One month from today marks Chris’ and my one year anniversary (married… it’s unfortunate that the four years together pre-marriage get thrown aside for tracking)!
This meant that today’s throwback thursday post was an easy choice. The above photo was taken the moment after Chris and I had officially been declared husband and wife. I had just finished crying after going second in reading our personal vows and Chris had kissed the bride. We walked back up the aisle to a major Chris song (that I also like) called You Make My Heart Beat Faster by The Distillers, you should give it a listen and then take another look at the featured photo above. We had so much fun at our wedding and it was very us – thrifty and quirky!
They say that the first year of marriage is the hardest, but I wonder if that’s changed since people have started living together more commonly as unmarried couples. Chris and I had two years or so in the house before we got married so it’s not like we needed to get used to each other or were learning about each others’ habits. Our wedding was less like a new beginning to an adventure and more like the third chapter in a novel that has already built a foundation to build a story around.
Wherever we are in our unwritten novel, we’re doing really well. We are just as in love as ever, but what’s more important is that we’re still best friends who watch comedy
specials while drinking bourbon or play board games competitively together. We have fun and appreciate our time together – we also know that no ones perfect and that honest communication is key.
We’ve known each other for almost five years now and expect to continue to learn from our shared experiences (especially mistakes). Just because we’ve been married for a year doesn’t make us experts, but who’s to say that we’re not doing it right? We’re doing what’s right for us and that’s all I hope my loved ones do for themselves too!
As Valentine’s Day is fast approaching (February 14th is this coming Tuesday), you may still need to come up with an affordable date idea. If we broke the bank to celebrate every holiday throughout the year, we’d be broke ourselves.
Yes, you can absolutely splurge a little on an expensive dinner out, but if you’re looking to save money this year maybe you can try some of the following five activities:
Instead of spending money on typical Valentine’s products, mutually decide on an at home activity that you could invest in.
This year Chris and I bought a new boardgame that we can play with just two people (up to six) called Pandemic. We had a night recently when we became more familiar with the rules so that we can really enjoy it on Valentine’s Day. Romance can mean different things to different people, and to us in our first year of marriage (third year of living together), our best-friendship is a big part of our love. We embrace our friendship by making sure we will both have fun – we hang out. If you’re on a smaller budget I suggest checking out the games section of Value Village, I’ve found some great games there for under $5.00!
Find a recipe on Pinterest.
If you have the time, cooking together can be a lot of fun. Chris and I often like to put on a playlist that works well with our meal. For example, when we cook pasta I like to put on my Dean Martin album, or sometimes we just put on a 90’s Spotify playlist to sing and dance to. You will either share pride over your delicious meal or laugh at what bad cooks you are which will make for a funny memory – it’s about the quality time you spend together more than it’s about the quality of the food.
Write a love letter.
Chris and I have done this a few times for past Valentine’s Days as well as anniversaries. It costs nothing and makes you feel really good about each other. This is the kind of gift that takes a little thought and effort, but goes a long way. Writing each other letters is also a good practise to keep up healthy communication and remind one another why you’re together. Don’t be afraid to add some humour into it with inside jokes, love letters don’t have to be all serious (they’re meant to make you smile).
Borrow a classic romance movie from the public library.
Sometimes Netflix just doesn’t cut it, especially if you’re like me and have watched basically every romantic comedy on the list. When that happens, you can check out this incredibly useful resource that exists in most cities called the library. You can even put things on hold or find out which branch has which DVD via the good ol’internet – this is better than Blockbuster. My local library carries modern movies as well as many older classics, including a personal favourite: Roman Holiday. Watching a movie on a comfy couch (not necessarily the big one with dust bunnies), having the ability to pause for bathroom breaks, and not paying outrageous prices for snacks are all good reasons to avoid the movie theatre this Valentine’s Day.
Explore a local art gallery.
Want to actually leave the house? Many cities have art galleries with free or donation based admission like The Robert McLaughlin Gallery (RMG) in my hometown or the Station Gallery one city over. I strongly encourage people who “don’t do art” to try this date idea, I think you’ll be surprised at how much you might enjoy yourself. Galleries are fantastic places to walk (healthy) and talk (healthy for your relationship). You can see how similar you are or just how much your tastes differ. Chris and I also like to make fun of the odd piece, again an art gallery doesn’t have to be a strictly serious environment – have fun!
These five ideas are simple and affordable, some also allow for comfort which is a huge plus in my books. Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be all about extravagant gifts, it should be about celebrating your love for each other by spending time together and creating positive memories.
Let me know what some of your plans are in the comments!
Yesterday, Monday December 5th, marked my one month anniversary with our newly adopted dog Summit (See her Instagram account@Summit.the.sweetheart).
In a previous blog post, I explained the process of grieving my late dog Daq and finding Summit online. To summarize, Summit is a 2-year-old St. Berdoodle (Saint Bernard/Poodle) who was rescued when she was pregnant with 11 puppies. Her rescuers in the US sent her to foster parents who ran a Portuguese Water Dog breeding business and were familiar with handling the impending puppy situation properly. After finding homes for the puppies, the breeder then set out to find a home for mommy-Summit. When I saw her photo online, I had a weird feeling that told me she was right for us and I expressed this in an email.
Like all rescues, Summit has a colourful past that contributes to present issues, but she is the biggest sweetheart. It is believed that she was abused because of her fear of meeting new people. She loves playing with other dogs and has zero anxiety about her furry friends (even when they are strangers).
Summit has come such a long way in a very short time.
When I first brought Summit home, I was excited, but it was hard because she didn’t trust me enough to let me hug her and cuddle her the way that you want to when you get a new fur-baby. The sweet girl had never gone up and down stairs before so she was limited to staying on the main floor. I decided that I would sleep on the couch that night so that she wouldn’t be alone – I think this really helped our initial bonding.
She seemed to be picking things up really quickly! On the second or third day, she was learning what her dog bed was and even showed interest in wanting to go upstairs with me. One day when I was about to jump in the shower, I saw her little head poke up from the landing! She had come that far, but then immediately forgot how she had gotten up there and couldn’t figure out the rest of the steps (she had this thing where she didn’t understand that she needed to move her back legs). I paused what I was doing and helped show her how to climb up the stairs on four legs (I had been doing this for days like a little animal). I was an extremely proud mama when she made it all the way up and discovered more of the house.
Summit had not only never used stairs at the age of 2, but she had also never seen a TV, nor did she know basic commands like sit, lay down, stay, etc. She was housebroken, but
with moving to a new environment she did leave me a couple stinky presents in the house early on. By the end of the first week she had conquered the stairs, was cool with the weird moving pictures in the living room, and had even officially mastered the art of sitting on command!
Week two included visits from more family and friends (lots of practice at meeting new people), but Summit especially loves playing with her friend/my mom’s dog Agent Deeks. These two are so infatuated, they love playing, cuddling, nuzzling, grooming, humping (we continually break them up) – they just can’t get enough of each other. After a week and a half of bonding time, it was hard to let go of my control, but I let her off leash on a woods-walk with mom and Deeks.
With her friend at her side it was more likely that she’d stick with him, she did such a good job and had so much fun! By the end of that week she had learned the lay down command and was growing even closer to me.
Week three was fun because Summit and I went on a road trip to see my sister who lives four hours away. My sister has a Bernese Mountain Dog named Dude (brother to Deeks), a German Sheperd named Sidney Prescott, and two cats named Rafi and Taco. Summit was fast friends with her cousins, especially Sidney who seemed to be ecstatic to have a girlfriend since she was always surrounded by males. The dogs had a ton of fun and I can’t wait to see them reunite for the holiday season.
This last week has been nice, Summit seems completely at home now.
Looking through the front window
Standing on the backyard deck to guard her kingdom
Napping on her bed all day
Going for walks to Poke-stops
Playing with her dollies
My made-up songs and dances in the kitchen
Cuddling with me in bed
Playing with other doggos
This month of so many firsts has been hard work that has already proven to be well worth it and I can’t wait to share more of these experiences with her fur-daddy. Chris has been away for five weeks and is coming home in a couple days – he will finally get to meet the fur-baby that he has grown to love through the constant receival of unfiltered photos and videos each day. I can’t imagine how excited he must be.
We are so lucky that we found a new dog to share our love with and to spoil this Christmas. She still has a lot to learn and so do we as new puppy-parents. She is two, but has so many firsts that dogs her age would normally have already experienced that we are going through puppy stages and also getting used to such a playful girl compared to our gorgeous old 12-year-old labradoodle (we still think about her every day).
Dogs, like people, aren’t perfect and it is often the imperfections that we grow to love most. Do you have a rescue dog and have some helpful anecdotes to share? Let me know and give them a kiss for me!
I recently went to a friend’s baby shower. The decorations were beautiful, the food was incredible, one of the games was television oriented so I actually won, the mom-to-be was delightfully spoiled, and the conversations were very informative. Baby and bridal showers are like office water coolers of female friendships; these are the events that women love talking about their spouses at most.
Some of the discussions were eye opening and actually reminded me why I married Chris – he is a great guy.
Many of the women that I spoke with told me that their male counterparts did not help with the laundry. This shocked me. Not as surprising, the same men who avoided doing laundry, didn’t like to help with cooking or cleaning either.
How could these men not be helping with household chores in 2016?
The women that I spoke to are admirable as they all worked full-time jobs yet they had these added responsibilities at home that their significant others didn’t. Even if you enjoy cleaning, I’m left wondering whether or not you would later resent your partner for not helping.
I’m friends with a lot of men and I know that many of them would help with chores – not all men leave this to be ‘women’s work’ (a terrible term). Chris is living proof that some husbands believe in sharing the unassigned home-work-load.
What is wrong with these other guys? Do they want wives or moms?
The thing is that I know that the women who I spoke with didn’t love doing all of the housework because they were talking about it at this baby shower. The weird thing is that it was almost less like complaining and more like bragging about whose partner contributed less – it wasn’t funny to me.
I know that Chris’ overly clean tendencies aren’t exactly typical, but it’s not just keeping a clean house that makes him a quality spouse (accidental rhyme).
We take on jobs equally at home: we take turns going up and down the stairs to switch the laundry loads and both do the folding; we cook and then wash the dishes together; we both work on exterior landscaping; we renovate the house together; and while I scrub, he vacuums – we are a well-balanced team.
Knowing how the other person behaves as a live-in-partner is so important to me which is why I’m a firm believer in living together before marriage. Not only do you learn whether or not you want to kill the other person, but you also learn their habits and beliefs.
If Chris hadn’t been as great as he was, he wouldn’t have been chosen to be on my team.
Although we have barely been married for 3 months, we are going on living together now for 3 years and I’m very happy with our system.
If you are happy with your system that’s wonderful, but I’m just trying to let other women know that players get traded from professional teams all the time – sometimes there are better fits, sometimes there are better team-players who want to play for you.
Until we have Rosie-Robots in our lives, finding an equal partner to love and share your home with is an important standard to keep. Wife does not have to mean maid or mother to your husband, it means that you have a best friend (male or female) to help make life a little easier.
Over the last four years, Chris and I have come to look forward to special holiday traditions. Pumpkin picking and carving are two favourites of ours.
I grew up in a household with parents who loved holidays more than other parents that I knew. We really celebrated and they made the holidays so much more fun. I happily carried this attitude into my adulthood and Chris has enjoyed being a part of the excitement.
We like to get our pumpkins from Pingle’s Farm, they are local, they have the best prices, and the biggest selection (last year we looked at another farm and immediately went back to Pingle’s).
As adults without children we don’t partake in the other autumn activities that are available at the farm, but families really should! In the past, my mom and I have taken my niece to the petting zoo, bunny hole town/sanctuary, smaller mazes, puppet theatre, hand painted face photo-cut-outs are all really fantastic. Pingle’s is also known for their massive corn fields that feature really creative designs.
Chris and I set out on Tuesday afternoon all smiles, but I was a little cocky about the weather. It was very cold out at PIngle’s, a farm located on a bit of a hill surrounded by a lot of open space. The chilly weather didn’t dampen our spirits, but it definitely put the trip on fast forward as we hurriedly went inside to pay after some humming and hawing over the over-sized vegetables.
My friend Lori Anne and her boyfriend Brett got a HUGE pumpkin this year and Chris wanted to try to ‘out pumpkin them.’ Since they’re not next to each other and we don’t have a scale to weigh ours, we can’t be completely sure, but I’d say theirs is the winner!
You can pick your pumpkin at Pingle’s either by choosing from a few heaping piles or by wandering their fields for a little more authenticity. We chose the first because it was cold man! We found ourselves a big pumpkin, then looked for a smaller cuter one for my Yoda decorations (you’ll see), and finally a tiny white pumpkin just for variety. We normally carve our own, but decided to share the big one this year.
When we got home, Chris wanted to spray them off before bringing them in the house (the adorable clean-freak that he is).
After dinner, Chris and I moved our coffee table aside, laid down the sheets we use as paint drop cloths, grabbed our garbage can and started to think of some jack-o-lantern ideas over some drinks. I sketched some typical face shapes while we watched an old Fresh Prince of Bel AirHalloween episode and Chris carved our lid.
Suddenly, I thought of (what we consider to be) a brilliantly hilarious idea. Chris and I are really into this odd comedy program called The Eric Andre Show (you need a special sense of humour to watch this show – you are now officially warned). Part of the show includes street skits in a style that is similar to those of Tom Green. One of the many skits that we love is one where the actor wears a ridiculous outfit, carries/drinks a bottle of ranch salad dressing, and shouts “Ranch it up” or “Legalize Ranch.” Like small children, we proudly began our pumpkin carving joke.
We emptied the pumpkin of its gook and guts pretty quickly. For someone who considers themselves quite artistic, I’m quite average at carving pumpkins. We use a regular steak knife and are moderately sloppy. Let’s just say that many toothpicks get used to repair designs that get cut off and we’re very okay with that.
We wanted to include a bottle of ranch dressing next to our pumpkin, but don’t really use it so we used an empty bottle, took the labels off, put less than an inch of baseboard paint in it and shook to our hearts content.
No, our pumpkins aren’t exceptional works of art, but they’re a lot of fun. More importantly, we have a lot of fun while working on them.
Tuesday night was memorable, we both really enjoyed ourselves, and it was one of those times that reconfirmed our love for each other. We’re best friends who like to laugh and hang out.
What did you carve into your pumpkins this year? Let me know!