Traveling Spouses & Ten Things That Always Happen

For any of you whose spouse travels for work, can I get a “It’s totally awesome and equally totally sucks” high five?! My husband travels for work, about every other week, and this week he’s been gone ALL WEEK. There’s a strange paradox of freedom and loneliness/stress that accompanies a traveling spouse. I don’t know what your list looks like, but when my husband is out of town, these things ALWAYS happen.

1.) Binge Marathon of my favorite shows: This time, it was Gilmore Girls. Episode after episode of he-would-never-put-up-with-this tv watching. I remember being *ahem* “younger”, and staying up until midnight while watching a TV show was a regular thing. Well being married to a Go-To-Bed-Early-To-Wake-Up-Early husband has drastically changed that. 


2.) Eat like a teenager: I mean, why cook for JUST ME? Meals usually consist of chicken fingers, Mac & Cheese, or cereal. However this time around, I did manage to cook ONE meal, but that’s because my vegetables were going to go bad and I hate wasting food and money. But he’s been gone ALL week, and I’ve cooked one meal. So, there’s that. 

Speaking of meals, these text happen a lot. I mean, really?


3.) The dog is on her worst behavior: I mean, it must be a game. Somehow, she is ALWAYS the biggest poop face in the world when it’s just me to deal with her. Does she think it’s funny? I certainly DO NOT. She won’t go to the bathroom when I take her out, but she WILL go on my carpet. Alright, I get it, the man in charge isn’t here, but can we just be on the same team?! SMH.


4.) Realize how much he does around the house: It’s trash day, and the husband’s not home. The garbage can is pinned between the car and the lawn mower. How does he get that out?! I’m not sure, he’ll have to show me NEXT WEEK. The recycling is pilled high to the ceiling. How am I supposed to put that all out to the curb? It’s delicately balanced against the wall. I realize it’s going to be even worse for him NEXT WEEK. Our grass looks TERRIBLE. Eh, it can wait until NEXT WEEK. 


5.) Stay up until midnight: I don’t know why, but I just CAN’T go to bed on time when he’s not here to force me to. It’s SO WEIRD and I don’t even want to stay up that late, but I ALWAYS do. 

6.) Take a lot of selfie’s with our dog: For one, he misses BOTH of our faces, obviously. So we must take pictures to remind him of our faces. Also, she’s my closest companion during these times, and we totally bond over pictures. We’re incredibly fond of them.  Alright, if we’re being honest(and this extends to the rest of my life), I way too mindful of my narcism to take selfie’s, so I can cushion the impact by also including my dog. Hello, it’s my super cute dog, I just happen to be in the picture WITH HER. You guys, it’s so totally not about me.


7.) “When my husband goes out of town it’s great because I get to catch up on all the loneliness I forgot exists inside of me.” That’s a direct quote from Twitter, and I just can’t word it any better than that.

8.) I DO A LOT MORE THINGS: Realizing that I have the entire evening to myself, no one that I have to talk to/interact with/entertain/feed, I can suddenly do ALL THE THINGS, and I do. I shop here, brunch there, drive there, see this, go do that, then get home to collapse and vegetate. Oh yeah, THAT’S what being single was like.  

9.) Sleep freaking beautifully: Despite the fact that I don’t get to bed until midnight, I sleep SO FREAKING GOOD. This deserves a blog post in and of itself, but there’s is nothing ROMANTIC about sharing a bed with a husband that flops like a fish in the middle of the night, or steals your covers or flails his arms on your face. Nothing. So when he’s out of town, it’s a deep breath of relief to know that tonight, I will actually sleep through the night. And my covers will look almost exactly how they did the night before. Also, HOW EASY IT IS to make the bed without a tumbling human. o_O

***I can hear all of the parents rolling their eyes at my absurd lavishness and thinking your “just you wait” thoughts. They’re hitting me all the way over here. It’s all relative people, and someday, I’ll write a blog about how lucky I was to only deal with a floppy fish husband and “if only I had known…” But I DO KNOW, I realize that I am fortunate to get any sleep through the night, and to sleep in past 7 AM, so just let me soak in my naivety, smile and nod, and I’ll catch up to you.

9.) Shower way less often: Before you get grossed out, I shower….but okay, no I don’t really shower. Who am I showering for?! The general public? Ha. NO. The general public doesn’t care if my hair smells like fresh flowers and there’s no one getting closer enough to notice anyway. I’m saving water. Conserving shower supplies. Caring about the planet. Conservation, people.

10.) Desperately clean the house an hour before he gets home: Of COURSE honey, you’ve been gone all this time and it’s given me so much time to just clean and tidy up and no way were my clothes strewn all over the couch, and sure I folded and put away the laundry as soon as I washed it. Is it wrinkled? It must be the fabric, it definitely did not sit in the dryer for three days and get run on three different cycles. Nope, not that.



Christmas Card Bloopers

We’ve decided, as a tradition, to make a Christmas Card as a family every year. We’ll get to see how our family changes and grows, not to mention it’s fun! But everyone always gets to see the finished, polished result with the ONE shot that actually worked out of the 127 that you took. So I thought it would be neat to post (a few) of the ones that didn’t make the cut.

1.) No image is needed for the biggest blooper. I shot all of these photos on Aperture priority, which COULD be great, except that it set my ISO at 1250 and nearly all the pictures came out incredibly grainy. Lesson #1.

2.) Our nearly white dog insisted on just laying down in the white snow. Adorable.


3.) She also spent several takes eating said snow. I considered getting down to join her.Image

4.) We took at least 20 shots not realizing Oakley wasn’t even in them. But it didn’t really matter. She spent most of the time staring at us wondering why we were constantly talking at her.


5.) This is Geoff grabbing her face, hoping that by doing so and saying “Just look at the camera!” will somehow form in her mind how to pose appropriately. (It doesn’t work.)


6.) Now, we’ve figured out the composition issues, but we haven’t figured out our canine ones. Getting Oakley to sit, stay sat, and look in the right direction was a challenge. Geoff’s patience was wearing thin.


7.) We’re about to give up. Maybe we should resort to plan B: Hold Dog.


8.) But the humor of the situation has given us extra resolve. We try again. But there are just too many smells and sounds and the wind is blowing east. Too many distractions.


9.) Which leads us to literally the LAST PHOTO OF THE DAY which ends up being our winner. While grainy, the pose is perfect, and that’s all we can ask for.


My Wedding

ImageMy Wedding was beautiful and it was sweet and simple and lovely. But a part of me wasn’t THERE for my wedding. I have, what can best be described as, a kink in my emotional connections. Even after only being married for less than a year, I already look back at my wedding and think it would have been different if I had been different. If I had been more present emotionally, perhaps I would of had a different experience.

None of this has anything to do with the man I married. Or, perhaps it has everything to do with him. He is the most wonderful, loving and loyal husband that I could ever ask for. He is a GIFT to me and I have no idea how or why he chose the broken mess that is me, but he did, and I am so BLESSED because of it! But part of my story, part of what I am walking through is this irrational fear of abandonment and my (seemingly) innate ability to literally “disconnect” emotionally when I fear it’s possibility.  At the time of our wedding, I wasn’t even aware that I did this, and that what I was feeling (or lack thereof) wasn’t normal. I wondered why I didn’t have that boisterous enthusiasm that I’ve seen in so many other brides. I thought perhaps it was nerves or just me. Yeah, I think I thought it was just me. I WAS UNABLE TO BE EMOTIONAL and I felt so abnormal because of it.

I made a lot of decisions mostly because I didn’t know what to do and the thought of making decisions entirely on what I wanted was overwhelming. I mean, how was I supposed to know what I WANTED? I didn’t even know who I was. I knew how I wanted people to see me, so that is what I did. I chose themes and images and decorations and songs based on how I wanted people to see me. Sure, I liked most of it, but it definitely wasn’t UNIQUE to me. I didn’t feel like it had that quirky part of me in it. It was safe, and presentable.

The funny thing is, it took getting married and it took this wonderful man who confronts my crazy to realize the deep rootedness (rootedness?) of these things. To realize that I struggle A LOT with being vulnerable and sitting in that vulnerability. Vulnerability makes me want to hide or run. Preferably both. and I was making this choice to open up my whole life, forever, to someone that is promising to never leave me. That takes a lot of trust and believe you me, A LOT of vulnerability and it was terrifying. At the time, the only way I could handle it was by disconnecting. My heart mourns for the wedding that could have been had I BEEN there.

But, I have to have peace. I can look at those pictures of us and see a huge mark in our story. The day that I began to find myself. The day that I chose to drop my fear, or at least hold it with my hands open and say “I can’t let go just yet, but I know that I don’t want this.” It marks the beauty that is marriage and the holiness that is the fruit of marriage. I remember being told that marriage isn’t intended to make you happy, it’s intended to make you Holy. Sounds scary, but me being more Holy is me being more like Jesus, and there is nothing more satisfying than that.

So, although my wedding day wasn’t exactly how I expected it would be, I know that I WASN”T how I expected to be. But because of that day and the vows that were made, I am different. It was like diving into the deep end and being strengthened by the struggle. I regret nothing except that I would have found freedom earlier. But that is a very slow and very tedious process for me; one that I’m happy to have Geoff on the journey with me for. I am thankful for that wedding day, and I am thankful for the journey it began.

Lessons Learned: 4 mths of marriage

Being married is not something that you naturally know how to do and it’s not something that you can REALLY prepare yourself for. I read books, I prayed, I seeked advice, but I could never be fully prepared for all that marriage has in store for me and I am always learning.I mean, it’s a RELATIONSHIP, so it’s messy. But without the mess, there’s no beauty.  Thank goodness I have a gracious husband who gives me a pretty steep learning curve! There are however, always new lessons that I am learning, some are more surprising than others. The amount that I am learning from the wonderful women around me is astounding, and SO INCREDIBLY HELPFUL, that I will never discount the reward of listening to sound advice. While my advice is simply opinion is is full of things that I am learning personally and where the Lord has me now. And wherever that is, it is good.

1.) If he doesn’t think about it, it’s not because he doesn’t care, he LITERALLY does not think about it!

I can’t tell you how many times my feelings were hurt because I thought Geoff didn’t care about me, or he only thought about himself. One of our first arguments was a result of that! But, I am learning that if he doesn’t think to wash my clothes when he was washing his, it wasn’t out of spite or laziness, he just LITERALLY did not think about it. As a woman, this does not make sense to me, but he can really just think about nothing. And he does that. And it’s okay.

2.) Boys stink. Period.

I have three times more laundry, have to change the sheets twice as often, and have to buy 4 times more candles and air fresheners. Also, it is GREAT to have two bathrooms, and even better if they are on separate floors. In the morning, I get ready upstairs and he does his thing downstairs. In the evening, I cook downstairs and he does his thing upstairs. It is always time-consuming, necessary, and stinky. There are dirty socks and dirty undergarments all over the place. My socks disappear and I’m pretty sure his duplicate. All of this is just something else to laugh about because there is NO changing it, and I will just have to be okay with this for the rest of our lives. He puts up with my mess and all my stuff, so I can laugh and be grossed out and giggle at his oddly stinky body.

3.) Leaving is not an option.

We argue, we fight, we cry and we give each other the stink eye. But in all of it, we know that together, we are safe. No matter how much we aggravate each other or how many times I forget to close and lock our side door, we will always work it out and we will always end the fight holding each other and feeling even more in love than we did when it started. I knew walking into this marriage that it wasn’t going to be easy and that I’d have to fight for it. I fight for it because it is SO INCREDIBLY PRECIOUS and it is worth every battle.

4.) Be willing to have difficult conversations; even if you have to schedule them.

One of the first things my mentor told me was that her and her husband scheduled “Difficult Conversations”. Sometimes, something really important comes up that you just can’t talk about in the moment. But don’t lose it, don’t stuff it and try to forget. IT ALWAYS COMES BACK UP. So be willing to sit down and talk about it. Hear each other out and don’t interrupt until the other person is done talking (or venting). Then be kind to each other. This is WAY easier said than done and we are not great at this. But it’s something for us to work for and when we actually follow through the way we should, we can look back and say, “WOW, that was GREAT.”

5.) Have fun. Spend money, waste time, and just BE.

When you get married, there’s a barrage of new responsibilities and changes and plans that were never there before. Now you have to plan meals, grocery shop (for TWO, and men eat very differently), budget, combine budgets, clean up after each other, organize two different schedules…and those are just the logistics, let alone all of the emotional and spiritual changes! So, loosen up your panties and just enjoy each other. We’ve learned to schedule date nights where we just ENJOY each other. Sometimes we do things that are cheap like go to the museum and pretend like we know what we’re talking about while we critique paintings and dream about painting our own beautiful masterpieces someday. And sometimes we splurge and go out to a nice meal and order whatever our taste buds are craving. Because sometimes our RELATIONSHIP is more important than our BUDGET and it’s something worth investing into.

6.) Get a dog.

Okay, now this really isn’t for anybody. But, for us, it was the most beautifully challenging gift we could have right now. About a month 1/2 in, we rescued a playful and freakishly adorable golden doodle  Through her, Geoff and I have had to learn how to communicate better, share responsibility, discipline and train together, and care for something that’s outside of ourselves. It also forces us to be home a lot more which in turn forces me to not over-commit us outside of our home. (Being a social butterfly and also busying myself to sometime escape, this is something I regularly do, and Geoff regularly tries to protect us from!) Our dog, Oakley, is such a blessing to us and has drawn us closer together. She’s also made us think a lot more about having kids and how our lives would change and how much more we have to learn about training someone up together. Thank goodness Oakley is our training ground 🙂

7.) Be open and Be honest.

There’s no fooling each other now. We LIVE together. He sees everything about me. For our marriage to be healthy and to grow, we need to be able and willing to lay everything out there, even, no, ESPECIALLY when it’s scary. This also means that I need to be honest with myself, and when something hurts, that that is okay. It is never irrational or weird, it is simply honest. And we need to accept ourselves and each other honestly.

8.) Surround yourself with married people

We have a lot of learning to do and what is better than being around people who have already learned it? Their advice doesn’t always click or make sense in the moment, but when it does it’s like WOAH. And it completely alters the dynamic of our relationship, in a really good way. We are both held accountable and we both are given this really sweet picture into the future of our marriage and how to be with each other. In the married women around me, I see a lot of grace and a lot of respect. I see them CHOOSE to respect their husbands and CHOOSE to love them as they are, not as they want them to be. I’m learning that I married Geoff as he is, not as who I expect him to be; that we will both change and we will choose to love each other in those seasons (yes, love is more often a CHOICE than a feeling. The feeling is a result of the CHOICE.)

9.) A healthy marriage is not always a happy marriage, and a happy marriage is not always healthy

This is something Geoff’s mentor told us before we got married. This shattered my pre-concieved idea about what marriage would be. I grew up thinking, “If I only had someone that loved me and wanted to marry me; to be a provider and a husband, everything would be okay again!” This is the western point of view on marriage and it is devastatingly inaccurate. The point of marriage is not to make us “happy”, it is to make us “holy” or better. We refine each other. We call each other out on our weaknesses and encourage each other in our strengths. There is no part of this that is EASY. If I am always chasing happiness, I am never being refined. And if I’m not being refined, am I REALLY happy? I can say now that the times that I feel most “whole” or “content” are when God has broken some stronghold or walked me through some sort of pruning process. There is conflict, and then there is resolution. But if you have no conflict, can you have resolution? No. I cannot ever be discouraged if I find myself “unhappy.” My husband is not perfect, nor am I. But I know that that is not the point. And I know that God is using our marriage to make us more like Him and to show me how deeply he cares for me. That is the most beautiful, wonderful thing I could ever ask for. I am SO THANKFUL for that. Geoff and I choose to run towards discomfort and expose wounds or scars because that is what will ultimately bring us HEALING and REDEMPTION. That’s not what is “easy”. But, it is where God’s taking us, and wherever it is, it is good.

There are of course many other things that I am learning, I am ALWAYS learning. But, I think I will leave it at that. Part of this is to simply follow my own journey, to be able to look back and see where I’ve come from and what I’ve learned. It’s always surprising and always fun. And if you learn something along the way, then it’s even better.