Oh Italy, I Miss You

If you've been around since the days of Coming Unstitched, or if you know me personally, you know that B and I went to Italy for our honeymoon a couple years ago.  And lately with the normal stresses of life I've been really missing that time.  Whether it was because we were totally off the grid with no one to report to but each other, or if it was the magic of Italy, I find myself often missing being there. So in honor, an Italy photo dump to help me remember.

First stop: 3 days in Rome

It was so surreal to see places I'd always seen in movies- the Colosseum and the Vatican.  And it was also my first experience with Italy traffic- THEY DON'T STOP, and there are no lane dividers.  I was convinced more than once that we were going to be in an accident while in a cab.

Favorite experience: Walking back to our hotel from a bar at 3 am, having had a few glasses of wine with new friends and passing all of the historical monuments when the streets were quieter and it was just B and I holding hands.

Next stop: 1 night in Siena

Such a beautiful little town, we stayed the night here on our way to Florence.  The bad side of this?  B got food poisoning, so at 8 am I was wandering the streets of Siena looking for a pharmacy to get medicine- which is not easy to do when you don't speak the language.

Favorite experience: Sitting in the Campo watching people go about their business as we ate amazing gelato.

Next stop: 3 days in Florence, with a day trip to Pisa

Sadly we didn't get to explore Florence as much as we'd like because B was still sick, but the city was insanely gorgeous.  We also took a day trip to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and of course took the obligatory tourist photos.

Favorite experience:  Strolling along the Ponte Vecchio at nighttime.  It's as picturesque as all the photos books show.

Next stop: 2 days in Venice

By far our favorite city, Venice was incredible.  We got lucky because just a few days before, the city had been flooded.  It was actually very interesting to see how the city deals with flooding.  But talk about picture perfect.  Everywhere we walked I felt like we were in a postcard.  If I could only go back and visit one city from our tour, this would absolutely be it.

Favorite experience: Either the nighttime gondola ride, sitting on the Grand Canal having mimosas at 10 am and just watching the city go by, or sitting in a bar ordering a glass of champagne only to realize later that it cost $60 each- and just laughing and joking about it, and of course enjoying it.  Oops.

Final stop: 2 days in Milan

Milan was our last stop and I'll admit that by this point we were a bit ready to get back to our house and a city where people spoke English (note to self: learn the language next time).  But Milan was incredible and we spent our Thanksgiving in Milan having pasta and pizza and copious amounts of wine.  The Duomo in Milan is the most amazing architectural piece I've ever seen in my life.

Favorite experience: Having our own "very Italian" Thanksgiving dinner but also taking the time to call home and talk to everyone to wish them a happy holiday.

Thanks for allowing me this trip back down memory lane.

Where did you go on your honeymoon?

Two Years of Marriage

Our very first picture together, on our very first date

Today Brandon and I are celebrating our two year wedding anniversary.  Two years seems like such a short period of time for all that we've experienced together.  Somehow we've gone from being kids just trying to figure out life, to parents.  And every time I think about this ride I've been on, I can't begin to explain how good it feels that he is the one holding my hand through it all.

Our friends used to make fun of us for being in a room surrounded by others and we'd still be sitting in a corner whispering to each other.  He is still that same person to me- the only person I want to talk to, the one who makes my heart beat faster every single time he whispers to me.

Over the last two years I've learned that it's okay to fight and voice how you feel.  Because if you don't let your partner know how you feel, it'll cloud everything you do going forward.  I've learned that you should always find time for each other.  Even if it's just a few minutes to say I love you and give them a hug.  I've learned that sometimes saying "thank you" is more important than I love you.  I've learned that a random text or phone call throughout the day to let them know you're thinking of them can mean the difference between a good day and a bad day.  I've learned that you don't have to like everything your partner likes, but supporting them is a must.

Brandon has taught me all of these things and so many more.  And every day of our marriage I'm so grateful that he chose me to be his partner in life.

Happy Birthday, You

Dear B,

Happy, happy birthday to my husband, my best friend, my partner for life.  You, my friend, are the reason I am who I am today (for good or bad, that's on you!).  I could not ask for a better person to come home to every day, to raise a child with, to have as a role model for my son.  Henry and I are lucky that we have you.  SO lucky.

Just as I knew you would be, you are a fantastic father.  You are loving, and fun, and caring, and responsible.  Watching the way Henry looks at you makes my heart feel as if it's bursting.  He already looks up to you in such a real way that I cannot wait to see how much he idolizes you as he gets older.  He feels safe, he feels loved, and he knows that he will always have you.  And so do I.

I cannot imagine being on this ride with anyone but you.  You are incredible in every sense of the word.  And though we may not have as much time together as Husband and Wife these days, please know that the little time we do have, I hold so close to my heart and it gets me through the tough days.  Thinking back to those little moments (Carol WOULD look good with red hair!) are what keep me smiling when I feel as if I can't take any more.  Knowing that I have you at the end of the day waiting to love me and support me is something that fills my heart so completely.

So to you, on your birthday, there is one simple thing you need to know: Henry and I love you like CRAZY.

I love you, S

Part Time Wife

Many of you know there was a time when I didn't want to have kids.  (You'd probably never know it by the sheer volume of Henry pictures clogging up my social media, but it's true.)  Aside from never being a "kid person", my main concern was that B and I would lose ourselves, our relationship, and just be parents.  We'd no longer be us and I didn't want that.  I'm head over heels for my husband, find him hysterical and too smart for his own good and he is very honestly my best friend.  I didn't want to lose that.  I liked our lives, I liked being selfish and only having to answer to each other.

But then that husband of mine went and changed his mind on me and decided he wanted kids and I thought "well, if I'm going to be a parent with him, then I suppose I'm in".  But still, I communicated with him over and over that I was so afraid to lose our relationship.  I didn't want him to just think of me as the Mother of his child(ren), and vice versa.  We talked about ways to make sure that didn't happen.

And then, you know, life.  Henry came along.  We realized just how much work it takes to keep up with a child all day- even one who isn't yet mobile- along with work, and normal every day stresses.  And now we've come to the point where I'm starting to feel like a part-time wife.  Taking care of Henry every waking hour that I'm not at work is exhausting.  I try my best to not be exhausted for Henry.  I try my best to not be exhausted for work.  And the effort of both of those things leaves little room for anything else.  By the time my work duties and mothering duties are over for the day?  Well, we're lucky if I even manage to wash my face and take out my contacts.

We used to go to bed and lay there talking and laughing until we fell asleep.  Or we'd turn on a "sleep" movie and recite our favorite lines.  We used to have dinner at the same time.  We used to go out and talk about the future and what we were looking forward to.  Now when we're at a restaurant we're keeping Henry occupied, keeping him from grabbing anything and everything off the table, and barely talking about anything farther than a week away.

I don't want it to be this way.  I don't want to be a Part Time Wife.  I miss my husband.  I miss having an adult conversation that doesn't revolve around this tiny person that we created.    Granted, he is usually our favorite topic, but I miss laughing and joking.  We haven't yet found a babysitter near us and with our family so far away, we don't have the option to just go out for a date night whenever we need it.  And we do need it.  Since we had Henry, I believe we've had two nights away from him, and that just isn't enough.

I've made the promise to myself that I was going to try and unplug more.  To just be with my husband and my child in the evenings.  That email?  Yeah, it can wait.  The tweet someone sent?  I'll see it in the morning.  And do I really need to check Facebook again?  Doubtful.

So parents, how do you do it?  How do you make sure that you stay present in each others' lives?  I know "date nights" are usually the answer- but if you don't have that option, then what?  I'd love to hear your advice!

Have a comment, thought, or opinion? Tell me on Facebook or on Twitter! Or leave it in the comments below!

How Does He Find Me Attractive?

How does he still find me attractive?

I have stretch marks where my abs used to be.

I have a few extra (*ahem, ten) pounds around my waist.

My hair is unwashed and hasn't seen a brush in days.

The bags under my eyes look like they are holding a small family.

I haven't showered.  I haven't shaved.

My clothes are tighter.

My shoulders are slumped over from the exhaustion.

And is that spit up on my shirt?  Yes, that's spit up on my shirt.

And yet, there he is looking at me.  Smiling at me.  He tells me I'm beautiful.  And he looks at me like he means it.  And somehow he does mean it.  He kisses me.  Holds me tight, extra pounds and all.  Wants to be near me.

Even though I can't imagine how, somehow he still finds me attractive.  He still thinks I'm beautiful.

Love Languages

 

As new parents, I often worry about my relationship with Brandon.  We are consumed with Henry, especially because it's just us out here in Pennsylvania.  We don't have the options to drop Henry at Grandma's for a few hours so we can go out to dinner or see a movie.  Doing things like that takes quite a bit more planning.  And because of that, I'm always thinking about connecting with him on a husband and wife level, not just as parents.

Recently we took the Love Languages quiz.  This quiz will help you understand how your significant other feels love, what is most meaningful to them.  The five love languages are: words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch.    I was surprised when Brandon and I took the quiz because we both ended up with the same score- we both feel love by Words of Affirmation.  This basically means that we feel most appreciated and loved through words- whether that's compliments, being gracious, or saying things like "I appreciate you".

I thought it was important to learn this about each other at this point in our relationship because our time as a couple is so limited.  But knowing how he perceives love allows me to make sure he knows how much I appreciate all that he does for me (and Henry).  And the same for him.  My second highest score was for Physical Touch.  Absentmindedly grabbing my hand while we're out walking, giving me a hug after work, or kissing my forehead before he leaves for work every day, these are all things that also make me feel loved.  And now he knows how much those things mean to me.

By the way- his second highest score was Acts of Service- so I guess maybe I need to start cleaning the bathroom?

If you and your significant other haven't ever taken the Love Languages quiz, I definitely recommend it.  At the very least, you'll get insight into your partner.  And at the most, you'll be able to see a real shift in how you relate to one another.

Have any of you taken the quiz?  Did it help you connect with your partner?

Who We Were Before

A couple weeks back I asked for your opinion on where my blog is headed so that I could be sure I was providing you with things you enjoyed reading.  One of the suggestions was to talk more about my marriage.  If you've been a long time reader, you'll know that I married Brandon just shy of two years ago (our anniversary is in November).  You can see plenty of pictures from our wedding day on my old blog.

Also if you've been a long time reader, you'll know that I really married a great guy, a really great guy.  A great guy to the point that I have a friend who calls him Prince Charming (hi Amy!), and a sister who told me she'd side with him if we ever got divorced (not cool, Jen).  He's supportive, he's fun, he's smart, and it doesn't hurt that he's pretty easy on the eyes.  He really and truly is my best friend.  I feel lucky to go to sleep with him every night and wake up with him every morning.

But still, we have our problems just like any couple.  People seem to find it hard to believe that we fight.  But we do.  We're both very strong willed, opinionated people.  We both want to be right.  We both want things done our own way.  And when that doesn't happen, we clash.  But these aren't things that I talk about either on my blog, or in real life.  It's my marriage.  It's between him and I.  I don't feel the need to air my dirty laundry on Facebook, or to whine to my girlfriends every time things get a little heated between us.  Instead I take that energy and put it back into figuring out why we're fighting, figuring out how we can resolve it.

Do I always say sorry when I should?  No.  I'm incredibly stubborn and hate being wrong.  Do I sometimes go to bed angry?  Yes.  Do I give him the silent treatment?  All the time.  But it's what a marriage is.  A passionate relationship between two people, and if we didn't fight- if we just let everything go- I'd be worried.  There is no such thing as a perfect relationship and we've had our fair share of hardships.

Long before Henry came along, before we got married, I was still a girl trying to figure out who she was and where she was headed in her mid-20's.  I have a hard time accepting help and suddenly here was this guy in my life wanting to help me in any way that he possibly could.  I took it as him thinking I couldn't do things myself (hey, no one ever said I was sane).  I had to realize that it's okay to accept help sometimes from people who really do want the best for you.  I had to accept that he wasn't just going to leave me because he got bored.  I had to accept that he was in this for the long haul.

Every time he did something sweet for me, or kind, or thoughtful (which by the way, was all the time), I was constantly convinced it was because he was feeling guilty about something.  I was convinced he was seeing someone else.  That this guy who was six years older than me and had his life together genuinely wanted to be with me because of who I was was crazy to me.  I slowly started trusting him.  It took him a couple of years to win my trust and I have no idea how he was so patient with me.

I look back all these years later, at where we are now and I am truly amazed at how far we have come as a couple- how far I have come individually.  It makes me grateful that he stood by my side that whole time and let me figure life out.  That he stepped in when I truly needed it but other times let me figure it out even if it took me the long way to get there.