Thursday, November 25, 2010

Grateful For

It is a national holiday today (my favorite of the year, actually): A day of being thankful.

So, here's my short list of things (Carol writing here) I am most grateful for:

1. Claire and Matt (the neighbor kids who are out shoveling the snow off our sidewalk right now). Why? Because their parents have raised them to feel awesome about helping others. I love Portland Ave.
2. The way my husband calls me "his bride" when talking with .. well .. everyone. I heard my dad refer to my mom the same way last night. It's contagious.
3. Cream. (For the first time in 42 years, I started drinking coffee. Yes, I know. Welcome to adulthood.) All I can say is frothed milk is best. Cream is a close second place when other milk-altering techniques are not available.
4. My kids, who don't like to wear what I tell them, do what I tell them nor have the manners I tell them they must. But, my life is richest with them keeping me real.
5. And hand sanitizer. Because everyone, especially my groom, knows what I'm LEAST thankful for: puking. Amen for that little bottle of liquid germ killer which keeps the barfing at bay. At least some of the time.

What are you thankful for? Gratefulness, like happiness, is contagious, so be sure to tell someone.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Happy Couple Challenge

Dearest Readers, we have some exciting new ventures we'd like to tell you about.

First, you know about our product line, right? In case you hadn't heard, in addition to our three books, we now have a set of giftware/housewares designed to remind couples to connect as frequently as possible. Research by John Gottman shows that couples who maintain a 5:1 ratio of positive to negative moments are happiest. Happy Couple products motivate couples to live the ratio. Who likes being happy? I do, I do! Check out our online store and read about our mission.

Second, we have an exciting challenge going on here, at a new blog, The Happy Couple Challenge (click here to check it out). Here, real (cool) happy couples will be documenting 30 days of using Happy Couple Company items to bid for connection. Two women (so far) have agreed to participate. Both are amusing, smart, fun, witty, and overall awesome. Kristen was one of my (Anna here) first friends in graduate school! She talked me off the ledge after a full-blown panic attack in the TA office one day. She rocks. She also blogs here: Alisha went to high school with me and we've remained close friends even though we've lived in different states for the past 10 years. She and Cameron are one of my favorite couples; they know what it takes to connect under all kinds of circumstances, including living in different countries. She also blogs here:

Kristen has already started posting and Alisha will be starting soon. I can't wait to see the creative ways these volunteer bloggers integrate our products into their already fun and positive relationships. Follow along. Join in the fun!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Happy Parents...

This happy parent (Anna) realized something this morning.

My hubby and I have mastered the art of descending the stairs of our glorious, new-to-us, old dream home in just the right way so they don't creak! Here are the rules:

1. Walk sideways.
2. Step on your tiptoes.
3. Step as far from the edge of the step as possible.
4. Skip the third step from the top. It's not worth the risk.
5. Try synchronizing your steps with the artificial ocean waves sound we have playing.

How ridiculous are we?!

I know, I know. They tell you to be as loud as you can be with babies so they learn how to sleep through anything. We tried. It worked for several months. And then it didn't work anymore. Somehow he turned into the type of baby who wakes up when Daddy's ankle cracks when putting him in the crib. How? No idea. How to change it? We've tried everything.

Don't get me wrong. I absolutely love mommyhood. So much it hurts. But today I feel tired. So tired, in fact, that I cried when there was no apple cider in the fridge. My little "Happy Couples Are Fulfilled" glass - just waiting to be filled - was mocking me! My hubby and I then started laughing.

Get some sleep, you say? I wish that solved it. I'm not tired because I didn't get enough sleep (9 glorious hours), but because I just want a lazy day. One of those days that you keep pressing play on the DVD player because you're so enthralled with the new tv series you rented on netflix. One of those days that Carol has never experienced because she's never lazy!

All this to say, I am so thankful for my happy marriage. Because happy marriages make for happy parents! We certainly are fulfilled, as my little glass reminded me this morning (hey, we were able to laugh about it. That counts, right?). With or without apple cider. Fine, it's even better with apple cider.

Happy Sunday.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Like Us?

If you like our blog, sign into Facebook and bid for a connection with us by "liking" Happy Couple Company. We promise, we'll bid right back.

Heck, we'll have a whole auction full of bidding!

Or, simply click on the link at the top of this page for our Happy Couple Co. website and then press "like" at the bottom of the page.

Monday, November 8, 2010

"Just Bidding"

After having an engaging conversation with my (Anna here) family communication students about researcher John Gottman's idea of "bids of connection," I walked home thinking to myself, "I need to do a better job of bidding to connect with my own hubby." In his book entitled, The Relationship Cure: A Five-Step Guide to Strengthening Your Marriage, Family, and Friendships (2001), Gottman defines a bid for connection as, "A question, a gesture, a look, a touch - any single expression that says, 'I want to feel connected to you.' A response to a bid is just that - a positive or negative answer to somebody's request for emotional connection" (p. 4).

I told my hubby that I wanted to do a better job of bidding for connection. I also told him that I appreciated his call during the day to check and see how my day was going with Thomas (a clear bid that I hadn't recognized or acknowledged to the best of my ability). His work days can be quite unpredictable, so a call is not something I expect. The next day he had time to call me again to ask how our day was going. He also added, "...just bidding."

All together now: "Awwwwwwww."

Bid away, Happy Couples. It takes very little effort, but it makes a really big difference!

And because blog posts are more fun when they include a photo, below is a picture from Halloween.

No, Thomas did not dress as a cute kid for Halloween (well, as his mom, I'm allowed to think he accomplished both!). He's Marty McFly from Back to the Future! See the resemblance? He had a costume change into a pea pod later on. His dad was very particular about the costume's authenticity. They ran all over town trying to find the right articles of clothing. We had a blast in our new neighborhood!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

What's He Trying to Tell Me?

Is all I (Anna) can ask myself tonight. It's rather obvious, you'll see. But funny nonetheless.

As I was tidying the bathroom after giving our son a bath, I noticed that my husband had placed his brush on top of the mirror above the sink, hoping it would stay hidden from me. My silly husband must think I'm even less observant than I really am. You see, I've been borrowing (okay, maybe pretty much exclusively using) his hairbrush. I didn't think he minded. Until one day last week I noticed his brush was standing up, leaning against the side of the medicine cabinet, as if playing hide and seek. And boy did I seek. Did I note the traveling hairbrush as a sign that perhaps my hubby prefers I use my own brush? Yes. Did that stop me from using it? Not that day. So, apparently he had to take more extreme measures by finding a better hiding place. I get it, Hunny. Me and my long hair won't bother your cute, perfect little brush ever again!

I know what you're wondering. Why didn't he just ask me not to use it? And better yet, why am I not even going to ask him why he didn't ask me? Because I already know the answer(s). Given our relational history and the spot we're at in our lives, he didn't bother to ask me not to use his brush because a) it's not that important to him, so he didn't need to make it a bigger deal than it is, and more importantly, b) he knew he'd forget to ask me because we have other (hint: he remains toothless, but is trying to walk!) things to occupy us. Messages can't be sent as clearly--say, in the form of a long conversation-- as they could be 9 whole months ago. Either way, oddly, it makes me love our marriage even more. We get each other. And we certainly can have a laugh about things like this!

Don't you just love love? The traveling hairbrush reminded me, once again, of why I love studying marital communication. Because it can be hilarious sometimes! And serious others. But it's always important.