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Please share the short story of how you met and began dating.
What are some favorite family activities?
We like to play outside, go to the park, walk the dog, go to museums and the zoo (just experienced the Columbus ZOO!!), enjoy family game/movie/pizza night every Friday night.
Share a time you all really laughed as a family.
We have a 2 year old GoldenDoodle named Rey (from Star Wars), and she gets into crazy moods and runs around and around the room, barking only once every time she completes a lap. No matter what kind of mood anyone was in before, we always end up laughing so hard.
We have been blessed with 6 children on earth and we have 2 in heaven. One for sure we know was a girl, so we had 5 girls in a row. When we found out we were expecting a BOY, the kids were so excited, and when they met him for the first time, it was so sweet to see 4 little “mommies” surrounding Ben as he held his first son. Then, when we had Canaan, his gender was revealed when they came to the hospital to meet him… it was so sweet to introduce them to their newest brother, and Benjamin (who was 4) was so proud to be a big brother to a boy!
Describe a dream family vacation.
One where nobody gets sick! The location is irrelevant. Seriously. Every trip we have EVER taken involves either vomit, ear infections, fevers, or some sort of rash. We have no dream location, just a place where we can go and have fun and not need any bathrooms/garbage cans/clorox wipes/medication.
What do you love most about being married?
We love that, no matter what, the other is never leaving. That we are loved unconditionally (though some days it can be harder than others), and that we are in it for the long haul. We have a constant companion, confidant, and partner. One who loves us, calls us on our weaknesses and pushes us to be holier, even if it is hard.
What is your greatest challenge as a married couple and how are you working at it?
Our budget. I (Maria) am a gift giver. While my intentions are great, it has not been good on the budget and has caused a lot of financial issues. I tend to be what some call an “emotional shopper.” We have recently begun the “Crown Financial” program and that has been a great blessing so far. I’m learning to give less to people and take more from them. (Just kidding… but I am learning to better communicate with Ben and not to just spend recklessly, even if the intentions were good).
What do you love most about your family?
I love our humor. I love seeing us love one another. I love that we are set apart from the world. We are definitely different, but different is good. I love that they are constantly asking “when are you going to have another one?” when we live in a world that says, “You are done, right?”
What is your greatest challenge as parents and how are you working at it?
Making sure we have enough individual time with the kids. It’s been hard to make sure we have that time as a couple, and with each child comes different challenges. Learning how to best love each child, because they all have such different and unique ways of expressing and receiving love. We are working at it by constantly having conversations with them. By making sure their emotional needs are met. It is challenging and we seem to fail a lot, but we are constantly learning.
Share a time you saw Jesus fulfill a real need in your family?
He is always fulfilling our needs. I don’t have a paying job, and Ben works for a Catholic University, so we aren’t rolling in the dough. Somehow, though, the Lord always moves in other people and we have received blessing after blessing. From tuition being paid, to people paying to help us replace our car when we were stranded in Nashville last year, to people donating clothes or food or furniture. We truly have never wanted for anything. And His timing is always spot on.
How does your family pray?
We go to Sunday mass together, and go often throughout the week. This is where I’ll do little dates, taking a few with me. We pray before our meals. We pray either a family rosary, decade, Divine Mercy Chaplet, or evening prayer at night before we go to bed. We are constantly trying to work on better improving this because it’s a constant change with the change in season in where we are and the ages of the kids. Always trying to make it work best to fit the needs of everyone.
How do you measure success as a family, and what help do you need getting there?
I measure success as having kids who are happy. As having time together and the kids loving spending time with us. Kids who aren’t afraid to be lights in a dark world. Kids who can walk the halls of their public high school, and aren’t afraid to go against the norm. I don’t measure success on the size of the house, year of the car, brand of clothes, etc. I measure it on the size of the hearts, the amount of laughter in the home, and having quality time with the kids. Them knowing that they are loved and there is nothing they could do to lose our love, but that they know even more that they have a Father who loves them infinitely more.
What are you moved to proclaim to other families?
How have Mass Impact and LIT Groups impacted your marriage and family life? Why do you think others should get involved?
It’s easy to just sit home and be a family…but it’s so life-giving to get out there and share that family with others!
We would love to feature your family story!