Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Marital Moments - Not-So-Expert Advice on the First Years of Marriage

My cousin Laura, and her husband, Garret, just celebrated their first wedding anniversary (the one where the Bean was an epic #flowergirlfailure, even though she graced all the professional photos as though she rocked it, as seen here). Laura requested I write a few thoughts on the first year of marriage, or marriage in general, for her to compile into a book to give Garret (for their "paper" anni). I enjoyed reflecting briefly on Alex and my first year of marriage, and am happy to report that I have mostly nice things to say. Alex and I got most of our heavy, messy baggage unpacked long before we were engaged, let alone married. I think that's what happens when you travel in a foreign country together for months at a time. Then again, he might not necessarily share the same perspective, I don't know. But here's what I wrote ...

When I was a little girl, I don’t recall dreaming about my white knight or my wedding decor, but I absolutely do remember making plans to live near my best friend and go skiing with our kids every day in the winter. Back then, I imagined living right next door to Dee or Lindsay, married to twin boys, having babies at the same time, playing soccer together, walking our kids to school together, working as doctors at the same hospital, making dinner for each other’s families.

What I didn’t know then is that I would, indeed, get to live with and parent alongside my very best friend. In the place of one of my 3rd-grade girl friends, is Alex. He’s my homie, my BFF, my partner in crime, my TV-watching buddy, who undoubtedly finds a way to annoy me and then make me laugh And he keeps my heart safe. Before the Bean was born, he was even considered My Most Favoritist Person In The World.

I appreciate the idea of being included in a compilation of Year #1 marriage anecdotes/advice. For better or worse (pun intended), I can’t specifically recall our first year of marriage. For Alex and me, it felt like a realtively seamless transition, from living together to marriage, even to parenthood. I felt that we had overcome a lot of the early relationship hurdles long before we were engaged. We did, after all, work and live together all while starting to date. I was mean, he was always wrong. And then I discovered Zoloft.

Now that’s not to say we aren’t without our conflicts, Year #1 or Year #5. We are never without our conflicts. Because really, what fun would that be!?!? We are fiery, emotional people who reflexively like to have things our way. And constantly negotiating life with another person attached at your hip is simultaneously the BEST THING and the most annoying thing ever. This is even more true with children.

But seriously, neither of us really entered into our union with a set of expectations on how “marriage” should be. And I think this has served us well. For me, marriage is simultaneously everything I anticipated, and nothing I thought it would be. I suppose we expected love and laughter and respect and adventure. And most of the time this is what we provide each other. But every so often, we have unpleasant reminders that making someone else feel loved takes work. Loving him isn’t any work at all, but helping him know and feel and trust my love requires regular action on my part, and vice versa.

Additionally, we have relatively good communication. Sometimes we probably err on the side of over-communicating. We talk too much. People often say marriage is hard. That parenting is hard. While that’s all true, the crux of it is that PEOPLE ARE HARD! Being honest with yourself, and then with your partner, is the only way to make the hard things just a little bit less so.

All that said, I think there are a few keys to a really good relationship (easier said than done, of course):

- “Water their heart garden” – show love the way they want to be loved, rather than how you yourself feel love

- “Use your words” - never expect someone else to read your mind

- Try to give just a little more than you feel like you need to

- Don’t count on one person to be your everything; in the end all we have is ourselves

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

(Stuff Alex Made) - DIY Summer Tree Swing

Alex cut down the flowering tree in the center of our backyard several months ago, lending way to a lot more yard space, and healthier grass. He didn't cut the tree all the way down, because for whatever reason I like the trunk. Plus it makes a great place to hang a home-made swing, and it is one of the two trunks necessary to put up the slackline.

A piece of scrap wood from your basement


Cut, screw, tie, hang. And swing!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

(30 Months) - 2 and 1/2 Years Old

Happy Half-Birthday, Francie Pants!

Still asking "why?" All.The.Time.
Obsessed with her "stoof" and watching us cook or make things in the kitchen.
Is now (very proudly) sleeping in her "big kid bed" (crib converted to toddler bed).
Using an alarm that lights up green, to stay in bed until 7 a.m. (gets a marble in a jar each time she successfully does so, then when the marbles are all used - ice cream date!)
Ob.Sessed with Mama this month. And I love it.
Loves to "play clay" (play dough).
Tells the story about the deer from the Wallowas "try to eat my food" in our campsite multiple times each day.
Beebee is in charge of FrancieCare this month.
Gives lots of compliments.
I love you so ... much!

Quotable Quotes:

She is still pronouncing so many words in a cute toddler way that I hope I don't forget too soon ...
"myugisk" = music
"agilater" = alligator
"toof" = stool
"stawbeeee" = strawberry

While on a flight home from Detroit and looking at an animal flash card app:
"Babies cry a lot because elephants have tusks"

Driving somewhere in the car, seemingly out of the blue:
"Love the shit out of me."

To her daddy, which made him so proud:
"I love myself."

Playing with a stethoscope toy and her doll:
"Baby sick because have fly in her brain. Fix it."

Laying in her big kid bed together:
"Pretty eyes, mama."

When I'm getting dressed for work in the morning:
"Cute dress, look so pretty."

When I get out of the shower:
"Have cute buns" or "Nice boobs."

Anytime, all the time:

Also, any time, all the time:
"Saw deer. Tried to eat my food. Has owie fall in hole" sympathetic head tilt.

"Make you feel better," with a hug and a kiss included.

Me: "What does Daddy do for work?"
Her: "Get money."
We laugh, so this is reinforced, so she refuses to ever say that daddy "teach big kids" or that mama is a "peepafogis" (aka speech pathologist - clearly, she needs one).

Me: "Want to hang out with me tomorrow?"
Her: "Yay, supermama!"
Me, laughing: "I like that. Where'd you get that?"
Her: "From my head."

Randomly, while I'm getting ready for work one morning:
"My body not feel good. Because hamster in my brain ... All better. Hamster gone."

The day she learned that Stac and Vivi weren't able to come and visit form Denver:
"I'm kinda sad. Because, Stacy, um, throw up."

Lying in bed together before she goes to sleep:
Her: "I have big kid bed!"
Me: "I know, I'm so proud of you."
Her: "Why?"
Me: "Because you're doing a good job growing and learning and you're turning into a big kid."
Her: "Get penis soon?"
Me: "No, you won't get a penis, because you are a girl, so have a vagina."
Me, concerned: "Do you want to have a penis and be a boy?"
Her: "Yeah."
Me, still concerned: "Do you want to be like mama or like daddy when you grow up?"
Her: "Daddy."
Me, still concerned: "Butt are you happy that you are a girl?"
Her: "Yeah."
Me: Phew.

Thursday, September 18, 2014


I miss living in a strikingly beautiful place.

I miss creating tangible things.

I miss liking to exercise.

I miss exploring new places.

I miss doing something outside and active during the day, then vegging on the couch in front of the TV or with a book at night, seemingly justified in my laziness.

I miss components of my former life that I truly haven't missed in several years.

I think I'm bored.

"Ennui," my dad calls it.

en·nui (änˈwē/)
noun: ennui
  1. a feeling of listlessness and dissatisfaction arising from a lack of occupation or excitement.
    synonyms:boredom, tedium, listlessness, lethargy, lassitude, languor, weariness, enervation
There's nothing wrong. I love my husband, I adore our daughter, we had a fun Summer of Doing together, I like my job, my house, I have great friends, the grandparents are helpful.

There's nothing wrong.

Yet I'm simultaneously filled with restless energy, and totally unmotivated.

I want to write, but I have nothing to say.

I want to craft, but don't know where to start.

The house needs to be cleaned, but I only notice - and care - when it's time to get the Bean ready for bed in the evening.

I'm tired when I go to bed and tired when I wake up. I set my alarm for 5:45 a.m. every morning with the intention of exercising. It's happened only once this week.

And it's not even Fall yet. The days are still long-ish, and it's been (mostly) sunny.

I have nothing to blame but myself.

And I think that might be part of the problem.

I have a case of the Mondays, but it's already Thursday.

Cue the orchestra, featuring the tiniest of violins.

But at least I have Hank Moody.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

And Other Fun Times on BIRI

As I said before, I just had the best time in Block Island. Even the red-eye flight with a toddler was tolerable. And most of everything else was just plain fun.

Highlights included:
- watching the Bean play and giggle alongside her new "cousin," Callie
- rehearsal dinner speeches and movie of B and Z growing up
- a day at the beach with the whole crew, with perfect summer sunshine and warm Atlantic waters
- ice cream from The Ice Cream Place nearly every day
- drinking whiskey and gingers at the wedding reception
- eating amazing cashew butter with goat cheese at The Manisses
- seeing the Hartman Family and meeting the newest additions
- a visit to the Manisses yak and zedonk and giant tortoise named "Tank"

And because my pictures are better than my words, especially for my memory, I'll stick with those ...

Block Island is located 13 miles south of RI.

It is shaped like a tear drop, less than 10 square miles, with a year-round population over 1,000.

The Bean wore her Nike pink leisure suit for the redeye travel.

Classic photo. Beebee and The Bean, asleep on the plane.

The hour-long ferry ride from Point Judith, RI to Block Island.

The Bean and Uncle B blowing kisses.

Francie and Callie were BFF cousins almost immediately upon meeting.

Francie helped Uncle B fix some Manisses drinks.

When on the East Coast, play lacrosse.

Callie, Zahavah, Francie and the oceanview from our beautiful rental house.
Rolly polly giggly girls.

Francie and Beebee. Cresecent Beach day.


Flying nieces.

More Manisses sorbet.
Manisses animal farm trip.

Callie is a hand-holder. Francie didn't mind.

More little girl handholding, and Tank the huge tortoise.

Yak attack.

 Llama llama red pajama.

Family photos are hard. Rehearsal dinner fun.

 Mama love.

Hartman Siblings - Al, Mary Ann, and Tom.

Diane and Al.

Williams Family (minus Zahavah)

My handsome hubby. But I was not sad to see this 'stache go.

Charlie and Jake, Hartman boys from the Hartman boys Tim and Ted.

Brother and sister can't take a good picture.

Rehearsal dinner host with the most, Al.

Groom- and bride-to-be rehearsal dinner smooches.



Z & B.

Runnin' like the wind.

The girl in the pink dress.


Girly giggles on a parasol parade.

Links to rehearsal dinner speeches:

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