Posts Tagged ‘marriage’


Just Me and Him

I absently flipped through a photo album before placing it in a moving box. Inside were a series of selfies my husband and I took throughout our first year of marriage.

“We were so young,” I said. My husband was standing near me and he glanced at the pictures in my hand.

“Yea, we were,” he replied.

“And we were completely different people,” I went on.

He asked what I meant by that and I explained how we had such different goals and interests. But really, what’s changed is our focus. Back then it was all bout us, and now it’s our season of raising young children.

Every year since having our oldest daughter, we make a point to take family pictures. (In theory we’d use these for Christmas cards but let’s be real, that’s only happened a couple times). A few years ago, at one of these photo sessions, I asked if I could get a couple pictures with just my husband and I. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I have come to treasure these so much.

Interracial married couple standing in a field holding hands.

This year we took a flurry of family photos with Lindsay Mac Photography and with THREE kids in the picture, I was lowering my expectations big time. But when she asked if there were any other requests I had for photos I knew what it was.

“Yes! A few of just me and him.”

We are so much older than those young pups that were staring at me in that photo album. We have less hair, and more wrinkles. But thats from 14 years of love, laughter and grit.

I am blown away by the beautiful family pictures we got back (I didn’t even think my son was in most of them because he was so busy running all over the place… And I’ll share those soon). But on the eve of our 14th wedding anniversary I wanted to share these. Just me and him. Because after all, it all started with us.

.I was going through some old papers when I stumbled upon a small notebook we’ve had for years. I opened it and flipped through the pages to see our newlywed budget from nearly 14 years ago.

My husband had an athletic scholarship for so we had a huge discount on rent, and we tried to be as frugal as we could in other ways.

from humble beginnings to dream home: interracial couple newlyweds

Even back then we were extremely aware of money. Not that we had a lot, or much at all. But we were careful not to spend more than we had, and to save what we could. Even if that was just a few dollars a month.

We would separate our money from each budget category and put the cash for the month into an envelope. When money for food was gone it was gone, and we had to eat what was already in the house until the budget reset the next month.

I created a regular meal plan for us to make sure we stayed under budget. There was Sonic 5 burgers for $5 night. We split that third burger, and we rarely splurged on fries.

There was $5 pizza night. And we ate a lot of ramen noodles and grilled cheese.

At the end of the month whatever was left over we could use as fun money, or save.

I remember being so excited when I’d saved enough to buy us our first couch–A futon from the local thrift store. It was no more than $40.

The first automatic payment I set up was to ourselves… A $75 auto draft from our checking account to our savings account. We still have it set up to this day.

Though we no longer use envelopes, and our food budget is much larger than $150, we’ve continued to live by the same disciplines for years. Living below what we make. Saving everything we can.

I think part of that had to do with having a scarcity complex.–Being so worried we would run out of money.

When we transferred schools, lost our rent discount and were both finishing school. We applied for any job we could get, and we were excited when we both got on campus jobs as custodians. Excited to earn on the “higher end of pay”–Something like $7/hr. We earned and saved extra money by donating blood plasma on a regular basis–Two to three times a week, or as much as they allowed. The cookies and juice at the plasma center were a midday meal I looked forward to.

How a leap of faith brought us together and made me believe some things may be fate.

There were times where both of us had jobs, just one of us had a job, and for some scary moments when neither of us were working.

We learned to live extremely conservatively. And as our salaries increased, our lifestyle, for the most part, stayed the same.

Afraid that something could go wrong and we may not always be able to afford a car payment, we saved and paid cash for our cars (except one time, and after that we said never again).

We use credit cards for rewards points but pay them off every single month. And we try our best to live off one income, and save the other.

Discipline is doing what you want. Even when you don't want to. Click To Tweet

When I set out for the goal of finding our dream home I was dumbstruck by the prices of what we wanted. It seemed unwise to set a goal so high. Especially when we were used to spending so much less. And I didn’t want to be “house poor.”–Where we’re barely able to afford our home, much less anything else to go with it.

But I thought what if we saved enough to pay for a lot of it up front… That would change everything.

Our payments would be comfortable.  And we’d prove to ourselves that we are able to afford our dream and continue to live off similar monthly bills.

We were paying extra on our current home, and those extra payments, along with fees on another property (we’ve since sold) add up to a similar monthly expense.

I did a lot of math and discovered that saving to put half down would be that magic number. To upgrade our home but not our bills.

Now we’re less than three weeks away from closing. Almost across the finish line. We will spend one last Christmas in our beautiful house where we’ve made a home, then ring in a new year at our new place.

It still doesn’t feel real. I don’t know if that feeling will hit once we sign on the dotted line, or when the moving truck pulls away. But those cute college students who split a third cheeseburger every Monday night have gone so much further than I’d ever dreamed. And I’m so proud of them.

All morning I’ve had that Alicia Keys and Usher song “My Boo” stuck in my head.

Yesterday my boo and I took hands and ran away. Not too far. Just a bed and breakfast a few towns away. Though our anniversary is just a couple days before Christmas we try to make it a point to go off by ourselves at least a night or two every year. Thanks to his parents, we’ve made it happen again.

This year I’m especially grateful for him. For all he’s endured with my insanely busy work year. For how loving and supportive he is with our kids. I love how he’s hid the dang elf on the shelf ever day this month because I’ve been too sick and tired to do it. I love how he lets me sleep in on his days off. He calms me down and makes me laugh when I’m totally freaking out.

I love how he’s absolutely not what you’d expect at first glance. I love how he puts family before everything. And I love the way he says “pillow” (like “yellow”).

I asked him if he could meet anyone who it would be and he said Oprah, because then I could meet her. If that’s not love I don’t know what is.

I like to think there’s someone for everyone. And I feel extremely lucky to have found my someone.

13 years down with my boo. Here’s hoping for 113 more.

I was married a few weeks before my 19th birthday. See what I did there? I don’t like to actually say that I was 18. Though technically I was. My husband was 22. Back then we were young, and (more) fun. But I still had a lot of growing up to do when it came to being a wife.

Our ward (church congregation) was comprised of young married adults, mostly without kids. One winter we went snowboarding on a bunny hill. Other times we had potlucks and game nights, but there was frequently something interesting going on.

How a leap of faith brought us together and made me believe some things may be fate.

I’ve loved getting out and experiencing new activities. My husband has been a good trooper, putting up with my requests to go out, even when he’d rather stay home. Thirteen years later we’re at a place where we each know when to pick our battles, and when the other is insistent. But about eleven years ago, we were still figuring that out.

I’ll never forget one winter, I wanted to attend a snow tubing activity. I’d never been before and I was really looking forward to it.

The morning of, my husband told me he wasn’t feeling well. That he was “sick.” Well sick usually meant a headache. It was a regular battle for us, and usually the source of his complaint. When I had a headache I’d take some ibuprofen and wait for it to wear off. I didn’t understand how this was different for him. I also didn’t understand he was dealing with migraine, which, I didn’t realize until later, was totally different.

See, migraine when untreated can last anywhere from four hours to three full days. They’re usually accompanied by nausea and/or light/sound sensitivity. You may have chronic migraines if you’re suffering from headache symptoms 15 or more days out of the month.

I thought my husband was just trying to get out of going out.

I mean, sure, I realized he might have had a headache, but I didn’t think it could be anything that would have to keep us from going.

We were at odds. I was completely frustrated that he couldn’t suck it up, and he was upset that I only cared about going tubing.

We missed that activity and stayed mad at each other all day, I completely dropped the ball on being a nurturing wife.

Wife of the year here!

I’ve been better since then, especially after experiencing my own migraines when I was pregnant with our son. But I’d be lying if I said I was awesome at it. I try to offer help, and keep the kids away so he can rest when one comes on. Though sometimes deep down, in the back of my mind, I’m thinking ‘Come on! Suck it up!’

It’s completely different with my kids though. I jump through hoops, taking vomit in the face like a champ.

Luckily through the years he doesn’t get them as frequently. After some urging he went to the doctor and got some pointers on migraine relief. And now that I know more about what they are, it’s helpful. If you suffer from what feels like chronic headaches consider checking in with your doctor. In my last blog post with Med-IQ I shared some information to bring with you to the doctor.

This is a busy, stressful time of year. Keep a headache diary, then if you go to your appointments fully prepared to tell your story, and outline the time, symptoms and impact, you’ll receive a much quicker diagnosis and a clearer path to relief. Then stick to the plan they create for you, which should include some medications and lifestyle management strategies.

Med-IQ is interested in gaining the participation of as many people as possible to raise awareness in the community about migraines and chronic migraines. If you can spare just 10 minutes of your time, please take this quick survey to help. As a thank you, you’ll be entered to win a $100 Visa gift card!

My opinions are all my own. I was compensated to write this blog post. It is sponsored by Med-IQ and supported by an educational grant by Teva Pharmaceuticals.

Last week my husband came home sick from work. This is a big deal. I can’t remember a time this has happened.

Earlier that day I had told the kids that we could play with water balloons once daddy got home from work. Now he was coming home sooner than expected, but not feeling well. So I had to tell them that’s we’d need to wait until their daddy was feeling better.

It’s not unusual for my husband to complain about not feeling well. So I never know if it’s a headache, allergies, just a weird feeling, or if he actually means he’s really sick.

So the fact that he was coming home from work early, I knew I had to put on an empathetic face and brace myself for the worst.

When our son was sick with a bad cough a few weeks ago I was the world’s best nurse. Actually my husband was. He went out and bought some Vicks VapoRub and a humidifier. He rubbed the cream on our son’s chest before bed and got the machine all set up for his room. My husband was so strong for our little guy. A champ. But when it comes to being sick himself… That’s another story.

When I’m sick (which seriously, very rarely happens) I don’t try to make it apparent. Unless I’m on the verge of heaving (which, to my husband’s credit, this time he was) you might not know it.

When it comes to taking care of my sick kids, I can handle it. Use lots of water for fluids, warm baths for aches, VapoRub for coughs, and snuggles for comfort. When it comes to taking care of a sick husband I suck.

I did go to the store right away to get him (canned) chicken noodle soup. I got him fluids to keep him hydrated, and then I slept in the guest room and prayed we wouldn’t catch what he had.

It’s not that I’m not sympathetic—Ok, maybe that’s part of it. Another part is that fact that I really don’t know what to do. A husband isn’t as easily consolable as a child. And really, I think sometimes men are just big babies. Mine is. But I love him. Here’s why…

Every other hour our kids would ask if he was feeling better–especially our son. My husband overheard and asked why they kept asking if he was feeling better.

“Because they want you to play water balloons with them,” I told him.

The next afternoon, though he still wasn’t feeling his best (we wound up self-diagnosing him with a stomach bug), he got up and filled up balloons for our kids and played with them for a bit. This was big. Because when he’s sick, I know it, the world knows it. But he put on a smile to make them smile and then I fell in love with him all over again.

Coupon time! Use my special link to save $1 off your purchase! When Big T got a bad cough my husband went straight for the Vicks VapoRub. The nostalgic-smelling cream worked quickly and it’s now one of our favorite sick day solutions.

I love brands that help my family on good days and bad. That’s why I partnered with Vicks to share this story.

How to help a sick husband (because you know he's pitiful).


12 Years

It seems a little bizarre that I’m only 30 years old but celebrating my 12th anniversary today. Mathematically it doesn’t seem right. But what can I say–I was a young bride (I’ll be 31 in a few weeks) and we were in love.


Lucky for us, we still are.

More than any anniversary before I wanted to get away this year–Not far away, close enough to get home easily for Christmas but far enough so that we feel like we’ve escaped.

First of all–Who gets married two days before Christmas? College kids, that’s who. College kids who have a break between semesters to have a quick (and insanely cheap) honeymoon and get back before classes start.

Of course back then we didn’t think it was a big deal to be married right before Christmas, we thought it was pretty cool actually. Now, six years into parenthood every year I ask myself what we were thinking! How did we not have the wisdom to think ahead to parenthood?

You just don’t when you’re 18/22 I guess. At least we didn’t.


So we’ve escaped to a wooded hideaway a few cities away surrounded by trees, hammocks and running water. Our only plans are to pig out (I’ve already eaten about two dozen chocolate covered strawberries), watch movies, laugh until we cry watching news bloopers and other amusing YouTube videos, get a couples massage and relish in the child-free silence.

It was something else waking up this morning without curls in my face and a toddler laying on top of me. I’m used to starting the night with a husband in bed then waking up the next day with a missing husband, two kids and a dog all on my side of the bed. Today I woke up the same way I fell asleep, without interruptions and I can honestly say I’d forgotten what that was like.

One thing I’ve found myself saying to my husband over and over yesterday and today is “wow, we really know each other!” We are so different. SO different in so many ways. Personality wise especially. But I get him and he gets me and it works. Let me give you an example from this week.

My mom offered to give us her piano. It’s a beautiful upright and since Lil’ J and I have been taking lessons I was really excited to get one. Well my husband was NOT excited about us getting a piano. “The kids will bang on it… Where will we put it?”… blah blah blah.

Logistics. He doesn’t like them. So I handle them.

So one night as he went out to get dinner, I strategically timed the piano movers to bring it in then, rearranged the living room furniture, cleaned everything up and snuck everyone out. When he got home he wouldn’t even have noticed it if our daughter hadn’t pointed it out as soon as he walked in.

“Woah, when did that get here?” he said. I explained and he said “cool!”

But did he freak? No. Because all the work was done. And it looks great!

Twelve years in and we know each other’s buttons, likes and dislikes. We have our moments, like all couples, but I couldn’t have asked for a better husband or father to our kids. I don’t talk about him here too much but my husband is loyal, funny, cynical, compassionate, and thoughtful. He’s my best friend and my biggest cheerleader. He thinks some of my goals and dreams are crazy but he never tells me to give them up. He’s the ying to my yang, and I’m so happy I have him.

I’m normally a “let’s pack in lots of fun stuff” kind of gal for our anniversary but I thought this year–Especially with the year we’ve had, it would be nice to slow down.–Which is totally his jam. So I’m typing up this little tribute from a little queen bed while he watches some sports show.

After hitting publish we’ll head out to lunch and I may eat a few more strawberries.


I love this man of mine.

12 years down and forever to go.

I’m so glad we were able to get away for our anniversary the memories are truly priceless. If you’re looking for a way to have a priceless get away during the holidays and beyond, get the most bang for your buck using IHG Rewards. Big thanks to IHG Rewards for sponsoring my priceless anniversary story.

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It seems a little bizarre that I’m only 30 years old but celebrating my 12th anniversary today

“Hey, are you suppose to bring a date to the wedding or am I not invited or what?” I asked my husband as he told me his plans to attend a co-worker’s wedding last weekend. It was a couple days before the event and he had never mentioned bringing me with him.

“Do you want to come? I mean, I’m sure it would be ok if you came, it’s not like you weren’t invited. I didn’t know if you wanted to go,” he said. “But I was just going to go with some guys from work.”

“Well, I mean, I’m fine either way. Normally I thought you’d bring a date to a wedding though.”

I haven’t been to a slew of weddings myself, but the few non-Mormon ones I’ve attended definitely seem to be a “bring a date” (or definitely your spouse) type of event.

do you bring a date to a wedding? He says/ she says

(Pictured above is us back in 2008 st his sister’s wedding). 

I didn’t push it. My husband rarely gets out, and if he was looking forward to a night out with friends I didn’t want to get in the way of that. I figured they had talked about it and worked it out.

Saturday rolled around and I took the kids out while he went to the wedding. Minutes before it started I get a text from him.

He says: I should have brought you.
(I’m thinking): Ha! I TOLD YOU!
She says: It’s ok, just don’t grind on anyone on the dance floor.

I thought he felt bad for not bringing me but the longer I thought about it, the more it seemed likely that he was embarrassed about not having a date.

About an hour later I get a text from a friend.

Friend says: What are you guys up to?
I say: The kids and I are at a birthday party and B is at a wedding.
Friend says: Alone?!
I say: I know right?!
She says: WHY?
I say: I think he planned on going with friends…
She said: Like a bro fest watching a football game? Hahaha.
I say: Ok, so I’m not crazy, that IS weird?
Friend says: Yea, that’s weird. I would have started a fight over there! You’re so nice!
I say: Well he’s probably paying for it now.

A couple hours later I check in with him (who also volunteered to be the designated driver).
She says: So are you the only one dateless?
He says:
She says: How was the wedding?
He says: Everyone is dancing. Awkward, I’m by myself!
She says: So were you like the homecoming chaperone driving everyone and their wives to the party?
He says: They’re all drunk now, they won’t remember this later.
She says: I asked if I should come, people normally bring dates to weddings.
He says: Yea, would have been nice to know… Yesterday!

He came home and told me how everyone asked where I was and he had to sit alone and have seating rearranged. It was awkward but he couldn’t leave because he had to drive people home. If you know my husband you know sad/hilarious this is.

He apologized and said he’d never make that mistake again, (though all of our friends are married so the opportunity seems unlikely now anyway). I went easy on him since I knew he felt bad about the situation already. But don’t get it twisted, I’m going to enjoy using my “your wife is right” card for a quite while.

Did you know it was common practice to bring a date (or I mean, at least your spouse) to a wedding?

Looking back, I can’t believe how often I took alone time with my husband for granted before kids.

I mean, when we were newlyweds we took several classes together at school. We even worked together at an early morning custodial job. We saw each other all the time. Date nights were regular and often no big deal. Somehow, ignorantly, I think I sort of felt it would always be that way.

I didn’t realize how significantly children would impact our life as a couple! I guess I thought kids would entertain themselves more than they actually do.


After our babies were born, it took more than a year each time for us to feel comfortable leaving them. On one hand, we couldn’t wait to run out the door, but on the other hand, we were nervous to leave them in another’s hands. So far we’ve only trusted family members with several-hour date nights. Our parents, and my younger sister Lauren.

Our first full date-night out after both kids was over our anniversary and, even though we trusted our babies were in good hands with our parents, my husband made sure to give them an extra-detailed checklist and ran through it several times.

It was pretty adorable to see him go into hyper-protective daddy mode.

date night

As our kids get bigger, we become more comfortable with a greater variety of sitters, and I’m counting down the days until my 10-year-old sister can watch her niece and nephew for me. I’ll finally get to cash in payback for all of my babysitting hours growing up.

Lil’ J had admired her from day one, and it’s sweet watching them grow up together something like sisters.

aunt and niece

Occasionally, I’ll have her come over and help play with my kiddos while I get some work done. At first, I was so frustrated because they’d wind up arguing most of the time. But once I created a checklist and schedule, she quickly evolved into a legit babysitter.

I found this was a great way to help her feel in charge, and take responsibility for her job (even though I was just in the next room).

tips for creating a babysitters checklist

When making your own checklist, think of the dos and don’ts of your household and include that in a list of expectations for your babysitter. It also helped for me to write down our typical schedule so she knew when the kids would be hungry and expect a snack, or when my son would be ready for a nap. A little extra preparation on my end left me feeling more comfortable leaving her in charge. Having a list handy will help you take off for your first date and feel more at ease.

Some things to put on the babysitter checklist:

  • Your child’s before bed routine
  • Parent’s contact information
  • Emergency contact information (in case they can’t reach you)
  • Number for your pediatrician, hospital and local poison control
  • Special needs and sensitivities
  • Favorite bedtime stories
  • TV/ screen time rules
  • Meal schedule and menu
  • Special instructions
  • Medication reminders
  • Suggested activities

It’ll be nice when my sister is a little older and can fly solo with our little ones (man, it would be awesome to have a date night once a week!), but until then, she’ll be logging plenty of practice hours, and we’ll be dreaming of more fun dates.

indoor skydiving

What other tips to you recommend having in your babysitter’s checklist?

How to Be a Great Babysitter Tips & Babysitter Checklist! How to train your perfect babysitter or help your kids have fun.

This post was written as part of the Allstate Influencer Program and sponsored by Allstate. All opinions are mine. Allstate is here to help protect your firsts and the moments in between. Share your firsts with #HeresToFirsts.

Hi! I’m Jennifer Borget


I'm a part-time journalist, full-time wife and mother striving to make the world a better place and inspiring others to do the same. This is the space where I share my journey in making the most of every day.

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