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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

How To Succeed In Marriage Without Really Trying

My husband and I should have a reality show. Seriously... you'd either love us or hate us. Actually, I'm almost entirely sure you'd hate me and love my husband. My reality show would be less "Nick & Jessica: Newlyweds" and more "Nick & Jessica, circa Dukes of Hazzard, when she was sleeping with Johnny Knoxville."

Not to imply I'm sleeping with someone besides my husband. No siree. I'm a one man woman.

Where was I going with this?

Oh yes. I think 8 years of marriage qualifies me to give sage relationship advice, don't you? Only it's more like 5 years of marriage since about 3 of those years Jason was out to sea. Hmm.... I'm not really convincing you I know what I'm talking about, am I?

Anyhoodles.

First and foremost, I think fighting is productive. Sometimes. The drama queen within me likes making a little bit of a production. I always think in my head that my fits will lead to my husband running to me, tail between his legs, professing his love for me. Yet it never turns out that way, does it?

I don't know about your significant other, but mine does not like to have his faults pointed out. On a normal day, when we're not fighting and everything is peachy keen, he's receptive to hearing constructive criticism. But when we're in the midst of an argument and I dare to point out one of his flaws? Oh, it's on. I'm never quite sure how it happens, but somehow those faults become my fault. In fact, in an argument, everything is my fault. He's a saint and I'm a sinner.

I'm not without fault in these arguments. I, without fail, always manage to bring up things that happens months (even years) ago. I think I've gotten past the time he forgot my birthday in 2004, but in the midst of an argument I find myself screaming "YOU DIDN'T EVEN GET ME A CARD!"

And can I be honest? In 8 years of marriage, we've had the same argument 9,568 times. I'm in a vicious cycle of Groundhog Day, only my version involves the same argument with the same script a million different times. You'd think in 8 years we would have established that sometimes I spend too much money. Or that he stinks at birthdays and holidays. Or that THIS IS WHERE THE TUPPERWARE GOES, DAMN IT. WE'VE LIVED IN THIS HOUSE FOR THREE YEARS AND YOU STILL DON'T KNOW WHERE THE TUPPERWARE GOES?! & YOU FORGOT MY BIRTHDAY IN 2004!

So, to recap, fighting is not productive. And life is not like the movies, where fighting ends in spectacular makeup sex. Hahahahahaha. Negative.

While we're on the subject, let's talk about sex, shall we? I can't speak for other women, but I, for one, do not wish to have sex when I'm not feeling lovey dovey about my husband. When we are arguing or having problems, I do not wish to get jiggy in the bedroom. But somehow my husband can separate his feelings of annoyance and frustration from his desire to boom chicca bow wow. I don't get it.

A few months ago, my friend told me the solution to my marital spats with my husband was to have more sex with him. "What?!" I responded. "I don't even like him right now." Her theory was that the more sexually satisfied a man is, the happier in general he is. The happier he is, the more receptive he is to your needs/concerns/complaints.

It's true, unfortunately. Which is why I find myself having sex even despite my burning desire to drop kick him off the side of the bed for implying that my butt looks like blue cheese.

Marriage. It's always a work in progress. Those of you wishing your prince would come? Keep in mind his white horse is more like a donkey when you see it up close. If you're lucky, the donkey will sing and talk like the character from Shrek.

I have no idea what I intended the purpose of this post to be. Word vomit, I guess.

Monday, June 27, 2011

iPhone Photo Dump

Friday was an exhausting day. To deal, I did what any responsible parent would do. What, you don't pull your baby pool into your house & fill it with balls? It brought me an hour of peace. I'm not sorry.



Love my new cell phone cover! Search for Paperlicious Designs on Facebook.



I'm starting him early. Clean that floor!



Love this boy. He is such a ham!



While furniture shopping for the new house, I fell in love with this Paula Deen chair. I do not love the $1500 price tag. Any of my readers have a furniture connection? Please?



Way late Easter Bunny picture. Coops was totally assaulting the Easter Bunny. He's pinching him (her?) in this picture.



Only in the South would you see
this. Yes, that is half a car attached to a motorcycle. That can't be safe.



Grr! These are those Sally Hansen nail polish strips. They are easy to apply and wear like iron but they are almost impossible to get off.



I'm such a bad mom - I totally took the time to take this picture before pulling him off the ride. He was terrified!



What's on your phone?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, June 24, 2011

Friday's Confession


Today I'm linking up to Mamarazzi for Friday Confessional! What do you have to confess this week?

I confess:

I need to be more careful of the things I do around Cooper. Because a few weeks ago, he totally lo-jacked my secret stash of nose spray and held it up to his nose, just like Mommy. *Dies*  Yes, I got it away from him before he figured out how to spray it.

I confess:

We closed on our house in Georgia this week. I (like a selfish, spoiled brat) am really not that excited about it. Primarily because we now have two bright and shiny mortgage payments, and it is stressing me out. Also, I can't move into it for a few more weeks so I'm just feeling "meh" about the whole situation. I think I'd be more excited about this move if the stress of moving wasn't all on me. Hear that, husband?

I confess:

The above confession makes me seem really ungrateful. I know this. But in the spirit of keepin' it real, I'm not deleting what I wrote.

I confess:

The whole single mom gig is so hard. So, so hard. All you who parent by yourselves on a daily basis? Major kudos to you. Cooper is going through the terrible 17 months and he is wearing me out.  See? It's so bad that is deserved to be bolded.

I confess:

It's not that bad. I mean, it could be worse. I'm getting lots of cuddle and play time. & if he throws 5,678 tantrums a day - so what? At least he's funny looking when he does it. I appreciate that he runs and hides his face in the corner when I tell him no. I didn't tell him to do that (and I have no idea where he learned it) but I find it hilarious none the same.

I confess:

In the spirit of keeping the home fires burning (if ya know what I mean) the husband and I have attempted sexting (sexy texting). Only my texts are less sexy and more...awkward. Like, when the husband says "what are you wearing?" I say "oh, those pajama pants that are too short and have a hole near the butt. Oh, and a t-shirt Cooper rubbed spaghetti sauce into." Sex-ay. Also, I feel uncomfortable using "slang" terms for private parts so my sexts contain words like "vagina". Nothing says sexy like the word vagina.      

I confess:

I'm not one of those selfless wives. You know the ones I'm talking about? They keep their homes clean, their kids well behaved, dinner made at promptly 6 pm and they are HAPPY about it! They say things like "well, it is the least I can do for my husband because he works so hard for his family." Kudos to you, wives. I aspire to be one of you. I'm more the type to call my husband and say "Do you know what I did today? I cleaned up DOG VOMIT. IN OUR BED. And I worked all day & came home and made dinner. You should THANK ME."

In my defense, I don't think I'd do that if the husband in question was actually appreciative of the dog vomit cleaning up. I mean, I have to get validation somewhere, so I might as well force him to give it to me.

What do you need to confess today?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

(Lack of) Faith.

I am such a hypocrite.

No, really. Just last week I sat down and wrote this long, heartfelt post about how strong my faith in God was. About how I trusted Him to provide. And how I believed He would bring His plan for my life into fruition.

If God reads blog posts, and He read mine… well, He was probably laughing at me. If God has a sense of humor, I’m sure He was up in Heaven thinking “well, let’s just see about that, shall we?”

I’ve been consumed with doubt, fear, rejection, and worry for the past week. As you all know, we’re moving in a couple of weeks. We actually closed on our house in Georgia today, although it will be a few more weeks before we can live in it. I’ve been sending out resumes since we made the decision to move to Georgia. Dozens of resumes. I’ve applied to every social work job that I’m qualified for.

And I haven’t heard back from a single one. Oh, wait – let me clarify. I’ve heard back “we decline to interview you at this time” and “sorry, we have more qualified candidates”. Which at first I shrugged off. “Oh, there is something out there for me!” I’d say as I got yet another email or letter. But this week it has just hit me that maybe I won’t find a job. Maybe there isn’t a job out there for me.

Can I just vent for a second? I’ve never had an issue finding a job in the social services field. Social work has always been undermanned, and there have always been positions. But apparently the state of Georgia only wants Masters level social workers. And apparently there is an influx of people with MSW’s, because even the jobs that will take Bachelor’s degrees are going to people with MSW’s. Super awesome. I’m glad I paid all this money for a fancy degree that qualifies me to work nowhere. I’m also glad that ten years of experience means diddly squat.

I’m sure you all know the feeling of being rejected by a job. Lots of you are out there looking for work right now. I know it is a bad economy. I know there are tons of people all applying for the same jobs, because those are the only jobs available. I know there are overqualified people applying for jobs they are too “good” for because they need to provide for their family. I get it. But’s it is still disheartening just the same.

This all stems from the fact that my realtor promised to help me look for a job. His wife works at a local hospital, and he said she had mentioned they were looking for social workers. Well, he gave her my resume and she basically said I was worthless (in a very polite way). Apparently my degree qualifies me for minimum wage jobs. SUPER FABULOUS. I make twice as much as that in South Carolina (which is only a little bit above what is considered the poverty line). And I go to Georgia and am qualified to make sandwiches at Subway.

I don’t know… that’s just been running through my head all week. Then I have Jason saying super supportive things like “well, you should just work in a factory. Factory workers make more than you do.” and “I told you social work was a stupid degree. You should have been a nurse.” I’m so glad you knew me in college, Jason. Because I certainly would have taken your advice.

This isn’t my first rodeo. Jason and I have moved across the United States four times now. I’ve had to uproot, quit jobs, and find new jobs many different times. But something always popped up. God always provided. There was always a place for me.

This week Satan has really been at work on me in the form of doubt and worry. At the same time, God has opened my eyes to the fact that those feelings are Satan’s way of making me doubt God. Satan’s the little voice in my ear that whispers “you’re just not good enough” and “you’ll never find a job” and “how are you going to afford to live on one salary?” It runs through my mind in an endless loop until I  feel sick to my stomach. Every time I hear it, I pray. I pray to have faith and trust. I pray for God to provide. But the feeling and the little voices just never go away.

So you see, I’m a hypocrite. I write a blog post about my faith in God, and here I am a week later – the girl who has lost her faith.

I need a serious attitude adjustment. Today I realized that God’s plan might not necessarily be my plan. Maybe God doesn’t want me to be a social worker. Maybe he wants me to be in a different field. Maybe he wants me to go back to school. Maybe he wants me to stay at home. I’ve just got to let go of my expectations and open myself up to different possibilities. You’d think I would have learned by now that my plans are not God’s plans, but there I go every single time telling God what I want Him to do instead of praying He will help me do what He wants me to do.

What’s that saying? “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans?” God’s laughing at me, for sure.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, advice, scripture, whatever you’ve got for me. I’m really struggling with this. I want to find that same peace that I had when I trusted that God was going to provide a job for Jason wherever we needed to go. He provided then, and I needed to trust Him to provide now.

Prayer warriors, I’d appreciate your prayers. Specifically, that God would open a door for me in regards to a job. Also, I’d appreciate prayers that God would send someone to rent our house in Charleston. Those are the two big things that need to happen in order for us to start our lives together as a family in Georgia.

Thank you for listening! I know some of you don’t like these type posts, but I appreciate you being willing to listen to me regardless of your personal beliefs.

If you know of a social work job in Georgia, hook me up. I’ll love you forever.

No, seriously. If you know of someone with a social work degree in Georgia, please help me get in contact with them. I’d love to pick their brain about how to find job opportunities.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Faith.

It's in times of great turmoil and distress that we draw closer to God. Don't you think? This is true for me, at least. I know I'm guilty of neglecting God when things are good, only to run to Him when times are hard. Well.... the past couple of months have been hard. And my relationship with God is stronger than ever. However it had to happen, I'm happy to be there now.

Let's go back to March, shall we? March was when I finally admitted I had a problem. I'd been feeling stressed, angry, upset, and defeated all the time. I was constantly yelling at my husband. I had no patience with my son. I was sad, all the time. Even the simplest action completely overwhelmed me. I finally admitted to myself that what I was feeling wasn't normal.  I made a doctor's appointment and was diagnosed with postpartum depression. I'm taking medication now, and my life is different. I'm happy. I laugh. I have (a little) more patience. I take joy in the small things. God intervened in my life, through a series of people and events. He showed me, through others' encouragement and support, that what I was feeling was not okay. That I could ask for help. That no one would judge me for not being perfect. I'm convinced that if I had not went to the doctor exactly when I did that I would have done damage - to myself, my marriage, or God forbid, my son. But I'm here today because God worked through a series of events to change my life.

The end of March brought the beginning of the interview process for Jason. Major stress. I was a mess. I wasn't sleeping. I would lie awake at night, running through all the "what if?" scenarios in my head. I overate due to stress. While I was feeling less "I'm about to jump off the cliff" I was still completely overwhelmed and exhausted.

I can remember praying to God at this point: "God, please open the doors necessary to take us where you want us to go. Please work this out according to your plan." Which sounds good, right? The problem is that I continued to worry and stress about the outcome of the job interview. 

It was about this time that I signed up for a fantastic daily devotional, Girlfriends in God. I started reading the emails every morning, and y'all? It was like God was slapping in the face with His truth. Here's some excepts from the daily devotionals. 
Faith is a willingness to step out in mid-air, no safety net in sight – trusting God to be there – at the point of our greatest need.
At the center of every challenge is an opportunity for trust in God to work.  Every problem contains a concentrated opportunity and offers the option of stepping out in faith.... Faith is built upon trust. God wants us to trust Him - even when we do not understand what is happening or can explain the circumstances. Even when nothing makes sense and everything seems wrong. It is easy to trust Him when the seas are calm and the skies are clear but the strength of our faith is measured in the midst of a raging storm. A crisis always reveals what is really inside. What life does to us depends on what life finds in us. Faith is a deliberate choice to believe God, to walk through our fear, knowing we can trust Him every step of the way.
The Lord taught me a great lesson that day.  Through Steven’s childlike faith, I saw an example of the attitude of trust that I should have toward my heavenly Father who loves me and knows what’s best, even when the answer is “no.”  After all, if God said yes to every request, then He wouldn’t be God at all…we would.
God could not have spoken to me more clearly. I don't know about you, but I've always had faith. I believe in God. I know He has a plan for my life. I love him and I trust in Him. 

But do I really? I've always prayed that God would lead me. I wanted to live my life according to His plan. But I wanted to do it on my terms. I wanted to serve God, but I didn't want to be uncomfortable. I was perfectly willing to do whatever God wanted me to do... as long as it was what I wanted, too. 

Sigh. I'm so imperfect. 

God spoke to me very clearly about my lack of faith. See, you can't have faith if you are always worrying. Worrying means you are doubting God. That you don't trust in His will or His plan for you. I cast my worries on the Lord, and he took my burden away. I came to realize God doesn't just make the plan for our lives, he arranges all the details to make those plans happen. Our God is a master of the little details. He's in control! I didn't need to worry about where to live, where I might work, daycares, housing. God was in control of every detail and He would provide for me. 
I've often prayed that God would lead me where he wanted me to go. This was the first time I ever truly meant it.

Shortly thereafter, Jason was offered a job at a power plant in South Carolina. He was ecstatic; I was not. I couldn't figure out why. Shouldn't I be happy? My prayers were answered! However, I was consumed with feelings of doubt. What if there was somewhere else God wanted us to be? What if this wasn't what was right for our family? It turns out my doubts were God at work. Due to a series of HR mix-ups and lack of communication, Jason held off on signing his offer letter. The same day that he got an email from HR asking him to sign his offer letter, he got a job offer from a power plant in Georgia. We both knew, right away, that this was where we were supposed to be. God wanted us in Georgia. It felt right. I felt at peace. 

God was at work in this situation. I don't know why Jason got the job offer from the plant in South Carolina if that wasn't where we were supposed to be. But I do know God was at work, unfolding a series of events that caused Jason not to sign his offer letter. I do know the job offer from Georgia came at just the right time. 

God has proven to me over and over that He is at work. He's working out all the little details. I won't lie; this hasn't been an easy journey (and it isn't over yet!). It often seems like we take one step forward only to take one step back. But I do know every time I go to God, asking for him to work out the details, He does. 

With all that said, I still find myself struggling with doubt and worry. I've put out dozens of resumes and there's been no requests for interviews. We have had six different people come look at our house, but not of them have wanted to rent it. Through it all, I'm reminded to have faith. To trust God to work out all the details. Most of all, I'm reminded that God doesn't work on our timeline. He works on his own. He'll provide for us, but it will be according to His timing.

I saw this on Pinterest today: "Faith in God includes faith in His timing."

Gotcha. Hear you loud and clear, Lord. 
I don't know who is reading this. I don't know what your life situation is or what you're facing right now. But if you're consumed with worry or doubt, there is someone out there that wants to take your burden from you. God has strong shoulders, and He can carry your burden. Let go and be at peace. God is a God of details and He works all things for our good. 

God is good, all the time. 
If you have any questions or just want to talk, email me at andrearhouse@gmail.com.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Blast From The Past

While cleaning out and organizing in anticipation of the move, I've come across some items I didn't even know I had. Case in point? These sweet (and by sweet I mean atrocious) school pictures of yours truly.

Go ahead. Laugh. I know you want to.

Ahh, 5th grade. Love the perm, dot earrings, and the styling Cosby sweater.




6th grade. A confusing and awkward time for any girl, but the pain is made even more so when you have to walk around with a zit on your nose the size of a quarter. You can see the scar from where I dug it out of my flesh the night in a fit of desperation. Don't you love my bow, tribal earrings, and mock turtleneck? Sexy.




7th grade... also known as the year I become a four eyes. I still love me some big glasses to this day, but thankfully I have graduated to contact lenses. I'm pretty sure I'm wearing my brother's Polo shirt in this picture.




8th grade. My mom says this is the year my attitude came out to play, and I think you can see evidence in this picture. Duckhead was popular, obviously. I'm positive that on my bottom half I am wearing acid washed shorts and slouchy socks - two pairs on each foot of alternating colors. Check out my hair - that's the longest it has ever been.




If I could go back in time, I'd approach my 9th grade self and say: 1. Back away from the Sun-In. It will make your hair fall out in clumps. 2. Pluck your eyebrows!




10th grade was the year I chopped my hair off and never looked back. This was a good look for me (comparatively speaking) don't you think?




11th grade was the year Friends first aired, and like every other girl on the planet, I attempted a Rachel cut. Only on me, it looked suspiciously like a Billy Ray mullet. My mom's solution was to perm my hair. 11th grade self: perms are never a good decision.




Finally, I leave you with my junior prom picture. Who doesn't have an Olan Mills portrait in their picture album? Don't you love my pageant dress? It is every bit as appalling as you think it is.




I shared these pictures on Twitter and a few people said I looked like Candace Cameron. What do you think?

I want to see your pictures! Share!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

We Want To Know Wednesday

In an attempt to get back into my bloggy groove, I'm linking up with Mamarazzi, Shawn, Impulsive Addict, and Janette for We Want To Know Wednesday!


Impulsive Addict wants to know:

If the blogging world had a talent, what would your act be?

Um... I'm not sure what this means. Does it mean what is my blogging talent? Or what is my talent in general? My caffeine hasn't hit me yet.

Well, as I shared in my vlog, I'm quite a good packer. Need someone to pack your luggage or car for your vacation? Call me. I'm your girl. Now my blogging talent? Hmmm. I'm quite good at disappearing for long stretches of time and then popping back up like a bad rash, pretending I never took a blogging break.

Yeah. Sorry about that.


What's the most likely reason you might become famous?

I have this reoccurring fantasy (Not that kind of fantasy! Get your mind out of the gutter!) where  I star on a reality show about military wives. (Because all my fantasies have to have some small possibility of occurring. It could happen. Right?) On this reality show, I'm such a loving, kind, and supportive wife. The world falls in love with my shenanigans and I become a household name.

In reality, if I was to star in a reality show, there would be numerous clips of me screaming "Cooper, no! Put down Mommy's eyeliner! DO NOT draw on the puppy! Eyeliner is for eyes, not for walls! GO TO TIME OUT!" while my son gleefully draws what appears to be flaming mommies on the wall. Or you'd catch me shaving my mustache or toes when I think no one is watching. Or perhaps it would document the 10,000 times a day my husband and I have conversations that end in "you asshat" or "we don't really need to buy that, do we?"

Ahem. Maybe I'm not destined for reality stardom after all.

What question are you repeatedly asked that you are tired of hearing?

Every single time my mother calls me, she says "Where is Cooper?" She always calls at 10:00 p.m. and the answer is always "He's in bed." Mom, if you're reading this, for the MILLIONTH TIME, Cooper's bedtime is 7:30 p.m. Therefore, every time you call after 7:30 p.m. HE WILL ALWAYS BE IN BED.

What's the last thing you broke?

I didn't technically break anything, but last week my family vacationed at my mom's boss's beach house on Edisto Island, SC. I was putting on spray sunscreen in the bathroom and accidentally sprayed sunscreen on their freshly painted walls. Oops. FYI, spray sunscreen contains oil and doesn't not come off the wall, even with Dawn or Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.


Finish this sentence. I can't believe I used to _____________.

Sleep until 11 a.m.? Go to the movies? Eat out in fancy restaurants? Spend money on myself? Stay up all night because I knew I could sleep all the next day?

Motherhood. It's awesome, I tell you.


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