Friday, December 17, 2010

Lesson #27: New traditions set in

There is not a holiday I love more than Christmas.  Everything about it (except for the song "Christmas Shoes") holds a special place in my heart.  Most of that love probably came from my beautiful Mom who adores Christmas, too.  The tree, ornaments, Christmas movies, cheesy songs (besides the aforementioned cheese terror claiming to be a song), the whole shebang.  I can't get enough of it.  Like my Mom, if there aren't Christmas decorations up over Thanksgiving week, my mood does tank.  All of that to say, Christmas rocks my socks off.

This year, things have to be a little different.  The normal holiday traditions that I love taking part in, some will have to happen without me.  I didn't get to be at my parents' house to put up and decorate the main Christmas tree.  That's right, there's more than one tree.  We won't be at my family's church for Christmas Eve.  I won't wake up in my parents' house for Christmas morning.  It's going to be weird.

Do I love Lyndon?  Absolutely.  Am I thrilled to celebrate our first Christmas together?  Of course.  Am I ready to give up family traditions in lieu of new ones that Lyndon and I should start together?  No.  I don't think I ever will.  So while life goes on and new traditions are started, my heart will always have a sad spot where family Christmas traditions once were.

I may or may have just teared up.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Lesson #26: In-laws can be in-loves

The husband and I recently returned from a trip to Tennessee.  Not only was it simply a regular family gathering on his side, it was a family gathering of all children and grandchildren and grandparents for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  It was insanity; blissful insanity.  Every space was usually taken up by someone's stuff, they brought out the camper for Lyndon and I and his parents to sleep in, toys were all over no matter how often they were picked up, there were only two bathrooms, and food and love were everywhere.

Admittedly, I was a bit apprehensive at first.  My family and I are incredibly close, so family holidays are very important to me (especially since good 'ole Bruce ditched us early).  The Griner side is definitely my family, but there's just something about the ones who raised you.  It's as though I like them or something.  Anyway...vera...

I got over that very quickly when I realized I would be getting to spend so much time with my new family.  Not just people who I hoped I could impress; my actual, true family.  All of the love that I was getting from my family, I was getting from people just as wonderful.  Things I learned about my new family:

Dayla and Danielle - Incredibly strong mothers providing me with even more evidence that I'm not ready for motherhood any time soon.
Travis - Apparently, he doesn't like the Vikings.
Drew - Give his nephew a toy that involves construction and building, and he might like it more than his nephew.
Deondra - Has the same heart as me for cheap shopping and unique things other people wouldn't like.
Laura and David - The best host/hostess I've ever had the privilege to be a guest for.  Always there with anything you could ever need.
Grandma and Grandpa Griner - Puzzle lovers to the core.
Grandma and Grandpa Kelley - They have puzzles that I'll never figure out.
Brilee - SUPER MARIO BROTHERS!  And if you triple dog dare him, he'll go down a slide that's soaked.
Naomi - She has a really awesome mo-hawk if you give her a Pebbles hairdo, and she's a total ham.
Brooklyn - Baby doll lover, bacon carrier, and goober.

My heart aches.  I miss them so much already.  We haven't even been home for all that long.
I'm stealing a term I picked up from some very dear friends of mine: I don't have in-laws; I have in-loves, and I can't wait until I get to see them again.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Lesson #25: Money is the worst, support is the best, and God is the bestest

As terrible as it is, money has become the ruler and the bane of our existence these days.  Even though some people hate to admit it, it's true.  I know that I'm supposed to put my trust in the Lord and take comfort in the fact that He will provide for me, but the human side of life refuses to accept that most days.  Lyndon has been teaching me that when money needs to be there, it will be.  He doesn't say that to mean that we can retire at 21 and 22 and move to Fiji, but he says that to mean that God will take care of us.  And to be honest, he's been right.  We've been married for almost six months, and while we've not been wealthy beyond any means, we've certainly been able to live comfortably.

That kind of life came crashing down exactly a week ago.  Our one vehicle is practically toast.  It's going to cost a small fortune to fix it (probably), and Lyndon doesn't feel it's reliable enough to last us through the winter (not to mention that it gets 12 miles to the gallon).  The plan is to buy another car, get the truck fixed, and sell it.  It seems easy enough; things get complicated when we're both full time students and we can only work part time, I go to a private college that costs a small fortune on its own, multiple loans need to be taken out to cover everything, and Christmas was originally on our schedule.  Total bummer.

I don't know what kind of a state I would be in right now if it wasn't for that incredible husband of mine.  We've both had our separate moments this week when it felt like the world was crashing down, but the other was there to save you just in time.  There haven't been any arguments or huge blowouts between us; we've been able to calmly and coolly figure things out.

We have no idea how things are going to turn out.  These next few months will most certainly be treacherous.  We do know that God will continue to keep us safe.  We just might not get new video games or all the Christmas decorations we could ever hope for.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Lesson #24: Love languages matter

I've noticed a gradual decrease in the amount of blogs I post every single month.

My awesome Mama Manatee (mentor) named Rachel is astounding.  I love her to pieces.  We've been reading this book called The Five Love Languages.  While it sounds corny, it does have incredibly worthwhile words of wisdom.

The five languages are:
1. Words of affirmation
2. Quality time
3. Physical touch
4. Gifts
5. Acts of service

We haven't gotten very far in the book, but I already know that my primary language is quality time.  That's how I want Lyndon to show he loves me, and that's how I want to show my love to Lyndon.  Problem is, that's not quite how he feels about it.

We've always struggled with spending time together.  I've always felt like a leech trying to latch on to a cold shoulder.  For him, the time we spend eating together every night is fulfilling enough.  Compared to what I'm feeling, it's never felt like he's wanted to be around me.

All of this came spilling out of my mouth in one way or another the other weekend.  I was making dinner, and I fell apart.  It was terribly awful.  The word vomit just kept pouring out and pouring out (gross) until I was exhausted.  Poor Lyndon felt like he was being attacked for something that he didn't even know he was doing wrong.

Since then, he's become much more aware of how to cover my "quality time" craving while I'm figuring out ways to show his love language (acts of service).

I highly suggest you figure these love languages out for you and your significant other.  For one, you're relationship will improve by leaps and bounds.'ll avoid the catastrophe that is an upset wife who can't stop spewing out feelings.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Lesson #23: Hints are futile

When Lyndon wants to show his affection for me, he usually displays it via tickling or picking on me.  While I usually don't mind the attention, there are times when I want a more romantic display of affection.  The problem is that romance really isn't his forte.

I thought that I could solve all our problems by dropping hints.  Dropping hints would give him ideas on how to be romantic or great times to be romantic.  If not romantic, then a chance to be sweet.

It turns out that guys don't really understand the concept of hints.  After dropping one, I waited for a few hours before finally conceding to the fact that he hadn't picked up on it.  I thought about continuing on my hinting quest, but I gave up instead.  I gave up because something hit me: I've been incredibly busy this past month.  It seems like I never have a chance to catch my breath, and it's been taking its toll on me.  Even though I never asked him to, Lyndon has started helping around the apartment.  He's unloaded and loaded the dishwasher, taken the trash out, and more without a word.

I was looking for romance a girl receives from her boyfriend.  I got romance a wife receives from her husband.  I like this version much more.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Lessons: The Prequel

I don't have time to learn new things.  Curse you, schedule.  Instead of something new, here are some explanations of past lessons that were learned early on.

1. As much as you love your new spouse, you will miss your parents terribly.
I learned this as soon as we drove away from the airport after our honeymoon.  I was so used to getting to ride home with my parents and regaling them with my adventures.  That didn't happen; I rode one direction with my new husband and they drove another direction.  I cried.  It was awful because there was proof that I wasn't going to live with my parents anymore.
Sidenote: I still cry some times.

2. The first time you go grocery shopping, go together.  You'll need the moral support.
It was the first time I had to shop as a wife, the first time I was in charge of feeding someone and keeping a home.  We needed food for the week, but we also needed the cooking basics: flour, sugar, vanilla, spices, milk, etc.  That list was long enough, but that was the food list alone.  I had another list for cleaning supplies like paper towels, dishwasher tablets, Windex, etc.  If you can imagine a list that starts unrolling and never ends, that's what I thought this list was.  Lyndon offered to come with me and saved me.  He found things, thought of things I hadn't, and helped me keep track of everything.  Altogether it took a very long time, but I would have been there until the wee hours of the morning if Lyndon hadn't been there.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Lesson #22: Oh hello, stress. Thank you for punching me in the gut.

Whatever you do, I don't recommend being a full time student, a new wife, and have two possibly three jobs at the same time.  Things might get a little out of hand.

That's right, school has begun.  While I'm grateful for the chance to finally do something with my day, I'm not enoying having to do 53 things a day.  Let me break it down.

School: I'm taking 8 classes.  That equals a lot of credits and a lot of hours.  NCC expects that for every hour of class you're in, that means two hours of study time.  16 hours a day.  That's how much is expected of me for just school.  There isn't enough time in the day to accomplish actually going to class and then doing 16 hours of studying.  It seems a little ridiculous, does it not?

Jobs: Because we only have one vehicle and Lyndon's schedule isn't very consistent, me having a solid job off campus is a little unrealistic.  In order to add to our income, I'm taking stats for the volleyball team and doing their laundry.  It's not as gross as it sounds...the laundry part.  I also might be working in the success center as a tutor.  While none of these jobs are incredibly strenuous they're still things that take time.

Wife: The responsibilities haven't changed but I have less time to do them.  That one is pretty basic.

All together, there's a lot to do and not enough time to do it all.  I came to this realization on Friday when it felt like everything I had to do was about to rip me to little shreds.  In the midst of this attack, Lyndon stepped in and fought them all off like my knight in shining armor.  Okay maybe that's not entirely true, but he calmed me down and helped me plan things out for the day.

It's good to have someone sane around to help you when you go insane.
And I'll always think of him as my knight in shining armor.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Lesson #21: The little things matter

I blame society for my sometimes misconstrued view of romance.  We're surrounded by music, movies, and books that twist the idea of romance into something much bigger than it normally is.  Sure, I would love to have songs written about me, be flown to Paris for a romantic getaway, receive flowers every day, the whole shebang.  All of that is a tad unrealistic.  Being married has helped me come to terms with that.

The first reason is that we don't have the money to go out and do romantic things  The second and main reason is because Lyndon just isn't that kind of romantic.  He's not the guy who sweeps you off your feet and showers you with diamonds.  His romance is in his words, not his actions.  Last night, however, was a wonderful surprise.

He made us dinner and then took me out for ice cream afterwards.  It was nothing wildly romantic to most people, but it was one of the most wonderful evenings I've had since we got married.  Well...until he started playing video games, but I can't hold that against him.

Sometimes it's the quiet and simple acts of love that matter the most.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Lesson #20: Boys smell

I may have grown up around three sisters and the most interaction I had with the male gender when I was little was my awesome Dad, but I've always known that boys smell.  It's something you learn in Girl 101: boys smell and have cooties.  I must have skipped the day when we learned that boys never stop smelling.

Lyndon spent about two weeks after his "two weeks away" working at the armory and such.  Since it was late July/early August weather, there was a lot of sweating going on during the day.  I didn't give that a second thought, so when he came home he threw his uniform in with the rest of the dirty laundry.  One morning, I awoke to a strange scent coming out of our closet.  What I soon discovered was that his work clothes had stunk up the place.  Granted, it was my fault that I had put off doing laundry, but in my defense we didn't have any quarters.

After enduring a nice session of gagging at the waves of terrible drifting out of the closet, I had to sort out all of the clothes.  It was like digging for buried treasure and that treasure was rotten garbage.  Some of it was still wet!  I mean, come on.  I located all work clothes and some of our stuff that had been contaminated because of close proximity and threw them in plastic bags.  They sat outside until it was time to wash so as not to spread to the entire apartment.

New rule around here: any clothes that are wet from sweat are not allowed to socialize with the rest of the dirty clothes.  They have to go and sit in a time out in another room until dry.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Lesson #19: How do you even pronounce latke?

Gardeners who are incredibly skilled in their craft are known to have "green thumbs".  That doesn't make much sense to me but oh well.  What color of thumb would a gourmet chef have?  Whatever their color might be, I can assure you that my thumbs are that color but faded and dull at best.

I follow a recipe and don't divulge from the path.  The meals that I've made so far have been incredibly simple, so I haven't completely botched one.  Last night, however, was a different story.  Last night I attempted to make latkes.  The best way to put it is that they're fancy hashbrowns.  In Rachel Ray's 30 Minute Comfort Foods cookbook, they looked delicious and simple.  I was about to discover how wrong I was.

Putting all the ingredients together was fairly simple.  Getting them into mounds so they could be fried in patties was the problem.  I couldn't get one to stay together no matter what I did.  Half of them fell apart when they were put in the pan, leaving floaties in the oil that ended up burnt.  All of those had to be pulled out to make room, so I had a nice, giant pile of failed latkes on the stove.  What I was able to save I couldn't even get to cook all the way through.

The end result was funny looking latkes that tasted okay last night but a weird smell that lingers in the apartment today.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Lesson #18: Making a meal out of nothing

We go by the Dave Ramsey lifestyle when it comes to money.  It's something that deeply changed my parents, and they passed it on to us.  The very basic idea is to have a budget.  You and your spouse sit down at the beginning of the month and figure out where every cent is going.  When that's all figured out, you divvy your money up and put it into the correct envelopes.  This keeps you from overspending or spending money that belongs somewhere else.  It's pretty simple, and it's worked extremely well for us.

Sidenote: Let me know if you're interested in getting a handle on your finances.  I'll help you out.
I digress...

Because Lyndon was going to be gone for two weeks, we thought that we could lessen our amount for groceries.  It seemed to make sense, but we were dead wrong.  This last week of July has been quite a challenge.  We can usually buy a week's worth of groceries for around 45 dollars (I'm proud of my thriftiness).  We only had 26 bucks.  As of two nights ago, I hadn't gone to the grocery store yet because I didn't want to take the time to plan cheap meals.  Because of my inattentiveness, I was forced to make something up.

I'll have you know that I'm pretty dang good at following a recipe, which is really the only reason my husband thinks I can cook.  What I've never really attempted is making something of my own.  I ended up cooking some macaroni noodles with some mushroom red sauce that I added cheese and onions to.  We had that with salad and toasted bread with parmesan cheese on top (thank you Chelsea). The entire meal consisted of ingredients that were laying around with no purpose.  Not the best meal I've ever made, but I was dang proud of myself.  Plus, he didn't gag on his food or anything.  That has to be a good sign.

Also: I'm blog challenged.  Every time I try and put a picture behind the title of the blog, it ends up being ginormous. It goes beyond the border.  Help!
Also also: It's many hours after I posted.  I went back to read it just now and found a your when there should have been a you're.  I'm so ashamed.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Lesson #17: When the husband's away, the wife bored

Every summer, members of the National Guard go away for two weeks and do some training.  While the extra money will be incredibly helpful, the absent husband is not enjoyable.  We're halfway through these two weeks, and I'm about to go nuts.  You never realize how easy it is to get used to your new spouse being around until that spouse isn't there.

At first, I thought I would be fine.  Here was my chance to watch movies that Lyndon wouldn't want to watch, I didn't have to make actual dinner every night, I didn't have to share a vehicle, things of that sort.  Life was great...for maybe three days.  Once the initial newness wore off, I started missing my husband more than I already was.

Watching so much TV got boring.  I was always snacking instead of eating actual meals.  I stayed up too late and woke up too late.  I didn't leave the apartment because there was no need to (and I was too cheap to use gas).  Cabin fever had set in and it was driving me insane.

Just when I thought all hope was lost (only halfway through the first week of his training), my family and friends saved me.  Some time was spent at my parents' house, and my friend Chelsea stayed with me for a couple days.  I still missed my husband and still do, but they helped me keep my mind off that fact.

Now we're less than a week away from Lyndon's return.  These last few days will be spent back at my parents' house with my Mom, Dad, and younger sisters, Katie and Hannah.  They are my saviors.

From now on, making sure I stay entertained will be key whenever he's gone.
It's either that or a bad case of cabin fever for me.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Lesson #16: When blame goes flying

Toddlers are temperamental creatures.  They're usually happy, but things can take a wrong turn in a flash.  Just when you think they're having a swell time, something happens out of nowhere that causes the same effect that 12 nuclear bombs would.  Unfortunately for the new Griner family, we liken to toddlers when tired and grumpy.

Last week, we enjoyed a movie with our other married neighbors, Taylor and Bonnie.  After the movie, we walked the two feet back to our apartment, and I got ready for bed.  I thought Lyndon was doing the same thing until I realized he was moving things around in the spare room closet.
He had the sudden urge to find his sunglasses.
He had the sudden urge to find his Army issued, Oakley sunglasses.
He had the sudden urge to find his Army issued, Oakley sunglasses at 12:30 in the morning.
Good grief.

I did my best to ignore the situation because I was too tired and annoyed to deal with it.  Eventually I went and joined the search, mainly because I wanted to sleep.  Well, and because those sunglasses are $300.  If something is lost, it comes out of the soldier's paycheck.

I walked in on a husband who was getting more and more upset by the second.  No matter where we looked, we couldn't find them.  All of a sudden, he started talking about how the sunglasses could be missing because I was the one who moved stuff around.  He didn't come right out and say that it was my fault, but that was how I felt.  That set me off, and I started defending myself and attacking right back.  While it wasn't a full out bloodbath, we were definitely not on our best behaviors.  We both ran out of steam fast, probably because it was past our bedtime.

After a few minutes of silence, he gave in first and apologized.  I apologized once he did, and some incredibly tired newlyweds went to bed. case you were wondering...the sunglasses were in storage at the armory.  He moved them so they wouldn't get lost.  Go figure.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Lesson #15: dealing with the working Grumpy Gus

Lyndon works hard for the money he earns.  He always has, and I know he always will.  I'm incredibly grateful to have a husband who is willing to do so much to provide for us.

One thing I'm not incredibly grateful for is the Grumpy Gus version of my husband who comes home from work.  He always seems to be in a bad mood, even when he says work was good.  It's hard for me to understand because all I want to do is cuddle up next to him and make up for time we lost while he was gone.  He's never a fan of that idea.  I have to leave him alone and give him some space.  I think he would request a 10 foot restraining order if he could.

This is kind of making me sound like a creep.  I'm not always all over my husband.  I would get annoyed with myself.  What I ask for when he comes home is the same loving husband that I had before he left for work.  That's something he's usually not capable of.  Not yet, anyway.  I've come to understand that he needs some time to himself even though I want to spend time with him.  It's not that he doesn't want to be around me (who wouldn't want to be around me?).  He needs time to destress-ify and relax after working so hard.

As much as it pains me, I faithfully sit by and let him do whatever he needs to do.  When he's ready to be around me, he will be.  Honestly, that moment of joy and realization that I have my husband back makes it worth it.

Monday, July 5, 2010

It's a Bloggy World After All

In case you haven't heard, June 5th, 2010 is a day that will forever live in the hearts of all.
Why? Before I tell you, shame on you for not already knowing.

That happens to be the day that I finally got to marry Mr. Lyndon Griner.

The entire day was wonderful, we were surrounded by people we love, and I'll never be able to thank my parents enough.

After all of that, reality hit: I'm officially a Mrs.
Just so you know, it's super weird. I've already had to introduce myself as Natalie Griner. My brain has a major brain fart every time I have to sign my name. I have to cook and clean for myself and a husband now.

There's so much to do, so much to learn. Always. Always and forever, I'm pretty sure. I decided soon after we got married that I wanted to share what I was learning with others. Maybe I could give someone advice or help them in some way. Whatever. I really just wanted to be funny. They started out as Facebook statuses (stati?), and it wasn't until my Dad suggested something today that I thought about taking it any further.
Let me introduce you to Dad:


Earlier today, he mentioned something to me. "You should start a blog, Natalie," he told me. "What on earth would I blog about?" was my question. He then talked about how I could blog about my married life lessons because I'm smart and funny (No joke. He really said that.). At first I thought he was giving me crap because that's the usual, but then I thought he might have a good idea...

...all of that has led me here, the unknown (to me) world of blogging. So here, you'll find recent lessons I've been learning about married life and my witty thoughts to go along with them. I'm up to lesson #14 already. I don't particularly feel like explaining 1-14. Maybe I'll get around to it some day. For now, here's the list:

  1. As much as you love your new spouse, you will miss your parents terribly.
  2. The first time you go grocery shopping, go together. You'll need the moral support.
  3. The first time he has to go to work, you'll be surprised as to how much you miss him while he's gone.
  4. When you need meat in order to make dinner, don't forget to take it out of the freezer in time.
  5. Figure out money things together, no matter what.
  6. If you complain about the garbage smelling enough times, your wonderful husband will take it out for you.
  7. Always check your husband's pockets before washing them. His passport just might be hiding in one of them.
  8. Own a Mix 'n Chop. It'll change your cooking life.
  9. When your husband is stressed out, doesn't want responsibility, and talks about how he wants to be a kid again, make him breakfast in the shape of a face. You'll at least get a smile.
  10. Almond bark can and will burn.
  11. Make sure you don't accidentally put all of the package of noodles in the pot when cooking for two. You might end up making enough noodles for 10+.
  12. Make sure you thank your husband when he's okay with you being a total weirdo and going to the midnight premiere of a movie.
  13. When your husband is walking around the apartment continuously talking about how hungry he is, he might be hinting that he wants you to make dinner.
  14. You'll love it every time your husband tells you he loves your cooking.

When I learn something new, I'll be sure to blog all about it.

There you have it. Time for more laundry.