Life’s Gripes and Grapes | And a Unique Wooden Watch

IMG_2795Anyone who’s married knows marriage isn’t always a cakewalk. I think that’s good though because if it were, there would be no opportunity for growth. Constant cakewalking=stagnant relationship. My goal in my marriage is to always be evolving and growing with Ryan. I have an expectation that I will gradually know him more and more deeply as the days go by and sometimes the fastest way to do that is to experience adversity together — it’s the silver lining to crappy situations.

Everyone goes through tough times in his or her lives and most people choose not to share it publicly (with the exception of those few who post pity party essays as their Facebook status’ for attention). But the majority of us look like we have the most perfect lives when you scroll our feeds – I’m guilty of it too. But I do it because dwelling on what’s negative in my life doesn’t serve me well – what does serve me well is putting a positive spin on things, then posting about it. I basically trick myself into seeing the bright side of obstacles haha.

However, when I started this blog, I told myself I’d always be honest; I want to share my real life. So I’m going to take a moment and list out on here what’s been putting a strain on me and my marriage lately and how I’m working through it.

For context: One of the PR firms I worked at (arguably my favorite one) used to take a moment at staff meetings and for employees to share their “gripes and grapes.” Gripes were things that were bugging you, Grapes were positive shout outs. So here I go with mine…

Gripes:

  • We live at my parent’s house because our house was gutted for a remodel
  • Our oldest son is struggling emotionally from living in limbo
  • We’ve been feeling unsettled for 9 months and counting; it’s wearing on us
  • We don’t know exactly when our house will be done
  • We are making big decisions when it comes to money and it’s stressful
  • We don’t get very much time alone
  • We have tons of design decisions to make together regarding our house; it can feel overwhelming
  • Ryan spends most of his free time working on the house
  • I have a million goals regarding my blog and some other things but I don’t feel like I have the time I need to spend to accomplish those goals and it makes me feel frustrated

There ya go…my little rant. When I read through it, I feel like I’m being a whiny millennial, which is why I don’t like to share things like this on social media. Was that uplifting to any of you? NO! Lol. Not to mention, I know a million plus people have it worse than I do! I know I could be dealing with REAL issues like cancer, death, divorce, hunger, poverty or any other sort of crisis so I feel silly whining about my life. But at the same time, my issues are impacting my sanity. Here’s how I cope…

Grapes:

  • I drink wine if you haven’t already noticed via my insta stories
  • I go on mommy dates fairly frequently and it fuels my soul
  • I pray and talk with my oldest son about how he’s feeling and try to show him unconditional love – I’m also completely redoing his room so that when we move back into our house, he’ll be blown away
  • I think about how lucky we are that my parent’s have a house big enough to accommodate our family so well
  • I remember how supportive my parent’s have been and how gracious they are to let us live here, rent free
  • I remember back before Ryan got his engineering license and I quit my job in PR and we were BROKE with a newborn baby in our starter house – I’m beyond grateful we have the means to buy a house in our dream neighborhood, then gut it to studs and remodel it
  • I think about how lucky I am to be married to a man who trusts my design decisions and genuinely loves and appreciates how I can transform the look of a room
  • I communicate with Ryan about how our lack of alone time together is making me feel disconnected from him – we remedy this by going out on dates
  • I remember that accomplishing big goals requires small, consistent efforts; although I can’t put the time/energy I want into accomplishing those goals right now, I’m still working towards them in small ways and I’ll eventually be able to ramp up my efforts

In addition to all of these things, I also totally surprised Ryan with a unique men’s wooden watch for Valentine’s Day a little early. I’ve gotten a JORD Wood Watch for him before and he LOVED it, but they’re constantly coming out with new designs, so I wanted to add to his little collection. They are also a great Valentine’s Day gift for him PLUS you can enter to win $100 towards the JORD site (enter here). You may not win the $100, but you automatically win $25 just for entering! Contest closes 02/04/2018

Thanks for listening to my rant. Next time you find yourself going to negative town, try and spin each gripe you have into a grape 🙂

Links below to check out more watches!

Ryan’s watch

Men’s watches

Women’s watches

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Luxury Wooden Watch

 

All you need is Love and a JORD Wood Watch

img_1956Valentine’s Day has always seemed a little silly to me. I never understood why society needed a designated day to celebrate love. After all, Ryan and I celebrated each other all the time with dates, sweet notes, random flowers, and just laughing and enjoying life together.

It sounds like it was all sunshine and roses because for the most part, it was. We very rarely had any sort of an argument and we did everything together! We wrote love notes; he brought me random bouquets of flowers; we had date nights every single night, even if that just meant we were at home; we took trips together; we watched entire movies together; we went on runs together; we went wine tasting like every other weekend.

Then we had a kid.

Ok, I started to sort of get it. But still, Valentine’s Day seemed a bit blown up to me.

Then we had a second kid.

And now, I GET IT.

I finally understand that Valentine’s Day serves a purpose: It forces you to designate time to celebrate your special relationship, even while entrenched (maybe even drowning) in parenthood.

Honestly, Ryan and I can barely have a conversation when the kids are awake and by the time they’re in bed, we are pretty drained. Our feeling of togetherness is constantly interrupted by a chatty three year old, diapers, picking up toys, cleaning up messy floors 700 times a day, the never ending laundry, the time-outs, the crying, the kissing of the boo boos, the frantic “what’s in Preston’s mouth!” It’s no big shocker why marriages statistically suffer after having kids.

We’ve had countless discussions about how important it is that we make time for each other, but that’s easier said than done when you have young kids. Never before have I cherished moments alone with Ryan like I do now. With one kid, all we had to do was put Porter down for a nap and boom, alone time. But with two, there’s a good chance their naps won’t overlap, giving you zero breaks and it’s exhausting.

Romance has become less grandiose and more about the tiny moments that the kids can’t take away from us, like when Ryan comes up behind me while I’m cooking dinner to give me a kiss; or when we bring each other drinks; the rare occasion when we write each other a note by the coffee pot; the hug that lasts way longer than normal even though Preston is fussing and Porter is saying something completely ridiculous; the offering to take one or both kids to the store so the other parent can get a break; the sharing of tasks when it’s time to get the kids bathed and in bed; couch snuggles during that small window of time between the kids going to bed and us passing out – this is what parenthood romance looks like for us.

And while I’m so very grateful for these sweet moments, it’s not enough. I want more.

I want more of Ryan all to myself. I want more of what we used to have, without giving less to my sweet babies. I want it all.

How the heck do we do this? Literally asking the question because I have yet to find the perfect solution. If you’ve found it, please comment below and tell me what you do. If it involves hundreds of dollars in babysitting money, your advice won’t help me.

I think the answer could be something really simple though; carving out time. If we want more time together, we just have to reserve it. It sounds so simple, so why can’t we do it? Even if it’s just a quick trip out to lunch, a picnic to keep it simple, a movie, a hike, whatever. All we really need is some quality time together that doesn’t involve our little humans we made. I want to recommit to this on Valentine’s Day.

I decided to give Ryan a JORD Wood Watch for an early Valentine’s Day present because it perfectly commemorates how important quality time is for our marriage to stay strong. I want him to look at the watch everyday and remember how much I love spending quality time with him. I gave Ryan this one, but there are so many awesome designs to choose from. It’s a unique watch because it’s literally made out of wood – I love that it’s sleek but rustic at the same time and Ryan’s obsessed. You can click on the links below to see all the different cool watches. I’ve even been eying the women’s line and I like what I see!

JORD Wood Watch Links:

GIVEAWAY – win $25 towards a watch just for entering, could win up to $100!

Men’s Shop 

Women’s Shop

Luxury Wooden Watch
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This is a sponsored post, but all thoughts and opinions are my own

The Valentine’s Day Spectrum

reception200Valentine’s Day is this coming Sunday and I’ve been thinking about how different this holiday is for so many couples. There’s definitely a spectrum when it comes to celebrating this “Hallmark Holiday.”

For some, this holiday means THE WORKS; a night out at a crowded restaurant with a fixed “Valentine’s Day” menu (which happens to be marked up three times what it normally would cost). Date goers are likely wearing some sort of red/pink ensemble. There’s probably some sort of jewelry gift and overpriced red roses (tragically combined with baby’s breath). There is no doubt a lot of social media sharing regarding how your guy “spoiled you” this Valentine’s Day. For me, this is just kind of ick/barf on a stick and if I’m being honest, I’m sort of judging (albeit unfairly) that you MUST have a shallow relationship. I also feel bad for the guy in this scenario because he usually gets the shaft.

Anti-Valentines-DayOn the opposite end of the spectrum are the Debbie Downer cynics who absolutely detest this holiday and refuse to acknowledge it. This seems a little depressing to me. Would it kill you to at least acknowledge your significant other on Valentine’s Day with a simple card/note or kind gesture? Come on now…

Ryan and I fall somewhere in the middle on the Valentine’s Day spectrum. We hate the hoopla of an overcrowded restaurant and I personally hate the combination of roses/baby’s breath; a bouquet of peonies or tulips from Trader Joes would make my day. We usually keep it simple with an extra special dinner/wine and a card, maybe I’ll wear some red lipstick.

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Now that we are parents, I admit that I understand the appeal of going to a restaurant probably more than I ever have. You might even find me with my foot in my mouth next year, as I’ll be a mother of two crazy boys. But this year, we still would rather just stay in because that’s how much we hate crowds and overpaying for mediocre food.

If you’re like us and would rather stay in and cook, you can’t go wrong with my filet mignon with red wine sauce recipe (this write-up is from a few years back). Another dinner idea that’s become somewhat of a V-Day tradition for us is king crab, steamed in beer, paired with these grilled artichokes and this garlic bread recipe. You can tell we’ve been together for a while because this dinner is messy and full of garlic ;).

However you choose to spend your Valentine’s Day, I hope you spend it with someone you love – even if that special someone happens to have four legs 🙂