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365 days. 110 articles.

24 Feb

Marriage has, is and always will be such an interesting topic. It’s an institution; a lesson; an ideal; a pursuit; a promise.  It can be exciting, fresh and unpredictable yet still naïve in its youth, boring on occasion, and at times completely chaotic.

While matrimony can be paradise for some or prison for others, the only way to understand is to open its doors, enter it’s new and challenging world, and then survive on its founding oaths; both curse and blessing to those brave enough to domesticate it; marriage is truly NOT for the faint of heart.

In as few as five years, we have fallen together and stood back up. We have utterly failed one another and forgiven. We have found beauty in our sacrifices and rebuilt success with broken dreams. We have spoken our vows and depended on them when in need…

So why do we choose such a daunting lifetime commitment when the odds of surviving what we call marriage are against us?

When it all comes down to it – I think life, though sometimes difficult and unrewarding, is simply better when shared… And to be told its impossible or even naïve hope to believe in marriages that last a lifetime – well… to some of us – that is a challenge we are willing to accept.

This past year has been quite the curve for me, in both my marriage and my writing. In fact, they are both turning a corner once again. It’s kind of funny when you’re writing finally catches up with its original intent. Change is good…

In review and after a year of writing, it’s time to start anew and refocus. So THANK YOU for reading my thoughts and sharing yours with mine. MAO has been a blast.

To the next chapter in all of our lives… And may your marriages be blessed with each day shared!

Cheers with wine!

the Mrs.

P.S. I’m going to leave these posts up for a bit… I’ll procrastinate the cleaning for a little while.

Whom you love you serve…

20 Dec

My love as deep; the more I give to thee,
The more I have, both are infinite.
William Shakespeare

An often under-rated shared activity that most couples can find both strengthening and fulfilling is the very act of giving.

Teaming up and picking a few ways that you and your beau can give back to your local community or even support a not-for-profit organization can be contagiously fun and rewarding. Keeping in mind your personal values, strengths and resources, the number of combinations are truly endless…

If you have much, give of your wealth; If you have little, give of your heart.
Arab Proverb

So you love personal interaction, happen to be great with kids and have an extra hour every week to kill – consider being a Big Brother or Sister! You will never know the incredible positive impact you have on a younger person when you give them your undivided attention…

If you can’t feed a hundred people, then just feed one.
Mother Theresa

Or you’ve been blessed with financial security, have an awesome job and while you don’t extra time, you do have the resources to support from a distance – consider sponsoring a child in a third world country! Their are so many programs out there that offer monthly, weekly or daily contributions that even your morning coffee could supplement…

If you are young and healthy, and don’t have the spare funds take a visit to your nearest blood donation clinic. After thirty minutes, a couple cookies and juice, your small donation of vital body fluids can save lives.

Looking for a change up for date-night? Check out Habitat for Humanity and build a home togetherliterally. Rolling up your sleeves together for community service can be quite the unique experience, plus you can bring your friends!

Most communities also boast various charities – try donating forgotten pantry items to your local food banks, tithing regularly to your local church or offering up clothing and personal items that you no longer use to shelters where your junk is someone else’s treasure!

Together you and your spouse can reinvest your shared happiness, blessings and gifts by offering your time, money or skills to those in need.

These are really only a few reasons that came to mind when asked if we support any charities and why. In reality, the benefits always outweigh the effort. And who knows? Not only will your involvement likely seed a major impact, the shared activity will grow your marriage closer and stronger.

Serving friends, family and even those without a face will show love and kindness in untold magnitudes. The gift of giving is the ability to do so in the first place – so give while you have the chance.

How do you give back together and why?

~ Cheers with Wine! ~

The Mrs.

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How to travel together and not lose your minds…

11 Nov

“Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” — Miriam Beard

This past month has brought the Mr. and I through a new experience. Travel on short notice. Not an emergency but pressing. And I’m almost thankful I didn’t have the time to stop and think because I’m a routine girl – and spontaneity can definitely throw me right off.

Living across the country from family and friends has opened our world of travel – both domestically and internationally.  And now, after years of traveling, we’ve finally developed a system that works for us.

For some, traveling can actually be a stressful experience. Especially, if both have different ideas of what a vacation really is. But as we’ve learned, travel even under tough circumstance and short notice, can still be fun, relaxing and memorable.

Compatibility between travelers is pretty essential to a stress-free experience; whether you are taking a road trip, luxury cruise, international resort, flying domestically, camping, or even backpacking.  While everyone fits a different travel personality, and matching personalities are ideal, opposites can actually bring even more to each trip.

So which travel type are you? Romantic, luxury, budget or adventurous? Each type brings a different dynamic to travel so balancing your strengths can actually extend your trip past your comfort zone and into new worlds.

If you don’t know which type you fall into, here’s a quick and easy quiz that will point you in the right direction. Those who are seasoned in travel will actually find Dr. Stanley C. Plog’s Travel Personality Quiz surprisingly accurate. Plog further breaks travelers into six categories and goes as far as listing the Top 30 Travel Destinations based on what you would love.

At the planning stage it’s equally important to take your time, share your ideas, and know your boundaries. Everyone has a comfort zone that shapes each experience so take the time to identify what you think would make your trip easier and more relaxing.

The hubs and I have a divide and conquer theory. Where one of us has a weakness, the other has a strength. He’s great with directions so he gets to be the navigator, and quickly takes the lead when something goes wrong in this area. Whereas, I am great at handling planning, so I gladly book the hotels, flights, car rentals and such.  And as I have a bad short-term memory, the Mr. always keeps the most important documents on himself. That way I don’t have to worry about forgetting shampoo or minor items that we can pick up almost anywhere we go.

If you are pressed for time consider using a travel agent. They are very knowledgeable and fees are normally quite reasonable. We have one that we bounce all of our trip ideas off of, even though not all come into being. We have used her for so many trips now that she has our preferred airport and hotels on speed dial if we make that call.

We also try to give ourselves a lot of buffer time for both unexpected delays and time apart. It’s easy to overcrowd one another so make time to be flexible and stretch out your own wings. Try sometime different and share your stories afterward – it’s amazing what you’ll find and who you’ll meet when given space to do your own thing.

Find your balance as over time traveling together gets easier and you can actually develop a nice routine. Just remember to take baby steps and have a broad sense of humour. Travel brings unexpected plans like camping brings bad weather. Be prepared to be challenged, and remember that some of the biggest mistakes make the best stories.

When outlining your trip’s budget, don’t forget to consider one another’s spending styles. Many of us enjoy bringing home momentos, gifts, and shopping while on vacation. Hubs loves eating at restaurants, so I let him splurge and plan our dinner dates while traveling. I’m always given a budget for updating our travel gear, sending out postcards every trip, and supporting the local artisans.

As travel reduces a lot of personal space, you will sometimes have to disagree in public. Being able to read each others body language simplifies decision-making in the company of friends or even when in danger. Sometimes, trouble finds you, so have a good back-up plan and solid trust in one another. In the worst of scenarios if you are somehow left with no resources, remember that together you have more chance of surviving than alone.

On most trips, you won’t have much more to worry about than flight times and accommodations. So to make these trips even easier, make use of early check-ins, and chat up your lodging’s concierge (they are always full of great local knowledge and tips). Invest in durable luggage, eat proper meals, and get plenty of sleep. These make a world of difference and start each day properly.

With practice, we have found that we bring less stuff and rather rely on one another’s skills to provide our needs. Becoming increasingly mobile, allows us more flexibility and eases our travel efforts.

“A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.” — John Steinbeck

Remember that your partner is really the best candidate for an amazing trip. So make it easy on each other and communicate, communicate, communicate. Submit to one another when it benefits both of you – and each trip will be better than the last! All in all, have fun! We wish you the best travels with much laughter and memories for a lifetime.

Think I missed something that you couldn’t travel together without? Drop me some of your tips and tricks!

Cheers with Wine!

the Mrs.

Small Confession

12 Aug

Courtesy of rentmovie.com

So there’s been a small problem – hence my confession.

I told the Mr. I felt I was cheating on everything lately — but with him. I’ve been so distracted by him lately! I just want to *hang* with him and leave the dishes another night. Leave everything… not write.

I’m conflicted but not really. We can live without MOA for a little while right?

He’s going back to work — sigh.

We’re moving — smile.

the Mrs.

Changelings…

11 Mar

My younger sister just successfully had her third child – and she’s only 23.

It’s at these momentous events that I am forced to reflect on the decisions I have made (in conjunction with my husband) to not have children up to this point. Not that we will never have anyjust not yet.  

I have another older sister – pregnant with her second child. My older brother (closest to my resemblance) is still on fast-track with his career without children – like me.  I love my nephews and nieces – truly – but these changelings are the very source of my indecision.  

My sister brought home the new babe just two days ago – and subsequently the older baby (now 3 yrs old) is leaving to stay at Gramma’s for the next month. While we will all miss him – more-so we are overjoyed to stop chasing this menace around the house every minute of the day. I’ve never known a child to make silence so eerie and ominous. Oh, if they could only stay so small, meek and angelic…  

Loud & Obnoxious

But they don’t. The very teachings we instill in children come back to haunt us eventually. It begins with the “No, don’t touch that, be nice, this is Auntie’s…” to hearing the child repeat verbatim when you ask them for something, “NO, MINE, DON’T TOUCH MY STUFF, ALL MINE!” The independence we encourage slaps us in the face when they make contrary decisions to ours – the control we wield slowly slips out of our fingers as they grow up into their own individual persons…  

My husband and I love children – truly (Wait didn’t I say that already?). But why don’t we love them enough to actually have any? Chuck Norris fits the bill quite nicely right now – he purrs when pet, cuddles on demand, requires little maintenance, eats whatever I feed him, plays quietly beside me while I work and never touches my stuff. Whereas, the nephews/nieces get into everything, need 24 hour watch, only want to cuddle when they are sick and full of germs, refuse to entertain themselves and put up a huge fake fight when it’s time for bed and nightly kisses.  My only defense against these changelings are my wits and intellect. My customized punishments involve mental anguish and unanticipated logical puzzles that they fail to understand so they tip their heads to the side and say “huh?”. I win and they lose only by their short attention span and lack of depth. Their confusion my slip in the door, and finally their submission my success…  

Quiet & Sweet

And then my thoughts drift back to the newborns … quietly bundled and sleeping majority of the day, only waking to feed and peek out from their blankets when curious. I want one, but can I lease it and exchange for another angel in 12 months? Or maybe I just need to live alone with my husband for a while to forget these beautiful children and possibly hope to have one of our own.

I was a changeling once – and my parents still had another… Maybe we as adults are the ones with short attention spans and unable to entertain ourselves except to continue breeding half & half versions of ourselves? Or just maybe, if I wasn’t able to have any my opinion would change? Who knows – until then… Chuck Norris – what would I do without you?     

the Mrs.    

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