THIRTY YEARS OLD

On Sunday my favorite human is turning 30 years old. THIRTY YEARS OLD. I met him when he was 18. That blows my mind.

Once again I was going to share the details of our Texas trip on here today. But then I decided I should write something about Kyle. But I don’t really know what to say…

I often mention K on this blog so there’s not much I haven’t said. (This birthday post is one of my favorites.) Today I’m making him answer some questions in honor of his birthday. Spoiler alert: He dodged most of them.

We’ll start with the hardest question: Peach pie or yellow cake with chocolate frosting?
It depends. Just a generic pie and cake, the yellow cake with chocolate frosting. If it’s your grandma’s peach pie, I’d pick that.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned in the last 30 years?
That’s too deep.
Answer it.
What the hell. (He’s technically not being a smartass… A few weeks ago we realized that we live our lives in a very “what the hell” kind of way. I’ll blog about that some other day. Essential when an opportunity presents itself we say “what the hell” and go for it.)

What age has been your favorite?
My favorite pizza is JNG.
That’s not an acceptable answer.
It IS an acceptable answer. That’s not an acceptable question.

If you didn’t play drums what instrument would you play?
Probably nothing.
You’re so boring.
I didn’t ask you to ask me these…

Who would play you in a movie about your life?
Enzo.
That’s not an answer.
I don’t knooooow. I’m not a casting agent… I guess, with my language, Samuel L. Jackson.

Advice for a 20 year old?
Drop out of school and start a business.
That’s not good advice, dear.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I don’t know.
You could at least be nice and say with me.
Well, yeah. Duh.

circa 2010

Annnnnnnd there you have it. *eyeroll*

So happy birthday, Boo. I can’t wait to see what this decade brings. You can accomplish anything ❤︎ I love you.

                                          – A

Comparing Apples to Orange to Instagram

I don’t discuss my full time job here very often (ever? ) but I work for an appraisal company. A large part of my day is spent comparing commercial properties to one another (or comparing markets or construction quality or amenities…). All day long I make comparisons- it’s second nature now.

In valuing property, comparisons are necessary. That’s 100% the opposite when it comes to valuing our lives- comparing ourselves to one another is so dangerous and toxic. I think all bloggers tackle this problem in a post at some point, but just recently I witnessed individual friends get down on themselves after making comparisons. That led to a self-evaluation where I realized that I tend to put pressure on myself, my marriage, my relationships, and even my dogs after comparing myself/us/them to someone else.

We all do it. I have mommy friends that compare themselves to other moms (or compare their child’s development to other children). I have friends in the dating pool that compare themselves to other people who are dating or recently engaged. I have married friends that ask K and I  about our relationship and then compare us to their life. I’m sure that parents of adult-children compare their lives to other older parents (i.e. how often their kids come around, whether or not they’re grandparents, how close they are to retirement). There’s no age restriction on comparing- we all do it.

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I enjoy social media, but we know those perfect snapshot moments don’t help. Engagements, pregnancy announcements, new houses- they makes us wonder if we’re where we should be in life. Tropical vacations, perfectly cooked dinners, beautifully lit trees and steaming cups of tea- we wonder how others manage to have it all and what we should be doing differently to achieve it, too.

A few days ago I talked a friend off a proverbial ledge. She’d had a great day and was feeling good, but then she looked around and started second guessing what was happening to her in comparison to others. We both came to the conclusion that these ‘harmless’ comparisons were making her dangerously unhappy. It’s ok to want what we want and it’s ok to look to others as examples, but we can’t idolize other relationships or careers or lives. First of all, we’re all different and things never work out the same way for one as they do another. Secondly, we don’t actually know how glamorous (or tragic) someone’s life is. And, regardless, it doesn’t matter- you have your life and there’s no Freaky Friday fortune cookie that going to swap it with another person.

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I am happy with who I am and the life I live and the place I’m at- but I still fall victim to comparison more often than I’d like to admit. I glance across the aisle and see how someone else is doing on their wife test or employee test or friend test. I try to put myself on a grading scale. How am I doing as a daughter? friend? dog owner? Well clearly not as good as so-and-so… just look at those Instagram pictures!

It sucks. And we all do it. And we need to remind one another (gently) to stop. So here’s your reminder today.

Your house is cozy and comfy, even with the cat hair tucked in the corner of the steps. Your tree is just the right size and sparkle for you. People love you for the person you are- they’re not comparing you to anyone so why are you?

Pass the message along and remind someone else that we don’t live in a venn diagram. Pat yourself on the back and then pat someone else’s back. Go after the things you want, not the things you think you’re supposed to want. The people around you are very happy with who you are- you should be, too  🙂

You do you, boo.

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Fictional Love: #LoveBlog Link-Up

I couldn’t resist linking up with Brita for her February #LoveBlog Prompt today! Brita’s introductory post explains the link-up and today’s topic happens to be Fictional Love. Straight from Brita’s blog:

“Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character? What TV couple is most like you and your significant other?”

Obviously I couldn’t pass this one up, but when I asked K what fictional couple resembled us he was absolutely no help… (So if you disagree with my answers, dear, it’s your own fault…)

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I wanted to be all classy and refined and pick a literary couple- maybe an Austen “ship”, as the kids say these days.

Side note… I heard my 14 year old cousin utter this phrase on Sunday: “Hey Sarah, Amy totally shipped you and Henry together.” (Names were changed.) When asked about her verbiage, I was told that “shipped” is when you romantically link two people together, even if (or especially if) they’re not an item. I don’t know. Kids are weird.

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Ok… back to my fictional focus. In the end, I chose two TV couples.

First of all, I see a little bit of Jim and Pam (The Office) in us. We have a vast arsenal of inside jokes and I’m so attracted to my husband’s wit and humor.

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But more than that, I think we’re kind of similar to Booth & Brennan (thus all the Bones gifs). Funny enough, I think that K is more like Temperance and I am more like Seeley. K is rational and less emotional than I am. He’s guided by thoughts verses emotions. (Hellllooooo, personality results!) I’m like Booth- we’re spiritual, hotheaded, and we feel things very deeply.

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I’ll keep up my search for a couple that mirrors us 100% (or even 90%). I made the last minute decision to go with this topic so my brainstorming session was limited.

Now this question had two parts so let’s explore that thing about fictional crushes…

  • George Weasley will always be one of my first loves. (“Fred” is my brother’s name, so I chose George.)
  • Young Magneto from X-Men. (Or maybe just Michael Fassbender….)
  • Jim’s humor. (The Office)
  • Josh Lyman’s brain and wit. (The West Wing)
  • Aladdin was my very first love. I wanted to marry him. My stuffed bear from childhood (that I still own….) is named Aladdin after my very first love.

But if Kyle was a fictional character he would hands-down be my favorite. Smart, funny, witty, intelligent, attractively arrogant, perfect nose, stylish, musically inclined… I mean, what’s not to love?

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Kyle looks pretty damn good in a suit, too… But this isn’t him… Obviously.

Did you have a fictional “first crush”? (Or a fictional current crush!?) What couple or friendship do you and your significant other or best friend embody??

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LoveBlog with Belle Brita

My Passions | Blog-tember Day 4

*Happy Friday!*

I was a little hesitant to commit to the fabulous Blog-tember Challenge (hosted by Bailey Jean), but with the encouragement of Stephanie I’ve decided to approach it like an a la carte challenge and participate on the days that I don’t have anything concocted.
…like today!

Friday, September 4: What are you passionate about?

Easy enough prompt, yes? I am passionate about:

  • animals
    Hands down, my deepest worldly passion runs about on four legs (sometimes less) and barks, growls, meows, grunts, and moos. Honestly, I could do a month’s worth of posts dedicate to animal rights and behaviors and welfare and cruelty… but I’ll save it. I use cruelty-free products, brake for squirrels, help lost pets find their way home, and share a bed with two cold noses (and a human one). My career goal is totally focused around animals and someday I hope to be saving lots of lives!
  • fall
    I hate wishing the days away, but I can’t wait for the leaves to turn and the temperature to drop. I love October (and my birthday!) and the fall weather and fall foods and marching band and leaves and hot drinks and scarves and boots and clouds and everything fall. It makes me incredibly happy and every year I look forward to the changing seasons!
  • my relationships
    I know that I drive my husband crazy because I’m constantly observing. I observe myself, him, our relationship, other people, past interactions… EVERYTHING. But it makes me a more conscious human. Sometimes I lay in bed and watch our dogs sleep or listen to K breathe. Sometimes I sit quietly in the living room and take in the wall color and the fireplace and the bookshelves, and I feel so grateful to share this blessed life with my husband and our friends and our family.
  • reading, writing, and scrapbooking
    I love to learn and create and savor memories (captured in pictures). These three things are my hobbies and I feel so refreshed when I can dedicate time to each activity.

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There are things I wish I was passionate about/hope to be passionate about, too! These include yoga, cooking, and being a mom someday. I think I’ll work on yoga first… HA!

What are you passionate about?

-Louise

Brave Love Blog

My Full Heart

Two years ago at this time (10pm) I was freshly married and dancing amongst our fabulous wedding guests. I had no idea where I’d be two year later. I definitely can’t complain.

Right now I’m camped out on our couch, snacking on a delicious yellow cake (with chocolate frosting) baked fresh by my wonderful mother-in-law. I’m watching Once Upon a Time in hopes of catching up by next Sunday, and I’m hearing my two beautiful pups chomping on bones. Funny enough, Kyle just walked through the backdoor after a half-day of work. I don’t know if my heart could be happier right now.

On Saturday K and I left for Niagara Falls (Canada side) and we returned home this afternoon around 1. We were met at the door with wagging tails and puppy kisses. It was a short trip, but a perfect one. This evening I rode with my mom to a neighboring city and spent some time perusing Target and getting dinner with her. It’s been a wonderful day.

My heart is so happy and grateful and full and excited to start Year #3.

-Louise

Grateful Heart w/ Ember Grey

Good Advice – Bad Advice: Marriage Edition

We have almost been married for two years (& together for 8!). This weekend I found myself taking advice that I’d been given at a bridal shower. This inspired me to revisit some of the advice I’d received and compare it to my marital experience thus far.

Advice

|1| Don’t Go to Bed Angry.
I think 85% of my guests gave us this advice. This is probably different for every couple, but sometimes we go to bed angry because we just need to sleep on it. K does this a lot and, though it used to drive me crazy, I know he just needs a break from the tension and he’ll be ready to accept my apology/apologize/just drop it in the morning.

|2| A King Size Bed Makes for a Happy Marriage.
This is the piece of advice K and I put into action this weekend! We are now proud owners of a fabulous king size bed and I am never going back! Of course, there are two dogs that still choose to lay across my legs, but at least we’re less crowded. K and I aren’t the snuggling type so we definitely appreciate some personal space.

|3| The First Year is the Hardest.
Some people said the first year with kids is the hardest, but I can’t attest to that. My guess is that the first year with kids is the most challenging because Year 1 was great! We struggled and learned how to live together and how to budget, but it was an incredible year! We took a honeymoon, bought a house, adopted a puppy! Every year is going to have its set of challenges, but Year 1 and 2 have been mostly enjoyable!

|4| Share Hobbies That You Both Enjoy.
For us, this depends on the hobby. Professionally, K and I don’t work well together. If one of us is “the boss” then the other is the defiant employee. Actually, I just hate being told what to do. We could build a birdhouse together, but I would have to be in charge (even though K would be the one that knows what to do). Call it a personal flaw… haha.

|5| Divide Up the Chores/Bills/Responsibilities Evenly.
This is probably good advice, but we don’t abide by it. Since K has been working on his business I take on a lot of the household and payment responsibilities. It works for us right now and someday, when the business runs like clockwork, we’ll re-divide and work it out.

What relationship/marital advice have you been given? Did you follow that advice? What would your advice be for a new couple?

-Louise

Promises to My “Adult” Best Friends

First and foremost, best friends are awesome. Some lucky folks have had their best friends for decades and some people find their (friendship) soul mates later in life. It doesn’t matter where you found them, it just matters that you get each other and you’d do anything for one another.

All the lists I read regarding best friends and being loyal include things like:

– I will tell you when he is bad idea
– I will hold your hair back in the basement of any fraternity
– I will help you study until 3am in the lonely library

These are awesome friendship qualities when you’re getting through college or thoroughly “enjoying” your twenties, but what about your adult BFF?

Here’s my adult edition…

1. I promise to always answer your text/call/email/Facebook comment…eventually
I might not get to it until I clock out. I might have passed out at 8:30pm and I’ll reply at 6am as I start the shower. It may take 2 days, but I will respond.

2. I promise to make time for Girls’ Night
We might have to reschedule if your kid gets sick or your husband has the night off, but we will meet and enjoy wine and binge on nachos and complain about husbands/boyfriends/people.

3. I will never judge your martial/relationship problems
Speaking of men… I will never ever judge your weird sex stories or commitment doubts. I WILL offer advice and let you know if I think you’re making a bad decision or I think you are in harm’s way… but I will only tell you these things because I love you and I want you to be happy in the end.

4. I will hate your ex with you
This is totally petty, but I will hate on your ex with you. I will ignore him in public and shoot him the same dirty looks I perfected in the halls of high school. Additionally, I will hate on your significant other’s ex with you because sometimes you just need to hate on someone.

5. I will always pass on “good things” to you
If I read a good book or make a good dinner or stumble upon a good blog I promise to pass it on to you.

6. I will go with you
This is an important one- Of course I will go shopping with you or to the movies, but I will also come with you to an exercise class or awkward family function or scary doctor appointment. All you have to do is ask and we can down a bottle of wine and face it together.

7. I will harass you
Thinking about getting a dog from a breeder? I will harass you so much about not adopting. Did you cry for no reason on New Years Eve when the ball dropped? Yep, you’re never living that down. I am harassing you because I love you (and I expect to get it back) and I know you can take it because you’re a tough cookie.

8. I will visit you and/or keep in touch- no matter where we end up
Technology makes it kind of easy, but I will also strive for face-to-face visits, too.

9. I will love your children
When we get to the point of having babies just know that I will always love your offspring. I will babysit for free, shower them with birthday gifts, and take them to the zoo. I love you and they are a part of you. I will never put your kid down or judge your baby names or scold you for formula feeding. I will offer advice but I will always respect your decisions.

10. When things get bad you can lean on me
As we age, so do those around us. When your spouse gets sick or your family members pass away I will be there for you to talk with or cry to. If divorce happens I will stand by your side and coach you through. If your child gets hurt I will do everything I can to help you. Good, bad, easy, hard- I’ll be there.

I have several friends in mind as I type and read over my list. How blessed I am to have friends that would return each and every promise ❤

 -Louise