Wednesday, April 30, 2008

My Kitchen Aid Mixer

I (Anna) love to cook and bake. After many months of saving my "allowance," I have purchased a Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer! Oh my gosh. How did I ever live without it?

My husband is studying for the most important test of his life, the first-step medical school boards (no pressure, Hunny!). Last night I wanted to do a little something for him so I made him a treat. If you're a chocolate lover, you've GOT to try this recipe (link below). I swear, you won't regret it. They're the easiest, most delectable chocoloate molten cakes you'll ever make at home. I didn't need to use my new mixer (a whisk would have done the trick), but I'm using every excuse to marvel at its efficiency!

Also, for those of you who don't know, Carol made Gracie's communion dress in the picture below. What a talent!

Monday, April 28, 2008

First Communion ...

... is one of the long-standing rituals in our family and faith, one that we celebrated yesterday in St. Paul. Quote of the day from one of the 2nd graders in Gracie's class of 62 first communicants: "I think I had just a little too much wine!"

Sister, I know what you mean.

We've Been Podcasted

Yes, it's true: Another milestone. Another first. Another great resource for us and (hopefully) millions of others! (NOTE: A quick link to the Wedding Podcast Network can be found in the "our favorite sites" list at the right/top of this blog page).

Check out Wedding Podcast Network, the #1 wedding talk show on the Internet. Their latest lovecast features us (yes, Carol and Anna) talking about what we all can learn by practicing loving little rituals, learning positive communication patterns, and taking cues from "what happy couples do" to keep their love alive and energized.

To listen, click here.

After listening, tune into the Wedding Podcast Network's hundreds of other podcasts about love, marriage, relationships, and weddings. As we revealed in an earlier blog, Holli and Robert, the founders/creators of Wedding Podcast Network are so incredibly cool. And incredibly amazing at what they do. Share their priceless resource with all of your friends! Once you start listening you no doubt -- like us -- will find it hard to stop. And you'll be so much smarter and inspired for it.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Light Bulbs

I (Anna) had the most rewarding teaching experience this semester. I taught family communication for the first time at Metropolitan State University. The students were friendly, fun, and eager to learn. And it's over already. I never thought I'd say this, but I think the semester was too short! The last class session was such a joyful celebration, though. We had a pot-luck while they reported what they learned from their service-learning experience. Watching students' light bulbs go on is the greatest part of this gig. I'm so lucky Carol turned on mine some four years ago when she taught me family communication!

Sunday, April 20, 2008


While Anna's husband is a lover of technology, I (Carol) am a lover of my Canon Digital Rebel XT 10 megapixel digital camera with the combo 28-300 zoom. My favorite subject? Not lice or casts or dog barf. Just kids. I know, not very original. But kids are kind of like lice; they capture your attention and are oh so fleeting. And although I adore my own children, I love capturing the moments of others' kids (with permission, of course).

Here's Max who I've been documenting since age 3 months. His 9 month birthday is today! Can you even stand those cheeks?

Happy 270 days old today, Max.

The New/Old Keyboard

My (Anna's) husband is a geek, a coveted title he enjoys having earned, like a badge of honor.

Don't get me wrong, I like technology as much as the next person (can you say iPhone), but I'm nowhere near geek status. So, you should have seen the look on my face when I walked into our office and noticed an old, ugly, bisque-colored keyboard in front of his beautiful, white iMac. I asked, "What is this?" He responded with excitement, "It's a superior keyboard! It's the Apple Extended Keyboard II and it has mechanical key switches." (Translation: The new/old keyboard is not only ugly, it's also loud).

And get this, he bought a $20 adaptor to make the ugly thing work! Yes, my sweet, smart, cute, funny, geeky husband actually spent money on a new/old keyboard when he had a gleeming white one that matched his iMac. A year ago, a purchase like this could have caused a bit of a spat between us love birds. You see, Brent is in medical school and I'm an adjunct professor. That $20 could have been a night at the movies, a near full gas tank, a happy hour with friends, the list goes on...

It was just this type of thing that made us find a new solution for money about a year ago. Now, we have what we call "allowance." We each get a set amount of money per week to spend on whatever we please. No questions asked. No bickering. No sqaubbles over money for us anymore! Sometimes we separately save our allowance for something bigger that we've been dreaming of. Sometimes we pool our allowance and get something we can enjoy together that might otherwise be out of our budget.

When I first saw the new/old keyboard I thought, "what a waste!" And then I smiled and remembered how much I love his geekiness. And, even more, our allowance.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Head Lice + Dog Flu + Broken Leg = ?

According to Social Exchange Theory, we often calculate the "worth" of our relationships by calculating - usually subconsciously - the costs and rewards of said relationships.

In the past 2 weeks, I (Carol) have been calculating the the literal, social, and psychological costs and (I keep telling myself) "rewards" of being a dog lover with a pup who is puking and pooping dark liquid all over my wool rugs, a mom whose beautiful daughter acquired a case of head lice, and a loyal wife whose husband who comes in from the back yard and announces: "I've got a little problem" (translation: "I just broke my leg"):

1. Licemister Comb: $2.89
2. Gallon Extra Virgin Olive Oil: $17.99 (the "natural" way to kill a louse)
3. Shower caps (to contain the dripping olive oil): $1.09
4. 3 rolls of paper towels: $3.33
5. PetSmart Rug deodorizer/cleaner: $8.99
6. Trip to Vet: $148.00
7. Rx for the dog: $39
8. Gallon of Bleach: $1.49
9. Trip to Urgent Care (including X-rays of broken fibula): $769.00
10. Set of 6' 4" chrome crutches: $89.00
11. Rx for husband (20 ct. Vicadin): $6.04
12. Loving your family so much that you don't even think twice about the above "costs" = Priceless.

Thanks for listening. I'd write more, but I'm off to go do a little more "nit picking," "rug doctoring," and "nursing" of my patients.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

"I'm Not Too Busy"

The above is actually the title of an adorable little book you must go out and buy right now (by Jodi Hills, Tristan Publishing, Minneapolis). In fact, buy many and pass them around, especially if you find that you've never actually uttered such a phrase.

The author reminds us that we're too often too busy ...

"To pay attention

to notice people,

to care,

to have relationships,

to see the present,

to enjoy the given time

as a gift that is given..."

This book is one of our new little treasures, given to us by one of its creators (Thank you, Brett)! We both have already slowed down and noticed what's around.

Try it. Try saying, believing AND living: "I'm Not Too Busy."

More Disgusting Than Belly Button Fuzz

... is the story of two sisters, just told to us via our website's "share your stories" feature.

Really. This IS totally true:

"My sister really likes to tweeze out body hair, especially on legs. So she was always tweezing her arm hair and leg hair out. And not only did she take care of her hair, but also my hair. Almost every time I was watching TV in the living room with my sister, she started to tweeze my leg hair to just like monkeys grooming each other. That was our everyday ritual. I miss her and need her. My leg hair has grown now!"

Remember: Relationships are really just mini, private cultures, not meant for outsiders to fully understand or comprehend (thank goodness).

Monday, April 7, 2008

me and them

Rituals, as you know, come in all shapes and sizes. Exist between all members of friendship groups and family groups. And are sustained with nearly anyone and everyone to whom we'd like to pay homage.

Here's a great story of how one mom pays homage to her children and their unique mother-child bond, in an on-going storytelling ritual that not only commemorates each child's birthday, but, in so many ways, the process of becoming.

A mom (age 46, mother of a 13 year old boy and 10 year old girl) wrote:

"Each year on the night before my children's birthday, I tell them the story of the day they were born. They have come to look forward to this ritual! As I tuck them into bed, I give them the play-by-play of everything I did the day they were born. I tell them about what I did, how it felt going into labor, getting ready to go to the hospital, what their dad was doing, arriving at the hospital, the actual delivery, who came to visit, how we picked their name, and finally the day we brought them home. They both love to hear all the details. It is a special time between me and them. I love telling the story and reliving the excitement of bringing a new life into this world!"

Isn't this purely wonderful? Positively adorable? Absolutely worth stealing and doing with your own kids? Yes. Yes. Yes!