Friday, February 26, 2010

The Incident at SeaWorld

"What's going to be done with the whale"....this is what was being asked by news cast members after the 'Big Incident' at SeaWorld, when Dawn Brancheau was killed in an accident with killer whale,Tilikum, Wednesday afternoon, Feb. 24. Personally, I do not think this should even be up for debate. Why? Because these trainers know, getting into it, that there is a risk and well, because the whale cannot defend itself.

This type of show is entertaining to us. It's one of my favorite things at SeaWorld. But why does it entertain us? Because it's dangerous. We get to watch a small human being, dance around in the water with a 13,000lb. whale and be amazed that a thing like that is even possible. Well that's just it, it's possible, but still dangerous.

This is a very sad tragedy and I feel for this woman's family and for the pain that I'm sure they are having to endure. Nevertheless, this is something that is a gamble (getting in the water with a 13,000lb. whale). Do these whales ask to be taken captive and made to perform? I would have to say no. I do realize that many of these whales were born at SeaWorld, but did they have a choice? Is this the type of environment intended for an animal such as this? No. So why is it that anyone is even asking "what should be done with the whale?" Well, perhaps it wasn't meant to be a performing whale. It did what it's instincts told it to do. Animals cannot be reasoned with. They cannot speak for themselves. They are created to live in an environment especially for them and we have taken them out of that environment and wonder why a thing like this has happened? Really?

All I have to say is, this is very sad, but everyone involved knew the risks and knew the gamble they were taking. I do however, feel absolutely terrible for any of the children that had to witness this. Still, no one should want justice for this girl. Man created this situation and made it all too easy to happen.


Make-Up Madness Beauty Tip.....Mascara

Anyone who knows me well, knows that I am a HUGE fan of make-up. Not because I am trying to cover up a hideous face. No, I am quite comfortable in my own skin. For me, make-up is my art and my face is my canvas. I love trying new techniques and finding new great products (and no, I am not giving a review for free stuff) I just wanted to share what make-up products I use and which ones I think are the best, and give what helpful tips I may have.

First of all ,let me just say that I do not think that there is ONE line of make-up out there that has the best of the best. Just because one brand has great eyeshadow, doesn't necessarily mean that their mascara is great. I would know...I have experimented enough. And yes, I have gone through very "bad" make-up stages during my experiments. I still do not think that I have "mastered" my make-up. Trends are always changing and I think it's a good thing to keep up (for the most part). For instance...Show girls might still be sporting the "blue eyeshadow and bright red lips" but that doesn't mean you should walk out of your house looking like that (I apologize if that's how any of you wear your make-up)

TIP: DON'T get stuck in a rut. If you've been sporting the same make-up colors, techniques, and style for 10yrs., do yourself a favor and just take a moment to look around at what others are doing (and remember to use it as a guideline ONLY). Who you decide to take tips from might not be the best choice. Flip through some magazines and check out make-up on others when your out and about (somewhere nice, that is. Don't be looking around when shopping at Wal-Mart...not really the best place for this task) Do this just to see if your make-up is still IN.

Another TIP: Just because you like what you see on someone else doesn't always mean it's the right look for you. Take into consideration, age and facial features. FOR EXAMPLE: If you like the 'smokey eye' you see on someone else , but you naturally have small, dark, sunken eyes, this may not be the right look for would instead, want something to OPEN up the eye (which is not what the 'smokey eye' does).

Ok, enough with giving tips. This is what mascara I use, because, of all the ones I've tried, I think it's the best (for me anyway). Oh, and I always wear waterproof mascara ,ALWAYS. The reason for this, is because my eyes tend to water a lot and I don't like for my mascara to run along with it. If you don't have this problem, you don't need waterproof (unless tears are to be expected). Waterproof DOES tend to dry out the lashes, so it's better not to use it if you don't need to.

What I use........L'Oreal's Voluminous Waterproof Mascara in 'Carbon Black'


Thursday, February 25, 2010

How To Get Your Kids To Eat

I know there are a lot of parents out there, like us, who struggle or have struggled with getting their kid/kids to eat.

Our oldest is a slow eater and that's just the way she eats and that's fine. But when she was younger, she wasn't just a slow eater, she was also a very stubborn eater. Sound familiar? I think a few things caused this, but sometimes it's not what the parents are doing necessarily, sometimes this is just the way that some kids choose to seek attention. My advice...don't give it to them. Try not to make food an issue. How? Don't MAKE your child eat something they don't want to eat. Instead try doing this.....

Set a timer for a reasonable amount of time (30 min.) for your child to eat his/her meal (make sure to let your child IN on the fact that they ONLY have this amount of time to finish their food). If during this time, they pick at their food and choose not to eat, let them know that's fine, but they have to get down from the table now that time is up and NO substitute food will be fixed for them to eat. (if you think your child needs more time to eat, make adjustments that fit your child's needs)

FYI: Children will NOT starve themselves. If they don't take you seriously the first time, stick to what you say and show them that you are serious (even if it means sending them to bed without having a full tummy). Keep in mind that kids need this to happen before they will learn anything from this. If they KNOW that you are serious, they most likely won't try this again (not eating, that is).

In my experience (with our daughter and some daycare kids) the child ALWAYS ends up eating after this (even if it's something they don't like), because they are hungry and they KNOW that another meal will NOT be fixed specially for them.


1.) Make eating a more POSITIVE time. Children should never have a NEGATIVE outlook on eating (It could lead to eating disorders later).

2.) Let them know that it is THEIR CHOICE whether they eat or not, but there will be NO SUBSTITUTING their food for something they would rather be eating. And remember kids WILL NOT starve themselves. If they are hungry enough and they know this is all they are getting to eat they WILL eat.

3.) Don't get ANGRY with your child if they still choose not to eat, it may take some time for them to adjust (especially if you have previously been very lenient and given in to fixing something special for them at their request)

4.) Try fixing meals that are suitable for children to begin with. For example, you can't expect your child to eat something that is WAY too spicy even if that's how you like it. Fix them separately if you need to, to begin with. This way they are still eating what you fixed for EVERYONE, but with less spices. Oh and be sure to serve appropriate amounts to begin with. Their stomach's are about the size of their fist. (Yeah, you may want to re-think the amount you've been serving and expecting them to eat!)

5.)Last but not least... PRAISE them for eating well AND for trying, even if they don't finish their plate. But NEVER punish them for not eating


Make sure the meal/dessert ratio is appropriate. Meaning.... make sure the amount of dessert is appropriate for the amount of food they ate. If they ate a small amount of food, serve an even smaller amount of dessert.... large amount of food/a slightly larger amount of dessert. If they didn't eat well at all....just don't serve dessert that night. Whatever you do, DO NOT eat dessert if you aren't allowing them any.

Do you have trouble getting your child to eat? What do you do?


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Homemade Laundry Detergent

We just made our very first batch of homemade laundry detergent over the weekend and I LOVE it! To be honest, I think it even works BETTER than the Gain that we were using! Do you want to know how much it made? 5 GALLONS! Yes that's a lot of laundry detergent. How much did it cost? about $30.00. Sounds like a lot, I know, but that cost included enough ingredients ( minus the bars of soap) to make several more in the long run we are saving tons!

Now that we are a family of five, we have been spending a ridiculous amount on laundry detergent every month. I found this wonderful recipe for homemade detergent here, but I did change it up a bit. This is what I did..................


2 bars bath soap,GRATED (I used Dial in...White Tea and Vitamin E)
1 cup Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
1/2 cup Oxi Clean (the recipe calls for borax, but couldn't find it in the store)
Hot Water


Place grated soap in a pot.

Cover with water and simmer over medium heat until all soap is melted, stirring occasionally.

Pour into 5 gallon bucket.

Add washing soda and borax.

Add enough hot water to fill the bucket.

Stir (using a yardstick or something long).

Cover and let sit overnight to gel.

Use 1 cup per load.

I ordered my Arm & Hammer Washing Soda from this website that suggested. We picked up a large paint bucket from The Home Depot for around $2.00-$3.00. (The lid and the bucket are sold separately, so don't forget to grab both!)

So here is how ours turned out...............

I've read that the consistency will be different depending on what soap you use, but it will still work, no matter what, to get your clothes clean.

After ours set over-night I had to give it another good stir in the morning. We still had two empty Liquid Gain Detergent bottles left and we poured what we could of our Homemade Detergent into these containers. It made it easier to shake and smooth out the detergent AND it is a little more convenient to use.

Check out this recipe if you would like to know how to make your own "DRY" laundry soap that doesn't require a Five Gallon Bucket and would save some space in your laundry room.


Monday, February 22, 2010

What's For Dinner?

This is what's on our menu for this week..............

MONDAY: Oriental Chicken with Steamed Vegetables and Noodles

TUESDAY: Cranberry Roast and Baked Sweet Potatoes with Steamed Vegetables

WEDNESDAY: Nachos (with ground turkey meat)

THURSDAY: Leftovers

FRIDAY: Pizza from Rumpy's (a suggested meal. We've only tried yummy, Death By Chocolate from bad for us but sooo good!)

SATURDAY: Caesar Pasta Salad

SUNDAY: Meatball Subs (FAMILY NIGHT, the kiddos will be cooking this for us)


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Cranberry Roast and Baked Sweet Potatoes

I got the recipe for the Cranberry Roast from Stephanie at
A Year Of Slowcooking.

For the Cranberry Roast:
2-3 pounds beef or pork roast or stew chunks
1 tablespoon dried onion flakes, or 1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 tablespoons soy sauce (La Choy and Tamari wheat-free are gluten free)
1 (16-ounce) whole berry cranberry sauce

Use a 4-quart slow cooker. Plop in the meat (frozen is fine), and add the onion and soy sauce. Pour in the entire can of cranberry sauce over the top. Do not add water. Cover and cook on low for 7-9 hours, or on high for 5-6. If you are cooking on high, you may need to "help" the meat break apart by taking it out an hour or so before serving by cutting it into chunks, then returning to the sauce. "I like it when the meat is tender and the juice has fully soaked in."-Stephanie

For the Baked Sweet Potatoes:
Sweet Potatoes (we use about 3-4, medium size)
Vegetable Oil
Seasoned Salt

Scrub Potatoes. Prick holes in potato with a fork. Brush on oil and sprinkle with seasoned salt. Wrap in foil and place on oven rack. Bake at 450* for 35-45min , until tender. Cut a 1 1/2-inch cross in the center of each potato. Hold each potato with pot holder and press upwards until filling "bursts" up through the cuts. Top with a little salt, butter and honey.

(I usually leave off the butter in mine and it still tastes great)

*Don't forget your greens! We add a vegetable side dish to this meal as well.


Caesar Pasta Salad

We have this fairly often because we love this salad AND because it's super easy! I stole the idea from the "Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad" on "Cheddars Casual Cafe" menu. This version of the salad has no chicken, but it can be added if you prefer it in yours. We also love Cheddars' "Monte Cristo" sandwich, which we may try to make someday, but it's fried and super high in calories, so probably not any time soon.

The Recipe..........

1 pkg. White Penne Pasta

1 Bushel of Romaine Lettuce

1 Box Croutons (Caesar style)

16oz. Shredded Parmesan Cheese

Caesar Salad Dressing

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and let cool. Serve the cooled pasta topped with romaine, shredded cheese, croutons and dressing. You could also toss all ingredients together in a large bowl to be served.

We try to eat as healthy as possible and usually use wheat pasta for our dishes. We tried wheat in this dish and I didn't care for it too much, although my husband did. You could try substituting if you prefer and see what you think. And if you don't like the taste of Caesar dressing, any dressing of your choice would work fine.

This is a super easy meal and so delicious! Even our kids love this salad and our oldest could whip this up for supper with little to no help from us at all.

Pictures to come................


Progress Photos 30days

Ok, so I realized it was hard to tell how much progress I had actually made in my last post without seeing the pictures side by side. So here is my new progress post with side by side shots.

Now I realize that this is not exactly the same angle, but close enough. The progress is very slight, but I'm hoping to see better results next month.


Saturday, February 20, 2010

30 day Progress Photos

So it's been 30 days since I posted my Before Photos and here is my progress over the last month. I have to say, we slacked big time on the P90X workout, but I have been doing other types of cardio, such as running, over this last month and I am pleased to see a slight change in my body. It's nothing drastic, but I also didn't put in a lot of effort, so I am not upset with these results. This next month I am dedicated to doing the P90X workout as intended to get the results I'm wanting.


Struggling With Weight Loss?

If so...I know how you feel, that is if you are a mom. The way my body has changed since having kids is nothing like just gaining weight. There are things about my body that are permanently changed and will never be the same again. I have learned to be ok with this, but not so much ok with the weight still. Am I doing something about it? Yes. Do I still feel terrible some days? Yes.

I found this great website of mothers who are going through the same thing, The Shape Of A Mother. Check it out if you're in need of a little extra support from women who understand what you're going through.

I also have a link to it posted on my blog under Websites.


Friday, February 19, 2010

Spyder's Photo Shoot (5mo. old)

Taking individual photos of my kids was on my Mommy-Do List this week and so far I have taken photos of my youngest, Spyder, but unfortunately...I did not get to anyone else. I guess I know what will be on my list for next week!

Photography has always been a slight interest of mine, but nothing that I was crazy passionate about. What has turned that SLIGHT interest into a very PASSIONATE one? Having kids. Has anyone else noticed how expensive it is to get photos taken? Yes, I realize there are places that offer more affordable packages, but I am not one of those moms that can CHOOSE between all of the cute photos of my child and leave some of them needless to say, I end up spending WAY more than I intend to EVERY time.

Studio One to One is where we have gone for great professional photos,and although they take excellent photos, we can't afford to do that very often and I would like to capture every milestone in my children's lives.

So here is my little Spyder(5mo. old), sprawled across our bed for a very relaxed photo session........

This one turned out slightly blurry, but his expression was just too cute!!!

Check out this site for tips on taking your own great photos!

Have any tips that you would like to share? Please leave a comment below!


Friday Follow...

This is my first week joining in the Friday Follow . Please feel free to leave a comment!

Friday Follow

MckLinky Blog Hop


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Pasta Fagioli

This is a yummy recipe that I got from Stephanies blog 'A Year Of Slowcooking'.

--1 pound lean ground beef, browned and drained(we used ground turkey)
--1/2 large red onion, chopped(we used a white onion)
--1 cup carrots, chopped
--2 celery stalks, sliced (we doubled the celery)
--2 cans (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes (and juice)
--1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed (we used 2 cans kidney beans and no white)
--1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
--4 cups beef broth (check label for gluten!)
--1 jar (16.5 oz) pasta sauce
--2 tsp oregano
--1 T Tabasco sauce
--1/2 tsp salt
--1/4 tsp black pepper
--1/2 cup dry pasta, to add at end of cooking time (we used a whole box of pasta and it made more of a pasta dish rather than soup...which is good if your kids won't eat soup. I will try it with less pasta next time)

The Directions.

Use a 6 quart or larger crockpot, or cut the recipe in half. This makes a lot.

Brown the meat on the stovetop, and drain well. Let it cool a bit.

Chop up the carrots, onion, and celery. Add it to the empty crockpot.
Drain and rinse the beans, and add them. Add the whole cans of tomatoes, and the pasta sauce. Add the beef broth. Add the salt, pepper, oregano, and Tobasco sauce. Stir in your meat.

Cover and cook on low for 8 hours, or high for 4. When the vegetables are tender, stir in the 1/2 cup of dry pasta.

Cover and cook for another hour on low, or until the pasta is tender. It will swell quite a bit.

Serve with a bit of parmesan cheese if you have it.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

What's For Dinner?

Is this a common phrase around your house? Are you constantly stressing about what to make for dinner? Try doing this....

This is what we do so that we are not constantly worried about what to fix for dinner. At the end of every week, my husband and I sit down together and create a menu of our meals for the next week. This way we can do our grocery shopping around what is on our menu for the week. This also helps out our budget because we buy ONLY what we need. And when our oldest daughter asks "what's for dinner?" we just refer her to the menu that's posted on our refrigerator.

Oh and another way we save a little money is by having 'Leftover' night every week.Whenever we have food leftover from a meal, we divide it up into personal portions and freeze. When leftover night rolls around we thaw out our frozen meals of choice.

This is what our 'Menu' looks like for this week....

MONDAY: Vegetable Soup

TUESDAY: Honey-Jalapeno Chicken and Dill Rice (Yummy!)

WEDNESDAY: Mexican Cornbread

THURSDAY: Leftovers

FRIDAY: Sausage Links

SATURDAY: Breakfast Food (yes we love having breakfast for dinner!)

SUNDAY: Jamboli (Family Night....the kids fix dinner this night)


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Monday Mommy-Do List

I have come to the realization that I am somewhat of a procrastinator myself and have decided to make a list for myself. A To-Do List. My husband has always been very keen on making lists for himself in order to get major household renovation projects finished, but as for myself, I have never made lists, at least not on paper. I used to make a list of to-do's in my head and get everything done in a timely manner. That was before I had kids. I don't know if it's that they keep me too busy or I have literally lost some of my brain cells since having them, but I can't seem to keep things up like I used to.

So here is my To-Do List for this week. A reasonable list of things that can be accomplished easily with just a little motivation. Nothing on my list is out of reach.

1.) Create a food log (to help with my weight loss) and STICK to it!

2.) Wake up early to spend extra quality time with my family everyday this week.

3.) Color with Ava (Her request)

4.) Stick to P90X everyday this week.

5.) Run and or cycle at least 5 days this week

6.) Get paperwork ready for this weekend to file our taxes.

7.) Take individual photos of the kids

8.) Actually post this on on time (Monday) next week.

This is a small list, I know. I am going to see how well having a list works for me and go from there.

Go here to see how others manage their time with a list.


Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentines Day!

Valentines Day at our house usually consists of exchanging small gifts between everyone. The kids usually get a toy and some chocolates. My husband and I exchange gifts some years and some we don't...depends on our budget at the time. A romantic evening alone usually does not happen. Although it would be nice and this year my husband even offered to have someone watch the kids so that we could enjoy a meal outside of the house....I turned it down.

It would be nice, but also a lot of hassle to gather up our three kids and everything that they would need and tote them to someone else's house in the cold just to leave them for an hour or so just to eat dinner.

SO..I had a different idea for us this year. I thought we would try having a romantic, candlelit dinner at home... with our kids in the other room. Yes, I realize that this may not go as planned, but I'm prepared for that and I really don't mind so much if we have to listen to a little bickering or fussing coming from the small children in the other room.

These small moments together can happen with our children around and even if it's not so can still be romantic. I also think it is a good thing for our children to see that we are making a point to share a romantic evening together. It's ok for them to see the candlelit dinner we are preparing for ourselves. It's good for them to know the importance of romance in a relationship between husband and wife.

When we are done with our dinner, we will be exchanging gifts with the kids and maybe enjoying a dessert together. It's also ok that we spend Valentines Day with our kids, because they are just as much our valentine as we are each others. And they are a symbol of what our love is and what it has created.


Thursday, February 11, 2010

You didn't have your baby in a Hospital?!! No Drugs???

These are the shocked responses that I get when I tell people that I had my babies in a Birthing Center... with no drugs... and Not in a Hospital. If you've heard of people having their babies at home, well a birthing center is similar. They are usually in a home like setting, in an old house, equipped with everything they would need to deliver a baby safely.

My mom had 3 of her 4 children at home, so the idea of having my babies in a birthing center was not so strange to me. It felt natural to me. When I was pregnant with my first child and I was supposed to find a Dr. or Midwife, I had never heard of Birthing Centers. I knew of people having their babies either at home or in a Hospital. A childhood friend of mine referred me to Inanna, a Birthing Center, where she had delivered her 2nd child and had nothing but good things to say about her experience, so I knew immediately that's what I wanted to do.

I was actually surprised by the number of people that use centers like this, mainly because so many people I talk to have never heard of a birthing center or would even consider this as an option. This is the reason behind me wanting to share a little bit about it and my experience. My first and second experience laboring at the birthing center were completely different, but both were amazing and memorable and I couldn't imagine doing it any other way.

Laboring at the birth center the first time, laboring and everything was a new experience for me. They encouraged me to walk around, to eat, to drink, to do anything that felt comfortable to me. Hospitals don't usually allow laboring woman to eat, and usually they don't allow you to walk around. In my opinion, being able to move around helps a great deal in getting you through the laboring process. My husband and I spent many hours there walking around inside the bedroom and outside on the porch, sitting down to rest in the porch swing when I felt like I needed a change. The midwife was in the other room and would come in and check on me periodically. When it got closer to time to deliver, she stayed in the room monitoring the baby's heartbeat every few min, while she still allowed me to move around. I sat in the bath for a little bit to ease some of the pain and once I was out of the bath everything had progressed. The pain had increased greatly and I was offered a mild pain medication that would not harm the baby. It was my first pregnancy, so I figured if they were offering, I should probably accept. Two hours later my baby arrived and I was able to hold her in my arms without anyone trying to take her away. No epidural to potentially harm my spinal cord, no harsh drugs to affect my baby and we we arrived home with our baby just 5hrs. after she was born!

My second experience was a little different. After going in for my regular checkup and telling my Dr. that my water was leaking, she told me to stick around because I was in labor. At this point, I was in no pain, so my husband and I went and ate supper and returned to the birthing center. I was not having contractions, so my midwife suggested that we walk at the park across the street to start contractions, and Voila! About 30 min. later I was having contractions. Not little ones, but full blown contractions. I barely had time to blink between these very painful contractions. Slowly I moved my way across to the bath because the midwife suggested that it was time since, this time, I wanted to have a water birth. I couldn't believe that it was really time to push already...I hadn't been there but a couple of hours. Even though I didn't believe it was was. My baby boy arrived very quickly with NO drugs and we were home within just a few hours!

I certainly can't give too many pros and cons of a Hospital Birth as I haven't experienced one, but I do know that when you have your baby in an atmosphere like the Birthing Center, your baby is there with you the whole time. The baby is never taken out of your sight. The midwives do everything they need to do right there with you in the same room. The midwives are there from the very beginning for you and that's who will be with you when your baby arrives. You don't see a million different people come in and out to have you fill out various paper work. It is a calm atmosphere with people around you that you know and love. You and your baby are cared for by people who really do LOVE what they do.

"It is my belief that women's bodies were designed by God to give birth; Therefore, pregnancy, birth and much of women's health care can proceed with little intervention, in most cases."
Jean Sala, MSN, CNM
(A quote from my midwife)

Many woman have a hard time comprehending labor without pain medicine, and I think this is sad. Society has made woman believe that having a baby has to be treated like a medical problem, not like the beautiful experience that it is. God created a woman's body to be able to bear children and it is possible to have a baby without medical intervention. Woman are capable of so much more than they believe. I wish that every woman could experience birth in such a beautiful way.


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Beautiful Wife

I have been struggling with my 'mommy body' once again. I dealt with it once before, after I had my first child, and I am now on another emotional roller coaster dealing with it again. I have good days where I am proud of myself for bringing two beautiful babies into this world, but on my bad days.... I struggle with the new image of myself and it's incredibly hard to feel beautiful.

The other day I looked at myself, really looked...and I was so upset with what I saw in the mirror. It's not that this body I have is sooo hideous, it's just NOT the body that I used to have...the one that I loved. Why did I love the old body? For one, getting dressed didn't almost bring me to tears. Getting dressed now, requires a lot more of me ignoring the mirror. To put it simply...I don't like what I see. I want to feel beautiful again, just like any woman wants, and I want to be beautiful for my husband. Yes, for my husband. He is certainly not the sole purpose of me wanting to look and feel beautiful, but of coarse I want to look beautiful for him....he is my husband. Being a beautiful wife for him means a lot to me.

But after many tears and me snapping out of it..I've realized that this body I have is temporary. I decided to think of it like body is in recovery mode from giving birth, one of the most magnificent things that any woman will ever experience. I WILL get back in shape, with a lot of effort, but it WILL happen. I have decided that God gave me this child and if he wants me to have to work really hard to re-shape my body, then that's what I will do and I am going to enjoy every minute of it! Being a beautiful wife does not just mean being beautiful on the means being a friend and companion to my husband and being pleasant to be around. My goal now is to stop focusing so much on how I look in the mirror and focus more on my attitude in general and that will help me to be a Beautiful Wife.


Thursday, February 4, 2010

How Long Does Marriage Last?

I was browsing through another mom's blog and found this story that she had re-posted as well and wanted to share it. We should never take our spouse for granted and we should always remember how important it is to nurture our relationship with our spouse.

When I got home that night as my wife served dinner, I held her hand and said, I’ve got something to tell you. She sat down and ate quietly. Again I observed the hurt in her eyes.

With a deep sense my heart to Dew. I didn’t love her anymore. I just pitied her!

Suddenly I didn’t know how to open my mouth. But I had to let her know what I was thinking. I want a divorce.. I raised the topic calmly.

She didn’t seem to be annoyed by my words, instead she asked me softly, why?

I avoided her question. This made her angry. She threw away the chopsticks and shouted at me, you are not a man! That night, we didn’t talk to each other. She was weeping. I knew she wanted to find out what had happened to our marriage. But I could hardly give her a satisfactory answer; she had lost of guilt, I drafted a divorce agreement which stated that she could own our house, our car, and 30% stake of my company.

She glanced at it and then tore it into pieces. The woman who had spent ten years of her life with me had become a stranger. I felt sorry for her wasted time, resources and energy but I could not take back what I had said for I loved Dew so dearly. Finally she cried loudly in front of me, which was what I had expected to see. To me her cry was actually a kind of release. The idea of divorce which had obsessed me for several weeks seemed to be firmer and clearer now.

The next day, I came back home very late and found her writing something at the table. I didn’t have supper but went straight to sleep and fell asleep very fast because I was tired after an eventful day with Dew.

When I woke up, she was still there at the table writing. I just did not care so I turned over and was asleep again.

In the morning she presented her divorce conditions: she didn’t want anything from me, but needed a month’s notice before the divorce.
She requested that in that one month we both struggle to live as normal a life as possible. Her reasons were simple: our son had his exams in a month’s time and she didn’t want to disrupt him with our broken marriage.

This was agreeable to me. But she had something more, she asked me to recall how I had carried her into out bridal room on our wedding day.

She requested that everyday for the month’s duration I carry her out of our bedroom to the front door ever morning.. I thought she was going crazy. Just to make our last days together bearable I accepted her odd request.

I told Dew about my wife’s divorce conditions.. . She laughed loudly and thought it was absurd. No matter what tricks she applies, she has to face the divorce, she said scornfully..

My wife and I hadn’t had any body contact since my divorce intention was explicitly expressed. So when I carried her out on the first day, we both appeared clumsy. Our son clapped behind us, daddy is holding mummy in his arms. His words brought me a sense of pain. From the bedroom to the sitting room, then to the door, I walked over ten meters with her in my arms. She closed her eyes and said softly; don’t tell our son about the divorce. I nodded, feeling somewhat upset. I put her down outside the door. She went to wait for the bus to work. I drove alone to the office.

On the second day, both of us acted much more easily. She leaned on my chest. I could smell the fragrance of her blouse. I realized that I hadn’t looked at this woman carefully for a long time.. I realized she was not young any more. There were fine wrinkles on her face, her hair was graying! Our marriage had taken its toll on her. For a minute I wondered what I had done to her.

On the fourth day, when I lifted her up, I felt a sense of intimacy returning. This was the woman who had given ten years of her life to me.

On the fifth and sixth day, I realized that our sense of intimacy was growing again. I didn’t tell Dew about this. It became easier to carry her as the month slipped by. Perhaps the everyday workout made me stronger.

She was choosing what to wear one morning. She tried on quite a few dresses but could not find a suitable one. Then she sighed, all my dresses have grown bigger. I suddenly realized that she had grown so thin, that was the reason why I could carry her more easily.

Suddenly it hit me… she had buried so much pain and bitterness in her heart. Subconsciously I reached out and touched her head.

Our son came in at the moment and said, Dad, it’s time to carry mum out. To him, seeing his father carrying his mother out had become an essential part of his life. My wife gestured to our son to come closer and hugged him tightly. I turned my face away because I was afraid I might change my mind at this last minute. I then held her in my arms, walking from the bedroom, through the sitting room, to the hallway. Her hand surrounded my neck softly and naturally. I held her body tightly; it was just like our wedding day.

But her much lighter weight made me sad. On the last day, when I held her in my arms I could hardly move a step. Our son had gone to school. I held her tightly and said, I hadn’t noticed that our life lacked intimacy.

I drove to office…. jumped out of the car swiftly without locking the door. I was afraid any delay would make me change my mind…I walked upstairs. Dew opened the door and I said to her, Sorry, Dew, I do not want the divorce anymore.

She looked at me, astonished, and then touched my forehead.. Do you have a fever? She said. I moved her hand off my head. Sorry, Dew, I said, I won’t divorce. My marriage life was boring probably because she and I didn’t value the details of our lives, not because we didn’t love each other any more. Now I realize that since I carried her into my home on our wedding day I am supposed to hold her until death do us apart.

Dew seemed to suddenly wake up. She gave me a loud slap and then slammed the door and burst into tears. I walked downstairs and drove away.

At the floral shop on the way, I ordered a bouquet of flowers for my wife. The salesgirl asked me what to write on the card. I smiled and wrote, I’ll carry you out every morning until death do us apart.

That evening I arrived home, flowers in my hands, a smile on my face, I run up stairs, only to find my wife in the bed – dead.

The small details of your lives are what really matter in a relationship. It is not the mansion, the car, property, the money in the bank. These create an environment conducive for happiness but cannot give happiness in themselves. So find time to be your spouse’s friend and do those little things for each other that build intimacy. Do have a real happy marriage!

If you don’t share this, nothing will happen to you.

If you do, you just might save a marriage.

Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

"Family Night"

When my husband and I first married, we had only the one child, Ariana. Even though our lives were not quite as chaotic as they can be sometimes now, we still found it hard to make sure and spend quality time with her. My husband came up with the idea of 'Family Night'. The idea was to set aside time (make time) just for her and spend time as a family. We chose one night to be that special night every week, so she knew when to expect it. On this particular night, we would cook popcorn and put in a movie (one that she picked out) to watch as a family. Sometimes if we were running short on time for any reason, we would play a card game with her...UNO or something similar. Every now and then, we would have a 'special' dessert for family night, just for something a little more fun.

When our daughter, Ava, was born we found it more and more difficult to watch a movie on family night, due to all of the screaming coming from her (she was a difficult baby). More often than not, we chose to play a card game with Ariana while juggling Ava between the both of us.

Ava is now 2 and we have since added yet another baby to our routine of 'Family Night'. Ava is now slowly becoming more and more interested in watching movies, which makes doing family night a whole lot easier to manage, especially since our newest addition is calm by nature and doesn't cause us to plan everything around him.

Making sure that we are committed to 'Family Night' is important to us. It is the one and only time, out of our busy schedules, that we dedicate solely to spending extra quality time with our kids. The only problem that I have had with this lately is that I've noticed since having our babies, family night revolves around them and what they want (mainly Ava). Ava is now picking out every movie, which is fine, Ariana had many years to herself before Ava came along and is plenty old enough to understand that Ava is the little one that gets to decide now, but I've realized that much of our time now is spent juggling the baby and catering to Ava and a lot less time is actually spent with Ariana.

Family night is supposed to be about ALL of us spending time together, and since it is really the only time we have set aside for this, I came up with a different idea. In addition to watching a movie together, I thought it would be a great idea to let the girls cook supper AND a dessert, on this night, every week. This allows us to all be in the kitchen together and gives us a chance to spend a little more one on one time with each child (mainly Ariana, as she is the oldest and doing most of the work). By doing this, I feel like 'Family Night' is again, serving it's purpose. I guess as our family grows, we will have to adjust to different ways of doing things. What worked for us when we had one child doesn't necessarily work for our larger family.

And in addition to letting the kids cook supper on those nights, I am going to create a special recipe book for each of my girls (and my son, when he's older).....I got this wonderful idea from here.

Here, the girls are cooking Mexican Cornbread and Oreo Fluff for dessert.