Just wanted to say something here since it's been forever since I posted anything.
Finding that parenting and being a spouse at the level that Denise and I have committed to doing these things is really intense these days.
I believe this is the case for several reasons. First, we've just been doing this for a really long time and are both just getting a bit burned out on the parenting front. I don't want to sound holier-than-thou or anything, but I just don't think that many people really get how much energy we devote to parenting. Taking complete responsibility for so many areas of our children's lives is, well, really intense :) We would not have it any other way, but it is a lot to have taken on for 16 years and counting.
Then there is the spread of the ages of our kids. Stephen is 6.5 and Maddy is 16... Each of them has their own distinct needs in terms of parenting, homeschooling and just general relating. Stephen has come out of the baby / toddler stage completely over the last couple of years and now needs more complex interaction with his parents in terms of his learning journey, his interest in pursuing things, maintaining friendships, etc. Stephen and I just started taking Karate together, which is a wonderful thing that I am ecstatic to be doing with him, but it illustrates what I am talking about. So we have three fully engaged personalities in the house that we are committed to providing the best for. They are each wonderful and it is miraculous to see how they are becoming so much themselves and fully expressing this. It's also a lot to facilitate!
Finally, for now anyway, looking back to the first item, Denise and I are feeling ready to devote more time to our relationship after 16 years of extreme parenting. It's time for Stephen to move out of our room, which he is almost ready for (just need to find a place for him to go :) It is time for us to go away for a week, alone. We are getting very close to being able to do these things, but kind of feeling ready now.