Monday, October 26, 2009

Romance Realities


Well, over the weekend, between t-ball games, meetings, traveling, and baby showers (3 in all), I managed to fit in a little time to talk to my husband.

It was mostly on the trip home while the children were passed out cold in the backseat.

Hubby was very sweet and indulged me in letting me talk about the book I am trying to get finished this week. I discussed a scene I had already finished where the couple in my book have been arguing and fighting their growing attraction for reasons of personal baggage.

Hubby smiled politely, but I caught the slight eye roll.


"I didn't say anything." He stared straight ahead.

"You're thinking something."

"No, I'm not." He sounded a little tense.

"You rolled your eyes."

"I didn't." Now he sounded desperate to change the subject.

"What?! Just tell me already."

Now he was more afraid of not telling me. "Okay. Fine. It's just that these two people have been fighting, right?"


"You've set it up to where they are so angry and annoyed with each other they are ready to strangle each other."

"Pretty much, yeah." I smile, thinking of all the chaos and mayhem in store for my characters.

"Then you have them kissing each other's lips off."

My smile gets bigger, thinking of all the tension and feeling going into the kiss. "Yes."

He shrugged. "Well, I don't ever remember us having a fight that ended up with us smooching all over each other."

Hmmm. "Sure we did." Didn't we?

He just raised his eyebrows at me, the look that said, 'Oh, come on. Who are you trying to kid here?'

And the longer I thought about it, the more I realized he was right. He'd go to the garage to work or mow the lawn or go back to watching the game. I'd go read a book (most likely romance), watch TV, or clean something until we cooled down.

Not a lot of lip-lock action going on before, during, or after our fight.

But maybe I should give it a try. Push the negative emotions aside and wrap Hubby in a kiss that curls his toes.

It would probably end the fight a lot faster and put us on the path to making up much sooner.

We'll see how it goes.

Hope you all have a great week and some smoochy-time with your sweetie, but hopefully no fights.


Monday, October 19, 2009

Wedding Anniversary

Hello everyone.

This past weekend marked my 11th Wedding Anniversary.

The kids were on Fall Break, and my mother-in-law graciously offered to take the children for a couple of days to give us some desperately needed alone time.

And to be honest, I don't think I realized just how badly Hubby and I needed this time together until we were sitting on the couch the first night they were gone. He looked at me with a mixture of intense relief and happiness, and said, "I'm so glad we're married."

Bestill my heart!

But actually, it surprised me a little, the depth of emotion in his statement. I guess sometimes I forget he needs quiet, uninterrupted time with me just like I need that time with him.

I'm the touchy, feely romantic one in our marriage. Don't get me wrong, Hubby comes up with some really wonderful, romantic gestures.

But I don't think about him needing time with me when I'm not the mother of his children or the practical wife. The one who works with him to keep our household running . . . not running smoothly, mind you . . . just running.

And to keep our children from killing themselves, each other, or us in some tragically funny way.

I forget he needs time just to be with me, the woman he met and fell in love with years ago. And I am still her, buried under layers of mom and wife, home-maker and writer, daughter, sister, and friend . . . and extra pounds, but we won't go there today.

The layers fall away (if only it were so easy with the extra pounds) and there's only us. Enjoying the quiet, talking about what we still want out of life, and remembering why we're still in love.

If you can find a way to get alone-time, take it. Talk. Go for quiet walks. Have dinner together. Make dinner together. Don't worry about making it fancy. Just savor the moment.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Anybody got a crowbar?

Confession time. I may write romance novels, but that doesn’t mean my everyday life is particularly romantic. In fact, more often than not, my life is decidedly unromantic.

So I have to ask myself, Whose fault is that?

Can I blame my husband for not being more creative in the romance department?

Can I blame work demands for draining our energy for romance?

Can I blame too much TV, too much Internet, too many chores, too many books in my TBR stack?

It’s much easier to tick off a dozen reasons like these instead of zeroing in on the real culprit--ME.

The solution sounds simple enough--eliminate what distractions I can and reprioritize the rest.

Unfortunately, there’s also the issue of fear. Fear of change. Fear of rejection. Fear of failure. Somehow the old adage, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained,” doesn’t necessarily instill romantic confidence.

In fact, anytime we make excuses about our lack of romantic creativity (are you listening, sweetie???), I’m pretty sure that’s our own fear talking.

The problem is, once you settle into a rut, it’s not so easy to pry yourself out of it. As we’ve said so many times here at RYS, romance must be intentional. If I want romance in my life, I have to be proactive about it. Alter my TV watching habits. Change out of my baggy sweats once in a while. Exchange Wheel of Fortune for a romantic CD and candlelight dinner (even if it is takeout).

Yep, I’m thinking I need to get hold of a good, sturdy crowbar and start prying.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

To Be Read - One Imperfect Christmas by Myra Johnson

One Imperfect Christmas
Myra Johnson
Abingdon Press
ISBN# 9-787770-052767
5 stars

The holidays, most especially can lend itself to one of two camps, those that love Christmas and those who slightly resemble one of Charles Dickens famous characters. I, however, completely relish every single second of the Christmas holiday season. The moment Thanksgiving dinner is over, I pull out my Christmas music, start decorating all while I’m enjoying a piece of pumpkin pie, of course!

But since I still have a little bit of time before I crawl up into the attic and start pulling down Christmas decorations, I chose to settle into my favorite cozy chair and read Myra Johnson’s debut novel, One Imperfect Christmas. What a true delight!

One Imperfect Christmas tells the story of Natalie Pearce whose faith in God, her family and friends is sorely tested when her mother suffers a debilitating stroke while taking down the holiday decorations. Natalie can’t seem to get past the burdening thought that had she been present to help her mother take down the decorations, she somehow might have been able to prevent her mother’s current condition.

As she struggles to accept her mother’s health condition, her workaholic husband and a tempermental teenager compound life. And as if that were not enough, as Natalie learns that someone is sabotaging her new business venture while the mounting pressures of the emotional guilt she’s carrying around begins to take its toll on her and her loved ones. Will Natalie be able to accept the healing love of through her family be enough to help her cope as the new holiday season approaches or will everything she loves and cares for, all fall to pieces like a shattered Christmas ornament?

What I loved about One Imperfect Christmas is Ms. Johnson’s way of reminding us through this story that life is not without its struggles and heartaches, even in the most beautiful and special times of the year. We see through Natalie that life can be filled with heartache, depression, fear and uncertainty. Yet there is one thing that always remains steadfast and true, God’s love for us.

If you want a good book that will capture your heart and not let it go from the moment you pick it up, this will be the book for you. I encourage you pick up a copy and enjoy all that One Imperfect Christmas has to share. Happy Holidays!!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Okay, I have a confession to make.

I know I like to think I am the normal, stable, equalizing force in our marriage. The woman who brings out the best qualities in my husband, while striving to bring out the best qualities in myself, as well.

And in a sense, this is true.

But I don't think I give enough credit to my Dear Hubby.

The past week has been a perfect example.

I have been trying to make great strides to finish the manuscript I have been working on so I can submit it to an editor. Hubby gave me as much time as he could so I could write, even though his schedule at work has been crazy-busy.

And in the process, our house fell into even more chaos than usual.

So this weekend we were working on getting the house picked up and fighting our way through the jungle of laundry. And when I get my teeth in a project, it pretty much takes the Jaws of Life to pry me away from it.

The extra project I took on was sorting through our daughter's clothes, weeding out the things that don't fit anymore, trying to match up the clothes that do, storing the summer clothes for next year, and washing 8 huge crates of hand-me-downs given to us by Hubby's VERY generous aunt.

It took hours and hours to go through all those clothes. I know Hubby had other things he would rather have been doing, but he also knew it was important to me to get this project out of the way. So he bit the bullet and helped me wash, sort, fold, and put everything away.

It was a very generous, kind thing to do, and I really appreciated his effort.

So now it's my turn to do something equally generous on his behalf. And hopefully I will do it without whining, because Hubby was a really good sport about it, and kept his complaints to a minimum. I'm also pretty sure letting him watch a baseball game and two football games while we worked helped in the complaint department, but I'll take what I can get.


Friday, October 9, 2009

Dinner for two please!

Hello everyone! It's been a long time, but I'm glad to finally be back with you.

In an effort to encourage everyone to share more one on one time with their loved one, I’ve been given permission to post weekly dinners geared specifically just for two.

This week I hope you’ll join me as I prepare one our favorite dishes. Salmon with roasted baby red potatoes and asparagus.

What’s nice about this recipe besides the fact that it’s easy to prepare and delicious, our kids hate it! Now that may sound a bit selfish, but let’s be honest most of us share quite a bit with our kids, so forgive me if I encourage to break away from the norm and make some time just for you and your hubby. Let's face it, we need it!

Now normally when we’re having our dinner date, I usually throw in a pizza for the kids, let them eat early and then send them out to play while our dinner is cooking. This way they’re happy mom’s not forcing them to eat horrible, nasty, smelly things and we, get to spend very precious time together without interruption. Gotta love it!

One other tidbit I’d like to share. Years ago, when my husband and I were dating, he went to the trouble to buy place settings for the two of us to use during the one and only meal he’s ever made for me! Haha! Needless to say, we still use those dishes when it’s our dinner date night. Those dishes bring back great memories of a very special Valentine’s dinner and encourage us subtly to constantly look forward to many more.

So go ahead, let the kids eat on paper plates, but for you and your sweetie, pull out the china, light some candles and enjoy a nice meal together. Take the time to enjoy each other, and remember it started with the two of you and once the kiddies are grown, it’ll be the two of you again so let's enjoy the walk along the way! With much love & many blessings! Until next week, Amy

Pecan encrusted Salmon dinner with roasted baby red potatoes & asparagus

Oven roasted baby red potatoes
1 lb. Baby red potatoes washed and halved. Sea salt & freshly ground pepper
1 tsp. Chopped garlic
½ tsp. Crushed rosemary
Olive oil - enough to coat veggies

Wash potatoes & halve. Par boil for approximately 10 minutes. Do not allow potatoes to get mushy. Drain and place in a large mixing bowl. Add in the remaining ingredients and toss. Spread on a baking sheet and bake @ 425* until golden brown. Approximately 25 minutes.

Pecan Encrusted Salmon
2 salmon fillets (6 ounces each)
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
1/3 cup seasoned bread crumbs
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
Place salmon skin side down on a greased baking sheet.
In a small bowl, combine the mayo, pecans, bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and parsley; spoon generously over salmon. Bake at 425° for 10-15 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Roasted asparagus

1lb. Asparagus – washed and cleaned, dead ends cut off.
Sea salt & pepper
Olive oil

Toss asparagus with seasonings to your liking, add to the baking sheet with the potatoes and cook until al dente. Approximately 10-15 minutes depending on how thick the stalks are.

Cooking timeline note: If you’ll start with the potatoes and let them roast for approximately 10 minutes, it’ll give you the time to prep the salmon and asparagus which can then be added to the oven and everything will come out at once. I normally cook the veggies together on one sheet and the salmon on its own baking sheet to keep the flavors from mingling but if that sort of thing doesn’t bother you, feel free to put them all on one baking sheet, veggies at one end, fish on the other. Enjoy!

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Parenthood/Romance Balance


I know last week I blogged about regular routines, and our (my hubby and me) efforts to establish good habits with busy schedules, and we would later try building in more time for romance.

And when I wrote that post I faithfully believed we would find a way to work those special moments into our week.


Try explaining that to our two year old daughter.

If you are married with a toddler, you have my sympathies. This is a new, fascinating time for your child. They are learning quickly, absorbing knowledge like a little sponge, soaking it all in and making their adoring parents so proud.

And frustrated.

Because they are learning quickly. Too quickly.

My daughter has already figured out how to use the childproof doorknob covers to keep her out of, or in, certain rooms.

She can climb in or on ANYTHING she has a mind to: dressers, desks, tables, beds, counters, etc; and knows all the drawers and cabinets she's not supposed to be getting into . . . and then DOES! No area of the house is safe from her.

And naptime . . . gone. She refuses to take an afternoon nap, and frankly, Mommy needs her writing time about as desperately as she needs oxygen.

And going to bed at night . . . forget it. She's climbing out of her crib, opening her bedroom door (by bypassing the doorknob cover), and running into the living room where Hubby and I are trying to have a conversation . . . Oh, I don't know, fifteen or twenty thousand times a night!

SO all our plans for shared moments of romance and connecting are pretty much on hold until we can figure out a way to deal with out precious, but oh, so annoying daughter.

But we aren't giving up. I refuse to believe that we have no hope of grown-up time until she's five or older. We got there with the twins, and it took a while, but we made it. I figure we'll make it with her too, we've just gotta be persistent.

I guess today's post is more about hope. Don't give up on the idea of romantic time alone with your spouse, because even if you missed the mark today, there's always tomorrow.