100 days and counting (up).

I’m beginning to think that counting up is more fun than counting down!

I mean, there’s no end point, so it can go on and on and the numbers get bigger and not smaller.  So it’s like every day is an accomplishment.

Agreed? Good.

The Husband and I have been married for 100 days today, which seems like quite the accomplishment.  I mean, we surpassed Kim & Kris’ 72 day marriage, so that’s something!

Remember in elementary school when we celebrated the 100 days of school with bringing in 100 of something?  I always chose M&Ms.  It’s crazy how 100 can seem like so much sometimes ($100 for a shirt?!  Heck no!) and so little other times (100 M&Ms?!  I can eat that in one bite).

100 days of marriage positively flew by.  Probably because we spent a good 20+ days of it on vacation.  It’s a hard life we live over here.

After 100 days of dating I wrote a list for the Husband (boyfriend at the time, obviously) of 100 reasons I really liked him – since we hadn’t said the word ‘love’ yet.  I came up with 100 different things to add to that list for our first 200 days together.

Then I ran out of things for 300 and the list has been retired.  I’m only semi-kidding… I could probably still come up with 300+ things, but really, that’s just excessive.  No one needs that much self esteem!  But see, I have a thing for numbers and counting and celebrating the little relationship milestones.

But for 100 days of marriage… I really have nothing.  Other than I did text the Husband to inform him we have been married 100 days.  So sweet, I know.

I will take this opportunity to fill you in on some of the (less expected, by me) perks of being married to the Husband:

  • He’s pretty fun to travel the world with
Yosemite on our pre-wedding-moon.  Everyone should take one of these!

Yosemite on our pre-wedding-moon. Everyone should take one of these!

  • He has a heart for service and volunteering.
  • Silly dancing never gets old.
We excel at the YMCA.

We excel at the YMCA.

  • Hanging out with married friends.  There’s just something different about hanging out with married couples now that we’re married and truly at the same life stage
  • He opens containers that I can’t open (so manly!)
  • He walks our little monster when it’s cold/rainy/I don’t feel like putting pants on
Ah, walking in the summer is so much nicer than the winter.

Ah, walking in the summer is so much nicer than the winter.

  • We get to show up at family events as husband and wife, which is super legit
  • We can relax and be ourselves without having to impress each other or other people.  I especially love being able to intentionally annoy the Husband and then announce, ‘too bad… you’re stuck with me FOREVER!’ and then following it up with a happy/victory dance.
  • He takes care of me when I’m sick/complaining
I was pretty sick on our wedding day.  As in I could barely stand up all morning.  But the Husband was pretty great.

I was pretty sick on our wedding day. As in I could barely stand up all morning. But the Husband was pretty great.

  • Planning is over!  It was a life goal of mine for so long to be married that now that I am, I can breathe a sigh of relief.  In our relationship I went from the stress of convincing the Husband to marry me to the stress of planning a wedding.  Now I’m relaxed and calm and just happy to be.

I hope you’re enjoying the little victories of your day!

love

How I ended up with a Turkish rug I never knew I wanted.

I’m any seller’s dream customer.

I can’t help it, I’m easy to convince that I absolutely need a product.

Even if that product is a $1400 rug.  No, we didn’t actually pay that much, but that was the starting price!

The Monster was kind enough to model our new rug for me!

Our little Monster was kind enough to model our new rug for me!  He usually charges for appearances, but because we fed him today he did this sitting for free.

It all started with a scarf.  We were in Istanbul and I decided that I needed a souvenir scarf, since I hadn’t bought any gifts from Tanzania or Turkey.  So, to the scarf stall we went.

This is when I knew I was in trouble.

The salesman showed me the cheap scarves (the 15 dollar scarves that I wanted to choose between), then he showed me the more expensive scarves (100+ dollars) and then he brought out the $350 scarves and that’s when I drew the line!  But, I must admit I did splurge for the moderately expensive scarf.

It’s beautiful and silk, darn it!  

Anyway, the salesman (at this point realizing I’m a sucker for a good sales pitch) told us that his uncle has a rug store, and quickly escorted us to the small shop down the road.  The Husband wasn’t the most willing participant, but I wanted to see actual Persian rugs.

Well, at first I thought for sure that I would never actually buy one of these rugs.  I mean, I didn’t love any that I was seeing but I did like hearing about how they were made and seeing all the different types.

Then I saw one I wanted.  DAMMIT ALL!  I knew I was in trouble.

The salesman picked right up on my changed expression and went into official ‘sales’ mode.  The Husband was great at saying no.  I wasn’t quite as good.

We told the store owner that we newlyweds and therefore broke.

The price came down.

We told him we didn’t even need a rug (lie, we totally did need a rug – I just hadn’t realized it until the very second I saw the one I loved in this small store in Istanbul!).

The price came down even more.

We told him that we had no room in our suitcases to bring it back to the States.

The price came down further and the man pulled out a tiny bag and somehow managed to fit the rug inside of it!  Magic.

Basically, by the time I was invested in the conversation and really needed this rug.

The Husband thought I had completely lost my mind.

The salesman was mostly talking to the Husband, who kept referring him to me since I was going to be actually purchasing the goods.  Ah, sexism at work.

Anyway, we finally all agreed on a price.

The Husband shook his head quite a few times.

OK, he shook his head more than a few times.

But now I have a rug, and a beautiful rug it is!

It really is one of the best ‘souvenirs’ I’ve ever bought myself, and by far the most expensive.  Take that, cheesy shot glasses – you’ve been replaced!

love

Showering in fear.

The original title of this post was going to be ‘living in fear’ but then I thought that seemed a bit dramatic for a Wednesday morning, don’t you think?

You may think this post got its name from me seeing a spider in my shower.

Which would be a really good assumption, but it’s not correct (this time).

You see, on Sunday I felt like being a bit silly so I made the very-well-thought-out decision to dump a cup of cold water on the Husband’s head while he was enjoying a hot shower.  I felt so sly!

Alas – It was a disappointing moment in my life – he didn’t yell or anything, he just continued showering and calmly told me that I could expect him to retaliate soon.  This is when I realized I was in deep trouble.  You know how when you were a kid and your parents yelled (about whatever-the-heck-you-did) you knew whatever you did wasn’t so bad, but when they just looked at you and shook their heads you knew you were in deep shit?  Yep, I had flashbacks of those moments.

I wish I had considered the retaliation when I decided that playing a prank on my husband was the best-decision-ever.

I’m assuming that the retaliation will be related to the original ‘prank.’ So, I can no longer shower when the Husband is home, because showering in constant fear of cold water is not enjoyable.  And I HATE cold water.  Really, I do.  It’s probably the thing I dislike most in the entire world.  I always take hot showers, scalding showers, showers that practically burn my skin off.

Even in Africa I found ways to take hot showers, I was dedicated.

Anyway, for the last few days I’ve been showering when the Husband is out of the house, and so far it’s working pretty well.  I’m hoping that after a while he’ll forget about that whole Sunday-morning-thing-that-shall-never-be-mentioned-again and I can get back on a normal showering routine.  Otherwise, it’s possible that I’ll have to go days without showering, and that’s not really ideal for anyone.

And I’m not above a hygiene-break to avoid a cold-water scare.  Perhaps if I go long enough without shaving I’ll be able to negotiate with the Husband to forget about the retaliation in return for me shaving my legs.

After all, being married is all about compromise and negotiating (or so they tell me).

Or maybe I’ll start taking baths…  Other suggestions/pieces of advice are welcome.

In other news,one of the highlights of my week thus far happened yesterday evening, when one of my very best friends was in town for a few hours.  I left work early so we could get together to drink tea and talk about all things silly and serious and thought-provoking.

Meet Laura, she has excellent taste in scarves (and most other things, but this picture highlights the scarf)

Meet Laura, she has excellent taste in scarves (and most other things, but this picture highlights the scarf)

Good friends warm my heart, which is especially convenient since it’s been approximately negative one-bijillion degrees windchill in Chicago the last few days.  Mother nature, please get your act together.

I hope everyone’s having a great week so far!  Think warm thoughts and take hot showers, because I won’t be enjoying a long shower anytime soon and someone should be!

A lovely little quote on forgiveness.

apology

(via Unfundamentalist Christians)

This is one of the first things I saw (on the internet, anyway) when I woke up.  Beautifully stated, don’t you think?

It made me think of the apologies I probably never gave or didn’t know I needed to give and the friends who forgave me anyway.

Because I have awesome friends and that’s kind of what friends do.  And spouses, for that matter.

Actually, the Husband usually sends me super heartfelt apologies.  I say ‘sends’ because they’re often via ecard.  Nothing says ‘this is genuine’ like an ecard!

husband apology

The Husband sent me this gem the other month. I think he was hoping it could cover a multitudes of wrongs and will continue to be relevant in the future, so he’ll never need to come up with a unique apology again.

Now, go apologize someone who you owe an apology to!  Or, decide to forgive someone who owes you an apology.

What a winning way to start a Tuesday.

 

Is an egalitarian marriage ‘nontraditional’? If so, then I guess we have a nontraditional marriage!

I recently stumbled across this article, which I found interesting but not that surprising.  Actually, I was surprised that so many men thought an egalitarian marriage was the ideal!  What I was not surprised at were the fallback positions of men vs women, if an equal relationship was not possible.  It looks like about 70% of men would want a woman to prioritize household duties and children over her career, but over 70% of women would rather be self-reliant than fallback into traditional roles.

egalitarian graph

Interesting, no?

Right at this moment, the Husband and I enjoy (I use this term pretty loosely) an egalitarian marriage, meaning that we share rights, decisions, and responsibilities as equally as we can.

I work.  The Husband works.

We both enjoy our jobs most days and need to get out of the house consistently to feel fulfilled.  The Husband works as a solutions architect and I work in a business analyst/project management role for a digital agency.  We sometimes discuss technology at home (much to my chagrin) and attend happy hours and team dinners and lunches and generally enjoy the benefits that being in the corporate world brings.

I’m not going to lie, I really, really like having about four paychecks per month to play around with.  We have very separate bank accounts still.  We check with each other before we spend over $300 on one shopping trip, but not for small purchases.  Actually, sometimes the Husband ‘forgets’ this threshold and then I react in disbelief when he shows up with new hockey skates and tells me what they cost.  But I digress…

The point is, we spend our money how we want to, without having to check in with the other person unless it’s a larger-than-usual chunk of change.  While we have separate accounts, the Husband pays for all household expenses (including rent) and I pay for everything ‘fun’ and discretionary.

We divide ‘relationship tasks’ in a way that makes the most sense, but not at all based on gender.  For instance, I’m generally in charge of finances, and will be almost solely in charge once we consolidate account.  This is because I have a small-but-existent finance background and am awesome at living frugally and saving.  It just makes sense.

On any given day, we share chores pretty equally.  However, I don’t take out the trash, EVER.  One time I had to when the Husband went out-of-town on a work trip and left old asparagus in the trash can and I opened it to throw something else away and almost died from the smell.

I also don’t like vacuuming.  He doesn’t like cleaning bathrooms.  I bake.  He cooks.  He walks our little monster (the dog).  I plan our trips and travel arrangements and am in charge of coordinating most social events to make sure we see friends and family. He does the grocery shopping.  I keep the apartment organized.

This is clearly not a recent picture.  Now he wears many, many more layers (of course I'm referring to our dog).

This is clearly not a recent picture. Now he wears many, many more layers (of course I’m referring to our dog).

When (and if!) we have children, the expectation is that we’ll both work outside of the house, but will hopefully have jobs that allow the flexibility of working some days from home.  I feel confident that we’ll share parenting and other decisions, similarly to how we make decisions now.

It helps that we’re on the same page about so many ‘life’ things and that the Husband is exceptionally laid back about life. (This is quite the opposite of me, I take life far too seriously most of the time.)

So, I think we have this egalitarian thing down, at least for now – and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

A month ago we embarked on a grand adventure…

WHOA, holy time-flying!  It was a whole month ago that the Husband and I started our journey to Africa (Tanzania, to be exact, since Africa is pretty big and diverse and probably doesn’t like being lumped into that broad of a category) to go on our volunteering-safari honeymoon!

And ohhhhh the things we saw.  I’ve already mentioned this (probably), but our itinerary involved a few days of orientation, four days of volunteering at a local school, and then 6 days of a safari, followed by 3 days in Istanbul.  I’ve already talked about volunteering and how awesome that was, but I figured I should at least mention the safari since it was mind-blowingly amazing in a totally different way.  Well, I guess I did mention the safari kind of but the experience probably deserves a more complete post.

We woke before dawn every day. Some days we were in a tent, other days we were in a tented lodge, sometimes we were in a regular lodge. The days we were in a tent I didn’t even bother changing clothes, I slept in the same clothes I wore all day, every day. We ate a quick breakfast while we were still wiping sleep from our eyes.  We went on a game drive and saw lions, monkeys, giraffes, and elephants.  Animals are so alive in the morning.

monkey

It rained many of the days and it was a cold, drenching rain.  When it wasn’t raining we were swarmed with flies.  Africa is not a comfortable place.  We ate lunch at the hottest part of the day, when the big animals were sleeping off the heat.  Sometimes we had a packed lunch, other times it was freshly made back at camp.  The Husband slept for a few hours and I read ‘Game of Thrones’ or ‘Just Kids’.  Our second game drive of the day was shorter than the first and just as exciting.  We always saw big cats relaxing and wildebeest grazing and animals at perfect harmony with each other.  I learned the true meaning of what it looks like to coexist and I could have swore I was in the Garden of Eden.

giraffe

We ate dinner with other campers or in a restaurant.  We had our own cook and he made us delicious meals consisting of potatoes and vegetables and fried dough and instant hot chocolate and chai and the Husband had chicken and beef, but never pig.  On Tim’s birthday everyone sang ‘Happy Birthday’ in their own languages: Swahili, Spanish, and Italian (and of course, English).  It was a beautiful moment and one I will never forget!

28th birthday

We went to sleep at around 9 every night, after discussing our favorite sights of the day with our guide.  We listed animal chases, giraffes standing among beautiful scenery, baboons being playful, and everything to do with baby animals.  We slept semi-peacefully, listening to rain on our tent or listening to the sounds of hyenas and lions, or listening to the sound of other campers zipping and unzipping their tents.

serengeti

Africa is an extremely diverse and beautiful place. It’s a place where creatures coexist and live off of one another, but do not cause unnecessary harm.  Different species need each other to survive, and all animals are acutely aware of their predators, prey, and role on the plains.  I wonder what the Earth would look like if humans had such a simple understanding of life and how to live it.

baby leopards

I’ll leave you with a picture of baby leopards – because they are friggen adorable.

 

A (long) wedding recap, because it was kind of a big deal.

50 days (or so) after our wedding and I still don’t really know what to say about it.

I could do a whole post on why I loved having a destination wedding.

Or another one about my favorite memories.

Or multiple blog posts on awesome events that happened leading up to it.

Or maybe a post on the stressful process (total understatement, some of the process was a complete nightmare) of wedding planning.

Or even a rant about how I really hate the WIC (wedding industrial complex).

But instead I think I’ll write a post about how my wedding wasn’t perfect and why it was totally ok (because it turns out that life isn’t very perfect!)

Our wedding wasn’t perfect from the start.  There was stress about getting engaged and stress about where to have the wedding and I was ready to get engaged and the Husband was taking his time and I wanted a certain venue (in Jamaica) and it was booked for 2012 and I have a fear of odd numbers so we couldn’t get married in 2013 (nor did I want to be engaged that long).  We decided to get married in Jamaica because I refused to get married anywhere else and we started researching venues before our engagement.  The Husband’s family found out somehow and brought it up at dinner and we announced the date before I had a ring on my finger.  The Husband asked my parents’ permission and I asked my dad about the budget all before the engagement.  By the time the Husband actually proposed, the venue was set and the date was picked and my extended relatives already had gotten emails from my parents to ‘save-the-date.’  Once we got engaged the Facebook posts exploded and I had to text friends so they wouldn’t find out online.

If I would have known I would be getting engaged that morning, I would have done my hair!

If I would have known I would be getting engaged that morning, I would have done my hair!

This was far from the engagement story I had hoped for.  But it was perfect.  The proposal was emotional, my family was super-thrilled, my friends were happy for me and called to hear details, and the ring is beyond-gorgeous.  I thought I told the Husband ‘yes’ when he asked me to marry him, but evidently I just asked if I could put the ring on that instant.  Same thing, right?

Fast forward to the (imperfect) planning process…

Planning the wedding itself was super easy and stress-free, seriously.  Budget conversations with my family were not.  Tears were shed and I got angry and then I got over it and we moved on.  Siblings said they weren’t going to be in our wedding party for various reasons.  Then they changed their minds. Close friends and family members said they were coming and then changed their minds because things came up.  Other friends and family members sent their regrets and well wishes.  RSVPs are an emotional time that i was quite unprepared for!  But, other friends and family members sent gifts and cards and happy notes and thoughtful notes and called to check-in on us and came to our housewarming/engagement party and made the whole process super-fun.  I loved picking out my dress with my mom, and the Husband’s mom and his sister… we had a great time.  My aunts drove in from Cincinnati to have a mini-shower and spend a day doing brunch and it was wonderful.  My cousin threw me a family shower in Cincinnati and I had the best time catching up with women I don’t see often enough.

My bachelorette party was the most fun I had ever had (up until the week of my wedding).  My friends came in from all over the country and we ate a homemade dinner (with gourmet food) and painted and went to a bar and drank wine and laughed and laughed and laughed.  They bought me sexy gifts and thoughtful gifts and wrote sweet notes and my heart could still explode with happiness thinking about that weekend.

bachelorette party

Then November came and we were ready to get married! I started feeling sick the weekend before the wedding and by the time I got to Jamaica I had no appetite at all. It was my worst nightmare coming true.  But, I greeted all guests when they arrived at the resort and cannot even explain the happiness of seeing all of my best friends in one place.  The people who were supposed to be there were there and I never once thought about those who couldn’t make it.  Everyone had a blast jumping off cliffs, snorkeling, eating jerk chicken and lobster, and drinking the bartenders concoctions.  We played ping pong and bags and tanned by the pool.  One night we played beer pong.  We went to sleep early and woke up early and saw dolphins during breakfast.  I drank coconut milk straight from a coconut that had been cut down from a nearby tree in front of our eyes.  We had an amazing villa but didn’t spend any time in it because we spent all of our time with guests.  Laughter and love was everywhere.  We drank fruit smoothies and banana moons and watched the sunset over the ocean.  Friends bonded over volleyball in the pool.  We got massages and pedicures and manicures.

The rehearsal was fun and laid back.  The rehearsal dinner was so well put together that some people (after a few drinks) thought that the wedding was over.  We had to gently remind guests that the ‘real’ event was the next day.  The Husband’s dad gave a speech and I cried and the food was delicious (so they say, I didn’t get to eat any of it) and I carried around a Sprite to help calm my stomach.  We played a crossword game and I’ve never laughed so hard. Guests sat together and friends of ours became friends with each other and families got along and my hair was frizzy in the humidity.

gazebo

The wedding day came and I woke up early to throw up.  Then I continued to throw up.  And the guests drank and played on the cliffs and hung out in the pool and recapped events of the night before.  The photographers came early (as planned) but I couldn’t sit up. so they left to take photos of the resort and the groomsmen. My mom spent time with me and I cried.  The Husband gave me my wedding gift early and I cried.  The bridesmaids got their hair done and the hotel called a doctor.  The doctor gave me a shot and I stopped throwing up ginger tea and the hair and makeup team came and made me beautiful.  I even took a shower and shaved (but I didn’t wash my hair).  My bridesmaids and mom helped me into my dress but they couldn’t pull it tight because my stomach would heave.  My dress was a little loose but still looked gorgeous (in my opinion).  We pushed the wedding back 30 minutes because of the delay in getting me ready.  I was nervous that I might throw up on the altar but I didn’t.  We had sent the pastor the wrong ‘script’ so our ceremony didn’t mention God except for the readings, which was not our intent.  But, it was short and sweet and perfect and no one noticed.  Our bridesmaids and groomsmen looked flawless.  Ants bit the bridesmaids all ceremony and during pictures, which was quite funny because it wasn’t happening to me.

My support system was pretty stellar.

My support system was pretty stellar.

We took sunset pictures with the wedding party, and each other, and the guests.

sunset

The food at the reception was delicious, the speeches were outstanding, the cake was beautiful and delicious, the centerpieces were elegant, the scene was out-of-this-world beautiful, and the dancing was the most fun I’ve ever had.  I ate chicken broth and drank a sip of champagne and tried to smile a lot more than I felt like smiling during dinner.  There was a fire dancer and we were in awe. After everyone ate (way too much) the guests got tipsy and sweaty and danced with each other and danced with their dates and danced with new friends and danced with me and the Husband and everyone took shots and smoked cigars and I was happier than I thought was humanly possible.  The photographers had to go but the dancing continued until the DJ stopped at 11pm and no one was ready to leave.  I’ve never seen 100% of guests on a dance floor before and it was truly something special.

dancing

I went to bed with all of my makeup on and my hair still done.  I was so relieved to get to my room where I could lay down.  Our room was decorated with flower petals and candles and the Husband took pictures of it while I was curled up in bed, fast asleep under our mosquito net.  The guests kept partying and my uncle wore snorkel gear into the hot tub.  Memories were made well into the night (so I was told).

The next day I felt a tiny bit better and put on a bikini and jumped off of the cliffs with my new husband.  We joined everyone for breakfast and said goodbye to some of the guests.  We spent the next few days enjoying time with our friends and family and going to Ricks Cafe and watching cliff jumpers and enjoying more sunsets and taking pictures and smiling a lot.  We were sad to say goodbye to our guests and even more sad to eventually leave Jamaica ourselves.

and that about wraps up our wedding experience!  It wasn’t absolutely perfect, but it was the best week of my life and most of the events leading up to it were highlights of my year/life.  It was definitely better than I had ever hoped for and guests still talk about it constantly, which makes every ounce of stress worth it.

The Husband and I are now building our perfectly imperfect marriage and I expect that it will closely follow our wedding: it probably won’t meet all of my lofty expectations in all areas, but I anticipate it will greatly exceed my wildest dreams of how happy I can be at any moment.

The next adventure (or two): Volunteer Honeymoon

As if getting into this whole ‘marriage’ thing wasn’t adventurous enough, we’re also leaving for Africa in two days.

WHOA, 2 days?!  That definitely came up fast.  I didn’t realize it until I just typed that sentence.  Allow me a few moments to recover.

Anyway, we’ll be volunteering at an orphanage/school in Morombo, Tanzania.  From everything I’ve heard.  It looks like it will be quite a challenging and rewarding time!  If you would like to donate, please do.  (Not to us, we already paid to volunteer and all of that ‘stuff’ but we would love to accept your donations for the school to give them while we’re there or upon our return).

So why are we volunteering instead of sipping cocktails on a beach or on a hotel rooftop in some faraway city?  Well, I can’t think of a better start to a marriage than to spend time serving others together.  Plus, I think it’s great to remind myself what is really important every once in a while, and also what I constantly take for granted – like indoor plumbing and clean food and water.  I’m hoping this trip puts some things into perspective and allows me to think about my blessings even more.  Plus, we travel all of the time and no trip is as rewarding as a volunteer trip.  At least in my (limited) experience.

I volunteered in Nicaragua in 2008 during my spring break senior year.  It was amazing.  And challenging.

4th graders in Nicaragua!

4th graders in Nicaragua!

The things I would have done for a hot shower at the end of those weeks…

Anyway, this time it’s Arusha, Tanzania (Africa) and the Husband’s coming along, too.  I consider myself super blessed to have a husband who when I said ‘hey babe, let’s volunteer for our honeymoon,’  immediately and enthusiastically agreed.

Other things we’ll be doing on our honeymoon… going on a safari and camping.  Yes, camping.

I’ve never gone camping in my life.  This, however, did not deter the Husband from suggesting it as a very viable option in the Serengeti.  He actually thought sending me a picture of the ‘accommodations’ would convince me that camping wouldn’t be so bad.

Our fancy honeymoon suite.

Our fancy honeymoon suite.

Needless to say, his plan backfired.  Did you notice there are two cots?  No, we will not be pushing these together… I have a feeling that hearing lions outside my tent is not going to induce any sort of passion in my heart or anywhere else!  Speaking of which, we have heard stories from friends who have gone on safaris (and survived the camping) that entailed lions sleeping literally right next to their tents.  How’s that for comforting?

I’ll be writing more in the next few days as my stress levels rise.  Stay tuned  🙂

(And once again, if you would like to donate to the children we’ll be teaching on our trip or other causes we deem to need assistance, please do)