The Internet Will Not Save Your Marriage

I’m addicted to Pinterest. That’s not how you thought that would start, was it? Haha! Well that is how this blog started for me. I go to Pinterest for everything. And then you know what happens? It does that little compatibility thing for me and picks Pins for me based on other items I have scoped out. 


(Really? Based on my zodiac sign that I share with a million people?!)

I am not sure what article I clicked on recently but my feed has been filling up with relationship “advice.” So it kind of caught my interest. I wanted to see the supposed “7 Resons To Break Up Even if You Are Happy.” Not because I believe it. I wanted to know what they were using as evidence to support these articles. As an individual who is finishing up my graduate degree I have learned: I need facts. 


You know what Pinterest gave me. Not facts. Loosely referenced “counselors” were behind these articles. I put counselors in quotations because the previsouly mentioned article actually titles someone “licensed counselor.” Which is just fine. I will also be licensed in counseling (hopefully soon!). In education. As a licensed education counselor, do you want my guidance on relationships? Probably not. Don’t get me wrong, there are bits and pieces of articles like these that really do make sense. That is not really the point of what I am getting at, however. 

I can say this, my husband and I don’t really fight. We have never had an argument that wasn’t resolved within a one day timeframe. I will also say we have been married “only” four years and together for six so I am no marriage expert by any means. What I can say with full certainty is, if my relationship was struggling in any way shape or form two things would absolutely not happen. The first being: I would not seek advice from an Internet article. The second thing is: you (any of you) would probably never know. 

I think the latter statement is so important. I hear women and men talking about their relationships so openly sometimes. And you know what happens? I gain an opinion of either both of those individuals or one of them. I have NO reason to know those things about an intimate relationship outside of my own. As a friend, please vent to me. However, also know that talking to people who are not a confidant about your marriage is opening your relationship to outsiders who are not in the marriage. When you allow others into your relationship that is when all of the sudden other people have this false sense of opinion to add. 

If you are struggling, be old fashioned. Go to a licensed counselor. Sit in an office. Sign a confidentiality agreement. Fight for your marriage behind closed doors. Don’t trust online articles from bustle.com who are geared to making money for expert advice. I know some of you are probably thinking “marriage counselors get paid a ton of money.” They may make a decent salary, yes. However, they have went through extensive school and hold a lot of liability when it comes to investing in your services. They make nowhere near what some of these big name websites are making by publishing gimmicky titled articles that are referenced rarely. 

That is my two cents for now šŸ˜. Stay in love my friends ā¤ļø. 

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Traveling Japan: Sendai EditionĀ 

For Labor Day we went on our first “big” trip since we have been in Japan. By “big” I mean overnighter, haha. We spent three days there. I don’t really know how to describe what Sendai would be. For my Indiana friends, it has a larger population than Indianapolis. California friends, it has a larger population than San Francisco. 

We had a lot of things “planned” to do. I looked up a lot of stuff. Let me start from the beginning though. This was the longest Scarlett had been in a car since we got here and she did awesome! We were curious about the toll roads and if there would be travel plazas like in the US. We stayed on the same road pretty much the entire time so the trip was quite easy. The tolls…oh man the tolls. This place is crazy. We paid about $75 one way for a 3.5 hour drive. It really racks up the cost of a trip fast if you don’t plan for it. And the travel plazas were awesome! Some even have children’s bathrooms. Adorable! 

One of the things we had heard about was the small hotel rooms and man they weren’t kidding. There was zero extra room once we set up Scarlett’s pack-n-play.


Notice the robes at the foot of the bed? Those are for the onsen in the hotel. However, this particular place had a no tattoo policy so we were not allowed to utilize it. 

Another very shocking thing (for us) was that for such a large city nothing opened early. Even Starbucks didn’t open until 8am. I have noticed this a lot. Most stores don’t open until 10am with a few opening at 9am. For early risers like us this was a bit awful. Even before we had our daughter we were 6-7am risers. Also, for a city this size there was nothing to do for small children to just burn off energy. We would look up parks and walk to them and the “park” would just be a dirt patch that may or may not have been grass at one time with a few benches. We found about 4 of those! And with the size of the hotel room it wasn’t like we could just go relax in the room between venturing out. 

We learned quickly we need to learn more Japanese, and quickly! In Misawa where the base is most places have menus in English. This was not the case. We honestly felt like we were being idiot tourists by not knowing more! 

We did go to an aquarium, did some shopping, saw some historic sites, and wrapped up the trip with some Japanese style pizza! I didn’t care for the pizza here at first but it is really starting to grow on me. One of the nice things (and one of the selling points on the visit for me) was the outlet malls with American size clothing. However I did notice an abundance of size XS and 0 pants. 


Train station map. Yikes! 


Aquarium.


Noodles!


Very small clothing…everywhere.


Anpanman Children’s Museum 


Oh the translations sometimes. Weird shirt! 


Pizza! 


Sendai Castle. 

Overall it was a great trip. We learned a lot and will definitely do better planning the next time we go somewhere. 

Keep an eye out for my next blog. Tomorrow I’m going to a beef and garlic festival! Yum! 

Staying Organized in Chaos

So life with a soon to be toddler offers a specific type of challenge. That challenge? Keeping up with any type of housework. I have actually always enjoyed cleaning and organizing my house but it is just not as easy to keep up with the little things anymore.

Even on the days I am not completely exhausted and feel like cleaning I would much rather be spending time with my maniac and having the small panic attacks as I actually help her destroy my house. When Nick is gone the task of keeping my house in reasonable standards because a whole new challenge. Thankfully I have a few tricks that have helped me greatly and I thought some of them may also help other moms struggling with keeping up with house chores.

I have two things I do concerning laundry that helps tremendously. Since most of the clothes my daughter wears, and honestly mine, are colors I immediately put all her clothes into the washer after I give her a bath. After a few days of this I will run the washer. I usually do one or two of these random loads of laundry a week. This also limits the amount of laundry I have piling up on the weekend. The next thing I do that is helpful is on Sunday and each time I do laundry I always sort her laundry into outfits and put it on the top of her shelf. Each morning all I need to do is grab an outfit off the top!

The next thing I do is pick up each night no matter what. This seems easy but let’s be honest, it is not. After getting drenched in water at bath time, kicked while putting pajamas on, and struggling for five minutes to brush a 22 month olds teeth, the only thing you want to do is leave that ball in the middle of the room, that sippy cup under the table, and the blocks right where they are. I mean, you can always get to them tomorrow, right? No. I always just pick up. I don’t necessarily organize anything. But books are back on the shelf, the DVDs that were ripped out of the TV stand are put back in the stand, and for goodness sake-put those blocks away because stepping on those things at 530am causing you to scream some choice words is just going to wake that maniac toddler up 30 minutes too early.

My next rule is the dishwasher. I cook most nights so it is usually full and I will it every night. Now if it is less than half full I won’t run it because I do like to attempt to conserve water when I can. Most nights though, I just run that thing through a wash!

The final thing I do to keep somewhat above water is one additional thing every other night or so. Today I vacuumed. Some nights I clean out the fridge of leftovers. It could be mop, or even clean the showers or toilets. Just one task that takes about 5-10 minutes. Because I can assure you 10 minutes during the week that adds up to eliminating an hour of my Saturday afternoon is completely worth it to me!

I will say, I understand I have one kiddo compared to some of your three. At this point, my daughter does not have homework or any extracurricular activities. However I do find the idea of just trying to one chore a night still reasonable and it really does help me with my husband being gone.

What do you do to keep your head above chores?

 

I’m Not A Single Parent

Sometimes people who are not familiar with the military life (and some who are) ask me “how’s it going being a single parent?” when Nick is gone and I get a little annoyed. My husband was gone for about ten weeks over the summer and he is away right now for a just a few weeks. At no point does this make me a single parent. 

I have friends that are single parents. Some were in a relationship that didn’t work, a death of one of the parents, or horrific abuse that they knew they could never raise a child in. My situation does not fit any of these circumstances. There are many reasons that make it drastically different. 

My husband does not want to be away from us. He would much rather be home with his wife and daughter. However, the military requires things outside of our control sometimes. 

No matter how hard it is taking care of our 22 month old on my own, I still have the emotional support from him. I (thankfully) get to talk to him each day. If the toddler maniac is in full force and I want to cry in a  ball-he is still there to provide me with comforting words. Single parents often do not have that support. 

The other large thing I still have is financial support. I know this may seem superficial, but hear me out. Kids are freaking expensive. From diapers, daycare, the food they waste because it doesn’t look the way they want it to, they will make you go broke. I just have no idea how so many people do it. I am sure all you single moms are much more budget savvy than I am and I’m sure you have stresses much beyond my comprehension about supporting your little blessings. I honestly respect you all so much.  

So if any of you see me while Nick is away please feel free to ask me how we are doing with him gone, but do not ask me how single parenting is going. I truly do not know. 

Week One, down!

In a few hours we will have been in Japan for a whole week! I think we are pretty adjusted on sleep. Last night I went to bed around 10pm and was awake around 545am. We never sleep much past 6am since the baby was born so that seems pretty good!

We went to a Yen store yesterday and it was pretty much the greatest thing ever! The one we went to was called Daiso. The American equivalent to this is a Dollar store, so think Dollar General or Family Dollar. So family, be ready for tons of goodies from there! We loaded up on junk food to see what types of Japanese goodies are our favorite! The one thing I noticed right away is the “sweets” here are nothing like the sweets in America. Although I still consider them “junk” food, the sugar content is nothing like I am used to.

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One thing that struck me as comical was in the parking lot of the Yen store was a lottery machine. When we were parking I could here something and I was thinking “what is that?” Well I look up and it is a little lottery machine in a vestibule with speakers on the outside blaring a voice!

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I have talked a lot about driving so far. Below is a picture of the first little intersection off the base. The red triangle is the stop sign. You can see on the pavement the white diamonds. In the states those indicate a carpool lane. Here those mean that a pedestrian crosswalk is coming up.

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Another thing (I don’t have a pictureā€¦yet!) that is very common here are vending machines in the middle of nowhere. There could be absolutely NOTHING but there is a drink machine! There is one right outside our door in our buildingā€¦they have this coffee I LOVE. It is called Georgia. The vending machines seem similarly priced as American, I think. We did not really have iced coffee in cans in vending machines there! But the ones here cost the equivalent of $1.30.

With baby girl about to turn 1 (AHHHH) I will be leaning more towards posts on mommy hood here soon. I also have a few other things I want to blog about. One is I am doing Scarlett’s one year photos and smash cake myself so I will be writing about that and showing you how simple it is to do some of these things on your own. I know getting pictures taken and ordering cakes can be an expensive costā€¦that we do not always have! Stay tuned on how to save some of that money!

My Last Birthday

Today I had my last birthday.

Well, the last birthday as I currently know them. You see, Nick and I go all out for birthdays. We did not do a lot to celebrate birthdays in my house growing up. Naturally one would probably think I’m making up for a childhood that was lacking (nice try, I’ve had a a lot of psychology classes) but the truth is-there is something about finding that perfect gift. You know-the one that you remember someone mentioning months before in a random passing and you buy it for them and they are completely shockedā€¦that’s the perfect present I like to buy for people.

For the last four years of being together Nick and I have been blessed and fortunate enough to go completely all out and crazy on each other for birthdays, anniversaries, and oh man-do not even get me started on Christmas. Most people would be appalled at what we spend on each other. But we did it anyways. And we enjoyed it. This year was no different. I got my awesome husband a fancy, super comfortable recliner for his birthday a few weeks ago. Today I got a gorgeous pair of diamond earrings for my birthday.

I woke up and got to go to breakfast with my husband. Then we went to a place called Apple Hill which has hay rides, a pie house, a fudge shop, and just an all around fall festival feeling. It was amazing. On the way home we stopped at the mall and I got some fancy make-up from Sephora and a perfume I have been out of for months and kept meaning to get a new bottle of. I got to finish my day off with some birthday pizza. It was, on all counts, perfect. And the last birthday of its kind.

On our way home from all of our events Nick and I talked about how amazing it has been that we have been in a place finacially that we have not wanted for anything and have been able to spoil each other rotten on holidays. But the truth is, that needs to stop once we become parents. For several reasons. The most obvious is money. From my limited experience while getting baby stuff ready and from everything I have heardā€¦apparently kids are expensive šŸ™‚

The real, less obvious reason, is this: I don’t want my child to be spoiled or expect things they do not need. I know, that may sound hypocritical since I just said we have spoiled ourselves for the last four years but hear me out. I desire to have a child that knows what money means and that material things are not what define who we are as people. It is truly amazing how much this little, unborn, 4 1/2 pound person has made me think about the way I live my life and how much it should change while raising a child.

When our little girl gets here I want to be able to focus on her and teaching her to be a person of high morals and value. To me that includes not buying things that she will see as reasons to be entitled. So, for now, I have enjoyed my last birthday as I currently know them. Next year I will have an 11th month old blessing that I hope learns to see birthdays as a celebration of life and love and not only expensive presents that are purchased.

So here is to a new form of birthdays. I can’t wait!

Why My Husband Is Not the “Best Husband Ever.”

I know that title is a little startling. Who in the world would ever say that?! I would. Let me explain why. My husband is not the best husband everā€¦because he is my husband.

I know, I know, what does that even mean? On almost a daily basis I see Facebook posts about reasons why husbands are the best ever and it is always interesting and amazing to me. I do it too. I come home to flowers for no reason and I post a picture and brag about my husband. Which is fine. We are all entitled to that. But then I also wonder-are we making it seem like if our husband does not do those things there is something wrong? Is our marriage void of something? No, it is not.

My husband is the best husband ever, for me. Not for you. Not for anyone else. That is the point of marriage. Finding someone who completes you as a person and knows just what you need on those bad days.

A specific situation comes to mind. Some of you may or may not know-I am obsessed with Christmas. I mean obsessed. It is the most amazing thing in the whole world to me. Last year around Christmas I was working on a weekend and I went to go get lunch and I was shocked to find theĀ entire inside of my car decked out with Christmas decorations. It was perfect. I had lights, garland, and ornaments! I remember telling someone about it and they had this blank look on their face and said something along the lines of “that is a little weird.” Well it might beā€¦to you. If you don’t have my love for Christmas then of course it would be weird to you if your husband decked out your car for Christmas.

It goes the opposite way as well. My husband is always posting the sweetest things about me on Facebook. It is amazing to me and a way he shows his love. Even just this morning I woke to a note on the fridge that says “It’s Almost Your Birthday!!!” I cannot tell you how many times I have heard “he is so sweet. I wish my husband was like that.” Do you really? Yes, it is nice to see what married people do for each other but should we really wish our husbands treated us differently based on what someone else’s husband has done for them?

I love seeing the posts. You know the “Came home to ice cream. I’m the luckiest girl alive!” Awe! That is awesome. But I don’t want ice cream (wellā€¦I’m almost 35 weeks pregnant-I always want ice cream). Your husband bought you a motorcycle? That is amazing-for you. I certainly would not want one!

I do know this. I am thankful to have my husband exactly as he is. He knows what I need on my good days and even more what I need on my bad days. I also know that as we raise our little girl she will see and know exactly how a man is supposed to treat a woman and that is the best feeling in the world. So to all you wives out there I just encourage you to take all those posts and comments as comfort in knowing what is making someone else happy is not what is required to make you happy. We should not be comparing our marriage to each others but rather building a foundation that makes it the best marriage for ourselves.

Strive to have the best husband and marriage ever, for you.