Wedding Photos

Wedding Photos

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Grocery shopping

I married the rare type of man who doesn't mind grocery shopping.  It is a wonderful trait my husband has.  I want to think that he doesn't mind the times he goes to the grocery store on his own because he usually is equipped with a shopping list.  I read once on "Real Simple" magazine (one of the few publications I actually get in the mail and not read online) the advice to have a pre-printed shopping list with all the items you normally buy.  I loved the idea! 

I have a list typed on Excel that has been modified over the years, first sorted by aisle in supermarket (not handy if you shop at different stores), later sorted by type of product (meats, dairy, cleaning supplies).  The last modifications have been the addition of brand names and that came after my honey and I moved in together.  After a few trips back from the grocery store with cheaper brand items I had to make the change.  I am all about saving a buck, but there are a few things you just need the brand you grew up with. (Heinz ketchup, Downy fabric softener..) 

I know it's a bit anal to go to such lengths, and for those of you conscious about the amount of paper I waste..  Ok, you got me there; but it makes my home life easier and on occasion I make the effort to print my list on paper that is in the recycling bin at the office.  My argument/love for my shopping list is.. IT'S ALL THERE!  You can highlight the items needed and remember what you need to buy most of the time by glancing at the entire list instead of standing in front of the pantry or refrigerator!  I keep copies at home in a kitchen drawer and my husband knows to pull a list and start marking items he wishes we get on the next trip to the store.  No crying over being out of razors, soap or shampoo-- Not him, ME!. 

If we finish the orange juice, half the time we mark the list immediately.  The list rests on a corner of a kitchen counter and some times on the refrigerator with a magnet. No need to write it down.  Perfect for kids who are learning how to read and whose writing is barely legible (as my own handwriting is).

It comes in handy when you waste so much time commuting. In our town there are no Sam's Club or Costco so we have to take advantage of our drive home and stop before we leave "the city" (Austin or San Antonio) I simply print out a copy at my desk and spend minutes of my lunch hour preparing my grocery list.  Items I get a better deal from at Sam's or Costco I have boxed in on my spread sheet.  I also have some blank lines to hand write new items not listed, which comes in handy when trying out a new recipe.

I've never asked my husband what he thinks of our shopping list, but I know it has made bringing home the correct items one less thing to argue about and one less trip back to the grocery store.

Sunday, July 24, 2011


I want to make clear that this isn’t by any means some type of advice blog on marriage.  Nope, I have no business with that.  May be in 20 years if my honey and I are still married I might have some words of wisdom but today I will just SHUT UP!

What I do have to share are two little words that have made this relationship with my husband so very different than all the ones before him.  “Thank You”. (Short, sweet unbelievable valuable!)

 I don’t know how my husband learned to use the words; his upbringing (though I have never heard his folks use them as we do) or as a result of his past relationships, but I am so very thankful he brought them into our lives with such abundance.

I was a bit taken back at first. It appeared he would thank me for just about everything, but then I started using the words just as freely and noticed our connection became stronger.  I began to feel truly APPRECIATED. My honey would not only say the words, but he was specific and communicated why he was thankful. 

Isn’t one of the biggest problems in relationships that we begin to feel underappreciated?  Don’t we begin to feel that chores at home turn in to unbearable jobs that no one acknowledges we do?  Then you wonder how did I get stuck with this crummy job?

Well, hearing those words (in my relationship) and saying them at least in my point of view have made those “chores” acts of love. ---- A brief pause for those of you who want to gag.

If we take a second to think about why we say the words, and then make the effort to communicate to our mate briefly why we are thankful, for example: Taking out the trash.  My husband does this normally, but we have no contract or agreement that it is his job to do it. I do it when he isn’t around, so when he takes out the trash without me asking (& even when I ask) I say “Thank you honey for taking out the trash”.  I say it because dealing with the trash (when I am a bit of a germophobe) and taking it out side (when in south Texas it’s almost always hotter than Hades) is something I can do, but I hate doing it!  Thank you because we could take turns and keep score but we don’t, and your action today keeps me from doing a household shore that needs to be done!

 On the other hand, I am thanked by my husband for getting dinner started (because in our household we prepare meals together 80% of the time) when he arrives late from work.  I COULD SIT and wait around and tell myself “I am not getting stuck doing it all this evening”.  I could, but all those previous “thank yous” have me in a different state of mind. He is also in a different state of mind.  He could say “what are we having for dinner?” or “is dinner ready?” and not acknowledge me! He knows I also have a long commute after work!  He knows that preparing our meal together is faster and that means we aren’t eating so late in the day.    

 I have shared these stories with loved ones, and some say ‘Ahh, it’s because you are still newlyweds”.  That is why we are so good to one another.  This makes me fearful at first and then makes me want to scream!!  Are they for real?  Don’t we marry/choose a companion to love and cherish us?  How does it all get out of whack? What makes me crazier is hearing the excuses some spouses give when they are being fussed at for not doing their part of the house work/child rearing or anything else that couples should share!

I know that the stress of arguing about how one spouse might feel may be more anxiety to the already stressful situation of carrying the bigger load.  I know it because my marriage isn’t perfect and I choose sometimes to handle a few minor things myself and not make something small an argument: but I am happy because for the most part I see us both as active participants in our marriage.

I tell myself that perhaps getting married so late in life gave me the chance to be specific about many things I expected from my partner; and after finding the companion I needed I have made sure to let him know he was worth the wait.  I worry that the years will make one or both “slack”, but I am hopeful that thinking about it and “checking in” with one another on a regular basis will keep us on our toes. 

I continue to say the words “thank you” because these have worked well for us. We don’t say them out of habit (like a parrot) or for practicing good manners and we normally take the extra moment to communicate the WHY. I don’t remember being thought to be specific, but if I was.. I am grateful to my husband for reminding me.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Bilingual household..

I wish I could take credit for my husband’s knowledge of the Spanish language.  He isn’t exactly fluent, but he can more than get by.  (He learned Spanish long before we met.)  I find it amusing that when ordering a meal at a Mexican restaurant the servers always nod to me with approval assuming the white man  ordering a meal in Spanish with his “gringo” accent was thought by the brown woman sitting with him. 

On the rare occasion someone actually congratulates me on his Spanish, I am honest and tell them I can’t take credit by saying “Yo no lo enseƱe” (I didn’t teach him)
 What I have been teaching him are sayings that he absorbs and stores in that impressive memory he has.  The first and most used in our household is “No lo hagas como tus patas” which translates to “don’t do it like your feet”. It is the equivalent of saying “don’t do it half assed”.  I have found out that griping at my husband in Spanish defuses many bad situations because they turn in to a teaching moment, and there is usually something funny about the translation.
The teaching isn’t one way either.  English IS my second language, and though I was born in the states I did live many years in Mexico. There are sayings in English I had never heard of and have no idea how they came about.  My husband always (his head is full of facts) shares a brief history on them and manages to impress and entertain me.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Family expectations (Part 2)…

I met my in laws for the first time four months after I began dating my honey.  They drove in for a visit and I was nervous to meet them. I had not met many of the parents in past relationships (always very short lived), but the ones I had met I had charmed with little effort and without being a tiny bit fake about myself.  I think because I knew this relationship with their son was so different and so special that I hoped so much they would approve.

My in laws have been the nicest folks from the very beginning.  I for some reason wondered if they saw me as “the flavor of the month” and didn’t mind me much when we met.  I had never worried about race, but my in laws are of a generation where mixed marriages weren’t so common and it made me insecure..

Meeting them and my sudden worries made me realize the value of my honey.  I saw what a difficult time my mother had with her mother in law that I became fearful of not being accepted.  Wait, I was thinking of a future with all of them in it.  That was the moment I saw my honey as the man I could possibly spend the rest of my days with. 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Family expectations…

When I was a teen my mother mused about the day I would marry.  It wasn’t that she couldn’t wait for me to marry but it was her subtle way to inform me what was expected of me. 

In am a first generation Mexican-American (if you need to be politically correct) and as an immigrant my mother expected me to marry a Mexican immigrant or another Mexican-American. 

In my late twenties after I passed “the ideal” marrying age my mom announced she would accept any Hispanic nationality as a son in law.  “As long as they speak Spanish” Hmm.. I knew many who were NOT of Hispanic heritage and spoke Spanish very well.  It went in one ear and out the other.

I really never encountered racism living in south Texas; may be because most of my friends were from mixed races or because I was blessed to have always gravitated to open minded people (cultures, politics, and sexual orientation) that prejudice was never an issue.  I’d been blessed to grow up in America, the melting pot and believed if love was going to find me I wasn’t going to dismiss it because it wasn’t in the “acceptable packaging” I was told.  Hearing my mother’s “requests” was like listening to stereo type characters on a sitcom.

I took it as something to tease my mom over, because my mom would be offended if I called her a racist. She just wanted things to be easy for me; and for her of course. Her desire to able to communicate with her future grandchildren (in Spanish) was A MUST!  As if we were not bilingual.  Why wouldn’t she be able to communicate? She didn’t want race to be an issue in my marriage. I think she was more afraid my future husband’s family, if from a different race would give me a hard time.

In my early 30’s she was willing to pawn me on to anyone that would take me.  No matter the race, color or language they spoke.  She let me know she could not die in piece knowing I WAS ALONE!   (How dramatic!)

I have known my mother to be old fashioned, but I had not realized to the extent she felt she had failed as a mother for not having all of her children married. I was the difficult one: the oldest of three.  What was WRONG with me? She blamed my temper.  She would advise me to not be so picky.  I had to refrain from arguing with her because I knew she didn’t mean any harm, but I wondered if she knew me at all?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Will you marry me?

Now at 30 something I had been proposed to more than once.  The first time my heart fluttered with excitement that someone actually wanted to marry me. As if being asked validated my worth on this earth.  The realization I didn’t have to agree to it (I did!  I was swept in the moment) because I was asked was something that came much later.

I learned a few things after that first proposal...  Being asked isn’t the “honor” many women feel it is.  It isn’t a favor or a nomination we should consider ourselves lucky to experience. Just because you are asked you don’t have to give an answer on the spot.  You do have the option to think about it and ask yourself, do we have a good foundation to build a life? Is lust clouding my judgment? Am I jumping on the band wagon because I don’t want to be left behind? And last, if there is no actual ring there is no actual promise/agreement “binding” you to go thru with it.  If there is no ring it probably is just “all talk” and you may find yourself in the afterglow of one hot and heavy romp. 

My honey asked me twice.  The first time my answer was “I love you, but ask me again later”.  I was more afraid of him being carried away and wanted to give him a chance to reconsider.  After all, this would be his second time around having been divorced only a couple of years.  Oh, yeah... no ring!  I was not going to let myself get swept in the moment either and wanted to make sure he meant it. (I did allow myself to buy my very first bride’s magazine and shared the news with my two best girlfriends)

He had also just finished school (his second carrier) and was looking for employment any place in the state.  I didn’t want to accept out of fear of losing him and I was pretty sure I would not follow him if he moved away without being married.  Things worked out in a way I was not faced with a long distance relationship or NOT uprooting to foolishly follow “a boyfriend”. After all, I wasn’t a character in a romance novel “leaving it all behind”.  I was an adult; with a job I liked, family, friends, with a life I valued!

Any way, he asked again a second time about five months later.  We discussed marriage in a roundabout way thru the months making sure we were on the same page about what we expected out of marriage.  The proposal wasn’t dreamy...   There was a ring. It was Valentine’s Day (my birthday) and despite the discussions over the months prior, it was unexpected! This time I accepted.

He brings me gold…

I am NOT a morning person!  I fight for those last seconds in bed, and then I negotiate (and renegotiate) “five more minutes” with the alarm clock.

My husband has the pleasure of waking up a growling bear.  For a little thing (standing 5’2”) I can be scary, but my honey found early in our relationship the ONE thing that tames the nasty beast.  Coffee!

Perhaps it isn’t uncommon to bring your mate coffee in bed some mornings, but for me it’s like he is bringing me GOLD!  I can’t function without it and drink it like mother’s milk:  though I have cut back quite a bit I will not give up my morning coffee.

If I could take it by I.V. (tap, tap, tap a vein) I WOULD!  Few things are more romantic to me than the smell of coffee and my honey sitting at the edge of the bed next to me.  It’s more like a carrot on a stick trying to get me out of bed, but I choose to see it as a gesture of love!

Friday, July 15, 2011

My place, his place, our place.

I swore in my early 20s that I would never, ever, ever, (add 10 evers) would cohabitate with a man without being married.  I had a short awful experience that made me cringe at the memory so it was to my surprise (as well as friends and family) when we announced we were moving in together.

He moved in to my apartment (though smaller in footage) only because his lease expired first; but I felt I had the upper hand, it was MY apartment first and that made me think I would ease in to the sharing of space. 

Now when I was young and shared a roof with my love interest it was exciting!  I “played house” for a while and the thought of “living like adults” distracted me from obvious incompatibilities until they came and landed on my head like a ton of bricks. 

As a more mature adult the change from living alone to sharing a home was frightening. We had unofficially been living together, spending practically every evening with the other.  Now the “safety net” was going away.   We would no longer be guests at each other’s apartments!  We would not get another occasional “day off”.  We were going to be TOGETHER!

Yep, you guessed it.  I went in to panic mode.  I was in love and afraid I was also “in stupid”!  Could we really do it, live together?  I could not remember exactly what went wrong before!  Would I be able to tell right away if it was a mistake?  Would I lose my freedom, my independence, or did it just feel like too much of a commitment for me? I had to get a grip on myself!  Things had been so right why was I freaking out?

I reminded myself to just enjoy it and live the moment.  I tend to over analyze the tar out of things so I had to just go with it.  I had to stop doubting myself and stop trying to look too far in to the future.  If I spent my time worrying about things not working out I might just miss out on the memories of “it all working out”. 

All of his stuff got put in storage except clothes, some electronics and different media.  It drove him crazy wanting to reach for something and remembering it was boxed up a few miles away.  I had to give up one of my “hers” & “hers” closets and consolidate in to one. He commented on the amount of shoes I own enough times that I (being the smart ass that I am) pointed out that he at least did not have to pay for them.  He complained about not fitting in the smaller closet and most of the time (not always) I had to refrain from telling him he should perhaps stop digging in the storage and bringing home more things to cram in it.

 I think the biggest challenge for both was me calling it OUR place instead of MY, and him feeling like he wasn’t a guest. Thank goodness we were there only a short time before we moved in to a house that we could call OUR PLACE!

Trust issues.

I have trusted people (just enough) until I was given a reason not to.  I have trusted my mates would be faithful and loyal – until they weren’t.  I have trusted them with the keys to my apartment and car –until their character told me otherwise.  I had definitely trusted men to bail when things got serious but it never dawned to trust a man would stick around during the bad times. 

I had been living alone (no roommates) for a number of years and my biggest fear was suffering something tragic alone in my apartment and not having anyone there.  Those scenes from “Bridget Jones’ Diary” and “Sex in the City” rang loud in the back of my mind.  How long before I would be found if I fell or inexplicably died?  Death and illness is a scary thing for those living alone so when I suffered an injury and had to consult a chiropractor I was asked to return for my test results with someone who could serve as a second pair of ears and could ask about anything I could not think of at the time of my diagnosis. 

This was serious.  Who to ask?  I thought of asking my mother, but though she is fluent in English her (own) issues with her accent would fluster her and probably would ask me to find someone else.  I thought of asking my siblings or even my best friend but the thought of having them take time off of work was too great of a favor to ask.  The doctor had suggested first to bring my husband or someone of my choice.  That second “choice” made me wonder if he could read the word SINGLE flashing on my forehead.

I had been dating my honey for about 5 months and asking him to accompany me to the doctor was right down embarrassing.    I had never done that!  In my mind such intimacy was reserved for couples expecting a baby. When I asked him he agreed without batting an eyelash.  He was there for my appointment, asked questions and charmed the doctor so much that for the next two years “Doc” would inquire about our developing relationship on every appointment.

My honey was present during a bad period!  He nursed me for several weeks, and showed me that I wasn’t as trusting as I thought I was.  I had trusted he would bail when I should have trusted he would be there for me. 

I had been self-sufficient and independent for so long that I had not considered I could trust another with “myself”!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Old maid will gamble..

I am Latina, and in my culture I was considered an “Old Maid” at the ripe age of 25.  Not by my culture’s standards but by my “long” list of failed relationships I had resigned to never finding Mr. Right and there for never getting married.  It was a total surprise that in my very late 30s I came to meet my husband. 

On a dating site is where we met.  After a certain age there are fewer places to meet single people.  I was looking just to “date” and have a good time.  Falling in love was not on the agenda.
Perhaps it is grim to admit to my low expectations; but I have always tried to live in the real world, and the real world let me know many times in younger years that finding love isn’t like the fairy tales.  Finding love in the real world is a gamble.  You play the love game, you risk your heart and after a while you are like the average gambler in Vegas..  You win a little, loose a little, you are there for a good time and you don’t count on going home a millionaire.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Ok, so I technically married four months shy of 40, but "first married at 39" doesn't  quite have the same appeal.

These are thoughts on a marriage I was resigned would never happen.  I stumbled on to "true love" (how ever corny that sounds) when I least expected it.  I trolled the dating sites in search of "dating material".  A professional with wit, an open mind and a sense of humor, who could be my "plus one" at work functions, weddings and may be someone I could respect enough to want to be friends with...

I never thought once I stopped looking (and honestly had given up on finding Mr.Right) fate/God/the universe would put a man so compatible that I am proud to call him my husband, my life companion, my friend. 

We are so different, and so right for each other.  We share different cultures and upbringing, but our ideas of what we expected our mates to be was after all "not too much to ask".