I’m About to Boss You Around

As I get older I become more and more like my mom.  She would offer her opinions and advice- ahem- freely.  Me?  I used to think and think before I talked.  Made sure I had really earned the right to give my thoughts or was directly, explicitly asked for my opinion.  Then I would offer it.

Not anymore!  And you guys can reap all of the benefits!

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As I approach my ten year anniversary, let me tell you a few things about how you should live your married life.  Based on an entire decade of wedded bliss including (but not limited to) six homes, nine jobs, and four kids.  Fortunately we’ve made no mistakes or poor decisions during this decade, so rest assured this advice is sound.

1.  Live off of one income.  Even if you’re DINKs (double income, no kids) and rolling in it.  Even if you’re DINKs and poor.  Save and give generously with that second income.
One day, one of you might lose your job.  One day, you might have kids and want to stay home.  One day, you might have an unexpected health issue that, even with good insurance, runs you (tens of) thousands of dollars.  Practice living on one income and living well within your means.

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This applies to buying a house!  Don’t buy what you are approved for; buy thinking about what you can afford month to month WITH a financial buffer in mind.  The bigger house is not worth it if you are barely scraping by every month.  I have tried to talk my husband into purchases like this before and thankfully he has talked me out of it.

2.  Talk to other people about your marriage.  And pick people who will be pulling for your marriage to win, and not just you.

We have had seasons where we have spun our wheels on particular topics.  We have talked about it nicely in calm, kind voices.  We have yelled and been crappy to each other.  We have thrown things.  (Well, I have anyway.)  Sometimes we just cannot get on top of an issue, and we need to talk to someone else.  We’ve paid counselors, we’ve taken friends out for beer and dessert, and we have met with our pastors.  We bicker and fight and try to listen to an outside, unentrenched perspective.  It has always been a good decision.

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3.   Resist the temptation to reduce your spouse to his/her lowest form and leave him/her there.  We are all prone to bouts of jackassery from time to time.  But don’t keep your spouse pigeonholed in the jackassery.  Chances are, you married a decent person.  Remember that.

Here is an example, because I am talking a little abstract right now.  I come into the kitchen and see my husbands’ late night snack dishes on the counter.  Inner thoughts: “Gah.  Lazy husband; couldn’t even bother to put his dishes in the dishwasher.”  That could be an accurate statement.  Maybe he was being lazy last night.  Or maybe the dishwasher was already running so it made more sense to leave the dishes on the counter.  Either way- I need to resist categorizing him as “lazy” and just leaving him there to rot in my mind.  Lowest form- see?

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(Lazy people don’t get up at 4:30 a.m. to commute to work for two years.  Lazy people don’t run ultra-marathons. Etcetera etcetera.)

I mean, maybe you did marry a lazy person.  Maybe you picked the laziest s.o.b. in the state of Virginia and now- dangit!- you are yoked to him forever and ever.  (Which does beg the question- why did you choose such a lazy person?  That’s an interesting choice to make, don’t you think?).  But, more likely, your spouse is pretty okay as far as spouses go.  Right?  He did not leave those dishes out because he is scum of the earth and intent on making you work your fingers to the bone until you die under a pile of his ice cream bowls.

My husband is much, much better at this than I am.  He sees me much more broadly and kindly than my lazy/selfish/angry moments.  I think I am getting better at this, but every once in a while I still write him off as the lowest form of himself.  Eww.  I do not like when I do this.

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There you go.  All you need to know for a happy, blissful marriage.

What would you add to my list?  I am all ears.

Hellllooooo

Taps mic.

Is this thing still on?

Well.  I am still here.  

And I saw that someone in Lithuania is reading my blog (maybe at this exact moment!) so I better get back to writing.  Hello, Lithuania!  Let me entertain you!  

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this blog has a cute baby!

Let’s do some general updates, in list form to allow for my laziness:

1.  House: We have been in our new house for almost three months now.  The dining room remains the room where half-emptied boxes go to die.  Periodically I go in there and shuffle a few things around, then decide that something much more pressing must be attended to elsewhere.  I re-enter the dining room a few days later, experience a spasm of overwhelm at the piles, then leave again.  Repeat for three months.  

2.  Children: We still have them.  They keep making messes and asking me to give them food.  Repeat hourly for infinity.  

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We had a good couple of weeks where this was the toddler’s summatime uniform. Safety first!

Summer with my kids has been great.  I have loved loved loved having Chicken home from school.  The three oldest kids seem to gel much better as a threesome than when they pair up.  Pairing seems to lead to bickering.  But the three together will often come up with awesome games like “racetrack” and “let’s play with containers of water”.  I don’t know.  They have fun together.  

And let’s not forget the baby.  She is adored by her siblings.  If the toddler wakes up in a funk, I just point the baby in his general direction and he gets all mushy gushy happy.  She is guaranteed to turn those frowns upside down.  

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funk you up

3.  School: Starts on the 19th!  Boo.  I am not ready for summer to end.  Chicken will go to second grade up the street at Venable, Monkey will stay home with me for “homeschool kindergarten” (picture me doing large, exaggerated air quotes as I say that), and the toddler will go to preschool two mornings a week.

4.  General health: Three trips to Urgent Care and various medications later, our family is healthy!  The next time you notice me with a gross sounding hacking cough, and then you see me again five days later and nothing has changed, refuse to talk to me any more until I go see a doctor.  I ignored a cough for…uhh…three weeks and that, apparently, is not how to one gets rid of a gross hacking cough.  Oops.  All better now!  Thanks, modern medicine!

Normally I would love to go on and on about my life but this ipad is giving me the business and I have no patience for it.  What is happening with my pictures? No idea. Just going to hit “publish”.

House Stuff

We have been in our new house for two months now. Just recently I had a burst of energy to put stuff on the walls. After pulling mirrors/pictures/canvases out of boxes and staring at them for (cumulatively) hours, unable to make a single decision about where anything should go, I called and had a friend help me hang some stuff up yesterday. She had opinions and was decisive; two things I needed. Glory! We have the beginnings of a gallery wall above the staircase.

2015/07/img_1188.jpgSo many emotions in one picture

I ask people for their opinions pretty often. Left to my own devices I would still be pulling pots and pans out of boxes in the kitchen because I cannot decide on *the* perfect spot for them to go.

Speaking of kitchens! When we unpacked our kitchen, I had a friend help me. I told her I wanted the kids to be able to unload the dishwasher and set the table, without my help. I also recalled this post, about making the most hated chore somewhat easier. My most hated chore is unloading the dishwasher.
2015/07/img_1187.jpgBesties for life

Now the dishes go in a low drawer immediately next to the dishwasher (easier to unload!) and the kids can access everything they need in the kitchen. Little things like this- where the kids can do more things for themselves AND for the rest of our family- go a long way. (You have heard this from me before).

Let’s see… What other details of my home life can I mesmerize you with?

The previous owners of our house renovated it from top to bottom. I actually think they sanded/pounded/poured/handled every single square foot of this house. Incredible. They added thoughtful details that I am still discovering. One of our kids’ favorite details of the entire house is the cubby under the stairs. This week the cubby got white lights. Behold:

2015/07/img_1185.jpgThe scabby knees of summer.

Happy 4th!