Thursday, December 17, 2009


One of my favorite things to do during the weeks leading up to Christmas is curl up in the double recliner with my husband and watch holiday movies. Okay, so most of them aren’t Academy Award material. In fact, usually they’re downright sappy. But that’s part of the fun, putting aside the stress of Christmas busy-ness and enjoying a little laughter and maybe a tear or two.

My all-time favorite is White Christmas. I never tire of watching Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, Danny Kaye, and Vera Ellen croon and dance and enjoy a little romance in that quaint Vermont lodge.

The movie has a lot to say about couple communication, if you’re paying attention. As Betty and Bob grow closer, Bob makes plans to surprise the general on Christmas Eve. Betty overhears only part of the conversation, and to her, it sounds like Bob is out for his own gain at the general’s expense. But instead of confronting Bob, she packs up and heads off to the big city, leaving Bob to wonder what went wrong.

Needless to say, things turn out fine in the end, and of course if not for Bob and Betty’s miscommunication, there wouldn’t be the same romantic conflict in the story. In real life, however, we could do without the additional drama of half-heard conversations and misconstrued motives. Don’t let misunderstandings spoil your relationship, whether during the holidays or year-round. Talk things out. Share what’s on your heart. Your marriage will be stronger for it.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Hello, folks.

I'm sorry. I know I said I would provide my list for the 12 Romantic Days of Christmas, but truth is, almost everyone in our family has been sick, off and on, for the last 3 weeks.

It started with one of my sons, then hit Hubby, worked its way to me, and has finally taken my daughter down. Only one child hasn't been sick through all of this, and I have a feeling he will get hit soon.

I'm tellin' ya, nothing tests the bonds of holy matrimony than like the "In sickness and in health" clause.

"In health" can be tough.

"In sickness" is downright impossible. Okay, not impossible, but very, very difficult.

At first, we were doing pretty well working as a team. One of us took care of the sick child while the other kept the two healthy ones in line.

Then Hubby got sick, and the dynamic shifted. He was doing good to make it out of bed in the morning and get to work. I was struggling to maintain the house and the children, so I abandoned the house and focused on the kids.

When I got the cold, the dynamic shifted again. I am a HUGE baby when I get sick. Whiny, grouchy, complaining, cranky. Not pretty. So then the team concept was abandoned and it was every man (and woman) for him/herself.

So we're both taking medicine to minimize our symptoms and trying to keep the children from killing themselves. The house became (and still is) a war zone, and neither of us really cared. We were both struggling to find a way to rest. Hubby felt better in the mornings, and I felt better in the evenings, so we worked from there.

Then our daughter got it, and Hubby and I just can't shake the stupid cold. Our son finally got over it, and the other is still immune (so far).

Basically, there has been no romance going on in our lives, the tension has been high, but I think we're finally starting to come together. Last night we both sat down on the bed after changing all the bedding because the toddler threw up on herself and the entire bed from a coughing fit. We looked at each other, not talking, and collapsed together - shoulder to shoulder - and sat like that for ten minutes.

Then we went to sleep. So I think we're getting there.

Nothing ever goes as planned, but learning to roll with the tide has kept us afloat so far.


Monday, November 30, 2009

Happy Monday.

Or at least, I hope you're having a happy Monday.

While thumbing through the book 1001 Ways to be Romantic by Gregory Godek, I found a page devoted to Christmas.

The author suggested giving your spouse the 12 Romantic Days of Christmas.

The list seemed (to me) to be more of what a husband would give his wife and included:
(And you have to sing the music either aloud or in your head)

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me . . . (etc, etc, etc)

A red rose in a bud vase
2 Bottle of Champagne
3 French Kisses
4 Nights of Dancing
5 Golden Rings
6 Bubble Baths
7 Movie Passes
8 Beanie Babies
9 Coupons for Back Rubs
10 Shares of Microsoft Stock
11 Heart-Shaped Balloons
12 CD's of The Beatles

So I thought I'd go ahead and try to come up with a list of 12 things to do for, or give to, my Hubby for Christmas. Now mind you, our list will be different from what others might want to do because we are broke and struggle to find time alone with three kids as it is.

Next week I will post my list, and I'll just have to ban Hubby from reading the blog until after Christmas.

Now it's your turn to come up with a list of 12 things to do for your spouse for the 12 Romantic Days of Christmas.


Monday, November 23, 2009

Thanksgiving Madness

Well, Thanksgiving is this week.

My feelings on the holidays are mixed this year. And lest any family members who happen to read this post become upset with me, let me explain.

I love visiting family on Thanksgiving. And Christmas. And New Year's. Easter. The Fourth of July.

Any reason to get the family together to eat, laugh, and talk . . . I'm in. Regardless of which side of the family it is. Love spending time with Hubby's family as much as my own, and I know that is a rare and wonderful gift.

And I'm lucky because Hubby feels the same way.

Our problems with Holidays begin before we even leave the house. As usual, it's the kids who pose the problem.

As a side note, if you don't have kids yet, or your kids are grown and gone, you might not relate to this post, or you might just have Vietnam-like flashbacks, and not want to read any further.

Hubby and I are tense and angry before we ever get out the door because we spend anywhere from an hour to two hours getting ready to leave, and the kids are screaming and fighting the whole time because they were ready to leave hours ago and we're taking way too long.

We yell at the kids for yelling at us, and then we feel guilty and end up yelling at each other.

Then we sit in the car and stew about who yelled at who first, and what is your (insert spouse's name here) problem anyway. We have a long drive and a long couple of days ahead, and we don't want to spend the whole time arguing.

Then the kids start fighting. The Princess is hitting her brothers because they keep sticking their heads in her face because they are leaning over her trying to fight with each other because someone took someone else's toy, and they had it first, and give it back now.

And the Princess usually steals it from them both, and then screams her head off when they try to take it back, and Hubby and I usually end up screaming for everyone to be quiet, which one of the twins then feels obligated to point out that we're being loud, too. To which Hubby and I revert to six year olds ourselves, and everyone spends five minutes arguing about who yelled at who first.

Once we finally end this cycle of nonsense, Hubby and I are stressed and ticked off, and no one wants to talk to anyone. And then we arrive at our destination, and our families wonder what in the world everyone is so angry about.

And what does any of this have to do with romancing your spouse, you might ask? Well, I'll tell you. This year is going to be different because I am going to make a pointed effort to make it different. I'm going to try my hardest to stay calm in the face of chaos, and stand united with Hubby instead of letting the situation get out of control and turning on each other, too.

We're going to make a point of spending some time alone, even if it's just taking a short walk around the block after we arrive, to take the edge off the trip and enjoy just a moment of alone time.

Or we might do the dishes together.

Peel potatoes . . . together.

Set the table . . . together.

You get the idea. Traveling with kids is stressful. But we can't let it drive a wedge between us. No one wins, and we want to have the most pleasant holiday possible. So ANY time you can spend having a private moment with your honey is important. Take it where you can get it, and be sure to tell your sweetie you love them. And mean it.

I hope your Thanksgiving is a good one. Enjoy each other, and find a few moments alone with your spouse, even if you have to hide in a closet.


Sunday, November 22, 2009

And the winner is...

Congratulations Karen you've won both books; Thirsty by Tracey Bateman & Touched by A Vampire by Beth Felker Jones!

I'll be sending you an email privately to get your mailing address.

Congratulations! Enjoy!


Friday, November 20, 2009

Dinner for two - Pasta Puttanesca

Many of you have asked us to continue the Dinner for Two series and since you are so important to us, we are happy to oblige your love of couple time as you linger over a delicious and easy meal. Here's to you and a happy marriage! Enjoy & God's blessings!

I found this recipe eons ago in a local newspaper when my husband and I first got married and moved to southern California and it's been a staple in our home ever since. Normally I pair this dish with a Caesar salad and of course, garlic bread to help "sop" up all those extra juices!

Pasta Puttanesca

4 servings

1/4 cup olive oil

4 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced

6 anchovy fillets, drained and mashed or 1.5 TBSP anchovy paste

3 TBSP. capers

1/8 crushed red pepper flakes - add a pinch more if you like it spicy!

1 handful Kalamata olives, roughly chopped

1 bunch fresh basil, chopped or 1 tsp. dried basil

1 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes

1/2 cup chopped parsley

12 ounces spaghetti - cooked and drained - reserving a cup of the pasta liquid

Grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheeses


In a large skillet heat oil over medium heat and saute garlic and anchovies, cook until dissolved. Stir in the next 5 ingredients and bring to a slow boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. If the sauce gets thick add in a little of the reserved pasta water. The sauce should not be pasty or runny, just saucy! :) Remove from heat. Stir in parsley and pour over pasta. Sprinkle with cheeses.

Voila! Dinner is served! And as they say in Italy...Mangia! Mangia! Eat! Eat!

As a side note: when I want this dish to be a little heartier, I've sauteed .5 pound of Italian sausage and added it to the sauce. The sausage compliments the sauce nicely and adds that little extra "oomph" factor that we need when my hubby has spent all day working in the garage. :)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

In sickness and in health

Want to find out how much your spouse really loves you? Just put the “in sickness” part of your wedding vows to the test!

And since this is the cold-and-flu season, we should have plenty of opportunities. I’m snuggled up in my jammies this week with a sore throat and stuffy head. Where is my husband? He’s been on a business trip. Convenient how he so often manages to be out of town while I’m home suffering! For two days I had to fix my own oatmeal for breakfast, heat up canned chicken noodle soup for lunch, zap a Lean Cuisine for supper, and generally take care of myself (and the dogs!).

Seriously, my sweetie doesn’t travel that much, and he’s usually very considerate and attentive when I’m sick. His “love language” is Acts of Service, so he takes great pleasure in doing little things for me even when I’m well.

However, one of my main “love languages” is Quality Time, and since my husband is often so busy doing, he forgets how much I appreciate his just being--his presence, focus, and attention. Especially when I’m sick, I enjoy comforting words, a foot rub, being read to, or just having my sweetie sit with me. The good news is, if I ask him, he usually obliges.

Whether you’re sick or healthy, what speaks love to you? Are some of your spouse’s messages getting lost in translation? Maybe it’s time to sit down together for a “language lesson.”