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I keep accidentally spelling the name of this store wrong, so I’m just going to let it fly.  (Disclaimer: I know that the plural form of baby is babies and not babys.)

Gregg and I went to register over the weekend at Babies R Us, and we didn’t get in a fight.  Victory.  I tried to pick a fight, but Gregg stopped me in my tracks by making a joke.  Very clever, that one.  Registering for wedding gifts was a different story.  I like shopping with Gregg, because he says things like, “Let’s register for more practical things.”  And then, when we get to the bottles, he says, “Ok, which ones are the best?”  He even said, “Aren’t there some new pacifiers that all are the rage?”  Where and how does he even get all this information?  He knows we need stuff, and he wants to get the good stuff, but he doesn’t want a lot of it.

I know this baby is going to need some stuff when he comes.  Clothes, diapers, a place to sleep.  But, does he really need a plastic “weather” shield cover to put over his $500 backroading stroller?

Weather Shield

Weather Shield

Does he need a baby spa/bathtub/shower especially for him?

Luxury Whirlpool

Luxury Baby Whirlpool

These are actual items on sale at Babies R Us.  I know that there will be some things that we “must-have,” I’m just not exactly sure what they are yet.  I have some great mom-friends tat have been super helpful in telling me what the “must-haves” are.  Some of them seem to be true for everyone and others seem to vary from mom to mom and baby to baby.  I hope I’m not offending anyone, but its just fun to be a bit cynical sometimes.

My mother-in-law, already told us she was getting us this.  Definitely not a necessity, but pretty stinking cute.

Lion mane car seat cover

Lion mane car seat cover

See, I’m not completely cold-hearted when it comes to baby stuff.  Just trying to find the balance.

More first trimester thoughts

I’ve become very introspective in the past couple of weeks.  And I love it.  Maybe that’s weird, but I’m finding comfort in going into myself(?)  Sorry to sound hyper-spiritual.  Its been a little strange because I’ve been craving community and people that know me, but I’ve been wanting to be myself and read and sit in the hammock and…just be.

My most recent visit to the OB/Gyn was empowering.  I’ve been hesitant to get super worked up about wanting to have a natural labor.  I’ve seen friends be absolutely devastated when their birth didn’t go as they expected.  I didn’t want that for them, and I don’t want that for me.  I’ve been protecting myself from the possibility of this kind of disappointment.  Also, after working in the hospital with pregnant women both right before and after they have their babies, I’ve seen the outcome of different types of delivery is basically the same.  When a healthy baby is born, it doesn’t seem to matter how their baby was delivered.  But the process (the pregnancy and the birth) is important, I missed that before.  I talked to my OB about how I’m used to being an observer, but, now that I’m a participant, I’m beginning to see things differently.  Also, not working in the hospital any more, I think I’ve gotten some of my compassion back and lost some of my cynicism.  That place does it to ya.

My Ob/Gyn encouraged me that its okay for me to have an opinion and to want to approach my pregnancy, labor and birth in a specific way.  She encouraged me to write down the interventions that I would want and not want.  To this, I told her that I know how nurses respond when a patient rolls into the unit with a Birth Plan.  They roll their eyes and prepare for the worst.  (What is it with nurses?  I think, we’re both the meanest and nicest people in the world.)

I’m developing my pregnancy/childbirth/parenting reading list and loving it.  I’m open to suggestions.

My former pastor Heath (the one who cried while marrying us) once said that after two years, you are no longer considered a newlywed.  When he said that, I remember feeling a little sad, like I wanted to be a newlywed forever.  But now?  Bring it on.

Two years.  We’ve lived in 3 different houses plus one apartment.  I’ve started and finished my master’s degree.  I’ve had 4 jobs.  Gregg’s had 3.  We’ve vacationed in Columbia and Hawaii.  We’ve been without jobs, without friends, and without a church.  But we’ve had each other.  With everything that’s changed around us, we have been constant to each other.  I like thinking about that.

Constant=Not going anywhere=Loved no matter what=Committed to each other even when you wanna run away

One thought I’ve had about marriage is that it does get easier, like they all say.  But its not easier in the way I thought it would be.  We still get frustrated and hurt feelings, but the arguments are not as dramatic as we have grown into each other.  We keep getting to know each other better.  We have learned/are learning to disagree well.

We aren’t getting each other gifts for our anniversary this year.  (We did have a mini-shopping spree, taking advantage of Patagonia’s semi-annual 50% off sale.)  I’m making Gregg write me a letter.  And I’m going to write him one, too.  We’re also going to celebrate with Batman and a slow moving trip through the mountains and back to Knoxville.  We’ll be headed to our good friend and matchmaker Joey Fizzle’s wedding.

Madeleine L’Engle wrote a book on marriage called Two-Part Invention.  I haven’t started it yet, but I liked her last book so much I named my blog after it.  In honor of our anniversary, I thought I’d give this one a shot, too.

I had to drive Gregg’s truck this morning.  No me gusta.  He says that he can’t imagine not enjoying driving a 10-year old F-150 pick-up truck.  Well, believe it.  Along with feeling every bump, crack, and dip in the road, the thing is just too big for me.   I can hardly reach the pedals.

AND!  Both of the door handles are broken.  So, to get out of the car you have to roll down the crank windows, reach outside and open the door from the outside.

I admit, I’m totally be a snob about this.  When we were dating Gregg nicknamed me “Bratastic 5000.”  Luckily,it was too long of a nickname to actually catch on.

Austin and Megan are our very very good couple friends.  We went to Hawaii together.  We started a small group together.  We got married a couple of months apart.  We cooked dinner together once a week.  We lived down the street from each other.  And, now, they’re coming to visit us.  Our friendship continues.  🙂

With Austin and Megan, Gregg and I learned how to have couple friends.  Friendship changes when you get married.  I’m less vulnerable with my girlfriends than I was when I was single because I’m not only dumping my stuff out on them but my husband’s and my marriage’s as well.  With couple friends, I can be vulnerable because Gregg is right beside me to defend himself if needed.  Or, I can check in with him as I am talking, “are you okay if I tell them this?”  He can’t really say no at that point, but at least I ask.

The best part of couple friends is the “us, too” part.  When I share something with a girlfriend about myself, a huge part of me is sharing so that they’ll tell me I’m not alone.  “Me, too” or “I know what you mean,” can be the most reassuring and refreshing of phrases when I am pouring my guts out.  When Gregg and I share with Austin and Megan, there is almost always a “the same thing happens to us, too” during the conversation.  Marriage isn’t all hard, but when it is, to know that other couples have issues and even the same ones can be so encouraging.

Living out here in the country has been like a retreat for Gregg and me.  Its been like a long but intense therapy session.  It started out H.A.R.D.  Gregg was frustrated with work, I was frustrated with non-work.  It was like we had just gotten married.  Every little thing seemed to cause friction between us.

And now, its bliss.

Just kidding.  Seriously though, we are doing so much better than we were when we were first moved here.  This is partly because Gregg’s less frustrated, and I’m working.  Its also because we’ve gotten to know each other better.  We’ve become a self-contained unit.  Some couples always function like this, relying only on each other, not reaching out too much when things go wrong or get hard.  For us, I don’t think this is our natural inclination.  We thrive with friends and community.  With girlfriends and guy friends and couple friends to do life with.  But now, we’re all we’ve got.  We’ve met people here and there, but for the most part its us.  And being just the two of us, has forced us to be just the two of us.  Redundant.

We’ve learned about each other.  I’ve learned that when Gregg isn’t complaining about his day, that means he’s had a good day.  I like to share the good and the bad.  He mostly shares the bad.  So, when he’s quiet, things are usually good.  What else?

I’m not sure what he’s learned about me, I’ll have to ask.

I guess I’ve learned some things about myself, too.  I like the quiet country life.  I love and need and want people and friends.  But slow-paced non-city living is good for the soul.  The soul can settle nicely in the country’s back pocket and rest for awhile.  I guess that’s what we’re doing.  Resting.  Being on an extended retreat.  Together.

We talk a lot.  We’ve got no internet.  We do have a tv, which I have a love-hate relationship with.  We’re having a beach day tomorrow.  I’m reading the second book of Harry Potter.  I’m not sure why I resisted for so long.

When we told our pre-marriage/marriage counselor that we were moving, he said that a good friend of his recommends that every married couple move away.  Some place that’s new and foreign and just the two of them.

I miss my friends.  I miss my family.  I’ve gotten homesick out here.  That feeling has been lost on me ever since I stopped going to Girl Scout camp.  Home is definitely with Gregg.  But it’s also people that know and love you.  Me.

I know that we’re not in our forever house or our forever jobs.  Do those even exist any more?  Gregg says that the next place we move, he wants us to be there for twenty years.  Yes, says part of me.  Twenty years??!!, says another part.  At 28 years old, its really hard to imagine being somewhere for a little less than how old I am.  (Does that make sense?  I’m 28 and we’re going to move somewhere for 20 years.)  In my 28 years, I’ve lived in two houses in Roanoke.  Two in Knoxville.  Four in Clemson.  One in Australia.  Another in Nicaragua.  A bo-go-zillion in Europe.  Two in SF.  Two in Knoxville again.  One here.  16 homes in 28 years.  My pastor in Knoxville loves talking about place.  He talks about the importance of sticking it out and digging into one place.  You can imagine how guilty I felt when we told him that we were moving.  He’s on to something.  Its just hard for people our age in a not-so-good economy to get settled for the long haul when they don’t have kids and a mortgage.  And, let’s face it, we’re all commitment-phobes.

So, for now, we’re here.  Retreating.  Trying to make this our home.