Sunday, November 29, 2009

Ritual Sneak Peek

Yes, it's ritual I can't shake: the annual (it begins in about February the year before) creation of the Bruess' holiday card. I don't actually begin making the card that many months in advance. But I sure begin thinking about it.

Indeed, I try to rationalize all the thought and effort, despite often unsuccessful & unimpressive outcomes: it's the only time of year we get to connect with far away friends and send/receive real mail! It's an expression of my formerly-artistic self (B.A. in Art from St. Norbert College, yes I was believe it or not). It's a ritual, for goodness sakes. And ritual connects people. Gives us peace of mind. Makes for strong communities and families. Ah ... how my mind likes to busily make sense of these silly (no, important) little things in life.

So ... here's a sneak peek at our rather silly and unimpressive card for 2009. The final layout (imagine a combination mall-photo-booth-Brady-Bunch-grid) isn't quite ready for publication. But stay tuned.

Okay, isn't my dog Fred the cutest dude ever?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Celebrating Disaster

At a particularly delightful breakfast this morning (at Moose and Sadie's downtown Minneapolis, check it out!), one couple told me (Anna) about their recently developed ritual of connection. One that is definitely worth sharing with our faithful blog readers. One that I'll definitely be adopting in my own relationship. It's that inspiring. They call it, "Celebrating Disasters." This couple has had a series of challenging events this fall, including a stolen car, frustrating home renovations, and the usual work struggles. After feeling down about all these problems, they decided to make a change. Rather than complaining and becoming bitter about these issues, they choose to celebrate them. How? With a fabulous dinner. Dancing. Anything fun. With this kind of attitude, this couple is in for a great life together.

Why is it that we typically only celebrate the exciting, uplifting, and positive moments in our relational lives? It's certainly easier, isn't it? But by not celebrating our challenging times, we might be missing out on some of the greatest opportunities for growth. Instead of dreading, sulking, and complaining, maybe we should start celebrating? When we've got someone to share these moments with, they might not be so bad after all. Right?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Mothers and Daughters

Every year, my friends from high school and I have a mother-daughter holiday event. We get dressed up and enjoy a fancy tea together, this year at the St. Paul Hotel. Look how cute my petite mom looks while I look like a house! We look forward to this time together all year. My highlight this year, though, was when our moms admitted to their "bad mom" moments. For instance, one mom recalled when her daughter claimed she had to go to the bathroom while they were out shopping. The mother insisted, "you just went!" and made her wait a bit longer. When they finally got to the bathroom, the mom realized the extent of her daughter's desperation to make it to the toilet. She felt horrible, and of course, more than twenty years later, still feels remorseful about it. The most reassuring part, however, was that most of us daughters didn't even remember the "bad" things they were certain would have a negative lasting impression on us. After they told us the "bad" stories, they asked us to tell them one of our favorite mom moments to make them feel better. My favorite thing? I remember laughing all the time with my mom. I also remember feeling oh-so-loved in that always-hugged-and-kissed kind of way. All things I hope to pass on to my own little one.

Thanks, moms and friends, for another amazing holiday tea experience!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Date Plans

How adorable is this? My (Anna's) techy hubby has our "ical" calendars synchronized so when one person adds an event, we both automatically see it. While scheduling some interviews for my dissertation, I came across a new "event" added by my sweet hubby. To my surprise, I spotted "movie date night with hunny" on my calendar. We rarely go to movies in the theater. To save money, we try to have our movie nights "in" rather than "out." But we're going to splurge a little. Maybe we'll even do dinner out beforehand? Another thing we try to cut back on. Come to think of it, we better schedule all our movie nights "out" before we need a babysitter in order to do so!

DO surprise your spouse.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A Seriously Funny Blog

My (Anna's) friend from my master's program, Najla, has the most hilarious blog.

Like many moms, Najla has many roles and responsibilities. She works full time, is writing her dissertation, and on top of that she has 4 children. Unlike most moms, all of her children are boys. Are you beginning to imagine the kind of stories she might share on her blog? And she doesn't hold back, I promise.

She claims to write the blog, "Because blogging about living with five men is cheaper than my other options." And it will have you cracking up. Today's entry, for instance, is about her six year old sticking up his middle finger, without knowing the meaning of this gesture. And there are dozens more where that came from! For a chuckle or two (or ten), check it out: