Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Entries in married life (69)


happy birthday husband!!!!

today my handsome husband turns twenty seven years old! i thought i'd share twenty seven of the reasons i love this guy:

1. the photo above -- everything about it. how hilarious he can be. how seriously he takes growing a 'stache (it's been explained to me that there are certain times Navy life demands it -- and ryan just loves growing a mustache in record time). & the fact that he can always, always brighten my day.

2. the way he'll say things like, "i think we should have something that rhymes with 'pizza' for dinner." or "someone whose name rhymes with 'mary' insisted we stopped for ice cream." i used to demand he take the time to actually find a word that rhymes -- come on lizza, teeza, heeza or cary, tary, nary, it's not hard! but now, i find myself doing it too. (that's marriage for you!).

3. how open minded & open hearted he is -- ryan is always up for anything. road trip to 13 states in 11 days even though we've been only dating a few months? sure! driving a really long way to try some random restaurant? of course. going on a walk at 11 p.m. with hot chocolate, just to see if there are any new christmas lights up? wouldn't miss it. brand new friends who need help moving? he's the first one there & still unloading the last box.

4. his serious loyalty to potato chips -- the guy would have them every meal if he could. (& yes, i now find myself craving chips when before i never even would have thought to have them!)

5. how INCREDIBLY kind he is. for those of you who know my husband in real life, i know you're nodding emphatically. & even if you just know him through this blog, i think it's clear: ryan has a true gift for being kind in every sense of that word. he's really thoughtful. really intentional. really present. slow to judge. quick to offer any help he might be able to provide. it is SUCH a daily blessing in my life.

6. what an AMAZING dad he is. it's still hard for me to put into words what it was like to watch ryan with ellie in the first few hours of her life. he took diapering & swaddling lessons from the nurses, he kept his "proud dad" hat on 24/7, he was so calm with her. as she's grown, he has too -- those two are quite the pair.

7. his service to our country.

8. how he talks about "his girls."

9. how much he loves going to the movies -- no matter what is showing, or how many stars it got -- he loves the ritual of going to see something on the big screen.

10. how he loves the people in our lives -- ryan never wants to know someone is "good" or "fine" -- he wants to know the details of their life -- and he remembers them. he wants to show up. he wants to take care of people. he asks good questions. he keeps peoples trust.

11. how calm he is. in any situation, he just puts everyone at ease.

12. how patient he is (especially with me :)

13. how hard he makes me laugh -- he's a story teller & someone with a keen sense of what is really funny.

14. how he watches usa network tv dramas proudly.

15. what an incredible listener he is (clearly an asset with a wife like me :)

16. how much he loves the natural history museum in nyc. the GW parkway outside d.c. perdido key in pensacola -- he finds his places, is loyal to them & takes others there.

17. what an incredible road trip partner he is. this isn't scientific, but i'm pretty sure he's the best out there.

18. how he has a pizza quota in his life. if it's been too long, i know we're gonna be on a hunt for a good slice of pizza.

19. how he grocery shops -- let's just say there's no list involved. or food groups. it's pretty much a free for all as to what he might like to try. unpacking the groceries absolutely cracks me up.

20. that he likes to dress up & looks so gosh darn handsome when he does. a good bow tie. or seersucker suit. the guy is sharp.

21. how much he loves christmas. 

22. how much effort he puts into planning date nights -- he sure knows how to sweep a girl off her feet.

23. how incredibly handy he is. my honey-do list may be a mile long, but ryan always knows how to tackle the projects. lowes is his happy place & i love going there with him.

24. his loyalty to american made cars -- if you want to get an earful, get him started on his Ford explorer -- the guy has had three of them.

25. how willing he is to constantly work at our marriage -- he is such an incredible partner & i absolutely cherish the chance to go through life with him.

26. he makes a mean jambalaya.

27. that he chooses to wake up every morning & love me -- it's such a blessing.


two married life stories.


two recent small moments in our marriage i thought i'd share:

1. we've been meaning to get front porch furniture for about a year and a half (this house has an AWESOME porch). this year, we finally found some we liked & got a porch swing (yipee!) and two rocking chairs (plus, these fabulous pillows!). there was much discussion about what to get -- ryan had always been a fan of adirondak chairs, & i pushed strongly for rocking chairs. thanks to my sweet husband & me being oh-so-much louder about my opinions, we got the rocking chairs.

so, one night ellie goes to bed & we joke the farthest we can "legally go" when that happens is the front porch, where the monitor still works. so, we take some beers out there & are enjoying the pretty spring night on our new furniture. all of the sudden ryan starts laughing -- i ask him what's so funny & he says, "now i know why you wanted rocking chairs!!" i'd been rocking steadily since we sat down (some might say agressively...) ryan, on the other hand, desperately wanted to just sit still & be calm (which would be much easier in an adirondak chair!)

this made me realize we thought the decision about chairs was about furniture -- when it actually was about our personalities. i felt so badly that it wasn't the aesthetic of the adirondak chair ryan liked, so much as the fact that it matched his calm demeanor. we're constantly learning about each other, & perhaps more importantly, how to love each other well.

2. the second story is about a night when a fly was in our bedroom and would not stop buzzing around! we have had cockroaches (in this house & mammouth size ones in pensacola) & spiders, but this fly was a new adventure. it was a quick little sucker!

so, about ten minutes in to the chase, we both have magazines rolled up, trying to get this darn thing & finally it goes in our teensy-tiny bathroom. we immediately chase in after it ... ryan shuts the door & climbs in the bathtub (literally the only other place to stand). we have so little room, we're practically swatting each other (let's just say we both have strong competitive/determined/stubborn genes) & this fly is just having a field day. after a near hit, we just dissolve into laughter. i think we both realized how ridiculous this must look.

i stood there thinking, this is what marriage is about -- being on the same adventure, and doing the best you can to be a team, no matter what the circumstances. in big tasks (raising a child) & small (chasing down a fly) it's so much easier when you try to be on the same team, compliment each other's strengths and never leave your sense of humor far behind.

i love doing life with him.

p.s. we got the fly!


married life recently.

one of the most profound things about your responses to the survey, was how many of you liked my posts about marriage. it was a huge wake up call for me that i hadn't been posting much about that or maybe even thinking about it enough. so, i've spent the past few weeks being really present, trying to pick up on what makes this season of marriage unique, what it looks like for us, & here are some themes i kept coming back to:

shhhing over crib, touchdown "she's sleeping" dance:

one of our love languages right now is definitely the nightly routine of putting ellie down for bed: bathtime, books, hanging out as a family and then putting her down. it'd be easy to classify that as "about parenting," but i think it has a lot to do with our marriage. ryan and i alternate rubbing her back & "shhhing" over the crib as she settles in. we seem to know when the other person needs a bit of a break, and come off the bench to do our turn of "shh" and back rub. as she's turned five months (!!) she needs this less and less, but it's been our sweet little routine for a while now. the best part is when she's finally down, and we walk out in the hallway. you know how NFL players have a touchdown dance? well, we have our own little "ellie's asleep" dance/high five routine that i just love!

texts of encouragement during the day:

like a lot of you, i imagine, ryan and my relationship has always involved texting during the day -- whether it's news, or coordinating plans for that night, or a simple i love you, it's been an ever present part of our relationship. these days, i especially appreciate them. our days are WILDLY different -- he flies helicopters, i take care of a five month old (actually, maybe they're more similar than i think!). both of our days have unexpected twists & turns, and moments when we each need a bit of encouragement, for example: me: "fourth outfit change of the day & she's on a nap strike!!" ryan: "hang in there babe, modern family & s'mores ice cream just you and me tonight!" or ryan "cancelled for maintenance, again" and me: "e & i can't wait to see you!!!!" as you might expect, my texts involve a lot of emoticons and exclamation points :)

finding a new welcome home ritual:

one reader asked me a question a while ago that had such a huge impact on me: "what's your welcome home ritual?" i hadn't even realized we had one or how important it was to both of us! you can read about our original one here, but as you might imagine, it's shifted a bit. instead of coming home to one bottle rocket, ryan comes home to two! e & i are always so, so excited to see him. that said, we can't always run to the door -- sometimes we're mid-feeding or diaper change, other times i'm SO ready for him to get home, we're literally in the front yard (he probably knows that's a signal for i need a break :) sometimes i can't tell him about my day immediately, so we've found a new pattern. my favorite part of the new routine? the look on e's face when she sees him! stinky flight suit, no matter, she lunges for him with the biggest smile. 

giving each other moments of respite:

so, new parenthood is a marathon, not a sprint, and a major adjustment -- for each of you, for your marriage, for pretty much every part of your life. there's a lot we haven't done perfectly, but one thing we've done pretty well is give each other moment of respite. on the weekends, we'll alternate who gets to sleep in a little later & who gets up to play with e. ryan seems to know when i really need a pedicure (i realize that sounds ridiculous, but it's been such a comfort to me) or a solo target run or just some time to take a long shower and read in bed. i try to pick up on when he needs some time too. we're gracious to each other, work really hard at communicating, and when we miss the signals, we try to figure out how we can do better next time.

head on pillows talking:

man, when our heads hit the pillow at night, it's never felt better. we sort of sigh with a "we made it through another day" and smile at each other. our best conversations seem to happen at this time, when we've wound down from the day & have a moment just to talk the two of us.

modern family + dessert:

after e goes to bed, sometimes we are so tired all we can do is nestle on the couch to watch modern family or how i met your mother and pull some ice cream from the fridge or pie i snagged at trader joe's and just "be" next to one another. ryan makes my nightly tea & though we don't have the energy to even have a conversation, we're comforted just being next to one another.

i realize these are small moments, but they're what make up our marriage, what grows our love for each other & how we're doing life together right now. photo above is of our coffee table. our wedding album was on the shelf for too long, i pulled it out so we could look at it every now & then. what an AMAZING day it was, but it more importantly began an even better marriage.


we're taking a baby to new york city!

this weekend we're in ny introducing ellie to some friends & family -- first stop, new york city! above photo was taken a few years back when we were young & in love, on our first trip to nyc together. it was pouring rain the entire time & let's just say we didn't quite have the right clothing to stay dry. this photo always puts the biggest smile on my face. see our last trip to ny here!

have an amazing weekend!


family photos: the real us.


second year of marriage.

as our second anniversary approached, ryan & i kept saying "it feels like we've been married for so much longer!!" and then we laugh and say, "in a good way!!!" truly it does -- i can remember our wedding day like it was yesterday, but we have also packed so much into these first two years of marriage, that it sort of feels like i've always been married to ryan.

this weekend we were driving to charlottesville for my best friend's wedding. it was a momentous trip for many reasons -- mostly because we were going to watch some of our dearest friends tie the knot, but also because this is our last trip before our little girl arrives & because c'ville is such an important place for us. i was thinking about our anniversary, this time last year, and this post i wrote. i knew i needed to write another one, to mark this second year of marriage, and early friday morning, i snuck out of bed, made a cup of tea and settled down to write this post.

*i then didn't feel like the post was quite "ready" and it took me a bit to get back to it, so here goes:

last year, my thoughts on our first year of marriage were around quality & quantity of time, and this year, my thoughts kept going back to our vows. i was thinking about how in that moment we recited our vows two years ago, at that precious church on a crisp november night, it felt like it was just ryan, me and God in that church. though it meant the world to us to get to make those promises in front of the people we love most, that part of the ceremony felt like this incredibly private moment. i forgot anyone else was there.

"I, Mary, take you Ryan, to be my wedded husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, 'til death do us part..."


i once heard a minister say that the really amazing thing about the traditional Christian vows is that they are appointments with yourself in the future. you actually don't say anything about a feeling you have that day -- you aren't telling your husband you love him at that moment, you are telling him you will love him. even if he's sick. even when there's no money. when things are so, so good. when things are most worrisome. it's a commitment to be there, to show up, in two months, in fourteen years, when you're old and grey. i love that and i love the steadiness it gives those vows -- there's no way we can, or should, promise to feel exactly as we did at that moment we made our vows. instead, we know we will need a tremendous amount of grace from one another, that there are a million things we can't begin to predict that will happen as soon as we leave that church, but those vows give us the solid foundation to know our marriage can, and will, endure.

this year has tested each vow, but a few really stand out. at one point during my first trimester, i told a dear friend that ryan & i were living out our "in sickness and in health" vow on an hourly basis. as i spent weeks on end essentially on bed rest, throwing up multiple times of day, unable to get much relief at all -- it turned our world upside down. i couldn't walk into the kitchen, i didn't do a load of laundry for months, i could barely stand to be in the car. we cancelled a vacation, missed weddings and events we'd planned on going to, and hunkered down, unknowing of when things might go back to "normal." i think about the early days of dating and all the modesty, all the desire to be glowing/radiant/put together and then i think about laying on the bathroom floor at 3 a.m., with ryan rubbing my back, and you realize just how important those vows are. no one would sign up willingly for getting a wife through a first trimester like mine -- it was miserable! but ryan didn't sign up at that moment, he had long before then & that makes it much easier, because there's no choice to be made when the rubber hits the road, you already chose to be there. he didn't think twice about swinging by mcdonalds for the fourth time that week to get me fries, the only thing i could keep down. when i would get sick in the middle of the night, he didn't have to decide whether or not to get out of bed and help me, he'd already decided.

does this mean he did everything perfectly? of course not. there were moments when i needed more from him, when he was exhausted by this new reality of ours, when i was inpatient and forgot how to live my own vows, when we both thought it'd be easier not to have to love so selflessly, but our marriage endured, and as i turned the corner at 20 weeks & things got a little more back to normal, i could literally feel our marriage was stronger. as we head into labor/birth and early parenthood, i'm more certain of our bond, i know ryan is exactly who i want by my side & eager to see how that vow is made real once again. i know we'll screw up a lot more. we'll lose our patience. and hurt each other unintentionally. but i also know we both wind up back at those vows we made & a commitment to live them out the best we can.

it seems to me "for better or for worse" is lived out on a daily basis in most marriages -- life is brimming with both really wonderful & really difficult things. the older i get, the more they seem to come in the same breath. you're at a friend's wedding & it's clearly one of the happiest moments of their lives, but the pain of the absence a parent who they lost too young is there too. the job you've always wanted, the one you never thought you'd find happens, and then there's a diagnosis and months of worry ahead. you're celebrating with a glass of champagne, all while checking your phone with concern. i think marriage is about not having to go through that alone -- it's about someone who knows the highs and lows and loves you thru it, and at the very least will sit beside you.

"for richer or for poorer" is clearly relative for all of us (and certainly around the world), but what is says most simply to me that in seasons of life when things change financially, you stick together. we're approaching one of those moments as i stay home with our little girl for some undefined window of time. it's a dramatic change to go from two incomes to one & add a new mouth to feed -- we're also incredibly blessed that it's a choice we have the ability to make, and that's not lost on me at all. what is also means is that as we go back to the drawing board with our budget, think about a college account for our daughter, talk about what this new season will look like, we do so not with "your money" or "my money" but "our family" as the context. what's best for the three of us and how do we live that out in an authentic way, that's consistent with our beliefs? it means we're going to eat out a lot less, but it also means i'm going to have more time to plan meals for us, to try new recipes, to hopefully make our lives that much healthier. it means we're going to think more about certain purchases, not be able to travel as much & have a greater focus on savings, but it also means we'll get more creative -- with date nights, family outings, how we love on the people in our lives. (p.s. every day we wake up knowing our financial security puts us in .001% of the world's population & that is oh so much to be grateful of)

the final vow has to be my favorite -- "to love & to cherish" -- to me, that's about abundance, an overwhelming love. it's about all of us needing someone who is going to wake up wanting to love and cherish us. i remember my mom telling me about a married couple and saying you had the feeling every morning the husband woke up thinking "what can I do to love my wife well today?" what an incredible picture of what marriage can be -- the reality is, not many of us wake up thinking that every morning, even those of us in loving marriages where the idea of that is really appealing. i think if we're honest, it's easier to wake up and think, "boy i need a cup of coffee" or "I've got to go get ready for that presentation" or "if he leaves dirty dishes on that table again, I'm going to lose it" or "wow, great morning breath" :) in our best moments, we're able to look across the table & love/cherish our spouse anew again, no matter the mess in our lives.

my biggest struggle with this post is that i worry it comes off as preachy or like i've got this figured out, neither of which are intended or true. i'm definitely still a newlywed, and even in 50 years doubt i will have even reached the tip of the iceberg about what marriage is about. i'm also aware a lot of this can sound very pollyannaish. i know marriage is really hard. these vows weren't intended to be easy & take a daily recommitment, with lots of grace from one another. my only hope in writing this is to provide some thoughts & a dialogue that all too often doesn't happen. there's so little conversation about marriage, especially among newlyweds, and my hope is this just creates an opportunity to talk about it. i'm so grateful you're here.