it's the little things

Sometimes I sit back and think about my life. And I smile.

I have a great life. Don't get me wrong, there are things that bother me about it, things I wish I could do but can't (because of a lack of time, money, or motivation), and things that anger or sadden me from time to time. But when I look at the big picture, I'm pretty f-ing blessed. 

I have two healthy, happy, hilarious kiddos (and another one on the way), I love my job to pieces (seriously, a college professor is the best job in the entire world), and I have amazingly supportive and caring family and friends. But the best part of my life is the marriage I have to Hus. He's stinkin' amazing. Seriously; I have very little to complain about. My life with Hus is incredible.

And it really is the little things that make it so fantastic. For instance, Hus is heading up to Maryland tonight and won't be back until late tomorrow night to go to the D.C. Auto Show with a couple of his friends. And instead of trying to leave right after his car was washed and his bags were packed (about an hour ago), he decided to bathe and otherwise occupy the kids so I could have one last hour of peace before I was flying solo. He seems to always do stuff like that. And I love him for it.

Another example is how he will always ask me if I need something every single time he stands up. He may not even be going to the room where I need something from, but still, he will ask. And no matter what I ask him for, he never acts as if it's putting him out or annoying him in any way. 

And that's not all. Hus fills my day with tons of other little things that make me feel special, loved, appreciated, and secure. It's amazing to me how so many little things can add up to a life that I am ridiculously grateful for every single day.

Although things aren't always a bed of roses around here (and believe me, they're not), as Annette Funicello once said, "Life does not have to be perfect to be wonderful."

creepers, casanovas, & friends with benefits: decoding dating slang of the 21st century

I teach undergraduates. And I listen to them talk to each other (because I'm nosey like that). And several times a day, I think, "What the hell are they talking about?" Sometimes, I ask them. And then I'm confused. Not about the definition they provide, but about the fact that I had no knowledge about the term in question.

I don't understand. I'm with it. I'm down. At least I thought I was.

Well, in case the rest of you want to brush up your love lingo, here's a list of some surprising (and not-so-surprising) definitions of today's slang.

A person who is engaging in a mild form of stalking. It is usually used to describe a person who is making unwanted advances towards another person or even a person who is continuing to make direct or indirect advances after the targeted individual has clearly refused them. Other people may use the verb form of creep to explain anyone approaching someone he or she is romantically interested in.

To have sex.

A popular male who is highly successful in courting women.

Friends with Benefits
Two individuals who are engaging in sexual interactions together with limited to no emotional attachment or commitment.

Talking about a sexual experience with a partner directly following the interaction. Think of it like a play-by-play of your sex life. The couple will discuss the ups and downs of their recent sexual encounter.

This acronym represents the saying, Down to Fuck. In essence, DTF describes a female who is ready to have (usually casual) sex with a man. Men will describe women in this manner when they have come to this realization through interaction with her.

And for your viewing pleasure, here's a cute video about three more slang terms that are used in the dating world... by real people, apparently.

quick love tip: show your appreciation

When was the last time your partner thanked you? Better yet, when was the last time YOU thanked your partner? I have to say, Hus does so much for me on a daily basis that I could never truly thank him enough. But I try. At least once every single day, I tell Hus "thank you" for something specific (and that doesn't include all of those things I should already be thanking him for-- like for holding the door or getting me something) or I'll say that I appreciate him for his general contributions to our family and marriage.

I learned at a young age that appreciation was not only key to building relationships with other people, but that it also has the ability to make you a much happier individual. When you thank people, especially about positive things that are happening in your life, you begin to realize just how great your life is. 

Think about what your spouse does for you and thank him or her. Today. Go ahead, you can do it.

great expectations: how being realistic is key to your relationship's success

"Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its
ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing
that it is stupid." ~Albert Einstein

As I've said time and time again, relationships are tough. There are so many factors that go into creating a good relationship and it can easily become overwhelming if and when one or both partners don't put in the effort needed to keep their relationship afloat. One of these said factors is being realistic. It is vital that you and your partner are realistic about who each other are and what you each are capable of and willing to do.

For instance, I am fully aware that Hus is not going to start planning all of our date nights. It's just not who he is. Sure, he'll plan a date night here and there, but all of them? Nope, that's what I do; I'm the planner. And while many of my friends get agitated when their husbands don't plan their date nights, it doesn't bother me. Because I know that I shouldn't judge Hus by his ability or willingness to plan a date; nor should I get upset about it. It's just not who he is and I don't want him to feel inferior because he doesn't like or want to plan a date.

When I hear people complaining about their spouses or singles complaining about the type of people who are available to them, I wonder if they're really being realistic. And when I think about the complaints they're making, in the grand scheme of things, many of these complaints are, well, trivial to say the least.

Nobody is perfect. I'm not, you aren't, and neither is anyone else for that matter. We all have our faults. We all have things about us that can (and do) make other people angry, offended, and/or annoyed. But, at the same time, we also all have virtuous characteristics that make others gravitate towards us. Let's try to remember those positive things and be realistic about all of those things that piss us off.

The bottom line: if you raise the expectations you have for your spouse to a place that is unattainable, not only will you be disappointed, but your spouse will feel stupid for not being able to reach those goals.

just for the love of it: relationship resolutions for 2012

Last year, I wrote about 5 new year's resolutions that you could make to enhance your relationship in 2011. Then, I wrote about a few of those resolutions again here, here, and here. Well, 2011 has come and gone and it's that time of year again. Below are my (and maybe some of your) relationship resolutions for 2012.
  1. Avoid criticism. Hus and I are pretty good about this one, but every once in awhile, criticism will creep back into our communication interactions. So, what is criticism? Well, it's different from complaining (which can actually be helpful in your relationship). Where complaints can sometimes be helpful (allowing people to take note and possibly make a change), criticism tends to attack a person's character by blaming and generalizing the issue beyond the behavior in question. For example, "I felt like you didn't support me yesterday when I was sad" is an example of complaining, while "You never support me" is an example of criticism. Researchers agree with the idea that criticism tends to have negative outcomes. In fact, criticism has been linked to feelings of embarrassment (Fitness, 2001) and lower relationship satisfaction (Cutrona, 1996) within the person being criticized. Eliminating words like "always" and "never" when describing your partner's behavior will help with this. Be specific when complaining about something your mate has done to upset, sadden, or infuriate you. It can be terribly hurtful and damaging to your relationship when you criticize the person you love. You can read more about criticism here.
  2. Have an out-of-the-house date night at least once a month. Last year, one of my suggestions was to have a date night at least twice a month. This hasn't gone over too well in our house. With two kids and otherwise hectic schedules, it has been very difficult to get out for a night on the town. Don't get me wrong, we've definitely been able to have several in-the-house date nights after the kiddos go off to bed, but getting out--not so much. So this year, I really want to try to have an out-of-the-house date night once a month. In fact, Hus and I have planned a date night next weekend for January. Here's hoping we can keep this one up for all 12 months!
  3. Say "I'm sorry" more often. You know, I make my kids do this several times a day, but I seem to forget the importance of taking responsibility for my own actions. Saying "I'm sorry" is something that many of us, including myself, forget to do. So many times, Hus will be upset about something I said or did and I'll brush it off by telling him, "I didn't mean that; quit being so sensitive!" And writing it out doesn't make me feel so great. I usually want to take it back right after I say it, too. It's a terrible ting to say. It's important to take responsibility for my intended or unintended actions. Because at the end of the day, I hurt Hus' feelings. So, it doesn't really matter if I meant it or not. I need to just say, "I'm sorry" and work towards a solution to make things better. Click here to read more about apoligizing.
These are my relationship resolutions. Do you have any relationship resolutions for 2012?


  • Cutrona, C. E. (1996). Social support as a determinant of marital quality: The interplay of negative and supportive behaviors. In G. R. Pierce, B. R. Sarason, & I. G. Sarason (Eds.). Handbook of social support and the family. New York: Plenam Press.
  • Fitness, J. (2001). Betrayal, rejection, revenge, and forgiveness: An interpersonal script approach. In M.R. Leary (Ed.). Interpersonal rejection, (pp. 73-103). New York: Oxford University Press.

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