Sunday, July 27, 2008

Rock Band is taking over the world

Tonight we celebrated Ryan's birthday with a Rock Band bash. It was a blast! Never in my life would I have predicted that we would play this much Rock Band. It's become such a staple activity in the 'burbs. Too funny...

Finally done!

After 10 weeks of labor, I finally completed our 4 year anniversary scrapbook. I have no idea what took so long this year! I try to make one every anniversary to document all of our fun events from the year before but this is the first time I missed my deadline. Well, I was so excited to finish that we celebrated with champagne! Even if it took a long time, the scrapbook did turn out great. It definitely makes me appreciative of the fun stage of life we're in...

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Sushi, Sake and Settlers of Cataan

It was so nice Friday night to take it easy and just relax with the Blazevichs, Hatchs and Cavins. We played some Mario brothers driving game on the Wii that I was horrible at and then we battled it out on Settlers of Catan. It's been forever since we played that game. I love it!
Saturday Nicole and I met our latest wish child through Make-A-Wish. She is such a sweet little girl! It looks like it's going to be another Disney wish - but definitely a fun one.

That night we had dinner with the Hottingers at RA Sushi - still my favorite new restaurant! The scene there just cracks me up and the food is really, really good. They were PACKED so we waited almost 2 hours in total to eat but then our meal was comped so I personally think it was worth it!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Brunch with Brides-to-Bes

Two things we love for sure are:
1) Brunch!
2) The awesome couples in our pre-married counseling class that we're helping lead

Today we enjoyed having everyone over to our house. We are so blessed (and well fed too)

Tonight we're celebrating Cayce's birthday with a Rock Band party and Tex Mex dinner. Can't wait!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

BBQ and Bocce

Tonight we had a wonderful dinner catching up with our dear friends, Erol and Danielle. They treated us to freshly picked organic veggies and a delicious BBQ dinner. Even though we ran out of gas and ended up on the side of the road in 100 degree heat on the way to dinner, Dana's chocolate molten cakes miraculously survived nicely.

We also fell in love with their new dog Foster, a soft-as-a-teddy-bear Labradoodle. I can't think of nights that are much more fun than enjoying nice weather outdoors, drinking good wine and playing bocce ball!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Yee haw!

Tonight we had a triple date with 2 couples from our community group. It was Christine's first experience at a rodeo and we had a blast! Our favorite events involved little kids (and even a monkey) riding sheep! Check out the fun red boots : )

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Wigs and Wine

Stan and Nicole hosted a "Wigs and Wine" party last night for Nicole's birthday. The sangria was delicious and the wigs were hilarious. Sometimes it's just good to laugh at ourselves. Happy Birthday Nicole!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Mixed Emotions

Last night we went to a goodbye dinner for Hillary. Hillary was my first friend at business school, a bridesmaid in my wedding and eventually a co-worker at Frito. The time has come for Hillary to leave Dallas and start the next stage of life in Chicago. I have such mixed emotions because I will miss her so much, but we couldn't be more excited about what lies ahead for her in Chicago!

Marital Advice: Words of Wisdom through the eyes of Christine Allen

Some food for thought on things that I think have worked well for Dana and I

- Pray together regularly
- Pray separately for your husband (check out the book "The Power of a Praying Wife")
- Schedule weekly date nights on your calendar and take turns planning something special for each other
- Have a separate weekly "couples meeting" where you handle the business side of running your house, budget and your calendars. Leave this out of your date nights so that you can keep those fun.
- Try to develop good habits early in marriage (i.e. perhaps if one person is cooking dinner, the other does the clean-up afterwards)
- Try to afford a maid once you live in a house to help minimize conflict
- Track chores (whose turn it is to do what) if you feel like one person is doing all the work (we have a nice template for this if you want one)
- Don't assume chores need to be 50/50. Try to divide them by interest (i.e. Dana always unloads the dishwasher and I take care of the cats)
- Be willing to pick up the slack for each other (without bitterness) during difficult times (i.e. busy season at work)
- Try to make every anniversary really special. You'll treasure the memories for years to come.
- Scrapbook each year of your marriage to capture and remember all of the fun stuff you've done. It can be so wonderful to look back on it together (we do this each anniversary) and realize how blessed you are.
- Be part of an "Accountability Group" (typically through church) that will help you keep your relationship on track
- Work on your marriage constantly, even if things are going great. It will give you a great foundation to carry you through any rough patches.
- Take advantage of classes at your church. Watermark Church offers very helpful classes on improving communication and other marriage seminars.
- Set annual goals for your marriage and review progress regularly (we do that at our couples meetings)
- Learn to cook your spouses favorite meals
- Try to still make time for your girlfriends and encourage him to spend time with his guy friends
- If you find yourself not sharing enough quality time together, institute no TV/no computer nights once or twice a week
- Talk as openly as possible about finances ASAP and try to build a realistic budget. It's hard/uncomfortable at first but it will help so much down the road.
- Consider sharing your email passwords with each other to encourage 100% trust at all times
- Know that 99% of the hard stuff you go through in your 1st year of marriage is being experienced by all couples in the same stage of life. (don't question whether you married the right person - you just have to work through the growing pains and then it will be a blast)
- Try to use positive reinforcement (rather than nagging) to change behavior
- When possible, Praise (rather than complain about) your spouse to others (especially family). It's good for everyone involved.
- Read the book "The Five Love Languages" and put into action what you learn

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Pre-Married Counseling

Tonight is our first night serving our church as counselors to pre-married couples who are exploring the idea of marriage. We'll meet with a group of couples 2x a week for the next 4 weeks. We're really looking forward to it! Marriage can be so much fun if you get off on the right foot.

Monday, July 7, 2008

I love Surprises!

This weekend we surprised my college friend, Sara Holben, in Austin for her birthday. Her sweet fiance, James, set the whole thing up! Jenny Young also joined us which was so much fun.

We had a blast and it was truly a "Texas" experience. We had Mexican martinis and great Tex-Mex food. We immersed ourselves in the South when we went to a very Texas bar (The River Road Icehouse). Nothing like that to make you feel out of your element - but it was great people watching though. Dana and I consider it to be consumer research for our jobs : ) We also watched the fireworks and spent an afternoon at Schiltterbahn, a huge waterpark. Some of the rides were pretty cool, but the highlight for me was enjoying drinks in a huge hot tub when we took a time out due to rain.