10 Years Ago

10 years ago today I was not dating a boy because my parents weren’t totally on board with it. About 6 months prior I had approached them and asked to go out for ice cream with a young man who happened to be 3 years and 7 months older than me (which is a big deal when you’re 16). They’d said yes to ice cream, but no to having a boyfriend.

So 10 years ago today, I still didn’t have a boyfriend- but then October 21st happened. After half a year of going on afternoon dates, getting to know my parents, and proving his overall trustworthiness to both me and my parental units, my mom and dad gave in to the relationship. On October 21st, 2007 “Audrey and Kyle” became a thing.

I’ve written about our relationship a dozen times, but for me it never gets old.

I’ve now spent a decade hanging out with my favorite person.

Through brown hair, red hair, orange hair, near-black hair, and blonde hair, we’ve been a thing.

Through lost-and-found cats, adopted dogs, rescued kittens, and elderly pets, we’ve been a thing.

Through high school dances and college presentations, graduation ceremonies and musical performances, we’ve been a thing.

Through new jobs, resignation letters, lay offs, and exciting business ventures, we’ve been a thing.

Through open bedroom doors, shared college apartments, tiny first-home duplexes, and two houses, we’ve been a thing.

Through cross-country travel, out of town jobs, study abroad, and family vacations, we’ve been a thing.

Through new friendships, lost relationships, weddings, births, divorces, and deaths, we’ve been a strong and united thing.

Through the good and bad, sick and healthy days, heartbreak and triumph, we’ve been a thing.

I can’t imagine life without Kyle; I haven’t had to for the last 10 years. Every prayer I send up at the end of the day has a special sentence in there thanking God for the person I sleep next to each night. We’re not perfect and we squabble, but I’d like to reserve my spot next to that guy for the next forty decades.

Happy Original Anniversary, babe. Thanks for loving me ❤︎

-A

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Chats with K on my B-day

(Did you notice my title rhymed?? All these chats didn’t happen today…)
In honor of my birthday (today!) I’m sharing a collection of conversations with my husband, otherwise known as ‘Chats with K.’ We’ve got some good ones today.

I needed a sound system setup for a wedding shower…
K: Do you want to use these speakers? I have two of them and a sub woofer in my office.
Me, walking into his office: What do they look like?
K: Um. One fell over right here. One fell on the floor under my desk. And the sub woofer is… uh.. I think it might be.. no…. I think it’s in this pile.
Me: Your office is quite the mysterious place, dear.

Still talking about speakers…
K: I’d like to get another Sonus or two for the new house but they’re expensive.
Me: I wish it was possible to read all the books in the world.
K: …I think we’re on two different strings of thought right now.

While walking down the NUT aisle at the grocery store…
K: Look at that big jar of nuts! I just want to stick my face in it!
Me: …you want to bury your face in those nuts?
K: I do.

I leaned in to give him a kiss for the first time that day…
K: Your breath smells like a trash panda.

K: You’re 26 going on 27. I’m going to need you to realize this and stop saying “ghosted” and “chill as f*ck.”
Me: I’m a millennial. I use millennial phrases. You’re a millennial, too.
K: No. I’m a baby boomer at heart.

In the same breath…
Me, while scrolling through thehomeedit: These pictures are giving me serious goals. I mean… not to sound like a millennial or anything.
K: Ha. Most millennials don’t have goals so I’d say you’re doing great.
(Here I reminded him, for the 14 millionth time, he’s a millennial.)

Me: Do you know how I know I’m getting sick?
K: Because you’re blowing your nose constantly?
Me: …well, I guess. But also because I’m so hungry.
K: Oh. Well of course.

K: It sucks that my appointment doesn’t start at the same time as yours.
Me: Yeah.
K: I’m just going to be sitting around, biting my tongue.
Me: …bidding your time?
K: No, biting my tongue. I just bite it. Damn it. That’s a day-ruiner.

Me: Did you hear Hugh Hefner died?
K: Yeah. He’s probably the only person that people don’t say, “Well he’s in a better place now” about.


When I turned 25 I flipped my lid but 27 doesn’t seem bad at all. Last weekend we spent our time celebrating our friends at their wedding and next weekend we’ll be burning calories moving all the remaining stuff into the new house. This birthday is truly sandwiched by incredible events and the most wonderful people. I feel very fortunate and happy today 🙂

What I’ll Miss…

Guys. It’s done. Last week we signed the papers & sold our house. (That sigh of relief you heard was me- there’s no one in your house or office. It was just that loud.) I am so happy!

Thank you, Jesus. Seriously. I’ve been praying hard for months.

While I know the new inhabitants will love it, there were aspects of our old house (that’s weird to say) that didn’t work for us. At times we didn’t jive with our neighbors on either side, the yard was tiny for two dogs (+ future kids), the street was a little busy, and our three cars didn’t fit well in the one-car garage. Also, if I never hear the term “flood insurance” again it’ll be too soon. But to be honest, I sure did love our house.

These are the things I’ll miss most about her…

The fireplace
Our new home doesn’t have a fireplace and I’m not really ok with that *sigh*. I will miss my mantle so much, especially around Christmas time! (This pic is post-packing… that’s why it’s so bare!)

The walk-up attic
Our attic was the length of the house and fully accessible. I’m going to miss all that storage. It was such a cool feature. During home tours I’d always show off the attic.

The proximity
We live in a fairly small town and we’re staying in this town, but we’re going from two blocks off the town square to a smaller neighborhood east of “downtown.” I won’t miss the noise or the lights, but it was sort of nice to be in the heart of it all.


I promise to share pictures and details once we’re settled in, but for now you need to know this:

WE HAVE A CREEK IN THE BACKYARD.

Also, there’s a laundry chute.

Guys! My very own creek! And it’s a part of the creek I played in as a kid! We’re moving to the neighborhood I grew up in. The field our house is built on was where I played capture-the-flag at my 13th birthday party. Be still, my nostalgic heart.

I wanted to take & post a picture but it’s been raining and dreary all weekend/week.

I’m still sore and exhausted and we’re currently living among boxes, but it’s almost over 😉

So who wants to come play in my new creek next summer? And what do y’all know about putting in a fireplace…? Lol

What I Read… vol. 10

Again we find ourselves at the second Tuesday of the month! That means I’m linking up with Steph & Jana for Show Us Your Books!

What_I_Read_blog

I struggle with the review image that I post each month… I hate how it looks but I haven’t found an alternative yet. Maybe by next month I’ll have something new:

Between moving and cleaning and life I only read and finished one book. And I hate it. Oh well- can’t win ’em all.

The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides | ★★/5
Summary: In less than one year’s time the five Lisbon sister end their lives. The neighborhood boys watch with fascination, admiration, and confusion as the girls mourn, heal, call for help, and eventually die. | Why I Read It: Somewhere along the line this book ended up on my TBR list so I used it for the challenge. | What I Thought: I’ve read my fair share of depressing YA fiction. This book just didn’t do anything for me. While I truly believe Eugenides is a skilled writer, I was bored and unattached through (almost) the entire thing. Right around the 200 pg mark I started to get into it, but then he lost me again. The story is interesting in that the neighborhood boys piece together what happened to their female neighbors, but there was so much blah to it. Just not my thing at all.
You should read it because… you’re looking for a long retelling about the breakdown and destruction of five frustrated teenage girls. Honestly, just don’t read it.

 

Update on Erin’s Book Challenge

|5 points| Freebie: And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
|10 points| Starts w/ “B”: The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
|10 points| Yellow cover: Circling the Sun by Paula McLain
|15 points| An animal on the cover: Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
|20 points| Published in 2017: The Essence of Malice by Ashley Weaver
|20 points| Compass/cardinal direction in title: West With the Night by Beryl Markham
|25 points| A most commonly banned book in America: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
|30 points| About mental illness: The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
|30 points| Non-human main character: The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
|35 points| A Disney movie /book/ based on a Disney movie: The Moonspinners by Mary Stewart

Coming in hot with 135 points.

What’d you read this month? 🙂

Live Loudly.

I posted this on FB Monday but I wanted to share it here, too.

Monday morning I woke up to news of the tragedy in Las Vegas & all I could honestly think was, ‘Goddamn it.’ It’s the same reaction I had after the theater shooting during the Batman release in 2012. My brother was at the midnight premier in a different state, but he could’ve been at the target theater. I attend so many concerts- I could’ve been in that courtyard in Vegas. Any one could’ve been there- so many people were there. GODDAMN IT, why can’t we just live?

I get so mad when this stuff happens. Then I stumble across pictures and descriptions of those who lost their lives and my anger morphs to devastation. When I learned about the folks that died in the Pulse Night Club shooting I felt so broken. The stories of lost friends pushing their surviving friends into a safe closet or boyfriends pulling their girlfriends to safety while taking a fatal bullet to the back. It just sucks so so much. And there’s absolutely no explanation for our logic-seeking broken hearts.

What the hell can we do about it?

Without launching into a gun control debate or mental health talk or terrorist rant, I feel like the very best thing we can do is live. Go to the movies, rock out at the concerts, board the plane and travel the world. It’s all you can do.

At the risk of sounding morbid and unsympathetic (which I’m not ❤︎), we’re all going to die. It’s 100% guaranteed. And while it makes me so mad when someone’s life is snuffed out unexpectedly or violently, we’re all guaranteed to lose our lives one way or another. I’ll be damned if someone steals the joy of living away from me with fear and terror.

I’m a Christian and I honestly believe that once we’re done here, if we’ve lived a life of love and compassion and kindness, we go to Heaven. And Heaven doesn’t have mass shootings. I’m praying that my version of Heaven has a boat-load of dogs. But I can 100% guarantee that there are NO mass shootings in Heaven.

But I’m not there yet and, if you’re reading this, neither are you. We’re here and “here” could use a whole bunch of fearless, life-loving people to alter its current state. Be sad and grieve the loss of lives in Las Vegas and Puerto Rico and Mexico and other sites of tragedy, but don’t be discouraged. Don’t give in to fear. Don’t let hate and violence and sadness corner you into a dark space. Grab your closest friend’s hand, tell them you love them, and turn on some music. Drop off some kibble at a local shelter or bake some cookies for your local police department. Volunteer at the soup kitchen or donate some coats and blankets to a shelter. We can’t always do anything about the bad, but we can ALWAYS add more good.

You are important and your life matters and you have the ability to affect many- don’t let anyone make you feel any differently. We’re all going to die; we don’t get a choice. You 100% get to choose how you live, though.

My heart is broken for the friends and family of those who were killed in Las Vegas. It’s really not fair and so frustrating. Please live loudly, friends. We only have one go at this ❤︎

Guest Post from Finding Ithaka: Marriage in the Military

Hi, readers of Life as Louise! My name is Carolann, and I blog over at Finding Ithaka.

I’m a writer and military spouse living in Hawaii. My husband, Nick, is a submarine officer. He’s had a lot of different jobs over the years, but he’s currently working on a submarine. The past year has been really hard because he has been gone a lot getting the boat ready for deployment.

My blog is named after a poem called “Ithaka,” (http://www.cavafy.com/poems/content.asp?id=74&cat=1), which is about enjoying the journey in life instead of just focusing on the destination. I think that is great advice for anyone in life, but especially for military spouses, because the destination changes so much.

A few months ago, Audrey emailed me with an idea for a blog collaboration. She said one thing she noticed from reading my blog was how similar she and I are, but how different our marriages are. She works with her husband, and they spend a lot of time together. Over the past year, I have barely seen my husband.

So. how do you make your marriage work when you see each other all of the time? Do you drive each other crazy? And, how do you make it work when you barely see each other? We interviewed each other to find out! Read my answers below and then hop over to my blog (findingithaka.com) to see what she has to say!

1. How do you celebrate big days or holidays? Do you plan it around Nick being home or do you celebrate with friends/family/on your own?

If Nick is not around, I usually end up celebrating holidays and birthdays twice, which is not a bad deal! Because I live near many other military spouses, we all make sure that we have someone to celebrate our birthdays and even our wedding anniversaries with. No one will be alone on a special day.

But Nick and I always make up for the holidays when we are together. We’ve been known to celebrate holidays months after they have happened.

Even though I have been doing this for a long time, this year, it was surprisingly hard for me to be without Nick on our wedding anniversary.

Since we spend so much time apart and I don’t spend a lot of money when he’s gone, we tend to go big with celebrations whenever we are able. I am planning a big trip to another island for us so we can celebrate our anniversary, which I am excited about.

2. How do you handle big decisions when Nick is out to sea? How do you handle life-changing decisions together (i.e., moving across the country)?

Submarine officers change jobs every 2-3 years. They go back and forth between working on a submarine and shore tour. During a shore tour, they usually work in an office job that supports submarines in some way. Shore tours are great because they usually are home every night.

So, every 2-3 years, a big list of jobs comes out. Nick then has to rank the jobs by location and job. He talks to the detailer about what is more important to him – being in a specific location or having a certain type of job. While they ultimately send them wherever they need, I believe that they take your preferences into consideration.

You have to make a big list of what you want and explain your preferences. We always make the list of preferences together. He wouldn’t ask to go somewhere that I don’t want to go.

While I wasn’t sold on coming back to Hawaii for this tour, I knew that Nick wanted a specific job on a specific type of submarine here. I knew that if we were going to dedicate our lives to the military, I wanted Nick to enjoy what he was doing. So Hawaii here we are, and I am really glad we are here.

As far as smaller decisions go, those are harder when Nick is out to sea.

Communication with submarines is virtually nonexistent. We can send emails, but they take forever to get through. They also are screened, and we are not allowed to discuss dates. I can’t say something like, “when you come home for Christmas….”

I can’t ask him what he thinks I should do about our car or a problem I’m having with our landlord, because by the time he gets the email, responds to it, and I get his email, I will already have made a decision.

So, Nick and I have an agreement that whatever I decide to do while he is away, he will support that decision. Even if he would not have made the same decision. I mean, we’ve been together for ten years now, so I usually know what he would say, and we are usually on the same page anyway.

I fully believe that military life as a married couple is s a team effort. Each of us plays a different role. Part of that team effort is Nick giving me the freedom to do what I need to do while he’s gone. I never worry about what Nick will say because I know he supports me 100%, just like I support him.

3. What does dreaming about the future look like for you and Nick? Kyle and I dream about our professional and personal future at the same time, but I’m sure you guys are in for some big changes when one of you (specifically Nick) has a large career shift. Do you take it one year at a time or have you found ways to plan further out in the future? 

Nick and I were just talking about this! We like to dream about the long-term future after Nick gets out of the military. He has 14 years under his belt, so it’s not too much longer until he reaches 20 and can retire.

Anything before that is too hard to predict because we have no idea what jobs are going to be available for Nick or where we are going to live.

When I was younger, I dreamed of getting a Ph.D. in English and working as a professor.  But there is no way I can do that while I am always moving around. Maybe I will go back to school one day, but my dreams have changed.

Now, I dream of writing a memoir about my life as a military spouse after Nick retires. My professional goals have shifted, but I learned that have that having a solid family life is more important to me than a big career. I want to be home with Nick when he is home. I want to spend time with my family. I don’t want a corner office.

Nick dreams of going to culinary school. We want to write a cookbook together.

But mostly, we dream about settling down somewhere quiet with a dog and a couple of kids, never moving again, spending our weekends hanging out with our family and going on adventures. I’ll write my book while Nick makes us dinner.

I think that all of the time we have spent apart from each other and our families has shifted our priorities. Our priorities are not about our careers, but about what we want out of our life.

4. When you’re together, how do you and your husband intentionally spend quality time with one another? 

Our favorite thing to do is cook dinner together, drink some wine, and hang out on the couch. We bond over food and cooking together. Before Nick was in the military, he worked as a cook, and he has always loved cooking.

We also love to travel! Since I save a lot of money when Nick is gone, we like to put that extra money towards taking big trips together. That uninterrupted time together has been so important for us to reconnect. We like to do the same things when we travel – eat, hike, and explore – so those are always really great times for us.

I am on my phone all of the time, but I try not to be on my phone when Nick and I are together. The less time you have together, the more precious that time becomes. I do think that this life has made us appreciate each other in ways we would never have otherwise.

5. What are your favorite qualities about your husband and how do those qualities contribute to your unique relationship?

They say that opposites attract. That has never been truer for a couple than it is for Nick and me. But this is what makes him so interesting to me, what keeps us talking all night long. Where I lack, he is strong, and where he lacks, I am strong.

Nick never gets angry, and he has so much patience. His calm, laid-back attitude is a really good balance for me because I have a lot of anxiety. He’s good at helping me calm down.

I love Nick’s spontaneity, the way he thrives on trying new things and lives his life to the fullest. I love that he is always up for anything. I love his strength, his unique way of looking at the world, and his deep insight. I have never met anyone like him. All of these qualities, I think, are key to thriving in the military. I think he does a pretty good job managing his work/life balance and not bringing work home with him – which helps our marraige a lot.

Nick is incredibly selfless, and he never takes the easy way out. He has sacrificed so much, volunteering for the toughest, most time-consuming responsibilities on the submarine that no one else wants, and taking the time to help anyone on his crew who needs him. Knowing that he puts everything he has into his job has made it easier for me to sacrifice my career to support him.

6. What’s the best marriage advice you can offer? What’s the worst marriage advice you’ve ever been given?

I think that simply being nice to each other and trying to understand where the other person is coming from is the key to our marriage. Even though we are married, we have such different lives. We have to try to find ways to understand what the other person is going through and what they need, even though we never really can.

He has no idea what it’s like for me to be constantly trying to reinvent my career and editing my resume. I have no idea what it’s like to work 100 hours a week on a submarine. Nick can’t even tell me about what he does at work. So we have to try to give each other the benefit of the doubt and do our best to help each other whenever we can.

Another thing is that since Nick works such long hours, I do all of the cleaning, errands, and running around. He cooks. That division of labor has also made it easier since we know exactly who is responsible for what.

The worst marriage came to me at my bridal shower from some of my older relatives. They all said, “never go to bed angry,” which I don’t agree with at all. Not all arguments can be solved in a few hours. Sometimes it’s best to go to bed and think about things and wake up refreshed the next moving.  Weirdly, a lot of other advice I got at my shower involved ways to make my husband think he was in charge while I am really the one in charge. I think that marriage is a team, not a game where you are trying to outsmart each other.

Now go visit Carolann’s page to see what I said about my marriage! And thank you to Carolann for collaborating with me and writing this wonderful post!!

Fall Film 2017 Update #1

Since I’m almost through the first month of Jenn’s Fall Film Challenge I wanted to share an update/movie review. I believe someone is doing a link-up for these updates, but I’ll amend this sentence when I figure out who/where it is… lol.

So this month I checked 8 movies off my list.

Sing | PG | 2016 | 108 minutes | IMDB
Summary: In order to save his beloved theater, a goodhearted but floundering koala puts together a musical competition, sure to bring in crowds and money. He assembles a cast of talented but distracted performers and does his very best to make his (and their) dreams come true. This movie has an all-star cast (…er, voices).
To see or not to see… If you have children or you enjoy animated kids movies, yes. This is an adorable, uplifting little film.
7★★★★★★★/10
*a movie about hope

The Founder | PG-13 | 2016 | 115 minutes | IMDB
Summary: A dramatic biography that details Ray Kroc’s discovery and building of the McDonald’s corporation. Spoiler alert: Ray is NOT a nice guy. The original McDonalds brothers didn’t imagine or want the franchise as large as it is today… but Kroc had other ideas.
To see or not to see… Unless you love McDonald’s or you have an interest in shady business men, you can skip this depressing film.
3★★★/10
*a movie about greed

Best in Show | PG-13 | 2000 | 90 minutes | IMDB
Summary: A mockumentary that follows five (I think) dog owners in their quest to becoming the Mayflower Kennel Club Dog Show Best in Show winner. Sadly, though it be a mockumentary, I fear that I am one of these crazy dog-obsessed people. Ha.
To see or not to see… If you love dogs this is probably a good one for you. Be ready for weird humor and a Modern Family/The Office kind of characters and filming.
5★★★★★/10
*a movie about pride

Coraline | PG | 2009 | 100 minutes | IMDB
Summary: Based on Neil Gaiman’s book, this story follows Coraline Jones as she navigates her new home. When her parents don’t have the time for her, Coraline discovers she has another mother just on the other side of the wall. It’s almost too late before she discovers everything she thought she wanted isn’t everything it seems.
To see or not to see… This movie was actually quite creepy for being a kids film. Still, I thought it was enjoyable enough. A perfect fall or Halloween movie without any gore or horror.
6★★★★★★/10
*a movie about temperance

Alice Through the Looking Glass | PG | 2016 | 113 minutes | IMDB
Summary: Finally the savvy and confident captain of her own destiny, Alice returns to England to find that her freedom isn’t celebrated by everyone. At the same time, in Wonderland, Hatter is fading fast and it doesn’t appear Time is on his side. Alice must confront Time in order to save her future and recover Hatter’s past.
To see or not to see… Don’t bother. I think it had potential and there were some chuckle-worthy moments, but this film was dumb and poorly made.
3★★★/10
*a movie starring Alan Rickman

The Magnificent Seven | PG-13 | 2016 | 132 minutes | IMDB
Summary: A remake of the 1960s classic, this film throws together a band of murderous but good misfits as they assemble to save a town from a malicious and violent capitalist. A film that confirms Chris Pratt can play any role and be brilliant.
To see or not to see… Despite my distaste for violence, I loved this movie. (I also love the original.) I’m ok with the generic guns are fired/people fall over scenes, and that was a large part of this movie. Sometimes the characters are a little tough to understand, but this film does the original justice in my opinion. I’m a sucker for westerns.
8★★★★★★★★/10
*a movie released last year & reviewed here

Mr. Holmes | PG | 2015 | 104 minutes | IMDB
Summary: Aging, irritable, and increasingly amnesic, the 93 year old Sherlock Holmes returns to his countryside cottage hideaway after a short trip to Japan. Haunted by an unsolved cased, Holmes cautiously welcomes the investigative skills and friendly companionship of his underappreciated and widowed housekeeper’s son, Milo.
To see or not to see… It was a slow moving, sad but sweet, beautifully directed English movie. If that’s your kind of thing, then yes. I don’t have anything bad to say about the film except seeing stars like Ian McKellen age is incredibly disheartening. (Although he’s still 110% brilliant!)
6★★★★★★/10
*a movie starring Ian McKellen

Iron Man | PG-13 | 2008 | 126 minutes | IMDB
Summary: After escaping captivity in an Middle East terrorist camp, genius weapons tycoon Tony Stark feels compelled to change his tune and invent a new “weapon” to save the world from evil.
To see or not to see… This movie was a little darker than I expected. Also, I felt like Pepper could’ve been a stronger character but they were probably basing her off the comics. The villain was certainly hate-able. But I digress… Yes, this is a movie worth watching. Especially since RDJ got jacked for this movie. It’s not not enjoyable to watch…
7★★★★★★★/10
*a movie starring Robert Downey, Jr.


|one| starring Anthony Hopkins: Thor
|two| listed on nathan bransford’s best hundred movies challengeThe Big Lebowski
|three| about charity: It’s Kind of a Funny Story
|four| starring Robert Downey, Jr.: Iron Man
|five| about envy: As Good As It Gets
|six| about faith: War Room
|seven| about greed: The Founder
|eight| about hope: Sing
|nine| starring Jeremy Irons: Casanova
|ten| about justice: 12 Angry Men
|eleven| starring Kevin Bacon: Crazy, Stupid, Love.
|twelve| about lust: The Virgin Suicides
|thirteen| starring Ian McKellen: Mr. Holmes
|fourteen| set in a castle: Gosford Park
|fifteen| about fortitude: Les Miserable
|sixteen| about pride: Best in Show
|seventeen| starring Alan Rickman: Alice Through the Looking Glass
|eighteen| released last year & reviewed hereThe Magnificent Seven
|nineteen| about temperance: Coraline
|twenty| about prudence: Driving Miss Daisy
|twenty-one| starring Val Kilmer: At First Sight
|twenty-two| about wrath: X-Men: Apocalypse
|twenty-three| set in an exotic locale: The Darjeeling Limited
|twenty-four| about gluttony: The Bling Ring
|twenty-five| set in space: Star Trek Beyond

 

I usually can’t sit and watch a movie but summer was so crazy that I welcomed the relaxation. Also, much of our house is packed up so I really only have access to Netflix and my library books. Not mad about it.

Did you watch any fun movies this month? Have you seen the new Magnificent Seven?