Tag Archives: love

this man of mine

The chart for the Gratitude Challenge tells me I’m supposed to write about Michael this week. That’s not hard at all. I love him deeply. He’s perfect for me. I’m thankful for him every day. Today just happens to be our son’s first birthday, though, so I have an especially potent reminder of how amazing Michael is. Here are two photos from a year ago today.  

  Our last non-parent selfie. 

The first photo I have of Michael holding Henry. 

Michael is a wonderful husband, a true partner, supportive and caring and funny and loving. And he’s the best dad I know. Neither of these are super great quality photos, and neither shows what I want to say, but they’re important to me. 

And all of a sudden, it seems, it is hard to write what Michael means to me, why I am so thankful for him. I could go on forever, but I think you’d still be in the dark. And now that I’m writing, some of what makes him so wonderful, what makes me so thankful, seems too precious, too tender and raw for writing. Maybe it’s just for me. And him. To say I couldn’t do this, any of this, without him, seems like hyperbole. It isn’t. Still, perhaps it’s truer and a bit kinder to myself to say I wouldn’t want to do any of this without him. 

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Second City

Since we mentioned our first family vacation in my past post, I thought I would share some photos of our trip to Chicago here. We had a marvelous time, as you can see! We saw good friends and learned that we can do this family thing wherever we happen to be.  Henry did really well on the plane and loved making friends everywhere we went. I have loved Chicago for a long time. Now we all do. 

    
     
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
 

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2014

We’ve both had this song in our heads for weeks, so it’s only appropriate that I tell you we spent a quiet night at home.  We had a bit of fondue, steaks for dinner, and a bottle of cheap champagne while we waited for the clock to strike midnight.  We also watched Lady Gaga and the Muppets’ Holiday Spectacular (which we rather liked, though many seem not to have done).  We laughed, and talked, and shared our hopes for the coming year.  We missed our friends.  And we kissed at midnight, of course.

You can chalk our love of Gaga up to our early courtship.  We covered a lot of miles car-dancing to The Fame.  Gosh, was that really four years ago?  It was.  Here we are on the eve of 2010.  Just before our first New Year’s kiss!  Here’s to another year as happy.

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in perpetuity

I always have a difficult time deciding on gifts for Michael…but then again, so does everyone else.  He’s the kind of person who buys what he wants.  That’s a fine trait in general, but it sends his mother and sister into fits around his birthday and Christmas.  I don’t have as much trouble with those gift-giving occasions as they do–I can spy on him in shops and see what things he doesn’t actually buy (I share that information with Judy and Melissa when I can!) –but when it comes to sentimental gifts I get a bit stuck.  I build occasions up in my head until they’re OCCASIONS, and then nothing seems quite good enough.  Even Valentine’s Day was difficult this year.  Our first married Valentine’s Day!  On and on and on.  After I made it through that small obstacle course, though, I had our anniversary to consider.  Our first wedding anniversary!  What ever could be good enough for that?

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Time.

The way I figure, anniversaries are about time.  Marking time, keeping time, measuring time.  They’re about paying attention, giving thanks, and congratulating each other on time well spent, time faithfully served, time that gives way to more and yet more time.  I thought of giving him a watch, but I dismissed that option for a few reasons.  First, Michael doesn’t generally wear a watch, and while I knew he’d wear whatever I got him, it’s not really his style.  Second, the watches I liked best were obviously the most expensive.  Finally, even if he wore a watch and money were no object, a watch would be about him rather than us.  He’d have to wear it (or not), and while he’d know I gave it to him, it wouldn’t be about our relationship.  It wouldn’t be something we shared.

And so, after lots of thinking and browsing the Internet, I got the idea for a personal perpetual calendar from Kate at Design Sponge.  (Likely via Pinterest, but let’s not talk about that particular budding addiction at this point.)  I really love the way that she’s done her “journal”–the little cardboard fruit basket, the vintage postcards–perfection!  So pretty!  But I wanted ours to be a little different.   Here’s what I came up with.

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First, I wanted bigger cards.  Since this was to be a first anniversary gift, I wanted the calendar space to last at least a decade.  I also wanted a more permanent basket situation for keeping it all together.  While I love the cardboard basket, it won’t hold larger cards, and our cat’s love affair with cardboard will not be stemmed.  Finally, I wanted to make the month-divider cards significant for Michael and me.  We haven’t been diligent collectors of postcards on our journeys, but I wasn’t sure what else would do the trick.  Satisfied that I could decide that later on, I set out (with Michael along, actually) to buy the supplies I knew I needed.

600 4×6 ruled index cards (two packs of 300)
a date stamper (I hate arranging separate stamps, but you might not)
a black ink pad (or whatever color you prefer)
an 6×7 inch wooden box (the second largest of four nesting boxes, purchased together)
acrylic paint (in white and teal)

I worked on the calendar while Michael was at the office.  First I painted the white portions of the box.  As that dried, I started stamping dates.  After several mucked up cards, I decided it was best to cut the year band away from the stamper entirely.  Things went more smoothly from then on, date-stamping wise, but it’s good to have so many extra index cards.  I got through March, then painted the blue insides of the box and another coat of white on the outside.  While all that dried, I got through June, then I put away my things for the day and began to think of what I could do to make the calendar more personal.  It was pretty, sure, but it wasn’t yet us.  I decided I would go ahead and write in days important to us–our first date, concerts we’ve attended, the birth dates of our nieces, etc.–and wrote all those in chronological order on a separate piece of paper.  While I remembered occasions and anniversaries, it occurred to me that photographs would be the perfect way to separate months.  Even better, I realized that I could paste photos on the backs of individual date cards.  As we continue to add memories to the calendar, we can add photographs too.  Neither I nor Michael are great about albums, but we both love photos.  This seemed perfect.  (And still seems perfect.)

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Overall, I think it’s been a fairly successful gift.  It’s nice to fill in what we’ve done, when we find it meaningful, and see what’s happened in previous years.  I can only imagine it’ll become sweeter (and more hilarious, perhaps) as time goes on.

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YOU’RE A PLUS

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Michael and I were supposed to have dinner with some friends tonight, but their sweet baby girl has come down with something.  (We love you, R!  Feel better soon!)  Instead, I will be subjecting Michael to a shopping trip. For jeans.  I know, right?  Replacing a posh all-you-can-eat event at a restaurant we’ve been dying to try with the mall?  Could I have chosen a worse day?  (Maybe Christmas Eve.)  And yet, when in the course of events it becomes evident that lady’s closet will not support a week away from home, a shopping trip becomes not only proper but necessary.

I’ve always been–let’s choose an adjective, shall we?–curvy, heavy, plus-sized, fat, big, etc.  (One of Michael’s favorite shopping anecdotes:  at the outlets on the coast, a woman in the Jones New York store looks at me and says, “YOU’RE A PLUS!” before directing me to the racks on the left.  Michael laughed and laughed.)

Actually, I’m okay with fat.  I wasn’t always, but I’ve come a long way with regard to accepting myself and my body, and I’m proud of that work.  I got down to a size 16 a few years ago–and lost over eighty pounds to get there–but it took an incredibly hate-filled and difficult regimen involving fits and bursts of exercise, cigarettes and coffee and, if I’m being honest, not much else.  When I ate, I didn’t eat sugar or carbs at all, which would have been fine.  But a lot of the time, I just didn’t eat.  I told myself it was for the best–I was skinnier!  people noticed!–but I was depressed, pushing through graduate school (the second time), going through/coming out of a toxic relationship, etc.

Once I started dating Michael, I was happier.  And the weight came back.  (Oh, hello!)  Some of it was general dating weight–we went out to eat, we spent time traveling together, etc.–but also, as I began to love Michael, I began to love myself more, too.  I wasn’t constantly scrutinizing every inch and curve of my body.  I got back to a size 18, then a 20, and fluctuated back and forth for a couple of years, always with good reports from doctors.  That’s where my body is happiest, I guess.  That’s about where I was just before the wedding.  Since then I’ve gained a bit more.  I’ve felt uncomfortable lately, felt those hateful feelings creeping back in.  Michael has been a big help in battling those feelings.  It’s hard to hate on anything when he’s around, smiling and beaming love at you.

As it turns out, though, Michael tends to show his love through food.  When his sister had her babies, he made meals for her and froze them.  When our friends come to visit, the first thing he does is plan what he’ll serve them.  We made our own wedding cakes, partially because it was cheaper, but also very much because he couldn’t abide serving something subpar to our guests.  Michael makes food for parties instead of buying it (you saw the brownies, I trust).  And he cooks for me.  For us.  He wakes up early on weekends to make me breakfast.  He spends hours in the kitchen preparing our meals, pouring his creativity and enthusiasm and love into cup measures.  It overflows.

And so do I!  Haha.  But no, I need to shop for jeans.  I’d be lying if I said I didn’t care to wear the clothes I have packed away in our basement, the jeans I tried on just this afternoon.  I’d also be lying if I said I’d been eating well over the past few months.  Michael and I talk a lot about adopting better, healthier habits.  And we will.  We need to learn to better understand our bodies and their needs.  We need to learn how to help one another without nagging, how to brighten the other’s day without something delicious.  But all of that has to come from a place rooted in love.

For now, I am going to resist the temptation to squeeze myself into clothes that make me uncomfortable, the impulse to deny myself one of the best parts of the holiday season.  I am going to buy a new pair of jeans, and I’m going to enjoy dinners and parties with our loved ones, all without hating myself.  Because Michael loves me.  As I celebrate my first Christmas as a married lady–our first married Christmas–I solemnly promise not to let calories, carbs, photographs, or a tight waistband put a damper on things.

Now.  Let’s just hope I can find some jeans without crazy sparkles on the butt.

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