearing jeans after the first hour of cave climbing. While I am super grateful for my health and ability to fit through the caves – jeans and a cardigan did not serve me well! Also, the museum does have lockers to rent, which is great! But if you can, stick your phone in your pocket or bring a string backpack. Personally, I wouldn’t recommend bringing anything into the museum with you. No food or drinks are allowed to be brought in, and even a string backpack will be a hard squeeze through some of the caves.

We spent the ENTIRE day roaming the museum. It was WELL worth the $16 each, and we definitely knew why the line was so long by the end of the day. (P.S.: The line NEVER got shorter! They just let more people in as others left the building!)

After our full day we decided on Sugarfire BBQ for dinner. Sugarfire is located downtown St. Louis, about 10 minutes from the museum. You will have to pay for parking along the downtown streets – I believe we paid $4 for 2 hours. We all sampled something a little different – myself with a brisket Philly cheesesteak, husband ordered a sandwich called the Carolina (brisket, coleslaw and a drizzle of mustard style bbq sauce – to die for!) and our kids each got a pulled pork kids meal. Our fries were made fresh and the meat was delectable. Not a crumb left!

The entrance to Sugarfire Smokehouse includes this iconic picture taking prop. My bull loving boys couldn’t resist the photo opp.

Our dessert plan was to head to Fitz’s for an iconic root beer float after dinner, however, when we arrived we realized that Fitz’s also serves dinner, and since it was still prime dinner hour, there was an hour and a half wait. After a full day, we just weren’t up for it, so we strolled the streets and found Snow Factory Rolled Ice Cream. None of us had ever had rolled ice cream before, so we figured why not! Snow Factory is located in the heart of college town – just blocks away from Washington University. The streets were alive with college students, families and musicians alike. Multiple restaurants and artists singing and playing in the street. We ordered our ice cream and enjoyed our treats on the sidewalk outside. The inside of Snow Factory is decorated with a multitude of colored post-it notes – all of which read a different message. SO fun to read! Snow Factory also offers a Plexiglas barrier (shown below) where you can watch the owner work his craft. Our boys LOVED that!

After a very, very full day – we headed back to our hotel for REST!

Day 3 started with cranky children. (hey, it happens!) When our children get cranky – we know the best thing to do is to get them OUTSIDE! So that’s exactly what we did. Husband found Laumeier Sculpture Park on a Google search, and we figured, why not?! The park was full of beautiful, hand crafted sculptures. There was plenty of room for our kids to run, jump, play and discover. Each sculpture had a small plaque with a unique description of the artist who created them, the time period it was created, and a brief history of what the artist was trying to bring to life when creating each piece. We found multiple covered picnic areas with bathrooms and water fountains, and multiple cleared gravel trails for hiking. We could have spent all day there if we could!

Just one of the many sculptures located in the park. The boys counted – this one had 26 ‘balls’ and reminded them of a caterpillar!

After a short hike, a hidden creek was found, and some more exploration of sculptures, we hopped in the car and began our journey home. As I said in the beginning, we didn’t even touch the surface of the number of activities that St. Louis has to offer. Who knew this gem was only 4.5 hours from our home! We will absolutely be back, very soon!

Adjustments & God’s Timing

As our little town’s school district switches over to virtual learning from in-person learning {again}, I am reminiscing on our decision to keep Michael (7) at home with me this year.

I NEVER saw myself as a homeschool mom. Ever. I love my children, and I also very much enjoy my own time 😬 Not to mention, I’ve got a career as a Human Resource Manager, part-time Realtor and also do all the book-keeping and administrative work for my husband’s concrete business. I’m not exactly in the market for something to add to my plate.

But God has a sense of humor, doesn’t he? Amidst a pandemic that sent us into what was at first (and sometimes still feels like) a whirlwind, we have created new traditions. Established new normals. Transformed what was once a busy normal into something that has slowed us down and forced us to re-focus on Him – on each other.

In a world that’s fighting to stay apart from each other, we have grown closer. As a family. As mother and son. As brothers. As husband and wife. I am SO SO SO loving having my son home with me! Working in our living room, with the fireplace roaring, worship music playing and as many outdoor breaks as he desires. Do we have our hard days? Uhm, YUP 🥴 I am still working full time and he is still learning to adjust and un-learn how school asked him to, while discovering how to learn in his OWN way. In what interests and excites him.

This is homeschool for us. Books, snacks, no shoes, mismatched socks and a happy kid.

There’s just something about him being able to play his guitar, rockin’ his own style in his messy room, while he completes his lessons. He just signed up for a new martial arts class that he’s been asking to take, and today, he finished up his core subjects – with six weeks left in the school year. He now has an entire month to create, play, and just be …. Michael. All of these things are key eye openers for me. Would he have these opportunities in a traditional school?

But Lord, to watch this all unfold before my very eyes… blessing doesn’t even seem like a righteous enough word. 💕

Bowling Fun

On last night’s episode of #AuthenticChildhood – bowling! 🎳 The two big boys used cups from the cupboard and a dollar store ball (proudly purchased with money given to them for something special by their Grandpa Mike🥰) to set up in front of the fireplace, and used our hard wood as their lane.

Raising three boys in 1,200 square feet is not something I talk about often enough. We don’t have a basement. Or an attic. We’ve got 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, a living room, kitchen, and small back room for our utilities, laundry, and “storage” (HA!😆)

What was supposed to be a 5 year plan has turned into our 10 year plan and … it works for us. Less “extravagance” allows our children to be more creative – they’ve gotta use what they’ve got, with the space we have. It also allows for less materialism, and more togetherness.

While I will humbly admit that somedays this set up is not ideal (like in the morning, when I can’t even straighten my hair without three other people in the bathroom using the toilet and brushing their teeth), we feel like we are legitimately on top of each other with no space to ourselves … when I focus in on the big picture, the hard days are worth it.

Some days it feels like this is right. Right where we are supposed to be.

Knowing the best is yet to come. That God’s divine plan is epically falling into place, and that it will in fact be bigger than our family could have ever imagined it to be.

But for now, we are here. Living life as authentically as we know how.

Together. Happy. Creating. Family. ♥️

Pirate Weekend

November 21, 2020

Here in Wisconsin, the opening weekend of gun season for deer hunting is BIG. Like..big, big. That’s for another post.

While it’s tradition that the men head off to the Northwoods, and leave the women and children at home for what’s referred to as “widow’s weekend”, my in-laws have changed that tradition to a family weekend instead. I couldn’t love it more! The men hunt, and the women snuggle in watching movies, eating and baking yummy snacks, and taking care of the children, of course.

When I first met my husband Michael, in 2010, his parents had a cabin about 5 hours north of our hometown. For 7 years we travelled up there every third weekend in November to hunt and enjoy time together.

Treasure maps out of crinkled paper grocery bags

In 2017 the family had grown – adding two in-laws (myself and my brother in-law!) as well as 4 grandchildren. Driving 6 hours for a weekend away just got to be too much for most of us, so my in-laws sold their cabin and settled on 40 acres in our hometown. Hence, the tradition has continued, just in a new location!

This year was exceptionally fun. My mother-in-law is the most creative, and decided this year’s theme would be PIRATES!

She put together an entire scavenger hunt – complete with treasure maps made out of crinkled paper grocery bags, the kids’ very own pirate names, prizes after each clue, a bucket for collecting said prizes, and the best scarves, eye patches, swords and mustaches to complete our looks.

Each grandchild was allowed to go the first location on their map. After they collected their small prize,
they were to return to the kitchen table to complete an activity before being able to head to the second location on their maps.
They even got their very own pirate names!
Grandma is simply the coolest!

Each child had to follow the first location on their map. At each location was a small surprise. When they had stopped at the first location, they were to return to the kitchen table to complete a small activity before heading to their next location. These activities included coloring pages, creating lego boats, dressing a magnetic doll, and playing memory.

What a fantastic weekend filled with unforgettable memories.

Memories are the only thing we’re gettin’ out of here with, friends.

Enjoy it!

The Kitchen Table

January 10, 2021

“If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.” -Mother Teresa

My children do not know what’s happening in the 2020 world that exists outside the four walls of our 1,200 sq. ft. safe zone. We’ve explained, in the most elementary way possible, enough for them to understand what they will most likely read about in their high school history books, but no more than that. They don’t need to know.

What they do need to know, is that they were created for such a time as this. They need to know that they are strong, capable, and their faith will always guide them. They need to know that there will always be warmth, love and community here. At home.

They will always be welcome here… at this kitchen table.

As an adult, I often feel helpless in today’s chaos. “Adulting”, I think the cool kids call it. But I know I am not helpless. In fact, I am quite the opposite because of my faith in Jesus Christ. He is hope, and through His hope, so I am filled as well.

This table is where my help to the world begins. With these boys. Empowering. Teaching. Sharing. Loving.

This is where the change begins. 🌏

Thanksgiving 2020

November 26, 2020

Eight years ago, the day before Thanksgiving, I was four months pregnant with the our second little boy, and my husband came home from work to inform me that the Union had walked onto his job site and completely shut down the company he was working for at the time. The company had been paying their employees, but not the Union. He was unemployed, I was pregnant, and it was the holidays. 

Flash forward to 2020. The world is in a craze. Yesterday, the day before Thanksgiving, my husband finished up the last job of his very first quarter million dollar concrete season running his own self-employed operation. 

Lord, we’ve got a lot of it. 
For the struggle. The growth. The blessings.
All of it. All for you. 
Happy Thanksgiving 🦃🍽🍁

Spilled Milk

December 6, 2020

I made my kids pay for their own milk today.

This week was hard. And it continued into the weekend. And today, I lost it. 

Picture of the salvaged milk in a Pioneer Woman dispenser, and the few dollars they collected out of their piggy banks

We stopped after church to grab milk, bread and a pound of ground beef. Easy enough. The kids were horsing around and not paying attention to anything husband or I had to say when we got home, and I specifically reminded them to be careful when they got out of my Suburban. Usually they flip the middle seat forward for easy access out (I have a bench seat), and the groceries were on the floor in front of said seat. After having to remind them to bring the groceries in three (3!?!) times, they finally went outside to retrieve them – and all I heard was “oops.”

One of the older two had flipped the seat forward and the weight of it had smashed the bread and punctured the gallon of milk – spewing milk all over the back of my car. There were no apologies from either boy (for reference, my oldest is 7 and middle is 5 – so, old enough to know what’s required when making a mistake). There was no “it won’t happen again, mom” or “I’ll grab a towel, mom” statements. Just an “oh, well.” And a sprint to their room in giggles to get away from the situation. 

So that was it.

I lost it.

Not just upset – but the ugly, monster-mom type lost it. I’m talking screaming at the top of my lungs – unending rage type mom.

The two older boys were sent to their room to retrieve money from their piggy banks to pay for the lost groceries & each were sent to their beds. 

I hate being that mom. I hate that I used their beds as punishment (I never do this – in 7 years of momm-ing!) And I don’t intend to keep making my children pay for their own groceries. But the truth is, their dad and I work for everything we have. There was a time when these things wouldn’t (read: couldn’t) have been replaced because of the strict budget we were on. And between the broken ornaments this week, the complaining about the food we serve, the tattling, not listening, and the lack of sincere remorse – it was time to put a reason behind why we have certain rules and do certain things when asked. 

So cheers. To this super cute jug that was able to salvage the rest of our milk, life lessons & a fresh start tonight.