Tuesday, August 30, 2016

How to Stay in Love When You’re Married with Kids

Spending years loving someone often reveals hidden quirks that help keep a relationship alive.
Dissecting your relationship (rather than your partner) to find these hidden gems can be quite a fun exercise. Here are some of the mundane, quirky, and loving habits that keep my husband and I close.

Keeping it hot in the kitchen.
While waiting for our pasta to boil, you can usually find us making out or even fondling each other while the kids aren’t looking.  I don’t know what it is about the kitchen, but cooking together always brings out our sexy.

Text you in the morning, text you in the evening, text you at suppertime.
Texting small messages like “I love you” or “thinking about you” throughout the day has become a routine that never gets old. My husband once described my texts as “small Christmas presents”. And who doesn’t love the gift of words?

Cuddling on the couch.
We have a ridiculously large couch that is better suited for a family of nine rather than our small family of four. Still, on nights when we aren’t quite ready for bed, my husband and I jam ourselves into the corner, with legs crisscrossed on top of each other, and affectionately watch television together.

Holding hands at dinner.
When we go out for a bite to eat, we unconsciously hold hands. We’ve done this from our first date and this endearing trend has yet to die.

Before bed, we snuggle up to each other and read together.  It’s not sexy. It’s just love.

Gaming at night.
After the kids are in bed, we use nighttime as our playtime. When we’re finished reading, we turn down the lights and begin our oddball version of fun. You can catch us competing in games like: who can slap the other’s bare ass the most, who can whisper the oddest noises into each other’s ears, or who will win the nipple tweaking contest.

Sex might not actually qualify as an item on this list of habits because, for us, it is not a scheduled ritual, but rather a spontaneous activity that is always on the table. Rather than making sex a task on our to-do list, unplanned sex keeps us intrigued and excited.

In some cases, the day to day course of a marriage can fall into dull routines. However, taking a few moments to appreciate the habits that form out of love can continue to boost an already strong foundation.

Based on this list, it seems as though our habitual marital activities are centered on touching, flirting or simply having fun together. We’ve found that we don’t need grand gestures to show that we still love each other.

Small daily presents are a constant reminder of how great we are…together.

*This piece was published on The Good Men Project on August 30, 2016.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Cleaning Products That Actually Work: My E-cloth Review

Have you ever had that feeling of dreadful wonderment after stepping on mysterious sticky red gook on your kitchen floor? Or what about finding little fingerprints emblazoned on the mirror that you just wiped ten minutes ago? Welcome to parenthood, my friends.

Children definitely find creative and unique ways to make housecleaning...well...interesting. But whether you have children or not, household chores are generally not pleasurable. So, when I find valuable tools that help to clean these unfortunate messes, I like to share them with the masses. Enter e-cloth.

I recently tried e-cloth's deep clean mop, as well as the e-cloth glass and polishing cloth. And I am thrilled with the results!

As some of you may know from my last review, my beloved steam mop is petering out, and I have been looking to replace it.  So, finding the e-cloth mop was quite timely.

First off, I love chemical-free mopping, so even though the e-cloth mop isn't a steam mop, it uses the same "just-add-water" concept. In addition, one of my favorite features about this lightweight mop is the adjustable handle. I can't even begin to describe the backaches that have resulted from using mops that are not appropriate for my height (and I'm only 5'1''). 

But the e-cloth deep clean mop adjusts from 33" to 63", so it can be a perfect fit for just about anyone. Add that to the fact that you can use the same mophead for 300 machine washes, and you have yourself the perfect cordless mop!

Yeah, but does it work? Quite impressively! Remember that syrupy red gook I referred to earlier? Completely gone in seconds with the e-cloth mop! Take a look at the video below!

 And e-cloth doesn't only make a great mop. The company also offers a wide selection of cleaning products, like pet carebaby careeyeglass and electronics cleaning clothscar products, and glass and polishing cloths. Although I am partial to my recent discovery of Pella window cleaner, I am also a huge fan of the e-cloth polishing cloths. After simply removing the cloth from its packaging, all I had to do was wipe my mirror. And the smudges were instantly gone. No product to spray and no paper towels to continue to purchase! See my video below!

So, if you are interested in a chemical-free product that is proven to remove over 99% of bacteria, I would highly recommend e-cloth!

Want to learn more about e-cloth? Here are the many ways you can check out the e-cloth brand!

Join the e-cloth email list at www.ecloth.com.

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/eclothCleaning

Disclaimer: I was provided with a free product in return for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own and not influenced by the developing company or any of its affiliates.

Monday, August 1, 2016

My Real Life Sue Heck

For those unfamiliar with ABC’s comedy The Middle, Sue Heck portrays a wonderfully tragic teenager who tries her hardest at everything, but is constantly rejected. Because she always pulls herself back up, the audience can’t help but root for her. She never gets what she ultimately wants, yet she finds the genuine happiness with whatever she winds up with. Her cheerfulness is annoyingly addictive. By the end of each episode, viewers actually believe that something extraordinary will happen to her. She is the quintessential beacon of hope that every mother dreams her daughter could be…if life resembled a thirty minute sitcom.

In reality, moms fear children like her. See, I know this because I live with a real Sue Heck. My daughter is fueled by her hopes and dreams. In her mind, her goals are always attainable, even if those goals involve opening the first ever dragon training school. When it comes to her own abilities, she doesn’t quite understand the word “can’t”. She is the most admirable ten year old little girl I’ve ever met.

(Insert record scratch here) Then there’s me-the realist. For the record, realists are not without hope.  We are just better prepared for life’s onslaught of shitstorms. I am always aware of the equal possibility of success or failure in any given situation. But when my sweet daughter embarks on something new, failure does not exist…that is, until it does.

Because of my daughter’s loyalty to optimism, there have been a collection of gut-wrenching moments for me to endure over the years. With each disappointed smile she gives me when she doesn’t get the part in the play, the mom in me dies a little on the inside. With every “don’t worry mom, I bet I’ll make it next year”, my practical side gets nervous and internally whispers, “what if you don’t?” With the positive spin she puts on each disheartening outcome, the realist in me covertly cries for her, while the mom on the outside tries to match her enthusiasm for what’s next.

She will never know about my anxiety each time I drop her off at an audition, or how I shed a few tears in the shower when she declares that she will keep trying until she gets it. My worry does not come from a lack of faith in her or an expectation of failure. Amazed by her continuously upbeat attitude, I fear that, eventually, the rejection will wear on her, giving her a reason to give up. I’m afraid that there may come a time when her ambition will be history, and the strong, positive little girl I know and love will have disappeared into a mini version of me-the realist. 

I want her to hold on to the optimism, so that I can try to hold on with her. But if I can’t, she has at least shown me how to be happy with the unexpected mediocrity that life may hurl in my direction. She has taught me that it’s not really about the problems in life, but more about my reaction to the problems that will make the real difference. 

I am grateful for my Sue Heck. And though, at times, her light may be too bright for me, I look forward to walking in her shadow with my sunglasses on.

*This piece was published on BLUNTmoms on August 1, 2016.