Showing posts with label Love Marriage. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Love Marriage. Show all posts

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Cooking is a Big Deal

For the last two weeks, I have not been cooking. I haven't made any meal plans. I haven't prepped anything. This is crazy to me, because part of the rhythm of my life for the past few years has been planning meals, chopping vegetables, cooking in batches, and portioning everything out into little plastic containers for myself and my husband.

But, y'all. I am now a weekend-only cook. It's crazy.

I love to cook. When we first got married, I dove right into learning how to bake and cook, and I loved it. I was making bread left and right. I liked to bake muffins on Saturday morning. Sundays, I would pre-chop the veggies we were going to use for the week. It was newlywed bliss.

Life got a little busier, and all of the baking made us a little bigger, so I adjusted.

I subscribed to a couple of meal-planning services like Fresh20 and eMeals, and it was fun buying the groceries and doing the busy work, without having to come up with dishes and sides.

Somewhere along the way, it stopped being really fun and started being a chore. It wasn't that I didn't love it, it was just that every waking moment I was in my house I was either taking care of someone or some plant or animal, chopping or cooking food, or cleaning the house. I lost my groove.

I fell asleep thinking about whether I thawed the meat I'd need when I woke up, so that I could double-cook on a Tuesday.

It was crazy.

It's better now.
And this is even crazier: I am not cooking!
(insert control freak panic attack here)
Michael and his home health aide are. And they are doing an amazing job.

At first, I didn't like the idea. I cooked up some crazy notion in my head that if they did it, that meant that I was a bad wife. Wives are supposed to cook for their husbands, you know. I drummed up thoughts that I was putting off my responsibilities or being lazy. Michael told me that was ridiculous.

He told me he enjoys it. And he does it with a sweet servant's heart. And it's so cute how proud he is of his dishes. I'm so grateful he has a willing aide who enjoys this kind of work.

The first week, I was a nervous wreck, trying to control everything from the internal temperature of chicken, to which container it was in. Insanity. I'm weird.

But last week, I gave in, gave up control, and just ate. And I ate good.

Taste and see that the Lord is good, y'all! He just provided for me out of nowhere. I feel blessed and loved and full and grateful. Because planning, prepping and cooking every single meal a family eats (even when it's just a family of two people) is no small deal. It's a big deal. It's a lot of work and it takes a lot of time.

I wonder what I'll be buying at the grocery store this week. I'm excited.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

He is Home

He is home.
Michael spent eight days away with his family, on vacation. I didn't go, because I borrowed this year's vacation last year, when we went to Disney World with his family. It's never fun paying later for fun that's already spent.

When I got home from a day trip to Charlottesville for a work event, my husband was sitting in his office. He had already mopped the dirty floors and folded two loads of laundry. He was wearing a v-neck t-shirt, a worn-out pair of jeans, and flip flops and I wanted to jump his bones at first sight.

He offered me a back rub (I'm super spoiled, and that's a regular occurrence around here), but I declined because I wanted nothing more than to just snuggle up close to him. I was so happy waking up next to him this morning.

We skipped church and stayed home in sweatpants and pajamas and watched two episodes of Parenthood and ate a pitiful excuse for banana bread (I'm out of practice baking) and vanilla ice cream.

Now we're both pecking away at our MacBooks, Brokaw is twitching in his sleep, the dishwasher is running, the sun is shining through the windows and Rascal Flats plays on the radio in the background.

Home is home, and I am grateful.

We have a lot of things to worry about. The van is not working again. I should be shampooing the carpets because the cat apparently has a new hobby of peeing in my office. The weeds are growing in the back yard as I write this. (I can hear them growing.) But I don't care.

All I want is this. Snuggles and togetherness.

This house is empty without that man here. He enriches my life so much. I don't miss that long-distance relationship thing at all.

It's good to miss each other. Sometimes in the busyness of my routine, I crave a break. I have even wondered before if I can do this forever. It's awesome to miss him, it helps me to see how special what we have is, that it's totally worth it, and that this marriage thing that we're doing is totally working.

We are one. We are and us and a them, and when we're not together for more than a couple of days, something is missing.
When I was sick and had nothing to do, I organized my Pinterest boards (because, that's normal, right?) and I found this great list of ways you can pray for your husband. I enjoyed praying for Michael a little more than I usually do while he was away. It made me realize how much I need to grow in praying for him. I thought I'd share it. It links to the book, Praying God's Word For Your Husband, which I have glanced at before, but I haven't read yet.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

You Have to Move Toward Him, Even When it Hurts

In life, there are good days and bad days.
I've written about how we've been dealing with this pressure sore on M's bottom for the last couple of months. Some days, it's better and he's up and everything feels normal.

I like those days.

Then, other days, it flares back up, and he's stuck in bed on his side and that's no fun for anyone. There is a lot of sweating and discomfort, and flipping from side to back to side, and there are lots of pillows and teeth brushings in bed.

It sucks, actually.

We had a good day, despite all of this, the other day. Followed by a really bad couple of days.

Thank God for grace. If we didn't have grace with each other, I'm sure we wouldn't be able to keep going, because this is really hard, and it won't leave us alone and we're so tired.

The other night, I slept in the guest room. It was sad. I didn't want to be alone. But the muscle spasms wouldn't stop and I couldn't sleep, so Michael insisted I go.

I begged for mercy as I finally fell asleep on my tear-drenched pillow. I was pretty much out of hope. But, I eventually did fall asleep.

In my dream, Michael was standing in the doorway of the guest bedroom (which is upstairs), telling me it would be okay. I felt comforted in my dream, but then when I woke up, it actually made me feel worse, because I know that's never going to happen.

He'll never stand in a doorway. He'll probably never even see the upstairs of our house. He'll never be able to scoop me up, and carry me and hold me. He can tell me it's going to be okay. He can give me a pep talk, and pray for me, and be strong for me emotionally and spiritually, when I'm spent.

But not if it's not for grace.
Because, he's not perfect, he's human. And I'm not perfect, I'm human.
And this big, huge thing in our marriage also isn't perfect, but it's not human, so we can't even reason with it, or bargain with it.

It's concrete. It doesn't budge.
So, we must.

I cried so many tears over the last few days because I just wanted so badly to be rescued. I want that man standing in the doorway, surprising me with his strength, to scoop me up and save me.

I get so tired of saving myself.

The thing about being married to someone who sometimes literally can't move toward me, is that even when I don't want to/don't think I can/I'm sick of doing it myself, I have to be the one to move.

I have a choice. I can move away from him, or I can move toward him.

Often times, I don't get this right on the first try. And all I do is make things worse. I hate it when I do that.

To the other wives in this situation, make the right choice. Move toward him.
Husbands, remember that your wife wants to be rescued. She understands what you can and what you can't do. Rescue her in the way that you can. It means so much.

John Eldredge describes this need that we as women have, so well:

“I wasn't mean; I wasn't evil. I was nice. And let me tell you, a hesitant man is the last thing in the world a woman needs. She needs a lover and a warrior, not a Really Nice Guy.” 
― John EldredgeWild at Heart: Discovering the Secret of a Man's Soul

This morning, I told Michael about my dream. I don't usually tell him about those dreams, because I can't say the words without tears and I can't stand to see tears well up in his eyes. But, I told him, then I laid down next to him and we held on.

Now, as I write, and process, I'm reminded of a Susan Ashton song from the 1990s. This song was on one of the first "Christian" CDs I owned as a new Christian teenager. I've always loved it.

So, you'll pardon the cheesiness of the 90s with me, right? Because here it is, in all its YouTube glory:

You Move Me
by Susan Ashton

This is how it seems to me
Life is only therapy
Real expensive
And no guarantee
So I lie here on the couch
With my heart hanging out
Frozen solid with fear
Like a rock in the ground
Oh but you move me
You give me courage I didn't
Know I had
You move me on
I can't go with you
And stay where I am
So you move me on
Here is how love was to me
I could look and not see
Going through the emotions
Not knowin' what they mean
And it scared me so much
That I just wouldn't budge
I might have stayed there forever
If not for your touch
Oh but you move me
Out of myself and into the fire
You move me
Now I'm burning with love
And with hope and desire
How you move me
You go whistling in the dark
Making light of it
Making light of it
And I follow with my heart
Laughing all the way
Oh 'cause you move me
You get me dancing and you
Make me sing
You move me
Now I'm taking delight
In every little thing
How you move me

So, let's be brave. Let's move toward each other. Let's give and receive grace. Let's rescue and be rescued. And hold on tight. Because the bad day won't last forever. And when it is over, we want to be closer to each other, not further apart.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

To My Husband, On Your Birthday

This is your fifth birthday since we’ve been married.

Time is flying.

I remember the first year, when I tried to make you birthday cinnamon buns in the morning, just like my friend Jennifer Petterec, who does really creative, beautiful things for her family, like serve cinnamon buns with birthday candles in the morning.

Except that I stuffed the candles in the buns when they were piping hot, went to get you up and dressed, and then breakfast consisted of cinnamon buns with icing... and green wax.

You were so sweet, and ate around the wax.

I remember the third year, when ‘three’ tried to rob us of your birthday, but we pulled together, got through it, and ended up celebrating with a group of friends at a sports bar, where you asked for Coffee with Baileys, and the waiter brought you a cup of coffee... with BAY LEAVES.

Earlier that day, I held you while you cried, then you held me while I cried, and in the end, we were closer for it, and we won.

Last year, we went to a Jazz Brunch in DC where the guy in the gospel band was singing and talking about the ‘woman with the issue of blood,’ as I sipped by bloody mary.

We still joke about that.

Happy Birthday to you, my Love.
There is no better day to celebrate, in my eyes.

I’ll see you in an hour, when we will have chocolate cake and Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla, for breakfast.
Because that’s our little tradition. 
And there's no candle wax to eat around, I promise.
Tomorrow, we celebrate 6 years since we had that awkward conversation about how I didn’t want to be your ‘buddy.’ More about that, tomorrow.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Our Semi-Normal Marriage in a Fish Bowl

Recently we received a pseudonymous comment in response to Dana's candid admission, I wonder if I can do this forever. The reader identified himself as a C5 quadriplegic. This is a level just higher than mine with generally a  little less functional ability. He was rather curt and unfairly characterized Dana's post as narcissistic and derided her for not accepting help, using a mechanical lift, and not using a hospital bed. He further went on to chide her emotionally.

I want to respond.

From the start Dana and I have not defined our lives by my disability. In fact, for almost twenty years I have lived a fairly normal life despite it. From high school, my focus was never my disability or overcoming it, but being part of my community. Sure it was always tough. I simply can't do certain things or require help. If I can't afford some adaptive device I get by. My interests never revolved around my disability.

Dana and I fell in love over many years of correspondence. As we grew up we realized how many interests we share. Furthermore we admire each other. Beyond physical chemistry, we admire each other's character. It wasn't pity that brought us together. Far from it.

So, a few months into our marriage our mutual determination met crashing headlong into the wall of disability. We both faced all of the real limitations together. For the first time I saw how my disability immediately affected someone I loved with all of my soul. Dana was crushed and went spiraling into despair. She sought help and reached a gracious and wonderful professional who walked us through those difficult days of grief.

We began to recover. Our lives remained fairly normal, but my disability still raised its head in the most obtrusive moments: on a date, during Dana's big interview, at church, over holidays. We were always at its mercy. We were helpless. We just wanted normal.

Then Dana shared an open and honest post about her struggles on her blog ("The Painful (Naked) Truth"). For years it had been stories about her career, friends, and Brokaw (her puggle). It was the genuine and raw posts that resonated with others. All of a sudden spouses and other caregivers and many others from around the country responded with gratitude for her willingness to write what they had felt and encouragement to go on.

Without intention her vulnerability had sparked a fire greater than either of us imagined. We honestly considered whether to really share our pain, but as we drew back the curtain, readers responded with heartfelt appreciation and continued encouragement. Dana learned how to actually reach people through social media. People continued tuning in to our story.

A network of caregiver spouses sprung up among our readers. Dana made remarkable friendships with couples around the world. As she traveled for work, readers wanted to meet with her. We met a family at Walter Reed who touched our souls and reminded us of the plight for wounded warriors. She wrote a little book. We got a casting call to share our story on a TV show.

All we wanted was a normal, or semi-normal, marriage. Within a few months we were at our wits' end. Family, friends, a professional therapist, church weren't our answer. The missing piece was this blog and this community. This is our calling. This is our ministry. We live in a fish bowl because sharing our battles helps others -- who believe they are alone, that they are horrible because they hate this life with disabilities sometimes, that they just can't hold on to their marriage -- find a moment of hope.

So, MrSCItruth, my wife is far from some narcissistic person obsessed on her benevolence. She is a brave and caring woman who faces every day the limits of her human strength and selfish desires, laying them down for her helpless husband whom she loves. She does all of this in the open so other caregivers can hear a sympathetic voice and guys like you and I can understand their plight.

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (John 15:3, Holy Bible, New International Version

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

On Taking Out The Trash

You see this picture, here?
It looks like a trash can, right?

Well, it's not just that.
It's so much more.

Because my husband put it there.
My husband, who is paralyzed from the chest down, thank you very much.

This is how this went down.

I got a text message with the above picture and the caption, "Your hubby took out the trash."
To which, I replied, of course, "Whoa. How did u do that?"
Michael's answer: "Awesomeness."


I immediately started imagining how in the world he did this, without landing on the ground, covered in trash, Brokaw rolling around in it and eating coffee grounds.

Then, I stopped myself.
And I just enjoyed the simple beauty that is the fact that my husband took the trash can to the curb.

This is one of those little things that I don't think about a lot, but I just do over and over, and I assumed I would do it over and over for years and years until we had a kid, and that kid was old enough/strong enough/probably paid in some way to take the trash out to the curb.

But just like this, on a random Thursday morning, my world changed.

I'm not saying he will always take the trash out, or that I expect him to. That's totally not the point.

The point is that I am so blessed to be married to a guy who never gives up, never stops getting better, getting stronger, and finding ways to take care of me.

I love the trash guy.

And for the record, I still can't figure out how he did it.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

On Intimacy, And Being Married to Your Best Friend

Sometimes,  I feel like we've been married forever, and I can't even remember what my life was like before.

Sometimes he says something and I think, "Who are you?" because I feel like even now, coming up on 4 years of marriage, we're still getting to know each other.

But, we've been together long enough for me to know:

-that he likes salt on his fries
-that he is fiercely protective of me, he even tries to protect me from myself
-that he is really sweet, down to his core, and it comes naturally to him
-that if he's mad or frustrated or short-fused, something is up
-that God, a good talk, and a glass of wine can fix a lot

We have had a lot going on lately. Especially with transitioning to a new place, and my new job which means being up at crazy hours. Michael has been such a champ.

I hate to see anything mess with him. It makes me want to get out my baseball bat. And I happen to have an awesome swing.

I want to obliterate anyone/anything that makes life difficult for him.
And, sometimes, if I can, I do.

But there are sometimes that we can't fight our spouse's battles physically.
But - we can pray!

Last night, Michael shared something he was going through recently with me, along with this verse:

James 4:10: Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up."

We ended up having a deep conversation about things that we are both going through.
The way best friends do.

I am forever thankful for our ability to have that kind of intimacy.
It is a gift.

Now - I'm going to go get my best friend up for the day, and I'm going to see to it that he gets out of this house, and has some FUN today! I think I'm going to buy him a prize or two, too.

He deserves it.
I look up to him more than he realizes, and I learn from him all the time.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Power of Simple Words

Recently we saw a conversation among several friends in our Facebook group about how under appreciated many of the wives feel as caregivers. At the bottom of it is that most of the women feel overwhelmed. Here's what they shared and things husbands should keep in mind.

Several of the wives juggle the demands of parenting, homemaking, and a job. On top of that they all--to some extent--take care of their spouse's disability-related needs. Typical tasks include dressing, exercise, bathroom care, feeding or preparing meals, medicine, doctor and therapy appointments, cleaning up accidents or wheelchair tracks, and a dozen or more others. By the time they get to bed they're exhausted. However, if their husband needs anything during the night they're still on call. It is never-ending.

Many of them understand that their husbands generally do what they can to help. These guys range in physical ability and time after injury. But many of them aren't necessarily angry with their husband.

This reminds me of a point Dana and I have made time and time again: the disability and all of the stuff that goes with it is a third person in our marriage. It helps us focus our frustration away from each other.

That said, beyond what husbands can do for our wives is what we say to our wives. Overwhelmingly, the wives said it means so much when husbands say "I love you" and "Thank you." Such a simple, but thoughtful step lightens their burden. I find Dana really appreciates when I ask her--not order her--to do something. Finally, the wives mentioned how important compliments and gratitude for the non-caregiver things are; that they like to be reminded she is your wife first.

It's so good to know this isn't rocket science. While compliments and affectionate words won't always trump the overwhelming waves of caregiving, they help fill the sails that keep our wives going.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Caring for the Caregiver SCHOLARSHIP OPPORTUNITY

You guys.
I have an AMAZING opportunity for you.

If I sound like a crazy sales lady on an infomercial, good.
That's what I'm going for.

Because this opportunity is that good.

Do you know my heart?
My heart is for you.
You, who gets up four hours before you leave for work, because you take care of your husband or wife. You, who never get alone time, so you cherish the time in the shower or the car, because that's all you have to yourself.

You, the caregiver.

An awesome person who totally gets this, has anonymously offered to give one of you caregivers a beautiful gift. Some time away. Some time to yourself. Four nights in a hotel up to $100/night including fees/charges. You can decide how to use this. All at once for a four day stay, or one night a quarter.

We want you to go to the hotel. Or send your loved one there, so that you can enjoy some alone time at home. You're responsible for arranging the care for your disabled loved one. But, you've got that, right?  Talk to your loved one. You can figure something out together.

Because, my dear friend, you need this.
Trust me.
You need this.
Your marriage needs this.
Your partner needs this.
Your life needs this.

Because this life we lead? This crazy life of juggling marriage and a disability, it's insanely hard.
And it's not going anywhere.
So, it's always hard.

You know what else?
A lot of marriages - they don't make it.
The numbers are heartbreaking.

People who dearly love each other, are breaking up all the time, because the chronic stress of this life we lead is just too much.
On the body.
On the mind.
On the soul.
On the checkbook.

So, do this for me, will you?
Do this for yourself.
For your marriage.
For your future.

Click here to fill out a little application.
Send it to me (my email address is on the application) by December 23rd.
I am working with the generous person who came up with this idea and who is sponsoring it to pick the winner. There is no magic formula. Just tell us about yourself.

We hope this is just the beginning of a change for the better.
That this will help you to learn to say yes to help, to take a breath, and a nice hot bath, and charge your battery.

We'll announce a winner the week of Christmas.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

On Being Happy and Sad at the Same Time

There is something on my heart for you this morning.

Something I think a lot of you need to hear.
Something I am also reminding myself of, because Lord knows I do not know it all, I do not have everything in it's perfect place, I still struggle, I am human, and I live in the tension.

You can be happy and sad at the same time.

You can love your husband and secretly hate his disability at the same time.

And this is okay.

It's tricky, because the sad emotions you have will make you doubt yourself.
You think, if I sigh in annoyance at having to push him up this hill, or if I look at that couple walking down the street hand in hand and I'm so jealous I could cry, that that means you are not happy in your relationship, you're not strong enough, you can't do this, and you've made a mistake.

I know.
I have done (and still do sometimes) the same thing.
But a very wise woman gave me permission to be happy and sad at the same time.
So, I'm passing that along to you.

Think about it today, when your man gives you that sweet look that only he can give you.
But then when there is something else you need, or you wish you have, and he just can't physically give that to you.

It's sad.
But it doesn't change how much he loves you, how much he is dedicated to you, and how much he wants those same things - even if he doesn't talk about it all the time. He is still a dude, you know.

It's okay to let that tear fall.
It's okay to let him in on the fact that you felt some sadness. If it was a twinge of sadness, or if it's one of those days that the weight of all of this is just too much, and every hour brings something else that you have to do that you don't want to, or he spills something, or drops something, or his body does something inconvenient. Go ahead and ugly cry, girl.

And tell him.
Because really, no one gets the grief and disappointment that this life brings more than he does.

Don't let insecurity and fear keep you from sharing your feelings with your guy.
Because it's in those real, vulnerable, honest moments that your love does the growing that it has to do to do this.

And it's that love that is the glue that will stick you guys together, and make you so strong that you CAN do this.

Trust me.
I cried on Michael's chest last night.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Dear Michael, Thank You

Good morning and happy Saturday.
I didn't do this yesterday, so I'm going to go ahead and do my Five Minute Friday post now.

This week the word is THANK YOU.


Dear Michael,
Thank you for loving me like no other.
Thank you for loving me in the middle of the night, when I whimper in a bad dream.
Thank you for loving me first thing in the morning when I'm clanging dishes around and begging the coffee maker to brew a little faster.
Thank you for loving me when I cry through getting you dressed because my back hurts, or my heart hurts, or I secretly just don't want to do it again.
Thank you for stopping me and squeezing me and kissing me, and rubbing the stress out of my back, neck, hips, and forehead.
Thank you for staying out of my kitchen.
Thank you for knowing me, really knowing me with all of my flaws of selfishness, impatience, and jealousy, and loving me anyway.
Thank you for showing me how to grow.
Thank you for folding laundry, and putting stuff away, and taking the dogs out one more time.
Thank you for getting me that blanket.
Thank you for taking a chance and falling in love with some crazy girl you met online, and sending her flowers.
Thank you for that night at the WWII Memorial.
Thank you for saying "I will" on the beach that day.
Thank you for holding me when it got so hard my hair was falling out and my weight was falling off, and I had that nervous breakdown.
Thank you for loving me when I gained all that weight, and more, back, and not even saying anything about it.
Thank you for bedtime prayers.
Thank you for this love.
This love that I don't deserve, I shouldn't ever doubt but do, and for being my biggest fan and supporter as my crazy dreams have come true.
Thank you for the way you love others.
Thank you for helping me as I have anxiety about what's next.
There are days I don't know if what I want will ever be.
But I know whatever it is, it will be with you.
Thank you for that.

(note: I wrote this in five minutes, but full disclosure, I added photos after that, not in the 5 minute time)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Possibly the Worst Date Ever

Can we talk about date nights?
They are fun, right?

Even though we don't have kids yet, we still really enjoy date nights. We are frugal people, so we don't eat out a lot. Because I've been working so much for the last few months, we have been ordering food a lot, which still costs money, but we still haven't eaten out that much.

The other day, it was my sister's birthday. My family was getting together at home (about 4 hours from here) at a Mexican restaurant. When I heard that, I wanted to go to a Mexican restaurant, too.

I'm all about supporting small, locally owned businesses over chains, generally. I guess it's because I come from a small business family. And I love authentic Mexican restaurants too, because the food is generally really good and the service is really fast.

Notice I used the word "generally" a lot up there in that last paragraph.
Um. Yeah.

Because Friday night, I put on earrings, and a pair of boots, and rushed Michael out the door and into the van and we were off for a fun date night.

Then, we opened the door to this local Mexican restaurant. I don't even remember what it is called. I had been wanting to go there for a little while, I would always see it when I was getting gas across the street, and thought, "we should go there sometime."

You guys.
We walked through that door into a dark cave! I mean complete darkness. Like power outage darkness. The only light was from this giant projector screen that was playing something about Chernobyl and nuclear disasters on the Spanish National Geographic Channel. I. am. not. even. kidding!
Michael even said it felt like we were awkwardly at someone else's house, forced to watch what they had on TV when we came over to visit, and they were ignoring us.

Then our non-English speaking waitress came over. Not a problem, because I'm married to the guy who once lived in Texas and regularly practices his Spanish with our apartment maintenance guys. Also, par for the course at a Mexican restaurant. Authentic, cool.

We watched the Chernobyl documentary in the darkness, and sipped our not-good/so-from-a-mix margaritas, and laughed uncontrollably at our horrible date night.

I was just thankful this wasn't our first date!

There were two Mexican guys also in there, drinking canned Sprite and Coke. Yes, I said canned. What in the world?
At some point, Michael asked the waitress if we could stop watching nuclear disasters and change the projector (a.k.a. the only light in the room) to sports. So, now we had soccer. In Spanish.

And the canned soda drinking guys left.

How romantic! The whole restaurant to ourselves!

After what felt like forever, our food finally came. It was okay. I ordered enchiladas, and they were crazy hot! I like spicy food, but I couldn't handle them with my "margarita." Michael had a chicken burrito, and his food was good! So, we shared his. I wanted some water, so Michael went to get the waitress to get us some water. Then she brought us two Deer Park bottles of water. And plastic cups with straws that had the wrappers still on the tops of the straws. Very nursing home chic!

We just kept looking at each other, like "are we on Candid Camera or something?"

Then, out of nowhere, a lady came in and turned the juke box up to like 1,000, playing some Latin dance music.  So, we're sitting there drinking our bottled water out of our plastic cups with straws, we can't see each other, and now we can't hear each other.

We waited for our check. It came and it was like $41.00!?!? Flabbergasted, I signed the receipt, and we went back out into America.  Wow.

We went to a movie after that. And that part of the date was great! We saw "Argo," and it was REALLY good.  Thank you, "Argo" for saving our date night!

Have you ever had a horrible date? Let me hear about it so we know we are not alone!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Computer Grief

This blog post is brought to you by Starbucks. And iPad. And a Pumpkin Spice Latte.
I've said before that there are few things in life that a Pumpkin Spice Latte can't fix. And if a latte can't fix it, it will surely help you.

So, I drink.

On my way home from Allume Saturday night, my MacBook had a very unfortunate encounter with my water bottle.

Camelbak bottles are spill proof. That is, UNLESS the top is broken.
Trust me.

I've been separated from all of the data on my hard drive for almost a week. It's been quite traumatic for me. I knew my life was on the computer, but to be forced to face this reality like this has been eye-opening.

I'm pathetic.

But, I am who I am.

I cried in my SUV, just now.
Over a computer.

There are a couple of reasons this is stupid.

1. Hurricane Sandy. People have lost homes and businesses and some have even lost their lives because of this horrible storm. Water can do a lot more damage than ruining a computer. I'm trying to remind myself that while it feels like my life was washed away, it really wasn't.

2. My hard drive is okay. So, all of my data will be recovered. I will not have MY own computer in my hands before Election Day like I had hoped, and I just need to come to terms with that. I will get a loaner. I have an iPad. I have options.

Dear Dana, take a deep breath - and suck it up.

I mentioned earlier that I'm at Starbucks.
That's to save my marriage.

Because while it isn't my husband's fault that I spilled water on my MacBook, I can't seem to stop getting frustrated with him over the stupidest little things.

Yesterday, it was soup. Specifically, the leftover soup he ate for lunch that I was planning on serving for dinner.
The day before that, it was cords. I feel like they are spewing out of every outlet in our house! I am a chronic cord-hider.
Today, it was oatmeal packet wrappers. The ones he should have put in the recycling bin after he made his oatmeal and ate it, but didn't, so I had to throw them away when I got home.

Sometimes I feel like I'm the only adult living in our house. I used to feel this way all the time. Back when I felt sorry for myself, and kept my eyes focused on myself and did not intentionally respect my husband for the MAN and HUSBAND that he is. Even if I do have to clean up after him.

Now, I know when I feel that way, the soup or oatmeal packets or whatever is the "problem," is not the real problem. My attitude is.

So, here I am at Starbucks - not being mean to the man I love and respect.
I'm here learning how to blog on my iPad, sipping my PSL, and dealing with my computer grief.

Tell me I'm not the only one who has to talk herself down from the ledge and leave her husband for a little bit so that she's not unnecessarily mean or hurtful to him.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Somewhere Out There

Remember the scene where Fievel Mousekewitz and his sister looked up at the moon and sang that beautiful song? That's the way it is for Dana and me this week. I'm in northern Virginia and she's in Tampa. I'm holding down the fort while she's covering the convention. But somewhere out there we'll both be listening to a platform speaker at the convention because, well, we're news nerds.
Don't get me wrong, the moon is beautiful and romantic, but we pretty much fell in love over news. We both keep up on politics; we both fact check; we both appreciate the ins and outs of a news cast. There are times we roll our eyes or laugh together at something nobody in their right mind would even notice.
As I listen to Gewn and Judy interview their guests and the platform speakers address the crowd I think about my wife working in the network space and hurrying to get to the floor for the keynote. I miss laughing together at people and sharing inside jokes. I miss saying, "did you hear that", when Dana tunes out to check her email or Facebook. I miss snuggling in bed together.

"Somewhere out there beneath the pale moonlight someone's thinking of me and loving me tonight."

Monday, August 6, 2012

35 Months

*I had to re-post this, because I'm such a math whiz. (Thank you, Devalon!)

Good morning.
It’s just after 5:30am, and I am on the couch, with a heating pad warming my lower back, and I'm half way through my first cup of coffee in one of my favorite red mugs.
I can hear the local news and the laundry tumbling in the dryer in the background.

Today is our monthaversary.
Our 35th.
Next month, we will celebrate our third anniversary!

Last night, Michael and I were talking about how it just keeps getting better and better. He said he thinks we’ve hit our stride.  That we’ve both grown, matured, and we know each other deeply, so it’s easier now.

I couldn’t agree more.
It would be just fine with me if we get closer and closer and more and more in love over the years.

35 months.

What a sweet time this has been.
We’ve had our bumps in the road.
And sinkholes.
But, our marriage is stronger and our love for each other is so much greater that ever.
And it feels like home.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Marriage Retreat: A Movie Review

This past weekend, Michael and I watched a movie. Believe it or not, this is a RARE occurrence in the Ritter house.
A friend sent us a copy of the new movie "Marriage Retreat"to review.
So, we popped it in the DVD player.

Let me first say that I did not fall asleep.
Now, I realize that doesn't sound like a glowing review, but hear me out.
I tend to fall asleep within 20 minutes of anything on television. Even if it's scary, or loud, or my favorite show. I just generally fall asleep within 20 minutes, and my point is, I did not fall asleep when I was watching Marriage Retreat.

If you're a Christian, you will totally get this concept.  Marriage retreats are a totally "Christian" thing that we do, right? Every church passes out literature or plays videos about marriage retreats. I remember when I was single, always thinking, those sound so great - too bad those are only for married people! Random.

Michael and I haven't ever been on an all-out marriage retreat, but we have been to a one day simulcast of speakers talking about marriage at our church.

I guess I say all of that to give myself a little bit of cred. I get the whole marriage retreat concept. And, by the way, I'm all for it.

The storyline follows three married couples that are all in different stages of their marriages, but they're all at kind of a contentious spot. One wife is ready to have a baby, but her husband isn't. One husband is a hot soap opera actor and his wife is a little bit protective and controlling. Another husband lost his fortune and is now getting caught up in gambling and get-rich-quick schemes, and his wife is over it.

They are given the opportunity to go on a marriage retreat.  They all go, obviously. I don't want to spoil the ending for you, but I do want to let you know that I definitely LAUGHED OUT LOUD at some parts.  They hit some of the standard husband/wife/Christian things on the head and it is very funny.

We also get to know the couple who is leading the marriage retreat, who is actually going through a bit of a turning point themselves.  One of my favorite parts of the movie is the interaction between them. It's really, very sweet.

Here's the preview to the movie:

Parts of it were a bit cheesy to me, but I am new to the "Christian" movie scene.  It really is a good movie, though. I think couples will enjoy watching this together.

And even if you aren't married and don't go on marriage retreats, I promise, you will still laugh out loud, and have some very important lessons to learn from this movie.

The DVD comes out August 14th. You can find out more about "Marriage Retreat" here.
Here here to strong marriages!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

We Are...

*This Post is dedicated to the special friends I have made because of this blog. You know who you are. I'm so thankful for you.
We are the wives of quads.
We may have taken the biggest risk of our lives, much to the dismay or hesitance of our family and friends.
Or, we may have survived the scariest thing of our lives – almost losing the men we love, but getting them back this way.

We prop legs up on pillows, turn them, stretch them, and straighten them out in our sleep.
We may or may not also put our hot or cold feet on those hot or cold legs in order to warm up, or cool off.
We pull our husbands around on pads in the bed.
We snuggle up in their armpits and rest our heads on their chest.
We love to hear their hearts beating.
We may or may not put our husbands arms around ourselves, if we have to.
So we can be held.
Because the very beginning of the day, and the very end of the day, that’s the only chance we have to be really close.
Without any titanium or rubber or aluminum between us.
Without getting run over by little wheels or big wheels or power wheels.

We have toe calluses. And amazingly quick feet, like the feet of running backs when those wheels take a turn towards our toes.

We slip forks and spoons into straps so our husbands can feed themselves.
We feed them sometimes to be sweet, or to just hurry things along.
We may or may not occasionally bend up restaurant silverware.
Or, maybe we travel with our own bent-up silverware in our purses.

Our purses.
Oh, our purses.
Yes, they hold our keys, our wallets, and our iPhones.
But our purses are like a stash of secret weapons.

Mothers – sorry to tell you this, but your diaper bags – they have nothing on our purses.
We have straps and straws and pills and catheters.
And bottles of water and sanitary wipes and allen wrenches.
We have our husbands’ wallets, phones, and sunglasses.

We don’t always have to carry those purses, though.
We almost always have a handlebar to hang those on.

Or a lap to sit them on.
Oh, that lap.
That is our favorite place.
We have a built in seat when we are waiting in line at a restaurant or at a concert or waiting for the train.
Did you know that that lap is dancing headquarters?
No, not in that kind of lap-dance kind of way.
Well, maybe sometimes.
That’s the best place for a lot of things.

We don’t get to walk hand in hand with our husbands on the beach.
Or sit on their shoulders in the pool.
Some of us don’t even get to ride beside them in the car.

Sometimes we cry.
We are held.
Sometimes we hold our husbands while they cry.

Sometimes we laugh so hard our stomachs hurt. 
Because if we didn’t, we’d just cry again.

We are weightlifters.
We lift grown men into beds and wheelchairs, onto chairs and couches , into and out of pools, and into cars and SUVs.
We lift them over curbs, push them up hills, brace them down hills, and we can even lift them on to those really tall examination tables at doctor’s offices.
Why are those so tall?

We are masters at dressing.
Anyone can dress themselves.
They may or may not do that well, that’s on them.
But, we can dress a body that is not our own, that has almost no control of itself, and make it look good.
We put jeans and khakis and shorts on man, all while he is laying down. We push and pull that body side to side and tuck pockets in and make sure leg bags are straight (and closed!) and button buttons and snap snaps, and buckle belts and tuck things in and pull them out just enough so that it’s comfortable and doesn’t cause a pressure sore.
We do this with impeccable strength and grace day in and day out and we nail it.
It is a science.
It is not easy.
Because if you screw up, your man can end up looking like a saggy bag of potatoes in a cart.
But if you tug and push and pull, and align those jeans and that shirt just the right way, he is comfortable, and he looks good and he has that confidence that he looks good.
And we like that confidence.
So, no matter how tired we are, or how much our backs already hurt, we do this dressing dance every morning. Then, we make the bed and make breakfast. And probably lunch. And eventually, dinner.

We can clean up any type of bodily produce imaginable.
Without breathing.
We do more laundry than anyone else you know.

We multitask.

We are landscapers, maids, and mechanics.
We are drivers and nurses and wheelchair repairmen.

In fact, we can drive, talk on the phone, eat fast food and feed french fries to our passengers, simultaneously. That “mom hand” that goes out when you’re braking hard, so that your passenger doesn’t end up on the dash board? We have that. We use it all the time. Even when we’re told we don’t need to.

We have strange encounters with strangers.
We’re either stared at or ignored, or looked like someone is saying with their eyes, “bless her heart.”
We roll our eyes. We smile with forgiveness.

Because we are taken care of too.
We are deeply loved.
We get massages with pointy elbows and soft, warm hands.
We get the BEST kissers in the world.
We are appreciated.
We are honored.

We are a part of a team.
We are bonded to our husbands in such a deep, intimate way.  
And sometimes, despite the hard work and frustrations, we are thankful that we are forced to love this way, because we are also loved this way.
Just as fiercely. 
Just as consistently.
Just as sacrificially.
We are.

Sunday, May 6, 2012


It's no secret around here how I *love* my alone time. I get my fix every Saturday morning, when I leave Michael in the bed for an hour or so, and I have some quiet time to myself before we start the day. He says he gives me that time, that he just lays there, still.

I know he's sleeping. And I like it.  Because when he is asleep, that's as close as I get to having the house to myself.  And that's okay.

Michael left Thursday for a long weekend with his brother and some other guys.  He will get home LATE tonight.  It's been long enough to really miss him.  I've been productive, though!  I washed the curtains, I changed light bulbs, switch plate covers, I planted azaleas, I cleaned all of the wheelchair scuff marks off the walls (and enjoyed clean walls for 3 days!).

I worked out, and I bathed the dogs, and reorganized my closet, and sewed a button on one of his shirts.
I defrosted the freezer. I scanned pictures I've been meaning to scan for weeks, I labeled pretty much everything in his bathroom and our kitchen cabinets (in the HOPE that the home health aide will read the labels and maybe put things back in the right place). I cooked. I went to the Farmer's Market.
I hung out with some great friends. I watched TV alone (this is a bigger deal that it seems, since my technology advisor was away!).  I slept alone.  I enjoyed the quiet.  I got to live in this house for several days with EVERYTHING in its place, there was great peace and order and I was only interrupted by a barking dog every now and then.  I only had to take care of myself.  It was really easy.

But I missed him.  It really started to hit me yesterday.

I travel frequently for work.  Michael has told me before that the three night trips are the hardest.  Sometimes I'm only gone for one night, most of the time - it's two nights, and sometimes it's three nights.

I have a new appreciation for him holding down the fort alone now. It's easy to find things to do to stay busy, but when the love of your life is missing, you just don't even feel home.

I don't know how military families do it. Hats off to you guys!

Don't get me wrong. I looked forward to this time alone! And I did enjoy it.  I really did enjoy having my fix of alone time.  And I could definitely get used to doing this - say - once a year.

But I also can't wait to pick him up at BWI tonight.  Literally.  Can't wait to scoop him up, put him in my SUV, buckle that seat belt and bring my man home.  It will be really late, and I have to get up early and go to work in the morning, but that's okay.
Because all will be right with the world again.  I am refreshed. He is refreshed.  And we will be together again. And this time next week, we'll be on vacation!!

Now, let's just hope and pray for a speedy wheelchair repair, pronto!  The stupid chair broke the day before Michael left. GRR.  Thank GOD he was going on this trip with his brother, because otherwise, I would have been so worried/stressed out/I would have even driven to upstate NY or wherever the part that he needs to fix the chair was and gotten it myself. But, since M was with Jarred, I could rest and enjoy my alone time, even though my man was rolling along in slow motion on his backup. Because Jarred is awesome, and I love him and trust him completely.

Whatever. I'll worry about that tomorrow. Tonight, I'm going to scoop Michael up and bring him home.  SO glad we went ahead and got married a few years ago, because I DO NOT miss this being in different states thing/airport goodbyes/hellos, etc. So thankful we get to spend so much time together.

No matter how hard it is, sometimes.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

On Being Outdoorsy

I am not very outdoorsy by nature.  I don't go camping.  I don't shop at R.E.I., and I wore running shoes and yoga pants on a hike yesterday.

That said, when I see something breathtaking in nature, it makes me worship my God, my Creator.  And when I do that - at my core - it reminds me that my God is big, I am small, and I should just listen to Him, follow Him, and stop trying to run this show myself.
Yesterday, we drove to Great Falls Park, which is only about a 1/2 hour drive from where we live.  I've seen pictures of this place before, but we had never been, so I was excited.  Michael didn't really know what he was in for, but as usual, he's up for anything, and along for the ride.

This little guy also came along.  I read on the website that pets are welcome, as long as they are leashed.  I told Brokaw he was going to come with us to the park, and he started barking really loud, and jumping up and down.  He doesn't go to the park as much as he used to. (When I lived in Pittsburgh, I lived right down the street from a great park, and we went almost every week day.)
Look at that smile out in the sunshine.  Michael is much more of a Nature Boy than I am.  He was taking his time! I thought maybe the gravel trail was too much for him, or that it was going to damage his super high-tech wheelchair, but no.... he was just taking it all in.  Add that to the list of ways we are polar opposites!  I mean, it's not that I'm not taking it all in, I'm just not stopping in order to do so.  We walked about a mile and a half on the Canal Trail, right along the Potomac River.

Brokaw getting his paws wet.  He had one of the best days of his life, I'm pretty sure.
 As far as accessibility goes, I'd give this trail a B.  It's not a paved trail, but I mean c'mon.  Paved trails just aren't as natural.  If you were in a power chair, I think this trail would be absolutely no big deal.  But the ground is soft in some areas (sandy) and it's gravel, so I know Michael got a workout!  He only got stuck a couple of times, though, and with just a little nudge from me, he was on his way again.  There are two wheelchair accessible overlooks that have amazing views of the river!  Those get an A!
See? I mean, seriously. I almost can't believe this is only 20 miles from our apartment!  I wish you could hear it.  Oh, the power! So awesome.  This is the Potomac.  So much history right along here, too!

This is the obligatory find-someone-who-looks-like-they-speak-English and ask them to take your picture, picture. 
I think all three of us felt this way by the end of the day.  But, for the record, Brokaw is the only one who just laid down right there at the overlook.
How fun to do something together outside, something that is physical.  A great workout.  A great picnic lunch by a babbling brook.  And all of this for... FREE!! The National Parks have a program called the Access Pass for people with disabilities that lets you into the National Parks for free.  I guess it's just one of the perks.  When we got Michael's access pass, we bought something in the gift shop, so we were still making a contribution.

We love the National Parks and want to go to as many as possible!

I know a lot of people who read this blog are either in a wheelchair, or have someone really close to them who is in a wheelchair.  I hope this inspires you guys to get outside, and get active!  Just make sure you check the park's website for accessibility, and you'll be good to go.  Did we see the whole park, no.  Did we put our toes in the water? No.  BUT, we enjoyed walking on the trail, a picnic lunch, and looking at the awesome falls from the overlooks.  Totally worth it, and great memory made together.

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