No. 11: Listener Q&A: Marriage, Family, Advice, Our Daily Life, & Lots of In-Betweens

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No. 11: Listener Q&A: Marriage, Family, Advice, Our Daily Life, & Lots of In-Betweens

Listen to this episode from One Degree Podcast on Spotify. You, as listeners, asked us questions (via Instagram) ranging from, “How did you get to have so may intentional routines?”, “What’s the hardest thing in marriage and how did we get through it?”, “What’s your biggest tip for 2 under 2?”, to some personal, and some just funny questions about life.

Today’s episode is going to be a little different than anything we’ve done so far. This is entirely based on questions listeners submitted via Xan’s instagram question box. We’re going to do rapid-fire style, even though some of these Qs/As could be a whole episode, so don’t read into it if the answer seems like it could be fleshed out more! Questions answered today range from questions about our marriage, to our family and raising little kids, daily life, and some random in-betweens along the way!

How did you get to the point where you have so many intentional routines around money, Sabbath, family, etc?

Nate: Starting one thing at a time. Whatever that one thing is, being intentional with it –– whether it’s Sabbath, money, or family. Starting with that one thing and asking, “what routines do we want to have around this?”

Xan: I would say what got us to this point was the necessity after we started having kids. Especially after our second, our routines were amped up because we realized we’re either going to be in survival mode, and ships in the night, or we’re going to be intentional with our time and communication.

Some of our most practical advice around implementing these routines can be found in Episode 02: Establishing Healthy Rhythms for Couples + Families.

Our weekly meeting (download our guide to your own here) is what really spring-boarded us into having honest conversations and implementing these intentional routines. It starts with honest conversations and holding each other accountable.

Best memory post-kids and pre-kids?


Pre-marriage: road trip with my family where we flew into San Diego, drove to Seattle, and then back to San Diego. It was a 16 day trip and it was phenomenal.

Post-marriage, pre-kids: our 1 year anniversary trip to Charleston, SC.

Post-kids: a trip to Florida Keys with our family. We had a house with a pool/beach area and the kids absolutely loved it.

You’ll notice a theme that all of mine are trips. I love trips.


Pre-kids: Lotsa really good college memories. Nathaniel and I met in college so we just have a lot of good memories from that time, and it was a very formative time in my life.

Post-kids: This tells a lot about the difference in our personalities–the fact that Nathaniel’s favorite memories are all these adventures and mine are the everyday, mundane sweet moments that happen. Usually in our living room, whether it’s all reading together on the couch, or Nathaniel dancing with the girls on his shoulders. Those are the memories that engrained in my brain because they’re just so sweet.

What was the hardest thing in marriage and how did you get through it?

Xan: Adjusting to two kids/kids in general. Each one has come with a new level of sanctification, as far as the exhaustion, figuring out the new routines, etc. Especially the exhaustion. Those newborn days when you’re both absolutely drained lead to some tumultuous marriage days where you’re just coming at each other. Your spouse often gets the worst of you in those times.

Nate: I’d say similarly, having our kids so close together (they’re 14 months apart). Those middle of the night wake ups––with one kids finally figuring sleep out and then suddenly the other is struggling, and back and forth. As far as getting through it: a lot of prayer, honest conversations, apologizing, forgiveness, and growing.

Xan: And a lot of learning humility for both of us.

How far apart are your daughters’ ages and do you plan every pregnancy?

Nate: They’re 14 months apart. Really quick–I was under the impression we would be waiting six years before having any kids. I cried unhappy tears when we found out we were pregnant with our first, but looking back now, I can’t imagine doing it any differently. And I’m so thankful for being young parents and the blessing it’s been. And honestly looking back with embarrassment because there are so many people who would love to be pregnant and I took it for granted and didn’t want it at that time, but the Lord did an amazing work in my heart in those nine months.

Xan: And then with Verity, it probably sounds crazy but it definitely wasn’t prevented. I was all about having kids as close in age as possible, so I kinda just left it up to God on that one. And that was 5 months postpartum.

What is your biggest tip for 2 under 2?

Xan: Having a lot of grace for yourself for how you’re parenting your toddler. Now, I think “have a lot of grace” is a phrase that can be applied wrongly – sometimes “mom-guilt” or conviction is good and healthy, so we’re not talking about writing off everything that you’re doing wrong in the name of having grace. But if you’re usually really strict about screen time and you put on an extra show while you’re figuring out how to put the baby down for a nap, have grace with that. And then practically, strap that baby on you in a carrier as much as you possibly can so you have free hands to parent your toddler. It’s a hard season, but knowing it’s just a season is so helpful.

Nate: For dads who are most likely working outside the home – number one, when you get home, you’re on full-time dad duty. It’s not time to chill on the couch, scroll through your phone, and decompress. It’s time to intentionally play with the kids–reading with them, playing with them, putting them to bed. Taking an active responsibility as their parent. Also, with kids that close together, there need to be sacrifices. I played a lot less basketball, and set my hours for family time (the hour before work, and from 5 to bedtime).

iphone podcast episode one degree podcast no. 11 listener Q&A marriage family advice daily life the sibleys

How do you be intentional about what you bring to the table (food, dinner planning, etc)?

Nate: Praise God for Xan because if it were up to me, we’d be eating eggs and peanut butter sandwiches.

Xan: We value what we eat a lot, in terms of ingredients. We really try to prioritize organic, and our budget is reflective of that as a result. But a way we keep things attainable is by keeping staple meals that are simple. We eat a lot of roasted chickens – load up a dutch oven with a whole chicken, and tons of veggies, some seasoning and white wine. *Chefs kiss*. Find the staples your family loves. In the social media world, there can be a lot of pressure to try a bunch of new recipes, but sticking to basics is definitely the way to go for sustainability.

What is your favorite month?

Nate: This depends on where I live. If I’m in Wisconsin, I love that late-summer, early-fall transition from warm weather to cool. Fall in the Midwest is a VIBE–flannels, bonfires, apple orchards, corn mazes. Mmmm. But down south, early fall is still a little too hot. So there, I like the late-winter, early-spring when it’s in the 60s and 70s. So early October in WI, March in the South.

Xan: December. I love Christmas. I love cozy fires, sweaters, all the winter things.

Tips for traveling with young kids?

Nate: We can speak mainly to road trips because we’ve done a TON of road trips with our kids. Biggest thing is don’t be in a rush. Budget a lot more time than you think you need. When Maps tells us 12 hours, we budget at LEAST 18 hours. We’re stopping every 2-3 hours unless they’re sleeping. We like to let the girls out to stretch out and run around in the grass of travel stops.

Xan: Also, pack a TON of snacks. More than you think you’ll ever need. Fresh veggies, beef sticks, crackers, all the things.

Nate: Try out different times to leave that work best for you. Our best rhythm is leaving at 1am. We pack up everything, go to sleep around 9, wake up at 1, load the kids in the car, and then we get a good stretch with them sleeping in their carseats.

Xan: Just lower your standards for everything. And make the memories along the way. Make the stops.

What is a non-nontoxic food that you like to indulge in?

Nate: This is what I’m talking about. My coworkers knew me as the “trash can”. I’d eat super healthy at home and then come and eat like trash at work.

Xan: Oh, I love that. So glad I work so hard to make healthy meals.

Nate: For me, it’s ice cream.

Xan: Chickfila chicken tenders with some Chickfila sauce.

Wisdom for how to love and forgive your spouse through a sin struggle that hurts you?

Nate: First, this needs to be said. I don’t know anything about this situation, but because of the day and age I think it needs to be said: if you are in an abusive situation, don’t stay in it. The whole idea of “Jesus, forgive your brother 77 times if he asks it” – it’s not a time to try to stay in a situation of abuse. Seek counsel, wisdom, and separation. That’s just a caveat given that we don’t know the situation.

Number one, there needs to be a lot of patience. Matthew 18:21-22. There needs to be vast and repetitive forgiveness. And then looking at 1 Peter 3–”even if some do not obey the Word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see respectful and pure conduct.” In patience, through time, through your godliness and holiness can continue to shape and mold your spouse.

But it’s not just about being patient and doing nothing. Seek accountability for your spouse – urge, press, demand that they go confess their sin to their elders. As Believers, we are putting ourselves under the authority of our local elders. So if you’re in a church (hopefully!), push them to go confess their sin to their elders.

If you’re not in a church: first, we definitely encourage you to get plugged in to a local church. But second, find a fellow believer for them to confess their sin to. Whether that’s a friend, or a counselor. They need to seek help and accountability for their sin. That might be really hard to do, and it’s a messy situation. But there’s a difference between being kind and being nice. Being nice may be being polite, but not genuinely wanting what’s best for someone. You may seem caring because you’re affirming someone, but being kind is speaking the truth in love and saying the things people don’t want to hear, but the things that are best for them in the long run.

So biggest pieces of advice: pray for a changed heart in your spouse, continue to be loving and patient with your spouse, and seek loving accountability.

What is your favorite book you’ve read recently?

Xan: It’s the only one I’ve read in the past couple of months but Minimalist Home by Joshua Becker. It’s a step-by-step decluttering guide for your home. Reading it has been so timely to read while moving and unpacking everything. It’s leading me to do a whole other layer of minimizing our possessions. My primary motivation is the fact we spend a silly amount of time cleaning every day, and I’ve always chocked that up to having two toddlers, but if we had way less, our house could be way cleaner.

Nate: Atomic Habits by James Clear. Great book.

What is your best parenting tip?

Nate: Reframing your mindset around parenting. Your goal is to raise godly children, not just good children. If you raise children that are polite, obedient, hard-working, make lots of money, are great at sports, are smart – it does not matter unless they know the Lord. Obviously their salvation is not in our hands, but our goal should be to cultivate godliness in them. And then second, model at all times what a follower of Christ looks like. If we are doing all we can to preach the gospel to our children, and live it out in our own lives, I believe we can answer to our Creator one day if they don’t come to know the Lord because it’s out of our hands.

Xan: View your kids as souls and view your parenting as the closest and most intimate form of discipleship you’ll ever have. That why really keeps me going. That will shape your discipline, your patience, and ever facet.

Who is someone you wish you could meet face-to-face that’s not Jesus?

Nate: I’m not super huge into celebrities, but I have four: C.S. Lewis, Apostle Peter, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Tim Tebow. Quite a lineup.

Xan: I genuinely don’t think I have an answer. I love C.S. Lewis’s writing but it’d be intimidating to meet him and it’d be like “this is awkward. I’ve read all his books and he doesn’t even know who I am.”

How do you fight well?

We actually have a whole podcast episode on this…linked here 😉

Nate: We did break it down really in depth in that episode, so definitely listen to that. But a few big takeaways: pray together when you sense tension rising, and remind yourself that you’re on the same team. And seek resolution for the conflict at hand. Don’t get caught up in the weeds.

Best advice for pregnancy when you have a toddler?

Xan: Hopefully you’re not in the thick of pregnancy in the dead of winter, or this doesn’t apply. But have LOTS of park dates with your toddler. That was my best discovery with Emory when I was pregnant with Verity. She would get her energy our at the park and I could just sit/stand and watch her play.

And postpartum, accept any help that is offered. After Verity was born, any time a meal was offered, I very gratefully accepted and it meant so much to me in that season.

Advice for husband supporting their wives during their pregnancy?

Nate: Cook dinner, give massages, take care of the other kids – really seek to serve your wife. However serving her is best. Whether that means she needs some alone time, a bubble bath, flowers, etc. Husbands need to remember third trimester and and labor are harder than most things we’ll ever experience.

Are you going to learn any new homestead skills now that you’re in Wisconsin (canning, preserving, etc.)?

Nate: Heck yeah. Xan’s already bought her food preservation book for this fall.

Xan: I’m very into this, yes. I’ve learned more about gardening since I’ve been here. I’d love to have a dairy cow and chickens.

Nate: I could be like Xan, you can do anything you want today and she’d be like, “I want to sit outside in the sun and weed the garden.”

Xan: It’s true. Weeding the garden with no cares in the world is a dream.

how to get through hard seasons of marriage and more listener submitted questions hands on bible

Biggest tip for living intentionally as a parent of littles?

Xan: “living intentionally” can be a trendy phrase in social media culture, but I personally think of it as having purpose with every decision you make. With that in mind, my biggest tip would be to take everything one step at a time.

I get the most overwhelmed, stressed, and angry when I start thinking about all the things I could be doing if my child wasn’t needing me at the moment. When I have that mindset, I’m so short-tempered. But if I’m just taking everything one step at a time and focusing on what’s in front of me (because ultimately that’s the only way to do whatever we’re doing, well anyway). Yes of course, you want to go into the day with some kind of plan, but when I hold those plans very loosely and prioritize what’s right in front of me with my kids, those are definitely going to be my best days.

What is your 5-year family vision?

Nate: We’re in a sustainable family business doing that together. We’re really involved in foster care. We’ll have hopefully just built our forever home and getting settled in to that. We’re super connected with and involved in the community and our church.

How do you split up house and parenting duties?

Nate: There’s a lot of give and take depending on the season. But the biggest thing is regular, honest communication. If one person is struggling and feels like they’re taking on the majority of the burden, they need to be able to voice it and the other person needs to be able to listen.

We try to do the dishes/tidy up for 20 minutes every night after the girls are asleep. Bedtime is a joint-effort.

Xan: Nate usually mans bedtime while I’m cleaning up dinner.

Nate: I usually make breakfast. Xan usually handles lunch and dinners.

Xan: Even though Nathaniel’s always been working outside the house, it’s always been very joint parenting efforts.

What’s the one thing you wish you could go back and tell yourselves before you met each other?

Nate: Focus on being the most faithful follower of Jesus and the rest will follow.

Xan: I’d tell myself the same. Ultimately, have your 5-year, 10-year goal that you’re aiming for be focused on what kind of follower of Jesus you want to be.

What does your day-to-day look like?

Xan: It looks a lot different now than it did even a few weeks ago. It used to be Nathaniel going to work, me being with the kids, and working during nap times or when the babysitter was over a couple times a week. That’s how I got work done, and how we lived. He’d come home for dinner, and usually 3-4 nights a week people were over for dinner. Nathaniel was working full time, in school full time, and working another part time job at the church. So our current season feels like one big exhale. We’re taking the month of July to just rest and enjoy time as a family.

Our current day-to-day is waking up, having breakfasts, going to the gym, recording podcasts, working on a course that you’ll be hearing more about in the next few months.

Nate: In the future: we wake up early, spend time with the Lord, one of us will take the kids and the other will go do some work, and then we’ll switch, and then we continue having people over multiple nights a week.

Aaaand that wraps up our Q&A for this episode!

Episode No. 11: Listener Q&A

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