Category: Married Mondays

Marriage Monday: The Over Used Recipe Edition

When Andy and I got married we were young and broke. Most of our meals were mac and cheese, grilled cheese, 99 cent tacos at taco bells, dollar hamburgers at McD. Basically, we were real healthy.

Also, I wasn’t a great cook. I burned frozen meals. It was a bit ridiculous.

But when I was feeling especially fancy I would make one recipe.

Taco Soup

Nothing quite says romance like a bowl of canned beans, amiright?

(Side Note: We also had some awesome friends who invited us to dinner at least once a week- shout out to Joel and Emily who kept us out of debt in college by feeding us! haha! But seriously…)

No but for real. I made Taco Soup every two-three weeks. The problem with TS (taco soup- not to be confused with TS/Taylor Swift) is that when you make it you have to eat on it FOREVER. I had no idea what freezing meals was about back then. So I would make it on, let’s say, a Monday. We would eat it for every meal until the next Monday and still throw some out because we were so sick of it.

It was cheap and easy and I could make it without worrying that I would mess it up because IT IS PRETTY MUCH IMPOSSIBLE TO MESS UP TACO SOUP.

We ate that soup so much that after we graduated from college we didn’t have it FOR YEARS. Seriously. Years. We couldn’t even think about that dang soup without feeling bloated and nauseous.

About 3 years ago I tried a new, but oh-so-similar, recipe (Chicken Tortilla Soup) and we were able to eat it and enjoy it again. I still don’t make any version of this soup much anymore because we can’t handle it but it is still one of those meals that makes me nostalgic about our first years of marriage.

We felt so grown up making this soup, which sounds silly but we were 20 year olds, and it fed us for days and very cheaply.

This morning I decided to pop the ingredients in the crockpot for dinner tonight and couldn’t help but smile thinking of those old days.

The days that were very hard, but very care free at the same time. No kids, so many plans and dreams for our life together, just two kids eating cheap soup feeling like we were so grown up.

It made me think of all the love, fights, hope, disappointment, dreams, forgiveness, and fun we have had since the very beginning of our marriage and, thankfully, continue to have now.

There is always going to be change, there is always going to be disappointment. But if you are willing to fight for it, forgive, and have hope, there will always be love.

And there will always be one over-used recipe in any marriage. Ours is Taco Soup.

Taco Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 Lb Ground Beef
  • 1 packet Dry Ranch Dressing Mix
  • 1 packet Taco Seasoning
  • 2 cans Cream Corn
  • 2 Cans Whole Kernel Corn
  • 2 Cans Ranch Style Beans
  • 2 Cans Black Beans
  • 1 Can Rotel
  1. Brown ground beef in a pan, drain.
  2. In a large pot, add every can UNDRAINED.
  3. Add ground beef.
  4. Add Ranch and Taco Packets.
  5. Stir well.
  6. Cook on medium/high heat until bowling.
  7. Reduce heat, cover. Simmer for 15 minutes up to an hour. The longer it simmers the more flavorful.
  8. Serve with chips, sour cream, cilantro (which we could never afford), and shredded cheese. Or just eat plain. Whatever floats your budget or boat.
  9. ENJOY FOR DAYS. Or be smart and freeze for next time.

(If you want to do a Crock Pot – ground beef and then follow the steps of adding ingredients. Put on low heat for 6-10 hours. I didn’t have a crockpot because I couldn’t afford to buy one back then. ha)

 

Chicken Tortilla Soup (in the crockpot)

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 frozen chicken breast
  • 1 packet Dry Ranch Dressing Mix
  • 1 packet Taco Seasoning
  • 2 cans Cream Corn
  • 2 Cans Whole Kernel Corn
  • 2 Cans Ranch Style Beans
  • 2 Cans Black Beans
  • 1 Can Rotel
  • 1-2 cups water (depending on the desired consistency
  1. Place frozen chicken breasts in the crockpot.
  2. Add water.
  3. Add all cans of corn, beans, and rotel to crockpot.
  4. Add Ranch and Taco Packets
  5. Stir.
  6. Set crockpot on low for 8-10 hours. (High 6 hours)
  7. Serve with chips, sour cream, cilantro (which we could never afford), and shredded cheese. Or just eat plain. Whatever floats your budget or boat.
  8. ENJOY FOR DAYS. Or be smart and freeze for next time.

 

Tell me what YOUR most loved/overused recipe is! I want to know!

Now. Enjoy a few pictures of Andy and I way back in college.

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And here’s a pic of us with our great friends Emily and Joel. I’m so thankful for your friendship and meals still to this day. Love y’all very much. (well. Joel only a little.)

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married monday : temporary housing edition

I’m gonna rewind a few years back to when we moved to Texas. I was so extremely pregnant with Rory. Like. So pregnant. 36 weeks to be exact.

We had a house under contract but couldn’t close on it until the end of January, but Andy was to start his job at the new mill the first of January. That meant we had to find temporary housing.

Andy, ever the budgeter, decided to find an extended stay hotel near the mill until time to close on our house. He finds a place online that was “NEWLY RENOVATED! ALL NEW FLOORS! ALL NEW PAINT! BEAUTIFULLY REMODELED!” via the website.

Y’all.

I walked in to see it and the first thing I notice was that the floors AND walls were all tiled with huge floor tiles which was strange.

Then I noticed that the couch (it came “fully furnished”) was sitting ON BRICKS. It was also a very unnatural-to-cloth color. I’m like sure it was pooped or puked on.

Then we went to bedroom. Not too bad. But definitely needed mattress pad covers for me to sleep on the beds. Just in case.

And then. AND THEN…. we went into the bathroom.

The toilets and bath were BLACK. The floors had the weirdest film on them. There were bugs.

It was also in the middle of what I lovingly describe as the “Mexican Ghetto”. There were about twenty Hispanic families living in two apartments next to us and there were things going on that could not have been law abiding.

And right then and there I will like to tell you that Tiffany (who is normally totally laid back and go with the flow) had her first ever legit panic attack.

I MEAN I SHOULD HAVE BEEN HOSPITALIZED.

I laid on the bed and sounds of sobs that have never escaped my body poured out. Andy was looking at me with sheer panic all over his face.

After hearing myself and the strange noises coming from me and seeing his face I then started laughing hysterically between sobs.

So, basically, pure hysteria.

Andy and I still laugh until we cry (or I pee my pants) when we think about the sounds that came from me that day. haha!

Fast forward to when we moved to Savannah. Andy found us a house to rent.

Next to a meth den. (Like I’m 99.9999% it was for sure a meth house. Actually. No. 100%.)

Our neighbors (husband and wife) literally got into a fist fight in the front yard as I was trying to take the girls to school one morning.

The house also smelled like pee no matter what we did.

Obviously, it was a real winner.

So when it came time for us to find something we would be living in until our house in Texas (oh yes, we still have a house in Texas- don’t even get me started on that) I knew I could not trust Andrew alone this time.

Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.

Well I had done been SHAMED so I was NOT going to do that again.

Before we embarked on our temporaryish housing trip, Andy made a list of places to check out.

I had a list of two places I wanted to see and they both had “luxury apartment complex” next to the name.

Andy, on the other hand, had a large list of places to check out. He was determined to try and avoid anything with “luxury” next to the name.

In fact, he trudged us through the ghetto for a good half of a day looking for that special place.

And I’m not hating on the ghetto. Clearly we have lived in some not-so-nice places. (We lived in an apartment on the coast once that was nasty and had a total creepster across the street. I couldn’t wait to get out of that place. And it was FOR SURE ghetto housing.)

But I feel we have two kids and Andy has worked hard to climb the ladder so that we don’t have to stay in (literally) government housing anymore.

Each place he took me to got worse and I got more giggly and delirious and we laughed literally half the day away because it was just TOO MUCH. I’m pretty sure we witnessed a drug deal going down while waiting at a stop light in front of one of the complexes he LEGIT thought was family friendly.

And then he took me to this one place with duplexes that looked so quiet and serene and I was ON BOARD, BABY.

I even left a message with the management company.

Thennnnnn I took a closer look at the sign ….

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Not sure if you can read that but the bottom says, “An Affordable Senior Community”.

COMPLETE WITH A HANDICAP SIGN.

Clearly they need a more pronounced sign. Am I right?!

Bless it. We are just not good when it comes to temporaryish housing.

Finally Andrew took us to the two on my list.

And all I have to say is I heard him out and went with an open mind to all of these apartments/assisted living homes/drug dens and applauded Andy in his efforts.

But this was one battle I knew I’d win and I’m here to tell you I did. If I’m gonna live somewhere for a year, it needs to NOT be scary.

So, “what does this have to do with marriage?”, you ask.

Everything.

When making huge decisions as housing, make sure you keep an open mind and hear each other out.

Learn to laugh even in the craziest and most stressful situations.

Don’t take yourself too seriously.

And always remember that most things are temporary and you can do anything for a period of time.

Like live in a meth den, pee house, or Mexican ghetto.

One day you will be able to laugh with your partner and say things like “WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?!”

 

 

 

ten beautiful years.

Fourteen moves: eleven apartments and houses, seven cities, and four states.

5 wonderful, spontaneous, and adventurous years before children; 5 beautiful, sleep-deprived, and joyful years after children.

Years of little, years of a lot.

Years with both trials and many, many blessings.

Always an abundance of laughter.

Our love still abounds and challenges and molds and compromises.

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I remember when Andy and I got married and the day my mom dropped me and my final belongings off at our house in Starkville. I thought something was wrong with me because I felt so alone and frankly, scared of life without my parents.

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Andy and I were so young when we got married and we had no idea how to act once we were living under the same roof.

We got into a groove and really a lot of the time it seemed like a really long sleepover. It was fun and new and strange sometimes.

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We had a lot of fun years living here and there and everywhere while in school and for Andy’s internship.

We even lived in an RV for six months on the MS Gulf Coast right after Katrina. And we loved it.

After Andy graduated he got an awesome job and we moved to Louisiana. We went on weekend trips all the time, we enjoyed ourselves immensely.

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Then we were transferred to Texas and had a baby and our life bloomed into something totally different but absolutely wonderful.

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And then fifteen months after our first baby, the second one came. Life was so crazy, sometimes I felt like I was drowning. Between the sleepless nights with Rory and the (literal) heartache of Ryder’s sickness.

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A few years later, we got the opportunity to move closer to home in Tennessee and have so enjoyed having family close by.

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We have just been through pretty much everything together. We have grown up together. Matured together.

We have been through deaths of friends and family together.

So, so, so, so many sleepless nights.

A critically sick child.

We have been terrible to each other at times, and we have nourished each other at times. We have fought and made up too many times to even try to count. We have seen each other at our very ugliest and most selfish. We have most definitely seen the good, bad, and the ugly in each other.

Oh how these ten years have been full of both heartache and complete joy.

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The thing I have always “bucked up” and reminded myself of, even when one of us is being selfish or petty or a complete butt, is that my marriage is everything to me.

My marriage is always, always worth fighting for.

At the end of the day, I’m always wanting to get in the bed with him (even if he snores!). I always want to go on date nights and trips and spend time alone.

I’m determined to not let the sleepless nights (which is one of the hardest things we have been through because it affects both of us mentally, physically, and emotionally) and trials that arise in our lives kill our relationship.

It is such hard work, especially when you are desperately tired.

But it is so worth it.

Andy is my lifeline. He is my helper, my friend, my lover (look away mom!), my leader. I need him, and I do believe he needs me just as much.

We work well together, we are such a good team.

We make each other laugh every single day.

Andy gives me so much joy and so much security.

I honestly can’t believe God blessed me with him. That He chose Andy for me.

It has been ten truly beautiful years.

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Andy- thank you for loving me. Thank you for never giving up on me, even after seeing me at my worst. I am so proud of you and can’t find the words to say how incredibly thankful I am for you. You are the best gift God has ever given me. I promise that I will always fight for you and for us. I love you more than words can say. Happy Ten Years, babe- and here’s to 70 more to come. 

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Married Monday : Honeymoon Edition

Almost ten years ago, Andy and I embarked on an adventure called marriage and I’m pretty sure no two people could have been more unprepared.

No really.

We were 18 and 19 and madly in love and also dumb as bricks on all things pertaining to sharing a life together.

All you need is love, right?

Ha.

I’ll never forget our honeymoon and how fun it was. And I’ll also never forget how we fought over the stupidest stuff and how I was scared out of my mind that I would never be a good wife or we would never have a good marriage because hello WE WERE ALREADY ARGUING.

Oh how I wish I could go back and hug that poor girl that I was and tell her how “normal” it was. I remember years later telling someone about how scared I was on our honeymoon and they said “oh my gosh we fought the entire honeymoon too!”. It was a breath of fresh air breathed right into me.

We also had so much fun and got to know each other so much better that week too. I couldn’t wait to get home and play house with Andy.

And here we are ten years later, having survived the newlywed stage of marriage, new babies, and lots of sleepless nights.

To be honest, I really do sometimes wonder how we survived. I was so incredibly selfish (and still am sometimes) and just had no idea how hard marriage could be.

Have you felt surprised by marriage? Whether it be easier than you thought or harder? I think nothing can prepare you for sharing a life with someone.

This week we are spending the week on a cruise (just like our honeymoon) and I’m just so excited to have time just Andy and I to get to know each other more and have plenty of time without anyone interrupting. I’m sure going to miss the girls but this is SO WORTH IT. Time alone with Andy always strengthens us and reminds me why we fight so hard to stay together.

Here are a few pictures from our honeymoon. Enjoy!

 

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Married Mondays, it’s all the rage.

There are some things I’ve learned in our (almost) 10 years of marriage and I thought I’d start sharing some of the things I’ve learned with y’all (both things I’ve learned easily and things I’ve learned the hard way). Sometimes it’ll be tips, sometimes it’ll be hilarious stories, sometimes it’ll be things I’ve learned the hard way…

Now. Let me get something real clear here before we move on with our new segment called “Married Mondays” – I AM NOT AN EXPERT OR EVEN A GOOD WIFE 90% OF THE TIME.

I’m simply a wife who has sometimes (okay, a lot of the time) fumbled through the marriage realm trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t. This is hopefully going to be full of humor, encouragement, and realness.

What started me thinking about doing a regular marriage post is by the reaction I’ve gotten in the past when I’m real about marriage, the good and the bad. Now, I’m not going to be using this as a sound base for all my complaints about my husband, but I will always be honest about the fact that marriage is sometimes just hard. Not even because of him most of the time- it is mostly because I’m a selfish human and like to fight to the death to get my way. Not good, people.

Today I’m going to give 5 Very Random Tips to Make Your Marriage Better (I could come up with 230923 more tips, these are just five that came off the top of my head for today):

1- Just say yes.

Andy and I both have a hard time with this one. For some reason, our first and natural reaction is “no”.

Here are some examples:

Andy has a tendency to want to stay home all the time and I have the tendency to want to go all the time. I’ve quit asking so much because I know it isn’t reasonable, but my love language would be catered to if he said “yes” occasionally to my declarations of “let’s just go to ____ and spend the day!”. He’s a planner and it makes him crazy, but I love to go and it delights me to NO END when he says “yes” without me begging him. TO NO END, y’all. I want to squeeze his face off when he says “yes” to my need for spontaneity.

For me- I need to say “yes” more to things like Andy’s love of hunting, fishing, projects, etc. Instead of rolling my eyes and making him feel terrible about him going hunting, I should just say, “yes! go have fun!” and give him a smack on the butt as he walks out the door. (I don’t do this well most of the time.) (the saying yes part- I smack him on the butt all the time so I do that very well.) Or how about it drives me insane that he can’t just relax when he’s at home, he has to be doing some sort of project, but what I need to do is just help him with his projects and not complain one bit and just say, “yes” to cleaning out the car or garage or whatever for the 23090323 time.

Women, you should also just say yes to other things but that is for another blog that doesn’t have readers named Mom and Dad.

But seriously. Just say yes.

2- Encourage one another.

Do I think some of Andy’s ideas are kinda sorta insane? Yes, yes I do. But I have complete faith that he’s 1000xs smarter than me, so I just trust him and encourage him along the way.

I think it is just so important for husbands and wives to be each other’s biggest cheer leaders. I mean, if the person who knows you the very best in life and chooses to STILL LOVE YOU while knowing the good, bad, and ugly then it shouldn’t be a sacrifice at all to encourage them.

3- Change for them.

Oh yes, I said it. We are told over and over again by society that we don’t need to change but that the other person needs to change.

WRONG.

The best thing you can do for your spouse and FOR YOURSELF is to be willing to change and mold and bend and COMPROMISE for a better life. Why wait and wait and wait for someone else to change when you can do it yourself?

For example: Do you think I ever expected to have moved to 15 different homes, 8 different towns, and four different states? No. No I did not.

But because I was willing to change my expectations and plans to better BOTH OF OUR LIVES, we have had the most awesome experiences everywhere we have been.

4- Laugh together.

This is probably my #1 actually. It is so important that you don’t always take yourself so seriously. Andy and I are probably the extreme of this because we laugh ALL THE TIME. I’m so thankful that he laughs with me (and at me) when we both know I’m being stupid or crazy.

For example: A neighbor showed up and my girls let her in before I even knew someone was at the door. I had been in the laundry and only had a tshirt on because I was trying to find a pair of pants. Andy was on the back porch grilling out so I ran out there and told him to go in and take care of the neighbor because I couldn’t get to any pants without her seeing me. Well, there I am on the back porch doing that weird awkward dance you do when you’re avoiding a situation and don’t have pants on (what? I’m the only one who has a dance like this????) and I look over to see my neighbor with their head cocked to the side like “WAIT WHAT AM I LOOKING AT RIGHT NOW?!” ….. Bless it.

Well Andrew thinks things like this are hysterical. And I do them all the dang time.

Andy’s very, very quiet. Like the dude rarely speaks ever. But when he opens his mouth it 99% of the time is HILARIOUS.

For example: We were eating dinner the other night and some song came on (can’t even remember what song, it was an uber cheesy one) and I said, “hey! Listen! It is our song!” (as a joke). Andy pipes up and says, “Naw. Our song is ‘Back That Thang Up’.” I mean. Seriously?! I about peed my pants from laughing.

5- DATE EACH OTHER.

Y’all, this is just so important. How can you stay in love and stay connected if you don’t go on dates?

And believe me- sometimes it is hard to do. We had NO ONE in Texas so we hired one. We didn’t get to go as often, but we made sure to do it.

Andy and I love our date nights. I can’t even tell you. We usually go to dinner just so I don’t have to cook (ha) and then we do random things. A lot of the time we come back home and watch a movie together on the couch with no children climbing on us.

If you can’t afford to hire someone or don’t have anyone, you can still have date nights! When we couldn’t afford it a particular month in Texas, we would go out on the back porch after the kids were in bed and we just talked and ate dinner out there. Or we would get in the bed and watch a movie. Sometimes “date night” simply consisted of us cooking and eating dinner after the kids were in bed. Those were just as good as most of the date nights we had going out.

Okay, that is it for the first “Married Monday”. I’d love to hear your five random tips for surviving marriage!

Remember, I’m no marriage expert, but I am always trying! Most “Married Mondays” will have a theme, today I just wanted to kick start it so this is extremely random.

Happy Married Monday!1495493_10100969125950886_1952071512_n[1]