Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Time to Talk

Brannon and I decided to runaway to the beach last weekend - alone. This means without Mary Ellen and diapers, and bibs, and burp clothes, and a million changes of clothes, and baby food, and bottles, and bottles brushes, and just about every other baby item you can think of that fills the entire trunk of our vehicle - with the seats folded down.

We left Thursday evening after Grandmother (Brannon's mom) picked up Mary Ellen and her fifteen suitcases. I made sure to give my doodlebug extra kisses - or "sugars" as southerners say - earlier that day because this was the longest I was ever without my doodle. I just knew I was going to miss her too much and want to come home early. I knew I was going to miss her talking aimlessly at her friends (it's what I call her stuffed animal toys) and her toothless smile. I knew I was going to really miss her giggle, especially the one where she's mad and trying not to laugh, but she just can't fight it and has to giggle. She'll literally stick her lip out and wrinkle her nose yet laugh. Of course, being loving parents we don't encourage this at all. We would never tease our baby for our own entertainment. Yeah. Right.

I was so sure I would end up miserable without Doodlebug. To my surprise, however, I didn't and I wasn't. I had a wonderful time and our weekend getaway became a very insightful trip for me. Of course I missed Mary Ellen and would think of her throughout the trip - okay, and we would call home a couple or few times a day. But this weekend trip to ourselves was maybe the best thing Brannon and I could have done for each other and for our marriage. Six months ago, Mary Ellen came into this world and into our lives. We brought her home to love and care for and it has been the most awesome six months for both of us. It's very easy, however, to have your days completely fly by without even truly spending time with your spouse. I mean, having a baby completely changes your world and house and if you are not careful, your marriage.

Brannon and I have been so busy taking care of the needs of Mary Ellen and going to work, school and running a house that we were not giving ourselves the chance to talk - to just sit and talk. I mean even just talking about the mundane, trivial things about our day or telling each other bad jokes or whatever thoughts are on our minds. It's so easy to let those little conversations slide by when you have pureed pears lying on the kitchen floor or five more bottles to wash. The scary thing is, I didn't even see it until I was removed from it.

It was during the weekend that I realized Brannon and I were missing each other and missing out on each other. I knew this because we could not stop talking to one another! It was hilarious and fun. We were trading stories about work and about people we know - yes, we were gossiping and it was awesome! We talked about politics and our future and we teased each other all weekend. We traded dream vacations and started planning our next one, which will be alone this fall! We had the best time. And it couldn't have come at a better time.

It's so easy for many of us to focus so much on the child that we forget to love the spouse first. It's so easy to forget where and who that child came from. And I think that is scary. It's too easy to isolate yourself from your partner and do what we say is "your own thing." This past weekend was a huge reminder for me that marriage takes constant work and attention. It is a conscience effort. I learned that the best thing Brannon and I could do for Mary Ellen is to love one another and to always make sure we set aside time for those little conversations instead of waiting for a weekend getaway to do it.

I am being completely honest and baring my business because I feel this is so important. I mean, aren't we always surprised to hear about a certain couple separating? Don't we always say, "no, not them?" Why is that? It's because we know that the certain couple once loved each other very, very much. So what happened? I think it is simply a journey of isolation. Couples slowly begin to isolate themselves from each other until they are no longer a unit. And this most likely happens without them even knowing it. It's sad and it's scary and we are all susceptible to this behavior unless we make that conscience effort.

Okay, I think I am finished with my soap box. I'll step down now.

I love all of you. I pray that we all recommit to our spouses and families and promise to always make time for those simple conversations.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Friends and a Little Game of Clue

We are blessed enough to have good friends. My bestest bud ever and her hubby drove from South Carolina to visit us this past weekend and it was such a great visit. It's not often we get to see each other, but we always seem to pick up right where we left off. No matter how long Liz and I (probably too long) go without talking to each other, the minute we get a chance to catch up it's like no time has passed at all. I miss being close to my best friend. Good girlfriends are hard to come by - and I'm talking about the ones you can call late at night because you can't sleep, or the ones you can say something really gossipy to and they won't think less of you (probably because they gossip back, tisk tisk).

Liz and I did a lot of growing up together. We were roomies in Florida when we were both struggling journalist eating really bad food and staying up way too late. In fact, we often ate really bad food way too late - can we say Steak N' Shake fries at 3 in the mornin'. I'm not going to say why we were up at 3 in the morning, but you can guess.

During her visit, Liz brought some pictures in a friendship album she made. I had really, really, really long, big, curly blond hair and Liz had really, really, really blond hair. Most of the pictures of me were really scary and I threatened my friend with her life not to show anyone her friendship album. In fact, if asked, she is to tell people she never had any friends to make an album, especially not one named Ann-Maire. All joking aside, it was really funny, but very sweet.

Our weekend was spent catching, reminiscing, eating lots and lots of carbs and playing a game of Clue on DVD. Now, you would think this would be easy to play because it's a classic game that almost everyone knows. Well, it took us nearly two hours to get through one round! First off, we didn't know that you have to wait for the DVD to tell you what to do, so we had to turn in all of our cards and deal them out again, as well as our characters because the DVD tells you who you can role play as. We were also following the instructions incorrectly and this caused me to miss a turn - a lot of times. Needless to say I didn't win. Those of you who know me well know that this bugs me. I just HAVE to win. Don't ever go running with me - I'll nearly kill myself just making sure I beat you!

Brannon won't run with me - no joke! He says I'm too "crazy" on the trails.

Our friends also got to meet Mary Ellen finally and they just ate her up. They even said she was cuter than another baby in their family. Ha, my baby wins!!!!! Just I'm not. Mary Ellen's awesome!

Until next time, I cannot wait to make a trip to South Carolina to see our friends again. Thank you Lord for great friendships. Thank you for fellowship and laughter. Thank you for memories and goofy pictures of us with really big, poofy hair. Thank you for friendship albums and Clue DVD games. Thank you for your kindness and love and all the gifts you give us. Thank you for our loved ones!


I wonder what they are deep in thought about!

Sweet Baby

Sweet Baby
Mary Ellen wore this dress for Baby Dedication. She also wore this the day she came home from the hospital.