Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Back to School!

It seems like five minutes ago, we were leaving Strong Rock for the summer and now, we are back to Pre-Planning. Clay is the Principal of the Academy and High School at Strong Rock Christian School and I am a teacher in the Elementary School there.

I never knew how much I would enjoy working with Clay until we moved to McDonough and started our new jobs. I have heard couples say, "We could never work together," but I honestly believe that I could spend 24/7 with Clay and we would be just fine. Here are 6 reasons I could spend all of my time with Clay and never get tired of it:

1. Clay keeps caffinated beverages and snacks in his office to keep me happy.

2. Clay is a morning person and I am a late person, so we compliment one another.

3. We have a secret phrase that means, "We will talk about that later"... just in case.

4. He's cute.
5. We learned early in our marriage that we cannot micro-manage one another.

6. He's cute.
Did I already mention that?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Why I Love Coming Home

At the beginning of the summer I said, "I just want to hang around the house and write for the next two months." Obviously, that did not happen! Somehow, Clay and I were out of town five of the eight weeks this summer. We went to Honduras, Orlando, Decatur and Washington DC.

Every trip was fabulous, but there is something about being home that makes me very happy. I am just sitting in my kitchen right now. The dishwasher is going. My dog is sleeping on the floor beside my chair. My To Do List is faithfully waiting for me to pay attention to it. I feel great! Here are some reasons why HOME is a great place to be.

1. I can be myself. I just seem to breathe easier in my house. There is a certain peacefulness at home that helps me to really relax, to soak in the day completely.

2. Chores give me time to think. As much as I complain about folding the laundry and vacuuming the carpet, these little household chores are actually calming. They give my brain time to wander (and wonder). It's a good thing, as Martha says.

3. Routines help me accomplish more. At home, I have my little routines for writing, cleaning, answering e-mail, and running errands. I used to think that I was such a free-thinker that I did not need routines, but actually, these little habits allow me to do my best work.

4. Shelby is at home. Of course, I hate to go anywhere without my golden retriever!

5. Cooking is nice, every now and then. Saturday night, Clay and I grilled hamburgers and sat on the porch to eat dinner. We both agreed that we missed our stove, grill, and microwave while we were gone.

6. I missed our things. I hope this doesn't sound too materialistic, but I start missing little things like my plants, artwork, and even the kitchen towels that my Mom gave me. It warms my heart to see them again.

7. Conversations are deeper here. When we are on the road, it's tough to have a conversation with my Grandmother because it's loud and I don't want to be an obnoxious cellphone user. It's not easy to chat with friends while driving in the car (especially since Clay says that I yell on the phone rather than talk on the phone). At home, I can be as loud and as honest as I need to be while catching up on phone calls.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Make the Most of Your Vacation

It's not the sand or the surf that make a vacation memorable. It's the time together that counts. How can you make sure that your get-away is everything you dreamed it would be?

Clay and I have taken two wonderful vacations lately: one to the mountains and one to the beach. Both were memorable, relaxing, and perfect for reconnection.

On the other hand, we have spent large sums of money traveling to more expensive resorts, eating more decadent foods and checking things off our "Lifetime To Do List", only to come back home tired and disconnected.

If more time and more money do not equal a more successful get-away, what are the secrets to a great vacation together? We have found that it's important to get on the same page before taking a trip. One person might be hoping to get rest while the other wants to see the sights. Knowing what your spouse needs is the first step to a harmonious trip.

Surprisingly, couples often do not communicate their expectations for holidays and breaks, so they can often experience disappointment. You have already spent money, taken time off work and invested a lot into this trip. Invest a few more minutes in good communication and it will pay off!

Questions to Ask Before Your Leave (or in the car, or at the airport)
- What are your expectations for this vacation?
- What is the most important thing you want to get out of this trip?
- Is there anything I can do to help you relax, unwind and feel a sense of peace?
- What sites do you hope to see, hear or taste?
- How much sleep do you plan to get?
- Will you need to work while we vacation? How much?
- Is there anything that could happen that could ruin this trip for you?

Remember...no one is RIGHT or WRONG about what they hope to gain from a vacation. Listen to what your spouse REALLY wants instead of assuming that you both have the same vision for your trip.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Playing Together

Clay and I only dated for nine month before we got engaged. I think part of the reason we fell in love so quickly was because we both had so much fun playing together. We played softball, basketball, flag football, Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit and more.

Even after nine years of marriage, we still love to play! We play Wii Sports and real sports. We run together, play tennis together and even compete in the Alphabet Game in the car.

When we moved to Lake Dow, I just knew that Clay and I would play golf together. I started going to the driving range and I played a few times. I still want to learn, but for now, I just enjoy riding in the cart.

Here are a few ways you and your spouse can play together, even if you don't share the same sporting interests:

1. Take up a new hobby together. When Clay and I moved to Marietta, neither of us had played tennis competatively. We had a blast learning together (until we lost a few matches and then we had to come up with a new set of marital rules).

2. Find a few board games that you can play with other couples. I recommend: Scene It, Taboo, Outburst, and Cranium.

3. Consider buying a Wii as an investment for everyone in the family.

4. Go to the gym together. That way, you can both run on the treadmill at your own pace.

5. Walk and hike up little mountains together. I miss our hikes at Kennesaw Mountain!

6. Train for a 5K, 10K or some other event as a couple. Even if you are running at different paces, you will most certainly bond through the experience of preparing for the big day.

7. Join a co-ed team at your local church or YMCA.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

6 Reasons I am Ready to Beat Clay in Tennis

Most of you know that I hate to lose. So, why do I continue to play my husband in tennis? Because sooner or later, I am going to win one. It didn't happen this week, though.

Clay and I are down in Orlando, celebrating our nine-year anniversary, so we have had plenty of time to hold hands and give kisses. Yesterday, we hung out at Discovery Cove, my new favorite place in the world, but after a day of swimming with the dolphins and overeating, we were both ready for some exercise.

We made a bet that whoever won the tennis match would get a massage. And yes, after two hours of tennis, I owed him a massage. It was humiliating. But after 24 hours of feeling sorry for myself, I am cheering up. I feel pretty confident that the next time we play, I will OWN HIM. This is why:

1. New Court: Although he has beaten me on concrete and clay, next time, we are playing on a grass court. That will throw him off completely.
2. New Shoes: My birthday is July 21st, so I am planning to buy some new tennis shoes that will give me the extra bounce I need.
3. Wimbledon Lessons: I have been carefully watching Roger Federer and I think I have gleened a few lessons that will keep Clay guessing.
4. Mom - My Mom has always told me that I can do anything and I believe her!
5. Tiger's Concentration - I recently read John Andrisani's book, Think Like Tiger, and even though he plays golf, he has adequately prepared me for the mental challenge of winning.
6. Strategy - I have a new secret strategy that I cannot share on the blog... even though Clay never reads it. I can't be too careful.