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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Everything I know about marriage, I learned from fairy tales...

Happy Tuesday, everyone! How about a non-baby related post today?

My 21 year old cousin, Megan, is getting married next summer to her long-time boyfriend, Chris. I really wanted to do something special for her, and I’ve been thinking long and hard about what that might be. I wish that I had the foresight, before I got married, to sit down with some of the happily married women in my family and ask their advice. What makes a marriage work? How can I remain married for 50+ years? What’s the true secret to success? That advice might have saved me my sanity during the oh-so-stressful first year of marriage.

With that said, I’m on a mission to talk to as many women as I can and find out what their secret is to having a successful, happy marriage. I’m not ruling out the single ladies – if you’ve been in a relationship, then you’ve learned some tips and tricks as to what has and has not worked for you. I want to hear from all of you!
  • What’s the secret to a successful relationship?
  • What do you wish you had known prior to getting married?
  • What’s the best relationship advice you’ve ever received?
  • What advice would you give my cousin?

Prior to meeting my husband, I was not experienced in dating by any stretch of the imagination. I dated in high school – short, insignificant relationships - but I did not date at all throughout my college years. I did not have a clue about what it takes to maintain and nurture a long-term relationship.

Jason and I met and married within six months. Because the time period was so short, we spent the whole time period in the blissful honeymoon stage. We didn’t fight or argue. I went into the marriage thinking that our life together would be rainbows and puppies – we would never fight. Our lives would be blissfully happy. This would be my happily ever after.

Whatever! Our first year of marriage was extremely rocky as we learned to communicate, live together, and truly share our lives. Add in two deployments and more than 6 months spent apart during that first year, and you have a “what the heck was I thinking?” experience on your hands. In spite of the hardships, we’ve made it work. We’ve been married for 6 years now, and I like to think we’ve learned a few things along with way.

What have I learned?

Love is a verb. It’s an action; it is something you do. Love is also a noun; it is a feeling. But here’s what is important - love isn't something you necessarily feel each and every single day. There may be times in your marriage when you don’t feel love for your spouse. Maybe you’re fighting. Maybe you’re growing apart. Maybe you’re just experiencing a truly hard time. During these times, it’s important to remember that love is an action – it is something you can choose to do. Your marriage will fare much better if you realize that sometimes you will have to make that choice - to love that person, to continue your marriage in spite of whatever hardships you may face as a couple.

In the same vein, you will not always be “in love” with your spouse. Love changes – it ebbs and flows. The feeling of love remains, even if it takes different forms. And sex? It changes as well.

I read an article once where the interviewer asked a couple who had been married for 50+ years what the secret to their successful marriage was. The wife answered “we never fell out of love at the same time. The times I did not love him, he loved me, and the times he did not love me, I loved him.” I’ve always carried that with me.

What’s the secret to a successful relationship?

Communication! It is something that seems so simple but really, it’s hard to do. You would think a social worker with 5+ years experiencing in counseling and mediation would have figured a few things out, but this is something I still struggle with each and every day. This really is my biggest downfall.

Here’s my confession: I’m a terrible fighter. I lash out and I say things I don’t mean just to hurt my spouse. I yell (cough cough: I scream). I pull things back out from past arguments and fights and throw them in my husband’s face. I also completely lack the ability to walk away from a fight. I have gotten better about this, but when I first got married I would follow Jason around from room to room until he agreed to listen to me. This almost always ended in him either leaving the house to get away from me or locking himself in a room so he didn’t have to be pestered by me anymore.

Like I said, this isn’t something I’ve completely mastered, but I’m working on it every single day. One thing I have learned is to choose your battles. What’s important to you? What will be important to you in one year or five years? Decide that, and save your arguments for those things. When something is really important to me, I usually write my husband a letter verses talking about it face to face. That way I know I will get to say exactly what I need to say, and I know he can save the letter and read it at a time where he will be most receptive to my words.

A lot of people will tell you not to go to bed angry. I prefer to go to bed angry. Why? Because when I wake up, I’m usually not mad anymore.

What do you wish you had known prior to getting married?

Marriage is not a fairy tale. It’s hard work! However, it’s very much worth the effort.

What’s the best relationship advice you’ve ever received?

A friend of mine shared with me that during her marriage counseling sessions, her pastor advised her to never use the word “divorce” unless it was something she truly intended to follow through on. That has always struck with me. Don’t make threats to your spouse unless you really mean them. (Don’t make threats to your spouse, period.) Threats never work out the way you think they will.

What advice do you have for my cousin?

Talk about your finances before you get married. If you both work, how will you divide your money? Will you have separate or joint accounts? Decide on a budget, and talk about what your thoughts are on spending and saving money. Trust me – this will save you a lot of stress in the end.

Also, you get out of your marriage what you put in. If you feel like you aren’t getting the love, attention, or appreciation from your spouse that you want or need, ask yourself if you are giving those things in return. What are you doing to make him feel special? Do something small to show him that you love him. You’ll be surprised what you get in return.

I want to hear from you! I would love it if you would do a blog post at your convenience, letting me know what your thoughts are and what you’ve learned about marriage. If you do, please let me know in the comments so that I can come back and read. Feel free to let me know what you think in the comments – I want your opinions!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Tuesdays at the Table

Wow! Long time no participate, huh?

While I’ve been on my self-imposed pregnancy hiatus, my good friend Cole at All The Small Stuff has been kind enough to host Tuesday at the Table for me. She’s been an incredible hostess, and more people than ever are participating in TATT. I’m really pleased to announce that Cole will be taking over Tuesdays at the Table permanently, starting today!

All the small stuff Tues at the Table Red Gingham_edited-1

Today I’m linking up with a super fun and easy dip that is absolutely perfect for parties or tailgating. I apologize in advance for the poor picture – the last time I made this was for a co-worker’s bridal shower and I didn’t get any close up pictures. That’s the dip in the crock pot.


Cheesy Meaty Dip

  • One large block of Velveeta
  • 1-2 cans of Rotel tomatoes – use hot if you like spice!
  • 1 can of diced chilies
  • One pound of cooked sausage – I use spicy for a little extra heat. You can also use ground turkey or hamburger meat.

Cook sausage and drain. Use a knife to cut Velveeta into small blocks. Add all ingredients to the crock pot and cook on low heat until combined. Stir often as this will burned if left alone too long.

Yum! Let me know if you try it. Do you make something similar? For those of you that tailgate or have football parties, what do you make?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

It’s A _____!

Thank you so much for your great advice and warm thoughts about my last post. My husband is fully recovered and I’m glad to report that I did not catch the swine flu from him. I listened to most of you, followed my gut, and ended up not filling to prescription for Tamiflu. Luckily, I ended up not needing it!

My pregnancy is just flying by. I cannot believe that tomorrow I will be 20 weeks (5 months) pregnant! I’m halfway there! Since I really haven’t posted much about my pregnancy at all, I wanted to fill you in on what’s been going on with me for the past several months, pregnancy wise.

Many of my faithful readers will remember that my Uncle Mark passed away in April. Almost immediately after we returned home from the funeral, Jason (the husband) began to talk of wanting to have a baby. Several weeks later, I asked for advice on my blog about how to know when the right time was to have a baby. I got some excellent feedback, and with much discussion we decided to forge ahead with the baby making.

We started actively “trying” at the beginning of May. I expected it to take several months (or longer) because of my age, and because my doctor thought there was a possibility I could have PCOS. The husband and I thought that May would be an exploratory month, one where I’d get used to my body and my cycle. I was charting my temps, tracking my CM, and in general just trying to gather information to know when or if I ovulated.

Even though I expected my chances of getting pregnant were slim to none, I nonetheless ran out and brought several digital pregnancy tests and $10 worth of tests from the Dollar Tree. I was due to get my period on May 28th. On May 22nd, we went home to visit my parents. During the drive home, I was absolutely exhausted and fell asleep while Jason was driving – something I never do. Later that night we went to a movie, and I fell asleep during the movie. The next day I was ravenous and couldn’t stuff my face with enough food to fill me up. While driving home on Sunday, we decided to test on Monday.

I couldn’t wait, and as soon as we got home that night I tested. To my eyes, there was the faintest double line. Jason didn’t see it, and he strongly discouraged me, not wanting me to be disappointed. I got up at 6:00 a.m. the next morning and tested again, and again, it was a microscopic line. I went back to bed, convinced I was seeing things. The husband still did not see a second line.

Later that day, I decided to test using a digital test. And it was:


I was incredibly shocked, as was the husband. We were both very excited but decided to save the news until the following weekend, when my family was gathering at the beach for a mini-vacation.

I loaded a bunch of pictures, including the one above, on my camera. When we arrived, I gave my camera to my mom so she could “see the new stuff I’d done to my yard.” She stopped on the picture and squinted at it for awhile, but finally realized what she was seeing. My dad looked at the picture and handed it back to me without saying anything – he had no idea what it was! They didn’t have pregnancy tests back in the day. Both my parents were very excited, and I got to share the news with my family in person.

Picture 0045 weeks pregnant

Picture 03412 weeks pregnant

Picture 060 15 weeks pregnant

Picture 06817 weeks pregnant

Picture 07618 weeks pregnant

When I went in for my 17 week appointment, the doctor had trouble finding the baby’s heartbeat. We did an ultrasound and everything was fine, but needless to say the experience freaked me out. My anatomy ultrasound was scheduled for 22 weeks, so I decided to go ahead and schedule a 3D ultrasound to ease my mind and worries. I did the ultrasound when I was 18 weeks pregnant, and it included gender determination, 2D pictures, 3D images, and video. The session was 30 minutes long and was absolutely incredible. I am so thankful that I had it done, and I highly recommend it to any other mommies.

Picture 078Profile picture

Picture 042Baby’s arms are raised above the head. That’s a leg/foot you see up around the eyes.


Picture 063

It’s a boy! Cooper Brayden House is due February 4th, 2009.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Positive thoughts and advice, please!

Hey all! I hope everyone is doing well. I apologize in advance for this abbreviated post. I wanted to really quickly ask for positive thoughts for the husband - he's been diagnosed with swine flu. He started showing symptoms on Sunday, was swabbed on Tuesday, and we received the results yesterday. He's actually doing ok. He has been super congested and has had body aches and a fever, but has shown no other symptoms. He looks and feels like he's on the mend. He started Tamiflu last night so hopefully he'll be better in no time. Please keep him in your thoughts.

Now for the advice portion of this post....

Jason had to meet with a representative from the CDC yesterday. Both the representative and his doctor have recommended that I start Tamiflu as a preventative measure. My OB/GYN agrees and has called me in a prescription. However, Tamiflu is a category C drug, meaning "studies on animals have shown adverse effects and toxicity on fetuses" (safefetus.com). Regardless of what the CDC recommends, I really don't want to take a category C drug.

What would you do - would you take your chances with the swine flu or would you take your chances with Tamiflu? I'm leaning towards only filling the script if I start to show symptoms.

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