Friday Favorites (April 13-17)

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Scattered Wrecks takes on Gwyneth and talks the Real Food Stamp Challenge

Let Yummy Mummy Club give you a laugh as the talks about glitter: the herpes of the craft store.

Mary Kay LeTourneau is back in the news. The Good Men Project talks about this.

This was a touchy post for many this week – Scary Mommy uses MLM and humor to explain how to lose facebook friends.

Matt Walsh tends to push a few buttons with his writing. Folks either love him or hate him. This week he tackles raising the minimum wage.

Don’t forget to check out our great submissions from this week:

Notations From The Grid: On the US

Penmanship

You’re Welcome

Notations From the Grid: On the US

As the new week began, the US Congressional Budget Office (@USCBO) came out with its’ long-term Economic Outlook which presented a stark picture of the out years despite the short term respite the US Economy has had as the “Green Shots’ are finally beginning to take hold throughout the Economy. The presentation by @USCBO is available by clicking here:

Stark choices await the United States in the Out years. The United States is enjoying a reasonably robust recovery that is starting to gather pace ever more. The challenge is to sustain this in the out years and the CBO Projects are worrisome which will add fuel to the debate in both the short term and the long term as some of the President’s priorities will be debated such as Free Community College.

The moves for a Post-Obama era is gathering steam. All who are eyeing the Presidency are starting to make their moves. Rand Paul, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz have essentially been running for President for the past two years. The Governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie just formed his Political Action Committee to begin raising money. In addition, Steve King had his annual “beauty show” of candidates which the leading Conservative organization, Red State supported.

Red State’s Supremo, Eric Erickson noted in his daily commentary on the “Iowa Corral” that, “…. this is the most substantive field of Republican contenders since 1980. The number of Governors, Senators, and others who are running gives the GOP a deeper bench than any the Democrats can or will muster. They also agree on most topics and are trying to nuance themselves into unique positions. I appreciate Governor Perry ’s desire to paint a vision for the country. I want all the candidates at the Red State Gathering in Atlanta this year not to beat up Obama, but paint their vision for the future. What will the country look like in 2020 as they being re-election…” It is ironic but he then went out to criticize the President for not meeting with the Israeli Prime Minister. It is interesting how they seem to be tone deaf to the realities out of Israel Right now. What was also striking was how one of the stalwarts of Conservatives, the National Review at least turned against Sarah Palin who said she’s “seriously considering” running in 2016–along with Donald Trump.

It will be quite a spectacle. It is also of note that the President is not planning to go quietly at all. This is exemplified by the decision to essentially exempt the Arctic National Wildlife Refugee from any Oil Drilling as the Alaska Political Leadership was all up in arms over it. It will be quite a spectacle to be witness to the ensuing months in our Politics.

Bio:  I have had over 18 years experience in Operations, Finance and Administration for Small to Medium Size Businesses, start-ups and publicly held companies.   I have also had the good fortune to be serve n the community in various capacities.    I have served as an intern on the Staff of a LA City Councilman, worked as a poll watcher for a Congressional Candidate and have served as a member of the City of Laguna Niguel Public Safety Committee and currently serve as a Traffic & Transportation Commissioner For the City of Laguna Niguel.  In addition to my on-going business interests, I also served as an Adjunct Professor for a number of years. Furthermore, I have launchedThe Daily Outsider which is a currently a network of 5 Blog Channels with a focus on Public Policy, Technology, Education & Leadership.

Penmanship

The other day I was tidying the top of my desk and my eye went to my Donna coffee mug filled with pens. It brought back memories of school days when I could not wait to graduate from the sharpened number two pencil to the ball point pen. The ink slowly began my journey of saying farewell to the printed words and growing up into the cursive writing world. It is funny how life goes full circle as the grown up me sits at my computer creating printed words once again. The difference is the scratching sound of pen to paper is replaced by the tapping of my keyboard.

I will admit I spend a lot of time looking at a screen but the little school girl remains inside of me and returns for a visit to practice her penmanship every night before bed.

Ten years ago after watching an episode of Oprah she mentioned she wrote in a journal every day. I immediately fell in love with the idea and ran to the stationary store and bought ball point pens and a pretty journal. I remember having a diary as a child and writing in it each day before going to sleep. For a few minutes each night I am that little girl once again and I have not missed one day since,

Sad stories, happy events, mundane chores, new friends and old. Sunny days and storms. They are all described in the stacks of journals of all shapes and sizes on my bookshelf. Some are written with ballpoint pen, some with marker and in a rare case here and there a sharpened number two pencil.

I am happy for the progress technology has given as I have had so many opportunities to share my story. I have reconnected with old friends and met wonderful new people thanks to my computer screen and printed words. I also am incredibly grateful for the penmanship I learned in school. OK I will admit I did not love when I had to write I will not do my homework sloppy 100 times as punishment for poor penmanship. I laugh to think if we only knew it could be done in seconds through cut and paste today. It was hard work and I don’t want to think I went through all of that for nothing.

So for a little while each day I grab a pen from my Donna mug and dot my I’s and cross my T’s. It is wonderful to be greeted by the white sheet of paper just waiting for the words to be written.

I smile as I type this post because the article is another going into my collection of typed words to be shared today. My journal entry using my ball point pen will be the story in my own penmanship to be left behind one day.

The little girl excitement comes out inside of me as I look at all the blank pages and wonder what words will be written on them.

Life does go full circle for sure!!! All things old will one day return. Maybe there is hope that penmanship will not be something lost forever.

For now I dream of things to come. Every night I start out saying thank you for this another opportunity to share my story. Thank you for this opportunity of having another day for which to write.

Just like the history of my learning neat penmanship in the 60’s today will one day be the good old days too. I know one thing for certain, a well spent day brings happy sleep and thanks to my journal in my neat penmanship I get a moment to think of gratitude for another wonderful day When you focus on gratitude no matter what else happened in your day I guarantee that good night sleep will come!

My favorite habit in the world is the one I began thanks to penmanship.

Bio: I am Donna Ryan and for the past 34 years I am married to my best friend Kevin. I began my website 50 Plus Sticking Together the day I turned 50 because I loved the number. I am now 55 and am more confident and happy than I ever have been. I share stories both old and new to encourage all of us 50 somethings to embrace and love life to the fullest each day. These truly are the best days of our lives.

You’re Welcome

Here’s one piece of solid advice for all parents.

Lower your expectations.

Then, just when you think they’re low enough, lower them a tidbit more.

Turn on Uncle Kracker and follow me, everything will be alright.

1. Wake-up time. “The kids will sleep-in, they had a tiring day yesterday.”

Are you crazy? Kids have everlasting energy, they can go days without sleep. Get over it because sleeping late is gone, it’s never coming back. When it does, you’ve already hit the age when getting up early is cool.

Go to bed the night before knowing your kids will be up before the sun. Stop playing with your own emotions. You can sleep when you’re dead. You’re welcome.

2. Breakfast time “Mommy’s making pancakes and bacon for you! ”

Just stop right there. Don’t you dare make them shit. A bowl of cereal will be sufficient and even that’s too much. That way when they throw it at each other or you -that’s a possibility- you’re not as heartbroken. Don’t waste your time on a cooked meal, save your energy for the real catastrophes that are sure to follow.

Breakfast is usually rushed. Just throw a banana at the kids as they run to the bus stop and become someone else’s problem. You’re welcome.

3. Play time. “We can make a craft, then the kids can play by themselves for a bit.”

No you can’t. People who do crafts expect entirely too much out of life. Delete your Pinterest app. If you’re feeling crafty just spill glitter on the floor, slap paint on your yoga pants and glue your hand to a table because that’s the end game. You aren’t walking away with a cute homemade craft. You’re doing the Pinterest walk-of-shame when you post craft pictures on Facebook.

Kids don’t play by themselves. If they do, they’re up to no good and you need to investigate immediately. You’re welcome.

4. Lunch time. “Maybe I’ll take the kids to McDonalds for lunch, playtime and free wifi.”

Nothing in this world is free. That “free” wifi has a hefty price tag. One that can only be paid for in dignity. Climbing to the top of the play area and back down with a screaming child is not worth it. Don’t go inside McDonalds without a proper escape route and even then expect it to fail. It will fail.

Skip going out to lunch all together. It’s disastrous, no matter what restaurant you pick. If you give your kids peanut butter and jelly every day for lunch, when you give them Ramen Noodles, they’ll thank you for a hot meal. You’re welcome.

5. Nap time. “I’m going to nap with the kids today.”

Great idea, if they napped. Everyone needs to stop trying to make naptime happen. Even if it does, you have approximately 30 minutes. Take this time to make an afternoon cup of coffee and check your email. That’s about all you have time for.

If by some sudden stroke of luck you get more time, don’t clean. It’s a waste of time and energy. Kids are filthy animals who can destroy a clean house in 4 seconds. You’re welcome.

6. Dinner time. “Im going to make a homemade pot roast with all the fixings so we can have a nice family dinner.”

The only way that homemade pot roast is going to work is if you tossed it in the slow cooker before breakfast. As for the “fixings,” plain elbow macaroni with a slice of American cheese on top will do.

Be prepared to attend this “nice family dinner” donning riot gear because shit is about to get real. At this point, just order a pizza and pray for the best. You’re welcome.

7. Bed time. “The kids should go to bed without incident tonight, they had a tiring day.”

You had a tiring day. They have energy stored for weeks. See number 1 for an explanation, go to bed and stop having such high expectations. You’re welcome.

Bio: “Life With the Bearded J’s,” is Jenny’s unapologetic take on being mom to three kids and wife to Brandon, “The Beard.” When she is not busy being SuperMom, she’s hiding in her bathroom sneaking in writing time or playing on Facebook while she pretends to poop.

I am THAT Mom

angela headshotI’m that mom who is probably checking her phone while I’m “watching” my kids at their evening activities.

I’m that mom who forgets to limit her children’s screen time because honestly I’m enjoying the quiet it means for me!

I’m that mom who allows her picky eater to have a grilled cheese sandwich for dinner because I want to enjoy my own meal not battle him to get him to eat!

I’m that mom who always has her camera handy to catch a moment, but stinks at organizing the photos so I’m hard pressed to find the one I want when I am looking for it!

I’m that mom who sacrifices, scrimps, and saves so my children can participate in the extra activities they love because I believe it’s good for them to be active!

I’m that mom who doesn’t really care if you approve of my parenting or not.

I’m that mom who is lousy at reminding her kids to wear their bike helmets but won’t even consider backing out of the driveway until every one of us is buckled in.

I’m that mom who lets her son wear shorts to school when it’s just a little too chilly, because I get tired of trying to convince him it’s too chilly and decide to let him learn for himself.

I’m that mom who won’t let her daughter wear pants/shorts with writing across the ass because frankly I don’t want you staring at her ass!

I’m that mom who makes friends with the other parents at my kids activities so I have someone to talk with.

I’m that mom who thinks Disney channel programming is a secret plot to drive all mother’s crazy.

I’m that mom who is glad my kids never wanted to learn to play an instrument.

I’m that mom who teaches her kids to laugh-at themselves, at each other, at life, at everything. Because life is better when you’re laughing.

I’m that mom who loves when my teen and preteen want to sit on my lap…even though they are far too big!

I’m that mom who is amazed that my children are as awesome, amazing, creative, talented and funny as they are, and sometimes wonders how I got so lucky?

I’m that mom that if you mess with my kids, or hurt them in any way, will transform into the biggest, baddest mama bear you have ever imagined.

More important than any of those things, I am exactly the right mom for my children. They are exactly the right children for me. I screw stuff up, so do they. I teach them things, and they teach me things. I fall down, and I get back up. They fall down, I help them up.

I’m that Mom.

Bio: Angela Keck is thrilled to have turned her passion for online communities and social media into an amazing career. Blogging is a natural extension of her two loves, social media and writing. You can find her blogging about social media, parenting, photography, recipes, and whatever else sparks her fancy at Writer Mom’s Blog.  Angela owes her return to her first love of writing to the birth of her daughter, who is now fifteen years old. When her daughter was an infant, Angela realized she could not teach her children to chase their dreams if she had given up on her own! So she dusted off her muse and wrote, and wrote, and wrote! When her son was born, ten years ago, she switched from working outside the home to working from home managing online communities. Now she proudly writes between chauffeuring her two children to their activities so they can also chase their dreams. Angela and the love of her life are happily married, raising their two children, a German Shepherd, and one very fat cat in Southern Illinois.

 

Hetty Pegler’s Tump

I went outa town to visit the hostess for a few days. She’s an ultra hippy chick living in the sticks in Gloucestershire. Studio flat on the side of a house; full of flowers, big drape of Buddha and Krishna, big picture of some fat Indian lady waiting to hug you, wall of bright abstracts, table of ritual artifacts, scented candles, Himalayan pink crystal salt, the business.

Neighbours are fellow free thinkers. I was told by some stranger on the train down that I was going to a place that attracted “free thinkers”.

Don’t think I’ve ever eaten so “whole”somely before. e.g. The hostess believes that the animals she eats should have a good run round before their deaths, even if it is because someone’s running after them with an axe.

She took me round local sites sites of interest. At one beauty spot, after taking in the views across the Severn to the Welsh mountains, we ambled up a path looking for a place to picnic. The path divided and we chose the way which led up a hill. The top was broad and flat and was ideal for our sunny picnic.
After eating, I explored the edge and realised we were standing on an ancient hill fort !!

The hostess knew nothing of such things and my thinly sketchy knowledge sounded authorative.
“The edge falls away sharply. Those little ripples on the way down were once terraces. That green path that we didn’t take runs around the bottom and was once a ditch. A defensive ditch.
The view is down onto the plain but that wouldn’t have had the hedges and fences that we see. That would all have been open, right up to the treeline and then it would have been trees as far as you could see to the river and beyond.

We’re standing on something that may have been sorted out four or five thousand years ago. The people who last lived here may have had no knowledge of who put it up, or even that it was put up.
Then again, they may have always celebrated the founders in song and ritual.”

The hostess is, among her many achievements, a sorceress. What she doesn’t know about herbs, potions and tinctures I couldn’t imagine to ask. She has a familiarity with ancient knowledge. Arcane knowledge. Ritual is one of her things. F’rinstance she’s also a minister, qualified to officiate at weddings, funerals, etc etc.
(Book your ritual now !!)

The ideas of ancient knowledge interested her. How to recognise a hill fort interested her. That anyone would know, or puzzle it out, interested her. Same for a lot of people.

A day or so later we visited a gallery. In a neighbourhood of free thinkers, a gallery can be a garden shed. We found the house and the artist gave us directions down the garden. The exhibits in the shed were amazing, large dolls and sculptures, really striking. On a table was a book of pictures, an archive of the artist’s life’s work. Sixty years’ worth. Terrific.

It became clear that some of the work had been influenced by Hetty Pegler’s Tump. Errrr…… What??

We made our way back up the garden path and knocked on the house door to thank the artist. She appeared and apologised that she was about to sit down to dinner. We quickly asked about Hetty Pegler. It’s a neolithic site. Wow.

Driving back we were just full of “we gotta find it”.

Google was no help. It’s right at the top of the search but the map couldn’t help us from our location. We took down the road map, “the old ways are the best ways”, and found it off the beaten track.

It rained. The first sunny day we went in search, armed with our road map and torches. It was easy to find, a slow drive along a narrow country lane and a sign at an open gate on the right.
We stopped, there was nowhere to park. A narrow strip of slippery grass then a ditch on the left and solid hedge on the right. We backed up and drove through the gate into a corner of the field, parking where it was least muddy.

Getting out of the car, we saw that there was a campervan parked under the adjacent hedge. Walking down the track we met a couple coming the other way, their faces shining with excitement. We greeted and they began telling us what an amazing thing we were going to see. They were so thrilled by the experience. We should take torches. I reassured them we’d come equipped.

We walked on and there it was. A green tump, with a path leading up to an opening. We had to get on our hands and knees to get through the opening. Torches on. Inside it was more roomy, I could stand nearly upright. There were a couple of small chambers off and one big chamber. The small chambers, I could touch both walls with my hands, about the same size as my bathroom.
The whole thing was made of stone. Well, stones but the size and fit of them it may as well have been one solid stone.

We felt our way around the walls and listened to our voices coming off them. Then we sat in the big chamber, our backs to a wall and listened to the silence in that tump. Then we turned off our torches and looked at the blackness in that tump. Then we mused on how “stone” the whole experience was and who else we’d shared it with over the millenia.

The ceiling was made of flat stones. Huge flat stones, you couldn’t have lifted them by hand. Whoever put that together was into some engineering.

Having marvelled our fill, we crawled back out into the sunlight. Finding our feet we saw two women walking up the path towards us. One of them was known to the hostess and familiar greetings were exchanged.
We began telling them what an amazing thing they were about to experience and I saw in their faces the expression that I had worn when told earlier by the campervan couple. I saw, reflected in their faces, that I now wore the excited expression.

We lent our torches and a while later they emerged, shining with excitement.

So I know of six people who were all wearing the same expression one day in Goucestershire.

It’s deeper than heritage. It’s, for a moment, experiencing an aspect of an artifact that was part of life for someone else five thousand years ago. Something tangible. It’s a shared experience with ancient mankind. Something we can feel we have in common.
It’s soul food.

Bio: John Church arrived in London in 1980 and has never succeeded in leaving it. He’s done most every job you see going on in the street and a lot that you don’t see offstreet. Tubby Town Tales is his view from the metropolis.

Communication Breakdown

blog Dec. 12In this galaxy a long time ago (my preteen years,) I used to ask my mom to take me to the downtown library. I was a 13 year old girl on a mission, and the library had one book with all the answers. The book contained every name and address to publishing companies along with minimal contact info. The library never allowed this book to be checked out, you could sign it out but never take it home. I’d sign out the precious cargo, and then sit alone at a table with sheer determination. Here, I picked out names of publishing houses that I knew nothing about. I picked publishing companies similar to how I’d later bet on horses, I liked their name.

Today, I understand why I wasn’t allowed to check out this book. Every one wouldn’t be as honest as a 13 year old girl. Any wannabe author with a right mind would steal the book. Thirteen year old me was more honest than 30-something me, I’d steal that book today.

Before the internet, this was how I used to submit writing. In my preteen penmanship, I’d write down as many contacts as I could cram into the allotted time. Many hours were wasted on an old word processor where I patiently printed off important works. Hard copy printing on a word processor was similar to a dot matrix printer waiting game; I never made any plans for an afternoon. Hours later I’d finally be holding the finished piece. Then, I would hand address an envelope where the snail mail ensured I’d forget the tediously slow publishing process; until a rejection came in the mail 8 months later.

Twenty years later, I am still submitting and still getting rejected. I’m still writing, but one thing has changed. The trip to the library is no longer a necessity. The holy grail publishing book is obsolete in today’s constantly connected world.

I can write, submit a piece, and either be rejected or accepted within a few days. It is glorious to be read (even if people are sometimes reading the dribble I shouldn’t write.) People want to define the newest generations by belittling their way of life.

“These kids seem so entitled. They want everything handed to them.”

It’s already been placed on a silver platter inside a black box with a wireless connection. It awaits them in tiny tablets and so called ‘smartphones.’
Streamlined technology requires very little work. A musician is heard immediately on YouTube. An artist creates their own museum where every piece is for sale at Etsy. A writer has access to self publishing and selling on Amazon. Welcome to the new Renaissance. In this new day you will find evolution peaking within humanity as we have chosen, and choose daily, to unleash the pandemonium inside Pandora’s Box.

Today’s parents are the first generation to raise children with unlimited knowledge at the touch of their fingertips. We’re privy to bear witness to a generation in information overload; library cards aren’t even needed. The only requirement is that you pay your cable/internet provider to keep the box glowing and flowing. What the hell is a Dewey Decimal system? *Cue old fart rag time music.

Children don’t feel entitled, they have every answer to any possible question. They may not be the right answers, but they can find validation to uphold any belief. Oh, and it must be right because Wikipedia said so.

“Mommy, what’s the Pythagorean Theorem?”

Meanwhile, Mommy is busy fixing dinner after working two jobs (one to pay a daycare provider, the other to pay the internet people) and she was NEVER good at math. That is math, right? Pytha-gora-what? Finally, she answers “Let’s ask Google.” Bright light provides quick redemption with only a few keystrokes in a search bar. Done. Crisis averted, back to dinner.

Not only are answers to homework found on the Internet, but Dad doesn’t have to hide his nudie mags. Please Dads (some Moms too,) delete your browsing history. Don’t let your kid find the porn you’ve watched on the family computer. Most kids are going to find their own porn on the internet anyways. They don’t need your help. And they also don’t need your devices exposing them to 50 Shades of This-is-What-My-Dad-Watches. Gross. Seriously, open browser history and DELETE.

To the shopping Mamas, every website is offering free shipping and 15% off if you open an account with them. You can have every designer dud slapped on a new charge account and put into a shipping queue within a few sweaty seconds.

The world is not our oyster. We swallowed every oyster when we first heard that strange dial up noise. Humanity is choking on the pearls. The tidal wave crashed a simple life. It added a constant invisible cord plugged into civilization. And this cord is always connected to devices. It’s fast speed doesn’t take only a second away from our children and our lives, we’re spending hours, days, and precious years feeding the connection.

An internet connection nurtured is what my child will recognize as the latest download of a young male’s childhood. A two year old can operate an iPad, a computer, and an iPhone. We’re connected to Pandora’s Box. I don’t place any entitlement on the ease he was born into.

Still, the Internet is a predator. It’s the once sought after book containing all the names and I have to be savvy enough to figure out parental controls. Parents are the new Guardians of the Galaxy.

I’m scared. I’m terrified. I’m overwhelmed daily.

Every day I watch our world and ask, “How do we raise children with this?”
Do the best you can. Google it.

Bio:Rachel E. Bledsoe is an Appalachian mayhem loving Misfit Mama who works at a local newspaper during the day. At night, she stays up late and writes her blog, The Misfits of a Mountain Mama. She enjoys long walks on the beach, puppies, Marie Antoinette biographies, and babies (only the one she birthed.) She is the Mama to the Terrific Toddler who is rambunctious, rowdy, and can bite other kids within a blink of an eye. Be sure to follow all the antics and chaos by visiting The Misfits of a Mountain Mama’s Facebook page or join her on Twitter @MisfitMtMama

Friday Favorites (March 30 – April 3)

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The Bearded Iris talks about the picture that cost her $1.3 million

Let Smashley Ashley explain why you don’t slide the bank teller a note.

Check out the post that gave writers a bit of a heart attack on April Fool’s Day.

Can you feel attractive at 50? Hell, yes!

Kim Ruocco asks: Is suicide a choice?

And don’t forget to check out our great submissions from this week:

 10 Things I Know After 10 Years of Marriage

Back in the Swing of Walking

My Day in Court

 

10 Things I Know After 10 Years of Marriage

Rudeysroom Profile Picture“Love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction.”

– Antoine de Saint-Exupery

We were driving down Route 1 when the gas light popped on – 25 miles ’til empty.

Shit.

We both then remembered the sign in Big Sur: Next gas station X (?) miles.

Shit.

Neither of us could remember the exact number. We were so eager to chill in Big Sur we ignored it. But, as it turns out, Big Sur was the last chance to fill up between the miles and miles of twists and turns and high elevation where land meet sea.

In retrospect, we probably should have heeded the sign in Big Sur, and gotten gas here:

But we didn’t, so we hashed out what we could do if we hit empty – hitchhike to the next gas station (how many miles is it?), siphon gas off a friendly hippie. I watched his hands grip the wheel tighter as the zigzags relentlessly came.

We could have started bickering, but instead we were so sunk into our 10-year anniversary celebration and so at the mercy of our gas tank, I put on this …

I mean, why not?

I admit I had to shake off mental visuals – flying off the side of the mountain into a ravine as our brakes failed. I toggled between telling myself we have enough gas to get to the next stop – I think I can. I think I can. Get us there! Please, please, please! and wondering Why does the gauge say 15 miles one minute and 20 the next?

Finally, a beacon in Gorda … ahhhhhhh (cue the mystical light):

The price pushed $6 a gallon, but here’s my Visa, take what you will. We made it!

We made it to Gorda, and we “made it” 10 years married, as well.

Ready for a love fest?

Here are 10 Things I Hold True after 10 Years of Marriage:

We Change. It’s not best practice to enter a relationship expecting someone to change. You know how it starts: “He just needs a little work. I’ll help him change.” You also know it ends: He doesn’t change in the way you want. In reality, we all change – sometimes for others, but mostly we change because change is life. We develop at different rates and in different ways, but we all change. Hopefully we grow, but either way, we change. Change is part of nature. Change is inevitable. It’s unnatural, scary even, to stay fixed. Biologically, we replace all of our cells every seven years with new ones. Why should you fear change or at least hope for no change? Through change, we can grow, connect, renew.

We Bend. There is little room for scorekeeping in a marriage. It’s so easy to keep track of who is doing more (of course you always think it’s you!), but tit for tat does not make for a happy marriage. This is rarely 50-50 in a marriage. Your mom told you this when you were five, but she was right – pick your battles. Before you get angry, it pays to ask yourself: “What am I worried about?” or “What do I need?” Try this and ask yourself this. Or don’t, and do this:

We Fight. Not a lot, but we certainly disagree. We argue. We are opinionated and both have strong personalities. I’ve called him a jerk before. And meant it … at the moment. When I oversaturate, I become overwhelmed. This is when I have a tendency to project my emotions and frustrations. This is usually when a tiff erupts. But through disagreeing, you learn and you share, bend, and connect. I got the memo that people in happy marriages don’t fight, but its off the mark. We fight, and we are happy.

We Share. The good and the ugly. The mundane and the life altering. The annoying and the neurotic. The television: Jimmy Fallon openers, bands, Modern Family, Nova, and Homeland binges. A cup of coffee on our deck and stolen glances at a party. He shares his French fries and I share the covers (most of the time!).

We Connect. Gazing at the Pacific Ocean on Route 1, it hit me – we’re still getting to know each other. After 10 years of marriage and 5 years of dating (15 years!), we are still getting to know each other. Peace came over me and I smiled, contented. This is an interesting article on what the author calls the bird-bid. Do you turn away or engage when your partner invites you in?

We Laugh. The best medicine is to crack a joke. Laughter brings you close together, dropping blood pressure as it eases the tension and stress. Our inside jokes run deep and sometimes a mere word sends us into a laugh. Recently it’s our 4-year-olds turn of phrases. She’s a wordsmith in her own right. One night this week, she put on her pajama top with monkey bottoms and leg warms. She strolled into the living room saying, “How do you like my Warm Leggers?”

We Parent.Together. We aim to be a united front. Of course, our girls try to divide us, Daddy said I could have an Oreo, Mommy said we could have a movie night tonight. But, we mostly stick together, even if we disagree with each others’ method. Disaccord is usually said with a look, meaning let’s chat later. Parenting with my husband is such a treat. He is up for connections and adventures. I am impressed with him as a dad:

I walked into this scene one winter afternoon after I got home from school:

We date. Our Pre-Cana marriage counselors advised us to remember that our family needed to start and end with us. You’ve been told to hold sacred the date night. We average once a month with a babysitter. What about you? We try, but we get lazy about date night. It’s expensive and after a work week, we love being at home en famillle. But when we we push forward and get out, I’m grateful. Most of the time we head out together, but it’s also a thrill to meet out. It’s sexy to spot your partner from the distance in a restaurant or bar and know they are with you. Even though we don’t hit the town regularly ($15/hour for a babysitter adds up), we slow down together most weekends. Most Saturdays, we cook dinner and chat/listen to music over a few drinks after the girls are tucked in their beds.

We explore. We started out traveling together, as a mobile-marketing team driving the Hershey Kissmobile across the country for five months. During our courting days, we worked together 24/7, checking out new places. And we still are. Often it’s Chicago-based, but we strike out on a trip when we can – as a family and as a couple. Travel is in my soul.

We are. We are in this thing called Life together. I can say there is no one on earth I would rather be with. This is a marathon, not a sprint.

End.Love.Fest.

What about you? What have you discovered about your relationship after x amount of time together? What are tenets you hold true about happily ever after?

Ciao.

Bio: Bienvenue! I’m Rudey. I’m a writer and an elementary French teacher living Chicago with my husband and two daughters. My driving force comes from my mom, who always said: “I gave you roots to guide you and wings so you can fly.” I’ve built my life around that motto. My aim is to pass on to my daughters what my family secured in me. I want us to slow down, grow roots, and build a solid foundation. I also want to strengthen our wings and soar. It’s a balance between holding on and letting go; planning and being. No, scratch that. It’s really a blend. An integration of womanhood and parenthood, bundled in a quest to secure roots and develop wings. Rudeysroom is a collection of ideas, intentions, stories, action plans, noticings, and refinements. I write about creating, exploring, growing, parenting, teaching, and styling. It’s a lot of topics, I know. But they are all a part of me. They are so a part of my identity, that I cannot part with any one of them. So I aim to integrate them – in mindful and playful ways. By integrating, I’m simplifying life to spend time on what matters to me, to my family. This is how I’m stumbling into balance. Find me on Facebook and Pinterest and blogging at RudeysRoom.