Sunday, September 18, 2011


Jeremy says we have a high maintenance relationship.

I say every marriage is a high-maintenance relationship.

Ours may or may not be a higher-maintenance marriage.  And I'm okay with that.  I think he is, too.

In the early days of a relationship, you put in a ton of effort, but it feels effortless because the payoffs are all you notice.  "I said something witty and made her laugh!"  "I spent hours getting ready and he said I look beautiful!"  It's all a part of being twitterpated.
...which is totally fun and feels amazing!

So, somewhere in the course of a relationship journey, we tend to stop putting in the effort in general.  The effort starts seeming more like work.  Our focus shifts.  Suddenly, what once was new and exhilarating has a tendency to become common and expected.  And it feels less-than-amazing.  It feels normal.  It's routine.

Don't get me wrong.  I'm not trying to say that we need to be love-drunk 24/7.

I came to a point in my life where I started thinking that there's gotta be more to this marriage-thing than putting in my time.  I'd love to be able to tell you that I identified the problem and came up with a God-honoring solution and everything has been super hunky-dory since that day.

It didn't work like that.

We hit many, many bumps in the road.  We got stuck in potholes.  There were days I thought we'd never go anywhere.  Our relationship was drowning in apathy, complicated by selfishness.

I'd guess that if you were being honest with me, you'd tell me that yours has been there, too.  And maybe to varying degrees, we'd agree that in some ways we're there today.  

We had some friends over to have dinner with us last week.  The husband commented on how green our yard was.  With the drought Texas has been experiencing this summer, green grass is something of a novelty.  Yes, we have green grass.  It's because the sprinklers are programmed to come on at five o'clock in the morning and we keep paying that water bill.  It takes effort.

You see, it might have taken us a while, but we finally learned this principal:

We cannot expect to have a thriving and healthy relationship, if we don't put any effort into it.  So, if Jeremy and I require a high-maintenance relationship to flourish, then we're both more than okay with that!

Totally, enthusiastically okay!

For us, one of those efforts is date night.  They must be fun.  And they must be frequent.  We're always looking for something new to try on together our dates.  We like to make a habit of taking photos on date night.  Probably partially because I grew up in a family that believed you had to take pictures or it didn't happen!  But maybe even more so because it allows us to retrace the footprints of our relationship.

What follows is a gallery of date night pics.  'Scuse the self-portraits!

Convertible in Cali... driving to Hollywood
Double-date dinner at a winery in California

Live music in Houston
Out for sushi at Azuma and some great conversation
Same night... you can just actually see us.

Movie at Star Cinema Grill
Bingo at SPSJT Lodge in the Heights.
Jeremy almost had a Blackout!
Being goofy with our blotters.

Adventure night:  searched for a new resale shop in the Heights
(which we only found after closing!), dinner at Cyclone Anaya's,
followed by...
...snow cones and ice cream at Mango Beach!

Off to a musical at the Hobby Center
Japaneiros for a Friday lunch date.  Can't beat their lunch special!
Double-date at the Rodeo
Live music with friends
Out celebrating New Years Eve
Triple date for sushi at Azuma
Warrior Dash!
SEARCH Homeless Services Picnic in the Park.  Followed by a super fun concert.

White Linen Night 2011
White Linen Night 2010
Motorcycle date to dinner in Town Centre

The date pic from a few years ago that pops up when Jeremy calls my iPhone.
Seriously old school.  Our first spring banquet together in college.

How do you "water the grass" of your relationship?

Friday, September 16, 2011

I am poem

Saw this on {Pinterest} -let me know if you want an invitation to Pinterest-and decided it was something I ought to try... as fifth grade as the assignment is, sometimes there's something to getting back to the basics.

This printable is free at {One Extra Degree}

What would your "I am" poem say?

Friday, September 9, 2011

Fastastic Football

With the official kickoff to NFL last night, I thought it was about time that I shared these photos from this summer before I blink and it's baseball season again!  (Seems to happen faster and faster each year.  Why is that?!?)

Justus decided that he wanted to play football this summer.  I like football, so I decided that I could be on board with his plan.  So, we signed up for a great flag football league, where they emphasize a character quality each week as well as teach the fundamentals of the game.  The league was small.  There were only enough boys for two teams.  So instead of assigning teams, they basically scrimmaged with official individual stats each week.  A pretty good strategy for keeping it fair, fun and still competitive, in my opinion.

He loved it!
Every 10am-12pm Saturday morning practice-followed-by-a-game in the sweltering Texas summer sun.

A little warm up with Daddy.

His arm is not too shabby!

Lexi getting in on the warm up workout.

Coach was teaching football fundamentals and about the highlighted character quality this week.
Little seester.  Attitude sold separately.

Ha!  Lovin' that hair.  It's gone now, but it was a fun style.

After the first week, he came home and crashed out.

Completely zonked.

One of my proudest moments was when Justus was playing quarterback (they took turns rotating through positions) and threw a great pass, which was completed for a first down.  So proud of that kid!

Gotta stay hydrated.  This stuff is made in heaven.  I'm almost positive!
 Happy boy!

The whole gang.
He says he's ready for tackle!

And while we're on the subject, Jeremy took the kids to one of the Texans' practices.  Afterwards, they went out to go play for a while, so Justus and Lexi tried their hand foot at kicking.  Here are the results!

Maybe there is a future here!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

This ain't no disco... This is L.A.

A four day Labor Day weekend was the perfect opportunity for a getaway.  So, Jeremy and I decided to head out to California to visit some friends, Jess and JJ, who graciously invited us to stay with them and to celebrate our twelfth anniversary, which happened to be in May but we were too busy partying with Rob and Whitney at their wedding that particular weekend.

During date night the week before we left, Jeremy surprised me by telling me that he had rented a Jeep Wrangler for our trip.  Jeeps are one of my impractical sunshine-loving dream cars... I'd love to drive a rugged, top down, doors-off shiny black Jeep!  I fell in love a little more with that man that night.  :)

When we arrived in Burbank, sadly the rental car place didn't have any Jeeps.  After some arm-wrestling and general harrassment, Henry, our rental agent who admitted he wasn't interested in customer service, agreed to provide us with another vehicle that offered the required sun exposure.  So, we pulled away from Fox Rental in a Mustang convertible.  It proved to be quite pleasant.

We drove down to Orange County to JJ and Jess' place.  We were one big happy family in their cute apartment.  The four of us had a lovely dinner on the coast at Javier's at Crystal Cove.  It was a simply gorgeous open air Mexican restaurant right on the coast.  We watched the sun nearly set over the Pacific during dinner.  It was amazing how the sun seemed to hang in the sky forever.  Every good date night should include a trip to Target, so we did that.  We went to The Fisherman's Restaurant on the pier at San Clemente, where we ordered some delicious and ginormous desserts with a fantastic view!  We were seated right above the waves and under the heaters-a perfect combination for a cool Califonia evening!  (I highly recommend the Peanut Butter Pie, but bring a shovel and five friends to help you eat it.)

The next morning, we walked over to Bagels and Brew for an amazing breakfast.  (You're probably getting the picture by now that it was Jess's and my plan to eat our way through Los Angelos for the weekend.  Mission:  Accomplished!)

We sat outside on the patio...

...which is something you can do when it's only 75 degrees outside.  Perfection!

JJ had music rehearsal for Mariners Church on Saturday afternoon, so Jeremy and I took a trip up to Hollywood to do a little sight-seeing.
My guy... looking handsome driving our convertible.

I guess this is just before we traded the convertible in at a different location that had a Jeep, because after this I know we were cruising around in a Jeep.

Jeremy had never seen the GoodYear Blimp before.  For some reason, this was astonishing to me, as it was a staple of my childhood in California.  I remember often crying out "The BLIMP!  The BLIMP!" when we were kids and we spotted it hoovering in the sky.

All I wanna do is have some fun!

We went to go check out the Walk of Fame and the Chinese Theatre.  There was a row of actors from Oceans 13, one of my favorite movie series! 
Matt Damon's handprints.  Jeremy has been told he looks like him.

Brad Pitt's handprints.  He's my fav.

 ...and of course, George Clooney.

 Robin Williams, comedic genius.

And now that we've completed the concrete tour, we will continue with the stars...
Rob loves The Simpsons, so we snapped this shot for him.

Lexi and I love Tinker Bell!  Her star happened to be right outside of the Disney Soda Fountain, where we stopped to have ice cream for lunch.  Because we can!
And sealed the deal that our next California trip will include the kiddos and a trip to Disney Land.

My best friend in high school had an affinity for The Andrews Sisters and got me interested in listening to them, so I was pretty excited to see their star!  "Choo Choo to Broadway, Foo Cincinnati!" which probably means nothing to most of you.  It's okay.

From there, we went to the completely ridiculous Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum.  Interesting, disturbing, gross, weird?  Yes, all of the above!  The model of Bumblebee was pretty cool.  Ah, toys for big boys.

More Hollywood posing...

And probably the most famous sign in the world!  (See it?  On the mountain... seee?)

We headed back to the OC to meet up with JJ and Jess for some good ol' In and Out Burgers.  Another quick trip to Target and back to their place to cozy up and watch a movie.

The next morning, we grabbed more Bagels and Brew on our way to Mariners Church.  The campus is stunning.  JJ had a solo to start of the service.  It was really good, as usual.  The message was really engaging.  I'd never heard a take on the snakes in the wilderness quite like that.  It really made me think!

After church, went for fish at Bear Flag Fish Co. with JJ, Jess, and Jess's mom, Regina, and stepdad, Shane.  They were super sweet and it was great to finally meet them!  Jess adores them, so I'd heard good things about them.  Jeremy was pretty excited about his shashimi and the Panko Grilled Fish Tacos were good too!

We changed and Jess, JJ, Jeremy and I headed out over the mountains in the Jeep to Temecula.

Our destination was Mount Palomar for wine tasting!

The vineyards in that area of the mountains were gorgeous.  We sampled some wines and then had a fantastic dinner in the cave of Shorty's Bistro, the restaurant on site.  I think I'm still thinking about that Greek Pizza!  But truly, the best part was the conversation-lively and intimate.  Makes my heart happy!

Jess and JJ

Good friends!
Silly hubby.
 (Notice the accidental sunflare.  That effect was much more difficult to get when I was trying during the photo challenge!)
Beautiful scenery

A friend of ours from college (and mine from my high school camp days), Sam Manual, is out in L.A. pursuing a career in comedy.  We were able to meet up with him late on Sunday night.  It was great catching up with him.  I think we figured that it had been about nine years since we'd seen each other in person, if you don't count the days of video iChat in between!  Hoping for his success out there.  After we shut down BJ's, we went to Denny's and finally headed back to our hotel near the airport at 2:30am.  Time to call it a night.  We had a flight to catch in the morning!
As we travelled home to Houston, we heard news reports of the terrible wildfires in Texas.  It was rather eerie to see the smoke billowing up and across the skyline from the plane.  The skyline in Houston was brown as the sun set on Monday evening.  Prayers go up for all those affected.

Thanks, JJ and Jess, for a great weekend getaway.  We loved hanging out with you and we miss you already!

I realized while I was gone that I may have been born and lived in California until third grade, but Texas is home.  I missed high heels and cowboy hats, girls with ribbons in their hair and the term "y'all"!  We had a blast, but there really is no place like home.