Celebrating 3 Years: Como Zoo.


Today we went to the zoo to celebrate our 3rd anniversary. I'm not sure what it is, but pretty much every 'special event' we somehow manage to celebrate at the zoo. Birthdays, Anniversaries, good days in general. We just like the place. This time it was especially exciting because Eowyn was actually  able to see and get excited about all the animals. She was talking to her little cougar friend and was especially delighted by the puffin. We had fun.

 I unfortunately packed everything except an SD card, so Ben took me to the gift shop and luckily they had them. I'd warn others though, there isn't a price listed, and after ringing that bad boy up, lets say I've never paid so much for 2G of memory. Regardless, Ben was kind and was joking how we had to because "If you don't have pictures it didn't actually happen." The man knows my heart.

I wanted to make sure I got pictures of us for our third year. I have a picture of us from our first anniversary and second, and every year we take a picture of us holding out the numbers. So I reminded Ben we had to make sure to get one. Well, we got a lot of them.  We had several people offer to take our picture, and you could tell they were a bit confused. But regardless, we had fun, and I got my picture. Win.

And there below is our family Fail picture. What's funny is Eowyn didn't even make a peep for the good 20 seconds her hat was covering her face. We thought all was just fine until a passerbyer let us know that her face was indeed covered. Thanks, friend. We did in fact want her in the picture.

So there you have it. For all those new to MPLS, Como zoo is definitely the fun zoo around the cities, and its free (suggested donation, but all are welcome.) If you haven't been, I'd highly recommend it. Hope you all are enjoying this amazing weather we're having! Happy Saturday.

Almost Three Years....


Ben and I will be celebrating our 3 year anniversary being a married couple in just 4 days. Life has been a crazy whirlwind these past few months. It has been so much so that when I realized it was already june 20th (what? Its June?) just a few days ago, I was caught by surprise.

But since that realization, I keep remembering that in just a few days I get to tack on another year. One, Two, Three years. Its such a short amount of time and yet so much is held within those 1095 days. Ireland. Minnesota. The first year of marriage. Chicago. Hawaii.  Florida. The Second year. . Eowyn Being Born.Colorado. Arizona. So many trips back and forth from Wisconsin. So many conversations. So much laundry and dishes and God doing his own housekeeping in our hearts.

And here we are three years later.

The mountains we've faced have seemed unclimbable. Looming defeat has been at our heals through so many instances of our marriage. So many tense jokes of "are we gonna make it?" have been asked. The answer has always been the same-even if hesitantly said. There's only one answer to that question. So many moments of heartache and struggle. "Are we good?" Our language has been shaped to be our own. Confidence has been built as these past years have tested us. Great is the resolve of a covenant. Great is the strength of our Jesus. Yet, we'd both agree marriage is hard.

So many moments of indescribable beauty. So many belly laughs and pillow talks. So much heart growth and character building. So much wit coming out of your mouth. So much appreciation and learning to love each other well. Grace Grace Grace. Intertwining  itself in our marriage. Surprises for the other. Birthdays. Celebrations. Small gifts of words and acts of service. Time spent dreaming. Birth of our babe. Celebrating successes. Discovering what we're passionate about. Discovering each other. Marriage is so much Joy.

Ridiculous sunsets. Quiet Walks. Dairy Queen runs. Movie Dates. Ireland. Pajama runs. Drive in movies. Grocery shopping. Board Games. Cleaning dishes together. Praying together. Playing. Lego building. Stepping out in faith. A baby. IKEA furniture. Marriage is such an adventure.

You know me, John Benjamin Sprague. You know the scariest parts of my heart. You know my fears. You know my issues and my hangups and my struggles with sin. You bring beauty out of me. You call attention to the Jesus living in us. You sing reminders of life and joy. You celebrate. You delight. You love and cherish. You know and love your wife. Three years later I'm still surprised at your love. Its depths I have yet to reach. I'm so proud I belong with you.

Out of our whole stories, I can say these past three years have been my most beautiful ones.

 Thank you for these past three years. My respect and admiration for the man you are has grown exponentially through these days. I love being your bride.

And in keeping with the years past here are 10 things I've learned.

1. Seeing your spouse become a parent changes things. For starters, it expands a heart big time, but in one of the most obvious of ways it allows you to see where trust issues lie. Becoming parents have allowed us to figure out how to actually be there for each other in a way that pre-kid life never gave us. and admitting major weakness to one another just does something.

2. We've had to redefine a lot of the ways we see things. What is 'right' for our family, what the biblical view on sex, and gender roles, and parenting are as far as we understand them-SO much of who we are has been challenged this past year and has changed. For the better.

3. Being known in deep down ways is sexy.

4. Forgiveness, and saying sorry is also sexy.

5. Becoming parents doesn't necessarily threaten a marriage. in our case it was the best thing that could have happened to it.

6. It's okay to go to bed in disagreement. Unless you're steaming, then we need to figure out what needs to be done. sometimes sleep does in fact fix it. sometimes it makes it worse.

7. Living life with you through hard stuff makes the idea of living without you seem far more unbearable than the cumulative of all the hard things we faced together.

8. working on our friendship is the best area to put under our focus out of all the other dynamics our marriage has. Becoming better friends makes for better team players in the parenting arena, and makes each other trust one another in areas of finance, time-management, even just with one anothers feelings. You're my friend, you get me-you're for me.

9. Shared sense of humor or lack thereof can make or break moments.

10. It's worth it.



...appreciating the groove we've had for the past several months with Eowyn. She's a rhythm girl for sure. I used to be scared to tell people we were routine people and that we give a thumbs up to sleep training, scheduling etc. But after going on several months of sleeping through these nights, and having steady naps and having a kid who is all giggles and smiles all the time-I'm kind of in love with it.  And while there's definitely a lot of give and take, and no kid is alike,  and there have definitely been a handful or two of days that just sucked-no naps etc., Eowyn knows what's coming next and is pretty much always happy as pie. I like that. 

...LOVING our new ikea t.v. stand. We've slowly been saving to replace our furniture as most of it has been given to us or was found by the side of the road/scored off craigslist. This beauty looks so clean and pretty and now I don't have to worry about Eowyn eating an electrical cord. So, thats nice.

...digging summer and the things it does to my hair.  I rarely use shampoo (some of you are grossed out by that...but I scrub good with water!) and its caused this curly mane to not be frizz crazy. Which in the summer is nice since I basically forget to look at myself for 3 months straight.

...laughing at the EXPLOSION of sounds coming out of my daughter's mouth. I have some money bet on her being an early talker. She loves going high and low with those vocals and is making pretty much every sound possible. I like that her little gibber gabber has become the soundtrack to my summer. 

...Loving this video about modesty and the bikini, and this post on a mama's views on her body after a baby. I've been thinking a lot about beauty and how to teach that to E. I've loved the conversations I've had with Ben and with several of my friends.

...Wearing these bad boys everywhere. I read a book once (a cheesy christian e-novel that has 'episodes' and never ends-so I won't even bother telling you its name) that has a bit about buying things that will last for years rather than months. I've read so many reviews that saltwaters are the shoes of people's summers for 1/2 decades and on, so I saved up my fun money and bought these bad boys. So far I love them.

 ...going on walks every morning, and meeting Jesus. I sometimes wish I could track on a graph the highs and lows of my relationship with Jesus. Lately, Its been good. So good.  There's been a lot of peace through trials and a lot of humbling moments this season and I'm learning how to be thankful for that.

...Eowyn now points at everything which has me talking about everything she points. I'm agreeing with the universe of moms that have all told me that becoming a mom makes you more aware of everything. Getting to identify the grass and the birdies and the flowers has me taking note of them and its awesome. There really is a lot of beauty to be found.

Summer Girls


I like that you shriek when you laugh and you find yourself HILARIOUS.

I like that you eat Popsicles with me and despite having no teeth, can chow through pretty much every food we eat. Champion.

I like that you crawl in circles really fast, and push yourself backwards. But if something is set before you out of reach, you huff in defeat, lay your head down and pout. Its funny to me and reminds me that all in good time. It reminds me not to compare. I see God using you to teach me how to focus on Him.

I like how good of a dad you have. I like that I know that you do well with him. I like that he knows how to read you so well and the freedom it gives my heart. The trust that is built from growing something we both care about with our whole lives is unifying. Your dad is an incredible parent.

I like the moments where I think about the reality that this is a really good time. Me and you and daddy. I like that he said to me last night "We have a really good life. Eowyn has made our life better...." and proceeded to gush over his kid. It fills my heart.  Its true, life is better. You're the best gift from the Almighty. One day with you reminds me that God is good.

I like you in a swimsuit-its adorable. I like you in your little summer hat, I like that we're both summer girls.

And your face in these pictures makes my heart swell. You're teaching me joy. I like that too.

11 Months


See the rest here.

And a little public service announcement. Apologies to my readers for the long time of a broken blog. There's been some major hiccups with the switch that Flickr has done to better their site and I just now realized the extent to which this affected the blog (A bunch of "image unavailables".) She should be fixed completely now. Please feel free to let me know if you find any links that are not working properly. Apologies my friends!

11 Month E.

This pretty girl turned 11 months old last week! To break the silence of the last few weeks, I bring you a video celebrating our baby girl! Its been a party over here.

More pictures will follow. 
Happy 11 Months, special girl.