Archive for the ‘Love & Marriage’ Category

Happy 33!

Today I want to take a moment to wish my hubby a very happy 33rd birthday. In honor of his birthday, I thought I’d share a few memorable photos with all of you.


Sept. 2004. This was the first photo we ever took together. And probably the only time I ever wore that hat.


2007 or 2008. Can’t remember but doesn’t my hubby look handsome?


2005 at a winery. We look like babies. Drunk babies.


Oct. 2006. Cardinals in the playoffs!

Now let’s look at some pics of his birthday over the last few years…


Sept. 26, 2008. His 28th birthday in Florence, Italy.


Sept. 26 2009. His 29th birthday in San Francisco. And yes, I am wearing the same jacket as in the Florence pic.


Sept 26 2010. 30th birthday in Charleston, SC.


Sept 26 2011. 31st birthday in NYC. Sensing a theme yet?

Last year was the first year in a while that we were actually in town for his birthday. It was far more low-key, but pretty enjoyable.


Last year. Birthday dinner at Longhorn Steakhouse.

But this year. This year, I feel like I let the ball drop a little. No fancy trips. No big party. I got him a gift, but a Michigan pullover (that looks almost identical to one he already has. Oops!) and some new socks aren’t exactly exciting gifts. We’ll have dinner with some friends tonight, at our house, and we’ll have a good time, sure. But I feel like I’ve just run out of creativity this year. Still, that doesn’t diminish the fact that he’s a spectacular dad and husband and D and I are both incredibly lucky to have him. So while we may not be celebrating in Florence this year, I still want to wish my hubby a very happy birthday! Love you to pieces, babe!

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Seven years ago today, I married my best friend. My favorite person on earth. And while I didn’t think it was possible then, I love him 100,000 times more today than I did all those years ago.

On one hand, seven years is a long time. But on the other, I know it’s still only the beginning. We’ve entered a new chapter in our marriage this year now that we’re “mommy” and “daddy” on top of “husband” and “wife”. Fortunately, we’ve always worked well together and try to approach parenting the same way we approach most things in life: as a team.

I feel like anniversaries are a good time to reflect and if things are good (they are at the moment) then perhaps offer some words of wisdom for other couples that may currently be struggling. But ya know what? I still don’t really feel qualified to give marriage advice. Even after seven years. Mostly because every marriage is different and what works for us may not work for others. But also? Marriage is HARD. People told me this before we got married and I just nodded along. I mean, how hard could it really be when every night is basically like having a sleep over with your (very attractive) best friend? But it is. We’ve had far more highs than lows, but we’ve had some REAL lows that lasted a LONG time and all I can say is, don’t give up. That’s really all a successful marriage is, is two people who don’t give up at the same time.

Now that we’ve thrown parenthood into the mix, it’s really shaken things up a bit. We have a lot of the same struggles most new parents do – lack of intimacy, bickering over little things, no time to ourselves to reconnect. But beyond that, I think our marriage is even better because we have just one more thing to bond over, talk about, and be completely obsessed with. That little boy is our whole life and it’s nice to be married to someone who gets it. Who sees him the same way I do. Who gets excited about the same little milestones and whose day is made by the same little giggling sound. Parenthood can be really isolating sometimes but if you’re in it with a good partner, it’s not so lonely. It’s also a pretty incredible thing to watch your husband be so hands-on with an infant; to see him display a side of himself I’d never seen before.

So while we’ll likely go out for one of those rare date nights and marvel at how quickly time has passed, we’ll also talk about the future and how excited we are about this new phase of our lives. How much fun it’s been this last year, and how much fun we’re going to have these next seven years. And the next seven. And the next…



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6 + 39

May 22 marked our 6 year wedding anniversary. It was also our 39 week appointment to check on Mr. Baby. I’ll start with the baby updates first:

I’m 2 cm dilated and about 50% effaced, which is good and means my cervix is doing its job right now, but the baby is still kind of floating because I have so much fluid. So until my water breaks or until my contractions get stronger, he’s not going anywhere. (Side note: previous exams to check dilation were uncomfortable but this one was downright painful – to the point where she had to remind me to breathe because I had stopped and was holding my breath through it. It took my body a few minutes to recover from it. Ouch!)

She also felt around on my belly and monitored his heartbeat for awhile. I guess she was just checking to see how responsive he was because she’d push on him a little and his heartbeat would go up and she’d smile, saying he was getting all excited by the movement. She also said she thinks he’s going to be about a 9lb baby (even though we were estimating 8lbs last week) but we didn’t talk c-section so I’m trying not to freak out about it.

So! With my due date a mere 4 days away, she scheduled me for an induction on May 31st. That way, she’s giving nature (and the baby) about 5 days of wiggle room from my due date to do this thing naturally. (Apparently most women have their babies within five days – before or after – their due date, so she wants to make sure I’m given that amount of time to go on my own.)

I mentioned losing my mucus plug on Saturday but her response – or lack of – indicated to me that it pretty much meant nothing. She was just like “Oh yeah, you’re going to lose a lot of mucus, and some falls out every time we check you.” And here I was all excited about it. Oh well.

I also asked about membrane stripping and if that would help. She said she tried to do that a bit while she was checking me, but there’s so much fluid that it was difficult to do all of it, or something like that.

Basically, when my water breaks, it’s going to be Niagara Falls.

After the appointment, hubs and I went to the Italian district of the city (aka The Hill) for a nice, celebratory dinner at Dominic’s. We were there so early that we joked about trying to get a senior special. For a place that normally requires reservations, we were the ONLY patrons. But it was kind of nice, having a fancy restaurant and multiple waiters dressed as butlers all to ourselves. We started with the calamari appetizer, and the hubs had a glass of chianti wine. I took a tiny sip – the first sip of wine I’ve had since finding out I was pregnant – and let me just say that it was one of the best things I’ve tasted in MONTHS! I’m craving a glass right now, just thinking about it.

They were featuring a veal and mushroom ravioli in a rich cream sauce so I ordered that (and it was amazing), while the hubs ordered lobster ravioli. Then they surprised us with a piece of Italian-style cake (chocolate with rum custard layers and something else, I don’t remember) with a candle and little “Happy Anniversary” card on the top. I only ate a few bites because I wanted to save room for the gelato place down the street. It’s hard to find good gelato in St. Louis but Gelato Di Riso on The Hill is fantastic. We were both too stuffed to eat anymore though, so we got a big container to go.

I know six years isn’t anything super fun or remarkable, and I was kind of sad we didn’t have a baby on our anniversary, but it was nice to spend some quiet time – just the two of us – before shit gets real around here. Sure, it wasn’t drinks on the beach in Maui at sunset like last year, but it was still a pretty good day and a reminder that I married the right man, and there’s no one else I’d rather be on this journey with.

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Tonight, the hubs and I celebrated seven years of togetherness. SEVEN. YEARS. It’s kind of crazy to think about actually. I mean, on one hand it feels like we’ve known each other forever, and on the other, it feels like just a couple of years ago that we met since I can still remember it so vividly. (See previous post here on HOW we met.)

Though we weren’t technically dating until a few days later, Sept. 8 is the day we met, and it’s the day we celebrate. We call it “meet day.” As in “Happy Meet Day!” Yep, we’re dorks. Please tell me we’re not the only couple that still celebrates those tiny special dates years after they’ve been married? Regardless, I still enjoy celebrating the day every year, even if our celebration just consists of a card and dinner at one of our favorite restaurants. Some years we even go back to that fateful place, the basketball court of our old apartment complex, and try to remember all the tiny details. This year wasn’t one of those years. Between dropping and picking up my car from the shop, eating dinner, and cleaning the house before family shows up tomorrow, there just wasn’t time or desire. Instead, we indulged on smoked wings at one of our favorite restaurants called Loco’s and spent the rest of the evening de-cluttering the house and giving it a quick wipe down. We typically don’t do gifts, but I did manage to surprise the hubs with tickets to see his beloved Michigan Wolverines when they come to Illinois in November. We’ll likely make a weekend out of it with a trip to Chicago. Hopefully the city will be decked out for Xmas by then.


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The word I hear most often – even more than “amazing” and “awesome” and “like” – is BUSY. Everyone is busy. Busy with work. Busy with social lives. Busy with volunteer projects. Busy with planning events. Busy with chores. Busy with school. Busy with…life. We’re no different. There are never enough hours in the day. Every morning we hit the snooze button at least three times and swear we’ll go to bed earlier tonight. Coffee is a necessity and even when we try to make lists, the list just gets longer at thrice the speed of anything getting crossed off.

Despite my textbook-Gemini behavior, I am a creature of habit. I thrive on routine. That doesn’t mean I actually follow routine, but it’s something I aspire to do almost every day. In our relationship, the hubs is the night owl and I’m the morning person. By night owl I mean if left to our own devices, he would stay up until 2am and sleep until noon whereas I naturally wake around 8:30 am and pass out around 11pm. Obviously this doesn’t mean much of anything since we both have to get up around 7am for work, which is too early for the both of us.

These last few weeks have been especially rough on the sleep schedule. I’m not sure why exactly but as people that are used to getting roughly 8 hours a night, we’ve been cutting ourselves short – even on the weekends – and have only managed around 6 1/2 to 7 hours a night. Doesn’t sound like a huge deal, but we’re on day number 16 or so of this and it’s wearing us down.

The other day during a quick lunch-time phone call, the hubs said he’d like to get into a routine. He admires those people that get up and get dressed with time to spare to enjoy a cup of coffee, some fresh fruit for breakfast, and the morning paper. I’m pretty sure he’s thinking of the show “Leave it to Beaver” because I don’t know anyone that actually does this, but it’s his dream so I just go with it. He vows to start shutting off the computer at 9pm, maybe watch a little TV to take his mind off of work, and go to bed at a reasonable 10 pm so we can wake up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in the early morn. As someone who’s been begging him to try this routine for YEARS (and always responded to with a scoff) I was beyond thrilled to hear this change of tune.

I came home that night and fixed a healthy dinner of mashed cauliflower, cucumber salad and chicken strips (okay, 2 out of 3 ain’t bad). While I was doing this, he took down the ramp from when the in-laws visited two weeks ago and showered. Then he did a few things on the laptop before we decided a drive to Dairy Queen would be a nice way to enjoy the evening and the gorgeous weather we seem to have brought back with us from San Diego. (BTW, DQ flavor of the month is Nutter Butter. Get it. You won’t be disappointed. Unless you hate peanut butter. Which, there’s probably something wrong with you. Like you better be deathly allergic because no one normal hates peanut butter.) Once we got home, we popped in a movie and enjoyed our mini-blizzards. Everything was moving along according to our new & improved schedule! Around 10:15 pm, I figured it was about time to turn things off and head to bed. Except somewhere in the last few minutes during a bathroom run or a drink refill, I had lost my husband. I left the movie running since I could tell he wasn’t all that into it (the new Arthur, in case you were wondering) and waited another 15 minutes. At this point, I knew he wasn’t in the bathroom and a hunch told me I knew where I could find him: firmly planted in the office in front of his laptop. I said something along the lines of, “Hey I thought you weren’t going to get on there anymore tonight. It’s bed time!” but the glow of the laptop screen had apparently seized him and my words just fluttered over his head with barely a nod of recognition.

At 11:15 I turned off the bedside lamp and made one final plea to please come to bed. Sometime around midnight, there was mumbling and sheets moving.

And then Friday morning, at the bright and early hour of 7:30, he hit the snooze button thrice and rushed to work again.


I guess we already have a routine.

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Four Years

Yesterday marked the four year anniversary of the day I said, “I do.” We didn’t have anything special planned since we sort of celebrated a couple of months early with our trip to Kauai. Instead, we slept in, ate Hardee’s biscuits and gravy for breakfast, took a 3 hour nap, walked around our local lake and just enjoyed the day. That night we went out for a dinner at a new place (or new to us) called Ice Kitchen, followed by ice cream at Cold Stone Creamery. We didn’t exchange gifts, just cards, and it was a simple, lovely Saturday not unlike just about any other Saturday. And I consider that a good thing: that every weekend is sort of like a mini celebration.

Anniversaries are also a time for reflection. Looking back on that day and remembering all the good times between then and now. There are so, so many. And there’s still so much we want to do. So much we have to look forward to. I love looking back at all we’ve done in the past, but I love dreaming about the future even more. I suspect I’ll be doing quite a bit of that these next few days, considering my 28th birthday is this week. There won’t be any elaborate celebrations to mark that day either – just a simple dinner with family (my mom is in town) – but I always take the opportunity to reflect on the last year, and make plans for the next one. And considering my birthday falls close to the 6 month mark, half way throught the year, it’s a good time to take a look at those oh-so-forgettable New Year’s resolutions and see how I’m doing (writer’s note: usually not very well). But at least I’ve still got another six months to work on it.

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On this day five years ago, I met my now-husband on the outdoor basketball court of my (our) apartment complex. He was practicing for an upcoming game, I was lurking as I waited for phone call. I spoke first, beginning a conversation that would last more than half an hour, but continued the next night, and the next night, and well, here we are five years later.

At the risk of repeating myself from last year, I won’t go into the details of how much life has changed since that fateful day five years ago. Life is certainly different, but it’s so much more than that. So much BETTER. I loved the newness of getting to know someone and falling in love, but building a life together as husband and wife has been so much more fulfilling. Maybe that’s why so many people don’t really celebrate their “meet day”, as my husband likes to call it. Or maybe they just don’t remember the date. And yes, he really just sent me an email that said “Happy Meet Day!”

Tonight, our celebration will be pretty low-key. We’ll go out to dinner at one of our favorite places and do a little shopping since neither of us had time to get the other one any sort of gift with all the family in town all weekend. (I’m using this anniversary as an excuse to stock up on more scented candles. Sad, but true.) Maybe we’ll swing by the old basketball court on our way home. It’s been about a year.

As much as I like to think back over the memories of the last five years, I get excited thinking about what the next five years will bring. Does it get any better than this? Is that even possible? I hope so. But even if it doesn’t, I’d still be just as happy with what I’ve got. (Though I do hope that when I write this post next year, my husband has a better job. One that doesn’t require him to travel.)

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In an attempt to be more frugal and financially responsible in these “tough economic times,” I’ve been toying with the idea of trying to live life on one income. This would simply mean that we pay all of our bills and take all of our spending money from one person’s paycheck each month and the money from the other  paycheck goes into a savings account as if it never existed. Now that we’ve paid off both of our cars and have no credit card debt or school loans, I think it’s possible for us to survive on just one income, though it would be tough.

The only issue we’re having with this scenario is, whose paycheck do we spend and whose do we save? I’m salaried and my husband is largely commissions-based. My paycheck is the same each month whereas his fluctuates, sometimes by hundreds maybe thousands of dollars. It would be easier to determine and follow a monthly budget if the income was consistent, so that would mean we try to live on my salary alone.

Now here’s where I admit that we don’t share a checking or savings account. GASP! Yes, it’s true. I get mixed feedback anytime I tell someone this. It usually starts with the questions. “Really? Why?” and “How do you split the bills?” Once I explain that we just both like having control over our own finances and that it keeps us from ever fighting about money, I usually get a response along the lines of, “Oh how unconventional of you!” Yeah, and we’re swingers too.

Having separate checking and savings accounts really has kept us from ever fighting about money. I don’t get pissed off when he drops $20 on lunch rather than opting for the $5 foot-long deal and he doesn’t flip out every time I walk into a Target and walk out $100 poorer, wondering where it all went. That alone is probably enough to credit our separate accounts as one of our secrets to a healthy marriage. Plus it makes birthdays, special anniversaries, Christmas gifts and little surprises easier to hide. (to those of you with joint checking accounts, how do you ever hide surprise gifts?) I’m truly a big advocate for maintaining separate checking accounts, but the thought of my account just barely keeping a positive balance month to month while his account keeps adding dollar signs, well it just makes me ill.

So is this where we cave and join our accounts? Do we open a third account that’s joint and just keep separate savings accounts? Or do I suck it up and just hope that my husband doesn’t meet a pre-baby Halle Berry and run away with her and all our money leaving me broke with all the bills?

After talking it over, I think we’ve decided to keep things the way they are – separate – but whatever money he puts toward our mortgage and/or the cable bill, I’ll match it by depositing the same amount of money into my savings. Everything else gets paid for out of my account already, so nothing will really change. We’re just pledging to be more conscientious about our finances and hope to save up enough money for a nice emergency fund, build some equity in our home, and set aside some money for a down payment on a new car. We don’t NEED a new car, seeing as how we just paid off both of our cars, but in a couple of years we will. Better to plan ahead now. And of course, we need to have enough money to indulge our travel addiction.

What are your best budgeting/money saving tips?

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