#115 | First Wedding Anniversary Gift Ideas

In two months, Erik and I will be celebrating our one year wedding anniversary. Time really flies!

I am having the hardest time trying to come up with gift ideas though, so I went to my good friend Google. One of the first results was for an About.com article, titled Traditional First Year Anniversary Gifts – Paper. About.com is usually decent, so I figured I would check it out. This is legit the list of ten gift ideas:

  1. Photographs and Picture Frames
  2. Books
  3. Board Games and Puzzles
  4. Stationery
  5. Tickets
  6. Paintings
  7. Coupons
  8. Love Letters
  9. Posters and Art Prints
  10. Calendars

It’s bad enough I feel like we’re an old married couple on a daily basis, but this article is suggesting I give Erik board games and paintings for our one year anniversary?! He’s 29! Not 92! Ugh!

I need help you guys! What are some great gift ideas for a first anniversary?

We can’t take a trip because we are going on a week long vacation two weeks later. Oh and he’s an IT professional so he has every gadget he could ever possibly need. I thought about getting him a watch because he doesn’t have one, but when I asked him randomly if he liked a watch in a magazine the other day, he made a face and said, “ugh I hate watches.”

Help :(

#94 | Take it From a Married Lady: MIL Problems!

It’s Tuesday and I’m sick :(

Since I’m feeling way less than stellar today, I’m gonna share a question from a reader. I’ll add my two cents, of course, but I’ll be needing my lovely readers to step up and help out on this one. I know you’ll rock it. You always do!

Hi Janna,

I’ve got an issue I was hoping you could feature in one of your Married Lady posts. I’ve been married for a year now, but I’ve been with my husband for six years. We have a little boy who is our whole world! I know lots of girls complain about their mother in law, but I have reached my breaking point and I don’t know what to do. Help!!

Here’s the situation: My MIL was never a big fan of me. According to her, I “stole” her baby boy (I’m sure you’ve heard about southern mothers and their sons!). She was always making family plans and leaving us out or planning things just with my husband and not including me (although she’s always invited her other children’s significant others to everything).

When we had our son, things only got WORSE. My MIL and FIL watch our son sometimes. I know they love him, but they have started to seriously overstepMy MIL has been telling our son to call her mommy and she calls him “her baby.” I feel like she’s confusing him and it really bothers me. After I leave the house, she’ll change his clothes for no reason other than she “doesn’t like what I dressed him in.” She is always complaining that she’s “not included” in things we do, but when I try to include her she never responds. The worst is that she is always making comments about how we are raising our son. I feel like she is saying I am a bad mother. There are so many other things… I’m just getting completely overwhelmed by it all.

Am I crazy? Or is this completely inappropriate behavior? I’ve tried everything possible to smooth things over, but she just continues to make cruel comments and makes me feel unwelcome. It’s starting to cause problems between me and my husband and that just kills me. What do I do?! 

Laura,
Alabama

WOWZERS. OK Laura, was the movie Monster in Law loosely based on your life?

It sounds like yes. But if not, I think it’s just proof that you aren’t alone.

My non-professional opinion is that you are not crazy. And seeing as how you say that you’ve tried and tried to make things work, I’m not sure what to do. Especially since I don’t have a monster in law, just a regular old mother in law (and I also don’t have babies). The truth is, I can’t even tell my mother in law to stop overstepping the boundaries with our DOG (she gives him things he isn’t allowed to have and chases him around the house like it’s a game and then I can’t get him to stop stealing things!!)

Sooooooo, I’m gonna turn this one over to the readers. Hopefully some of you out there have had issues like this with your in-laws and you can help Laura out!!

#91 | Take it From a Married Lady, No Money Mo’ Problems

Happy Tuesday lovelies! I wanna start this post off by talking about nick names for the word husband. Now guys have made “wifey” cool and they didn’t even have to, because “wife” is easy to say and fine as it is, but still, they get a cool nickname. “Hubby” is not cool. I think it’s because it rhymes with “tubby” and has it’s own “chubby” ice cream flavor.

Not cool. That’s all I’m saying. Well the other day, my favorite Lit professor from college, who I just happen to be Facebook friends with, posted on his status that “he and the Huz were headed out of town.” Something felt cool, laid back, and comfortable about “the huz.” I like it. For now. I’m gonna try it out this week and see how I feel about it in real-world use. What about you? Do you have a good husband nickname?

Well that’s enough time off topic I think. It’s Tuesday and that brings us to our second installment of “Ask a Married Lady.” I got great feedback on last week’s post, when we discussed whether the TV should be on or off at bedtime. Thanks so much for that! I hope you have lots more advice for today!

Today, we’re talking about a touchy subject, MONEY. More specifically, the stress that gets put on relationships when you don’t have tons of it, or when a couple can’t agree on spending habits, or BOTH. I know in our house, Erik works very hard, he likes very nice things, and when he wants things, he just buys them. It’s hard for me, because I prefer to bargain hunt, purchase things that might not be the highest quality, but will get the job done, and keep my money in the bank in case of a rainy day.

I need one of these ASAPI was on the phone a couple days ago with a friend and she was talking to me about how much stress finances were putting on her relationship. She lost her full time job and was working part time. She was making OK money, but no where near what she had been making before. Yet her husband was still spending like they were bringing in two full time salaries. She was scared and angry. “How do I make him get it?” she asked. “I’m not trying to be mean. I’m not trying to tell him he can’t buy things. We aren’t broke, but I don’t feel comfortable with the way he’s spending.”

I asked her why she didn’t just tell him that. She responded that he was bringing in most of the money right now, since she was working part time, so she didn’t feel she had the right to tell him how to spend.

OK. I can relate. My husband and I both work full time, but he makes DOUBLE what I make. When he wants something expensive, I feel like it’s not my place to say something. But then I think about it a little more, and here’s how I feel: We are a team. Right now, Erik makes more than me. Five years from now, that might not be the case (it’s prolly always gonna be the case, but for the sake of argument let’s pretend). We don’t need to tell each other about every time we go to the mall and buy a new shirt (oh geez I hope we never implement that rule!!!). BUT, if it’s a large purchase, I think we should at least tell each other about it beforehand. “Hey hun, I saw this awesome faucet for the sink and I really want it. It’s $400. Do you want to see it and read about it?” BOOM. Done. No, Erik, I don’t care about a faucet. Go to town. Thanks for the heads up hun. Love ya! (Did you think I wanted the faucet? HAHA NO. Erik loves faucets. We have that Delta one that you touch to turn on. Our house is a techie geeks HEAVEN.) So my vote is when we say I DO, when two become one, when we live together, get married, are romantically and financially tied to each other, etc big decisions get made TOGETHER!!

So I told my friend, of course you have the right. This spending upsets you. If the color of the dining room walls upset you, I’m pretty sure you would not only tell him immediately, but you would hop down to Home Depot to pick out a new shade. Money can be touchy, but not talking about the things that bother us in relationships, no matter how big or small, is so much worse!

With the economy the way it is, I think this is a problem a lot of couples are going through right now. What about you? Do you have a similar issue in your house? How do you deal with financial stress? When money is low do you have any low budget/no budget things you do to blow off steam?

#87 | Take it From a Married Lady!

I want to tell you guys a secret about marriage. As you all know, I’ve been married for exactly three months. I’m basically an expert, so listen up. Here it is: Marriage is NOT rainbows and sunshine 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Even new marriages, still basking in newlywed bliss, have bad days.

Not too long ago, I was talking to a friend, when she broke down and told me that she and her fiance had been having a tough time after a recent move. She was visibly upset and told me it was hard for her to talk to me about it. When I asked her why on earth it would be hard to talk to me about that she replied that I was in such a perfect relationship, she wasn’t sure I would be able to relate to her or would want to talk to her about it.

WHOA. Hold the phone. Perfect? Says who? So I told her. We love each other so much it’s gross. But some days, you wouldn’t know it. No one is perfect. No relationship is perfect. We all have our struggles and we all have our strengths.

The conversation got me thinking though. Are we afraid to talk about the bad stuff with our girlfriends? When I was in a bad relationship, I complained about the bad stuff ALL THE TIME. But when I was in a good one, I never seemed to mention the little squabbles, unless my girlfriend happened to share one of her own first. Are we afraid that people will think we are in a “bad relationship” if we admit that sometimes, things in great relationships aren’t great? Personally, I think we should embrace the bad stuff, share it with each other, and learn to turn it around.

So today, I’ve decided to start a new series, called “Take it From a Married Lady.” Sometimes I’ll share my stories, and sometimes I’ll share submissions from readers (send ’em in!) The point of this series is to share the difficulties of marriage (or any relationship! you don’t have to be married to submit!). Maybe you need advice from an outside source, from people who don’t know either of  you (we can conceal identities to protect the innocent… and the guilty). Maybe you learned something valuable from an argument and you want to share it with others! Whatever your reason, I hope you’ll join in. Relationships aren’t easy, take it from a married lady!

I’m gonna start us off with a doozy from the Sparkly household. It’s a constant battle that may eventually land us on the Marriage Ref . If you haven’t seen the Marriage Ref, it’s a show on NBC where married couples who have an ongoing conflict go on TV and present their issue in front of America and a panel of celebrity judges decide who is right, the husband or the wife. Pretty amusing really.

But I digress, our issue is in the bedroom, but it’s not that. THAT is fine. Our issue, is the TV in our bedroom. More specifically, whether it is on or off when we are falling asleep. Let me present the evidence (I’ll try to be neutral about it).

I want it on. Actually, it’s more than that. I need it on. I don’t know if you want to blame it on the fact that I have shared a bedroom my entire life or the fact that I had the rowdiest living situations possible in college, but I can’t sleep in silence. It freaks me out. My heart races and my inner monologue goes NUTS. I have tried counting sheep, I have tried reading, nothing works. But the second you turn that TV on, the light… the faint buzz… I knock out INSTANTLY.

Erik wants it off. He says he needs it off because the light and sound keep him up. (But if I may present to the court, he is always snoring within 5 minutes whether the TV is on or off… now back to neutrality). He says it’s a waste of electricity and that it’s not normal to sleep with the TV on. To which I always respond, why did God invent a sleep timer on my TV if he didn’t want me to fall asleep with it on?

Our current arrangement works like so: We go to bed with the TV off. I have the remote. I play angry birds on my phone until Erik falls asleep. When Erik falls asleep, I turn the TV on and set the sleep timer, then I can fall asleep. It’s a bit obnoxious for me, because I have to wait until he is asleep so that I can turn the TV on and fall asleep, but right now, it’s the best solution we’ve found.

What are your thoughts on our dilemma? Do you have the same issue at your house? What side are you on? Sound off in the comments!! If you have a different issue and you’d like it featured, click the “Contact Me” link at the top of this page and complete the form.