Category Archives: relationships

Oh Hello Spring!

Yesterday? Well, yesterday was one of the very best days ever. Period.

First of all…it was Tuesday. And Tuesdays have been long known as my very favorite day of the week. Mostly because it’s Taco Tuesday in our house and NCIS night!

Last night though? Woah. I ended the evening feeling incredibly blessed.

I left work right at 5:00 PM because the sun was shining and Andy was home working outside.

Rylee and I got home and this is what we did for the next hour…

We smelled the one and only daffodil that has bloomed in our yard…

We waked down by the pond to see all the hard work Daddy did that day…

Rylee picked flowers for me…

We spent lots of time at the swing set. Also? When did my BABY learn how to pump her legs!?

Even Dante hung out with us.

Rylee wanted to make sure I had a turn too. So she pushed me…

Then it was Daddy’s turn…

It started to get a little chilly, so we headed inside and Rylee helped me make tacos. After dinner, we had ice cream cones! Here’s how this went down:

Ry & Andy eating their ice cream cones. I had a dish of ice cream.

Ry: Mommy, you going to wash this cone when I all done?
Me: No Ry, we don’t re-use the cones.
Andy: Rylee, you eat the cone…like this ::takes a big bite::
Ry: ::eyes wide:: GASP! OOOOOHHHH!!! Hahahaha!! O-tay!

I pretty much died of the cute right then and there.

We wrapped up the evening with a brand new episode of NCIS and amazing family snuggles.

See? The best day ever.

Happy Spring Friends!

When you miss a friend…

You look at all the pictures you have from the last time you played together!

Rylee was supposed to have a playdate last weekend with her best buddy Kian, but ended up getting sick. We both agree it’s been far to long since we’ve seen Kian and his family. Until we’re all better, these photos will just have to be enough.

2010: Year of the…Tiger?

According to China, it’s the year of the tiger. For us, it’s more like “2010: Year of the Rice Family Roller Coaster”.

Happy New Year’s Eve ya’all. It’s 10:00 PM Pacific time and I’m ringing in the new year sitting on my couch, with my teeth brushed, face washed, sporting my flannel pj pants and oversized sweatshirt next to the warm, crackling fire, typing this by the twinkling lights of my Christmas tree.

And I couldn’t be happier.

This year was a crazy one filled with challenges and sadness. But also one filled with love and an abundance of blessings. And so, I give you our 2010, a year in review.

January: Rang in the new year with money troubles, the worry of losing our home, a puking kid, followed by a puking husband, followed by a business trip to Columbus, OH. Mid-to-late January was spent in and out of the pediatrician’s office with Rylee battling bronchiolitis. We celebrated Grandma Rice’s 88th birthday!

February: Spent the better part of February in and out of the pediatrician’s office, again, while Rylee battled RSV and croup. At the same time. I did manage to work in a quick, weekend trip with Kristen to fly out to Chicago to help Kelli celebrate her 30th birthday.

March: More time spent in the pediatrician’s office {the receptionists knew Rylee all too well}. This time with another bout of pneumonia, followed by the flu. We took Ry on her first trip to the zoo and transitioned her from her crib to a “big-girl” bed.

April: Ry got the flu…again. I went to my first Cirque De Sole show with Julia and Kristen. April is when the floodgates called Rylee’s Vocabulary opened up.

May:  We celebrated Rylee’s 2nd birthday. Unfortunately, we ended the month on a low with the loss of Andy’s Grandma Rice.

June: Started off June with Julia’s bridal shower. Andy wrapped up another school year. Rylee repeated her first bad word {that I said!}.We took Rylee to the Oregon Coast Aquarium and her first real trip to the beach. Julia and Spencer said “I do”. Best. Wedding. Ever.

July: 4th of July. Always amazing. We took Rylee on her first camping trip. I headed to Minnesota for a work trip, visited family I hadn’t seen for nearly 20 years and received a phone call that would leave me with major decisions to make…

August: Andy and I celebrated 5 wonderful years of marriage. I stepped way out of my comfort zone and left my very comfortable, very familiar job to work for a company that was less than 1 year old and in a new, unfamiliar industry. Andy started another school year.

September: Canned dozens of jars of fruit and potty trained Rylee in a weekend…all while Andy was gone {thanks Auntie Kristen!}. Andy spent that weekend with a much needed/deserved visit with his best friend. Ry started back up in daycare. We got to help celebrate our “nephew’s” first birthday.

October: We started out October with the phone call that Andy’s grandfather (his mom’s dad) passed away. I harvested a forked horn blacktail. We booked plane tickets for Andy and his dad to visit his best friend in Alaska this coming Summer for 12 days! {I am accepting wine donations starting now.}

November: Andy received a much deserved promotion at work to Head Teacher. Celebrated Thanksgiving with family.

December: Spent the first half of December waiting for Andy to get home from work and eating dinner at 8:00 at night…some promotion {I have been assured that it will not continue this way}. Spent the second half of December celebrating the birth of Jesus, and the rest of Christmas break, with some much needed family time.

That about wraps it up. It’s been a wild year and it flew by.

I am looking forward to all 2011 has in store for our little family.

The ups and the downs.

Also? This happens to mark my 200th post. So, in honor of my 200th post, picture me throwing confetti in the air, raising the roof and even busting out the head-down-knee-popped-fist-clenched-elbow-back-DJ Tanner-style “YESSSsss”.

Or not. Your choice.

A little Mother’s Day tribute

Growing up, I used to be jealous of all my friends who had great relationships with their moms. Why didn’t my mom and I go shopping together? Why couldn’t I share secrets with my mom and tell her everything? For whatever reason (likely my sass-talking, eye rolling, arm crossing ways), it never happened. There was even a time through my mid-to-late-teen years that I didn’t think any kind of relationship ever would happen. I somewhat unknowingly blamed my mom for a lot of things that she didn’t deserve to get blamed for. I didn’t treat her the way a mom should be treated. At times, I was down right hurtful. With those things in mind, why would she even ever want to have anykind of mother-daughter relationship/friendship with me. I certainly didn’t deserve it.

I think it’s safe to say that the real “turning point” in my attitude toward my mom was when I found out I was pregnant. We had been slowly builing a relationship before that, but I feel like there’s some sort of unspoken connection between a mother and a daughter when said daughter becomes a mom herself. All of a sudden, I just got it. All the previous years of not-so-niceness seemed to melt away. Why did I deserve such forgiveness from my mom? I’m not sure I did deserve it, but I’m sure not complaining!

That’s the funny thing I’ve realized about moms…the little thing called “unconditional love” is a pretty powerful, not actually so little thing. And considering all the crap I put her through, my mom should win some kind of prize or something. Paper plate awards are always good. “Most likely to be picutred next to the definition of ‘Unconditional Love'” {I think I just got my gift idea!}

I hope Rylee is a better teenage daughter than I was…though I likely don’t deserve it. But, if we do go through some rocky times, I’ll take a cue from my mom and be waiting in the wings,with nothing but unconditional love.

Post Summary: Thanks Mom!

A Reflection on Marriage…

I was recently asked by a high schooler from our church if Andy and I (mostly me) would be willing to do a marriage interview for one of her classes. I said sure, of course, without even mentioning it to Andy. She sent me the list of questions and as I was scrolling through them, I thought, “these are going to be easy!” and got to work. I didn’t come into any trouble until question #8 (I will explain more below). For the record, I did go through and read all of the questions, and our answers to Andy before I sent it back and he completely agreed with each one.

Now, I’m not in any way proclaiming that I am any sort of marriage expert, but Andy and I know what works for us and we go with it. We don’t have a perfect marriage, but I would consider our marriage to be very strong and happy and I know that he would agree. Ever since we have answered these interview questions, I have felt compelled to share what we came up with. This Summer we will be celebrating 5 years of marriage. That’s no landmark considering Andy’s grandparents were married 64 years before Grandpa Rice passed away, but I am proud of the team we are and the journey we have been on to get this far.

1. How long did you know each other before getting married, how long did you date, and what made you decide to get married?

Andy and I have known each other for a very, very long time. My uncle and his dad were best friends in High school. My uncle is Andy’s godfather. Our families have always known each other. We dated for one month shy of 4 years when we got married. What made me decide to get married? That’s a tough one. I had a “crush” on Andy all the way back when I was 14. I’m still pinching myself that we’re married. I knew within a few weeks of “officially” dating that I was going to marry him. For Andy, once he “knew” he wanted to marry me, he tested me with a statement and my reaction determined whether or not I was “marriage material.” He said he wanted to wear Birkenstocks at his wedding, I said I thought that was rad, and here we are.

2. Did you live together before you got married? Why or why not?

We did. For 2 months. Andy still lived with his parents up until that point. Financially, it kind of made sense for him to move in. My roommate had moved out 2 months before our wedding and that meant my rent was going up.

3. What is the role, if any, that religion, God, and prayer have in your marriage?

My faith has always big a big part of my life. I was always very involved in the church. Andy was raised catholic, but his father never went to church. When Andy was old enough, he started questioning why. When we first started talking about marriage, I told him I did not want that same thing to happen with our children and he agreed that we would go to church as a family. We know that God is always there, though we don’t really talk about God. We do not pray together. While we don’t go to church as often as I’d like, I’m comfortable in my relationship with God and don’t think it effects our marriage.

4. How did you decided to have children? How do your children affect the marriage? How have you dealt with some of the difficulties of parenting?

We went back and forth about how long we were going to wait before we started a family. We wanted to wait at least a couple of years. We were not actually “trying” to start a family when we found out we were pregnant. Ready or not, right? How does Rylee affect our marriage? Well, she comes first—before each of us. Andy and I talked a lot about how we wanted our children raised. We have been on the same page all along. We are very much a team and that helps downplay the difficulties. We each have different strengths when it comes to parenting and we use them to our advantage. It doesn’t mean parenting is apple pie and rainbows, but it helps make things easier.

5. What do you consider to be two or three of the most important elements in a successful marriage?

I’m sure a lot of people say communication with this one. I think the one thing that works well for our marriage, which is truly the foundation of our marriage, is that we always put our selves second. We make a conscious effort not to take the other for granted…we always say please and thank you. From there, everything else falls into place, including communication. If there is ever a time when we are not putting the other in front of ourselves, it is very apparent.

The other thing that we both feel is very important is that we sit down at the dinner table, as a family, every night for dinner. Even though we each have our own interests, we also enjoy a lot of the same things—working outside, camping, fishing, hunting, etc. {Side note, our first date was going fishing.}

Lastly, laughter. Lots of laughter.

6. How do you keep the romance in your marriage?

We have a pretty tight schedule with Rylee. She goes down for bed at the same time every night. When she was really little her bed time was 7:30, now it’s 8. We typically go to bed around 10 meaning we have 2 hours of nothing but us time. We make an effort during that 2 hours to spend time together, even if it is just watching TV or playing board games. And 9 times out of ten, we go to bed at the same time.

By always putting the other first, this also helps keep the romance alive. For us, “romance” is the little things that shows that we care. I’ll never forget one of the most romantic things Andy ever did for me was buy me shoelaces.

7. What things do you argue about in your marriage and how do you handle conflict?

I wouldn’t call them arguments, but we do have disagreements about religion and going to church. I want to take Rylee to church more than we are going now. He thinks it’s ridiculous because of her age and we just end up sitting in the back because she is too loud or restless, etc. My point is that she will never learn if we don’t go. Yet to be resolved…ask me when Rylee’s a little older!

When we have actual arguments, which are few and far between (I can count on 1 hand in the last 5 years), sometimes it takes a while to resolve it. I tend to shutdown. I hate confrontation. Andy is the opposite. We give each other some time to cool down then we talk about it. There is never name calling or yelling. Typically, when there are actual arguments, it’s because one of us didn’t put the other first. Ok, if we’re being really honest here, it’s because I didn’t put him first.

8. What has been the hardest part about being married?
{This is the question I had to stop and really, really think about my answer. I couldn’t think of anything, I read the question to Andy and he said, “Easy, there is nothing hard about being married to you!” ::SA-WOON!::}

I have heard a lot of people say the first 5 years of marriage are the hardest. We will be celebrating our 5-year anniversary this year. To be honest, for us, there is nothing hard about being married. I think that we were together and have known each other long enough that we really knew each other and what we were getting into. Neither of us are perfect. We each have our “quirks” but there haven’t been any surprises. We are each other’s best friends. Being in love is knowing what buttons to push, and then not pushing them.

9. What do you think about teenagers having sex before marriage? Do you think pre-marital sex has any positive or negative affects on one’s future marriage?

Sex is pretty much awesome, but there are some definite consequences that can come with pre-marital sex. To me, the bottom line for me is if you aren’t ready to have to deal with those possible consequences, don’t have sex. Is that an easy decision to make? No way.

Do I think pre-marital sex has positive or negative effects on marriage? I don’t think there is a set answer to this question. It depends on the couple and their relationship and how they communicate. If the couple is meant to be together, it shouldn’t have affects, positive or negative, on their marriage.

10. What advice or suggestions do you have for me that might help me in my own future marriage?

Find a partner that puts you first then make the conscious effort to put them first. It doesn’t matter if you put them first if it is not reciprocated. Oh yea, and make sure you laugh…a lot.

A couple of my favorite photos from our happy day. Photography by BLISS.