.ten.

Our anniversary was Thursday.

In years gone by I would have a scheduled anniversary post ready to go up days in advance with one thing I love about Christopher for each year we were celebrating. I would have booked a babysitter and made a restaurant reservation. Neither thing happened this year. That’s what happens after 10 years. You talk about who is picking up your child from school and discuss the incessant beeping coming from the refrigerator. The romance lives on!

The traditional tenth-anniversary gift is tin/aluminum. Christopher is hard to buy for when the world is my gift oyster so narrowing it down to a specific material makes it even trickier. I looked on Etsy for ideas and got distracted by an ad for a psychic who would tell my future and draw a picture of my spouse. I almost bought it just for giggles to see if it matched but it made more sense to spend the money on the person who is my current/for all time spouse. I ended up getting a hammered tin heart decoration that says “mine” on it. I didn’t love it but it was getting down to the wire and I could find nothing else. Some years I hit it out of the park and some years I apologize for my sub-par gift. He wouldn’t want a personalized tin guitar pick, an aluminum print with a wedding song or a license plate with our anniversary date. I was this close to buying him a huge crate of coke zero (aluminum cans) and calling it a day.

Annabelle was very excited about our anniversary and spent an hour upstairs with the door closed creating a show for us. She taped a large piece of wrapping paper to the mantle and wrote our last name on a piece of paper which she presented like a scroll. She wrapped one side of a large cardboard box with paper then spun around in it before singing ‘happy anniversary’ to the tune of Happy birthday. It was quite the production. I like that she sees our anniversary as a thing to celebrate. She ate supper in the kitchen while visiting with Grammy over the computer and we ate in the dining room. Our little party decorator taped some festive ”banners but more like garlands or kind of like a fancy ribbon decoration” to the wall.
We’re going on an anniversary trip at the end of the month. In the past 10 years we’ve had eight homes, one difficult (to put it mildly) pregnancy, lost multiple babies, and had more bumps in the road than I care to discuss. I could not be more excited for us to get away for a few days. I’ve been saving all my work money for this anniversary trip and I’m dreaming of new restaurants, reading on the beach, and not having mealtime discussions about how the kids at AB’s school like Jojo Siwa but she doesn’t.

We looked like this on our honeymoon-
and like this on Sunday. We should have planned a trip to the fountain of youth instead of Savannah.

short essays on marriage

Ten years ago today we got engaged. There is no photographic evidence because Christopher didn’t tell me to bring my camera and apparently it was before I had a camera phone. It’s fine! I don’t wish multiple times a year that we had photos from that day! That once in a lifetime event! To commemorate this occasion, I would like to share some marital moments.

First off, we have a long history of morning alarms. When Christopher was in the army he’d frequently get up at 3:30 or 4am. To ensure he actually did get up, he’d set several alarms in five-minute increments. The alarms would start going off half an hour early and if you’re doing the math at home, that was seven alarms while the moon was still high in the sky and I was still trying to sleep. These days the alarms aren’t quite as early but boy oh boy are they still the third member of our marriage. I drag myself out of bed to get AB to school at the same time he drags himself out of bed to get to work. We each have mul ntiple separate alarms and sometimes they go off at the same time but sometimes they don’t. It’s a terrible symphony that no one wants but we get every morning.

Speaking of mornings, when we were first married I’d stay in bed until Christopher got home from PE. The second I heard the key in the door, I’d hop up and start making the bed and acting like a modern-day Proverbs 31 woman. I wanted him to think I had made fresh bread and jelly from homegrown strawberries instead of squeezing in every minute of sleep. How cute. I would never do that now. I couldn’t even if I wanted to thanks to the aforementioned alarms.

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I am nothing if not a product junkie. I will take samples of any and all lotions, potions, creams, glosses, makeup, and hair products. I love spending $19.99 at Ulta so I can get a free 5-piece sample bag. There are many parts of my body I’d change but a real thorn in my side lately (aka the last eight years) is my double chin situation. It’s out of control and I cannot be more unhappy about the situation. I researched my options and found a great solution, but unfortunately, it costs $1,000 per shot. As I have neither won the lottery nor been left a large inheritance, I had to bookmark it for another time. Instead, I found what I hope will be the foundation of neck youth. It is a neck firming, anti-wrinkle, saggy neck tightener and double chin reducer anti-aging moisturizer. All this can be yours for the affordable price of $26! I had hoped for instant results after one use but beauty and perfection can’t be rushed. I have been applying it faithfully so I expect to look like a new person any day now. I told Christopher I saved us $974 by not getting the shots and you know what he did? He pulled up the definition for snake oil and read it to me while I applied my neck firming, anti-wrinkle, saggy neck tightener and double chin reducer anti-aging moisturizer. “You would have bought anything that a traveling salesman sold on his cart in the 1860s.” Don’t rain on my cosmetic parade! Guess which one of us will have the neck and chin of a supermodel when we’re both old and in the nursing home?

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The short cold snap has finally arrived so we’re taking every opportunity to make fires in the fireplace. They have not been roaring successes. They’ll have flames for a few minutes until the starter log burns out then smoke for the next several hours. We cannot get a good fire. This is particularly annoying to me. I want a cozy fire, not a smoldering fireplace. I’ll rearrange the logs, fan the tiny flames, add a second starter log but have very little success. Christopher doesn’t take it as seriously as I do. He’ll sit on the couch reading memes while I give a running commentary on our subpar fire. Eventually, I decided that the wood was wrong and I’ve been promoting this theory for several weeks. His response was, “I don’t know. I got the wood at the gas station. It’s from a tree farm so how can it be wrong?” I don’t know the details of why the wood was wrong but it was the only thing that made sense. Every time we made a fire it was with wood from the same place. “You keep buying wood from that’s been sitting outside a gas station. Maybe it’s gotten wet.” “It’s in an enclosed box protected from the elements.” For someone who wouldn’t think it odd to research which paper towels have ranked the highest in maximum absorption in a nationwide study, he wasn’t taking this seriously. I was getting so passionate about the wood being the culprit that I took a picture of the “wood protected from the elements.”
Let’s zoom in for the people in the back. Where is this enclosed box of which you speak?

This debate reached a peak on Saturday. We made a “fire” again and it was not, as the kids say, lit. I texted Elizabeth about this marital disagreement and as expected, she was very sympathetic. “He’s a soldier. Didn’t they teach him to make fires in training? He didn’t research it? You think he might have watched seven videos about fire making for his family, but actually, he was catching up on the value status of the US dollar vs the British pound.” She has a close-up view of how our marriage works. I told Christopher what Elizabeth said and a few minutes later I hear a guy on youtube saying, “Today I’m going to show you how to make the perfect fire. It’s very important to know about the wood you’re using. Be sure to purchase seasoned wood.” Then, from the corner of the couch, the one to whom I am married said nonchalantly, “Well, I guess we should get different wood.”
THAT’S WHAT I WAS SAYING ALL ALONG. Why did we have to get confirmation from random Doug on Youtube? Should we get Doug’s opinion on my neck firming, anti-wrinkle, saggy neck tightener and double chin reducer anti-aging moisturizer?

nine on the twenty-ninth

Today is our 9th anniversary.

We had planned on having a lovely supper with our anniversary twins William and Kate at their humble castle but the virus disrupted all our plans. We were all looking forward to seeing other adults and talking to someone besides our children, but we’ll try again next year.

I tried coming up with nine new things we did or experienced this year but I could only think of four. Four is also the number of pictures we took together this year. The number gets lower every year despite my best efforts to take more.

1. We bought a house. Several times a week I think how much I love this house and I can’t believe it’s ours. The locale is not ideal or one we’d pick, but I love the house. It’s been so fun to create a life in a home we own.

2. It hasn’t been the best of years as far as events in our personal life. We’ve had sicknesses and drama and frogs and our first miscarriages. 

Ignore the bug eye sunglasses.
I forgot my sunglasses on the boat when we went on an excursion so I got these at a little shop.
They’re so big they need their own sunglasses.

3. We’re quarantining together for the first and PLEASE GOD LET IT BE THE LAST TIME. He’s still working so we haven’t had the level of togetherness many couples have, but I wouldn’t say this virus has brought out the best in us. The other night I moved to the other couch because he swallowed his soda too loud. It was a low point. But we’ve been consistent with playing more family games in the last several weeks and
 I hope we continue it if we’re ever free to resume a normal life. We started a new Saturday tradition of getting coffee from the drive thru then going for a walk around the pond. We’ve always been fans of family walks but having a designated time and place has made it a little more fun.

4. This is a real stretch when it comes to firsts but like I said, I’m really scraping the bottom of this barrel. We finally got a white comforter. I had wanted one for years but never gotten one because…it’s white. White shows stains like no other. But I found it on sale at TJMaxx then found the blue bird pillow on sale at Pier 1. It was a $28 pillow I got for $3.28 so I basically made money on the purchase. The comforter has gotten dirty because we have cats and a child who constantly has dirt on her somewhere, but I love it.



Things worth noting-


Christopher’s sewing needle phobia has not improved since last year. Even though I have accidentally lost several needles, AND FOUND THEM ALL, he has no confidence in me when I get out my cross-stitch. Just this Sunday I couldn’t find my needle so I was shaking out all the blankets and pillows on the couch. AB asked what I was doing so I whispered, “I dropped my needle but don’t tell Dad.” Just then Christopher walked by, saw the blanket laid out, and asked what was happening. I told him not to worry about it. I had it under control! But blabber mouth Sesame called out, “She lost her needle again!!” I cannot trust her to keep my deepest secrets. Turns out the needle was exactly where I had stuck it in the couch for safe keeping so it all turned out fine. I ALWAYS FIND THEM.


When Christopher has trouble screwing the toilet paper holder into the wall, he abandons the screws and superglues that sucker to the wall. 


He refills my water bottle with large amounts of ice and fresh water every night. For some reason, I do not like refilling my water bottle. I don’t know if it’s the untwisting the lid or what but I don’t like doing it. I’ll ask my therapist about it next time I see her.

When I was sick after the cruise I asked him to get some sudafed from Walgreens. He bought back five different medications for me to try. If I ask him to pick up cough drops on the way home from work he’ll arrive with four different brands so I have options. 

I hope AB marries someone who will refill her water bottle. They’re the best kind. 

I’m always available as a backup singer if needed

Several weeks ago AB and I started piano lessons. I brought my meager stack of piano music which was a few classical books, a Pacabels Canon, a Josh Groban song and three Josh Turner songs. The teacher looked at the three Josh Turner’s and said, “You’re really into this Josh Turner guy, aren’t you?”


Yes. Yes, I am. Guilty as charged.

Here we are at our first face to park bench meeting in 2012. 

The fact that someone convinced Josh Turner to have a concert in our town is a shocker and a sign that the Lord still does miracles. Nobody cool ever comes to our part of the country. NOBODY. Christopher heard he was coming from someone at work and called me to see if I wanted to go for a belated Valentine’s date. I could not have said yes any faster. The concert was the day before we left for a trip with Christopher’s family. I can’t fathom the disappointment if he was in town the day we left and we missed him. I scheduled a babysitter instantly and counted down the weeks. The day arrived and I was so excited. I told the babysitter to come at 6:15. At 3:00 she texted saying she had the stomach bug for several days and was so sick she forgot to text me earlier in the week. She could still come, but she still felt nauseous. I told her not to worry about it. These things happen and I could find someone else. In my mind, it was PANIC! PANIC! I CANNOT MISS JOSH. I didn’t want to ask any friends with kids because they’d need to be at home putting their kids to bed. I was going to ask my friend Amy then remembered she’d be at the same concert. I have no family here to ask. I almost called the theater and asked if we could buy another ticket and she sit on our lap. Worst case scenario, Christopher would have to stay home and I go alone. It would not have been ideal to spend our Valentine date separately or more accurately, me with another man, but drastic times call for drastic measures and if someone had to carry the burden of going alone, I would sacrifice myself. In the end, a girl from work was free to watch AB if we could bring her to her house. I would have brought AB to Seattle for this so it wasn’t a problem.


The concert was everything I hoped it would be and more. I was so happy. We hadn’t been on a date since the week we lost Elliot in October so we were past due. 

This is when the heavens opened and the angels rejoiced at Josh’s arrival.

Michelle and Amy from work were also there. The blue lights in this photo were from the police car guarding Josh’s tour bus. I’m not saying we actually did walk across the street to investigate, but the police must have heard our joshing around and taken us seriously. (See what I did there? JOSHing around? I’ll l see myself out.)

come to me with all your marriage conundrums

Yesterday was our 8th anniversary.

In years past, I prepared posts and facebook statuses days in advance and scheduled them for the 29th. I made sure everything was done on time. This year I meant to write something on Sunday afternoon but I took a nap instead. “Nap” is a generous way to put it. It was more like an experiment where AB tried to beat her personal record of how many times she can ask for a snack in 30 minutes. 

Our friends watched AB so we could go out to eat on Sunday. The restaurant we wanted to visit was closed so we enjoyed a calm and quiet dinner at a second restaurant. Yesterday, our anniversary, I cashed in a facial and massage gift certificate at the spa in the morning and got a haircut in the afternoon. It was a tough day of pampering and someone had to do it so I took one for the team. The lady doing the facial was sweet but she promoted their new procedure for the removal of extra-fine facial hair a little too much. She turned the spotlight directly on my face and said, “Yeah, I think you’d really like that procedure. You’re a great candidate.” Just’s the sort of self-esteem building comment I was hoping to hear!

In honor of our 8 years together, I’d like to share some spiritual lessons marriage tips and tricks. I encourage you to file these notes away for your time of need.


1. Nag, nag, nag. As I said last week if I nag suggest Christopher start a new hobby for long enough he just might do it. I’ve tried this leaky faucet method in other areas without success, but I’ll keep at it.

2. Find a way to live in (somewhat) peace and harmony when your hobby is your spouse’s fear. Christopher has a sewing needle/pin phobia. He HATES them. This presents a problem since I use pins and needles frequently. I like to do cross stitch when we watch a show at night or in the car and he is truly horrified when I drop a needle and can’t find it. I am much more laid back it. I always usually find the needle and if I don’t, we don’t have a toddler in the house who will find and eat it. It’s not like it stands straight up by itself, waiting for an unfortunate soul to step on it and die. When Mom and Elizabeth were here, one of them was doing some mending and a stray needle was on the floor. I made sure he knew it WAS NOT MY FAULT. I HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH IT. DO NOT BLAME ME FOR THE STRAY NEEDLE.

3. Make purchases “for him” that you enjoy. If you, like me, are married to someone who hates confetti, I can point you in the direction of a company that makes a confetti bomb card. I can’t guarantee that it will explode like you hoped and dreamed but please order one for yourself and let me know how it goes. I got him the Father’s Day confetti card box bomb and stalked the mailbox until it came. I don’t think there’s ever been a card I was happier to see. It was a flop but the anticipation of an exploding box of confetti brought me so much joy I might order another for this Father’s Day. Again, let’s be clear that while the card was for him, the entire purchase of said card was for my entertainment. 

4. Find common ground in education. Christopher is obsessed deeply invested in BBC news. He’s constantly checking their app and listen to their radio station. I listen to the less globally enlightening but BY FAR more entertaining BigBoo Cast. When I want to tell him something I heard on the podcast, I add little more credibility to what I’m about to share with him by saying, “Today on the BBC I heard…” He doesn’t know which BBC I’m talking about but in case it’s his version of the BBC, he pays a little more attention. 

5. Try to fill in gaps in each other’s knowledge. Closely related to number 4, any conversation along the lines of “Did you read the article on ozone layering and how it is affecting the planetary protection of the earth?” usually end with me replying in the negative. But he never knows when Joann’s is having their special 70% off holiday clearance sale so it evens out.

6. They say “Don’t let the sun go down on your anger.” but that’s not always possible. Sometimes you’re angry when the sun comes up because your husband has set alarms to go off every 10-15 from 5 o’clock in the morning to 6:30. I wish I was exaggerating but I looked at his alarms last night and I am not. Use the time before you fall asleep to plan how hard you’ll whack him with pillows when he doesn’t hear the alarms, or remind him that there’s a guest bed right down the hall and a couch in the living room if he insists on so many alarms at such an ungodly hour.

I hope a few of these tips work for you. My 2,921 days of marriage make me qualified to speak on the topic. Christopher is still my favorite husband I’ve ever had so it’s worked out well for me.

I finally made a cross stitch portrait for us. Only three needles were dropped in the making of this project and all three were retrieved. 

AB’s anniversary gift to us was tears

I spent three days last week taping, priming and painting a wall in the living room. It seemed very deja vu which it was because I did the same exact thing when we arrived two months ago. We had painted an accent wall brick red but after a while, it started to feel like we were living in a fire station. Since we had just done it I assumed I’d worked out all the kinks then and it would be a breeze to get done. I had planned to wake up early and get some painting done before AB woke up. It never happened. I woke up late, a can of red paint spilled in the laundry room and went under the washing machine and Annabelle’s feet and legs got covered in non-washable primer. We went to the store for a break and to buy the paint. There wasn’t a salesperson in the paint department and Annabelle had a meltdown as we were checking out. Needless to say, it wasn’t an easy breezy painting experience. I painted the wall green and Christopher keeps saying he wants to paint pieces of chocolate on it because it looks like mint chocolate chip ice cream. That’s exactly the look I was going for! 

We celebrated our seventh anniversary on Saturday, a day early. We hadn’t gone on a date since last year so it was high time we hit the town without our third wheel. We actually did the farthest thing from hit the town. We went to Jimmy Carter’s boyhood home. Normally I’d save historical trips for non-romantic days but as we never have a babysitter we seize the day on any activities. Plus my goal of becoming first lady is always at the forefront of my mind and being seen at a historic site is good for publicity. 

The lady at the gate said we missed seeing Jimmy at by only a few hours. I’m always two steps away from fame! The farm was really pretty and we enjoyed strolling without answering questions about what squirrels eat and if we could ride the horses. That didn’t mean we had completly intellectual conversation. I couldn’t get over the cleanliness of the chicken coop. You really CAN have a clean chicken coop! How pretty! Look at the clean chickens! Christopher took one look and said, “You can have a clean coop if you have the whole of the National Park Service and government funding to clean it for you.” Good point.

We saw this sign and I immediately cleared my schedule on all those Sundays. Christopher said we shouldn’t turn our days of worship into days of chasing celebrities. Sometimes I get the feeling he doesn’t take my political aspirations/celebrity meetings seriously.

For supper, we went to a fancy restaurant that opened in the late 1800’s. I made a reservation which was completely unnecessary given that we were the only ones there. Usually we eat at restaurants that give little black buzzers when you show up so I always feel fancy making a reservation. The restaurant was beautiful and I felt like someone from Downton Abbey was going to walk in at any moment.

The traditional gift for the 7th anniversary is copper. Christopher never wears sunscreen so I thought about getting him a bottle of Coppertone and calling it a day. I ended up gluing pennies from the years we were born, met and married into a wooden heart-shaped frame. Partway through making the gift it occurred to me that pennies might only be copper coated and not 100% made of copper but I didn’t research it. Ignorance is bliss and I didn’t want to come up with a new gift at the eleventh hour. He gave me a rose gold copper pineapple tumbler that I love. I have such a rose gold obsession right now.

Our week so far has been a combination of lost patience (me) and an unnamed child who has decided it’s cool to recreate the terrible twos (which she never had in the first place) and the moodiness of a preteen girl. She cries about everything. She cried because I didn’t remember the same thing as her. She cried because it was too warm to wear her footie pajamas. She cried because we had to wash her clothes. She keeps telling me she misses her old school and friends so I know she’s still adjusting to the move. I just wish her adjusting wasn’t so painful for all of us. Her allergies have been horrible here too. She gets welts the size of nickles from ant and mosquito bites. Something irritated her face and her eyes swelled up. She still manages to be cute with a swollen face which I never do. 
This was the day she was digging in the garden and making dirt beef sandwiches.
I’m dieting so I didn’t eat any.

She’s also big into making messes. I don’t know why I bother cleaning the house during the day. My toy organization system in useless. If only I had the National Park Service and government funding to clean for me.