Tuesday, May 28, 2013

First comes love, then comes marriage.....

Let me start this by saying I am NOT pregnant. This is simply a conversation starter about where we are in our marriage and the order of what comes next.

It's funny when you enter into a relationship and the questioning that comes along with every step of that relationship. Dating-When are you getting engaged? Engaged-When is the wedding? Married-When are you having a baby? These questions are totally understandable and I am guilty of asking them of my friends, but now I am having a chance to reflect as I have entered the 'third phase'.....when are you having a baby?

When Chris and I got engaged, we really wanted to enjoy that moment in our life because it is a chance to celebrate the relationship and take time to plan an event that truly represents who you are as a couple. The wedding went by in a matter of hours and now everyone is in a rush to find out when the kids are popping out. What happened to enjoying your time as a couple and having the opportunity to experience life together?? So much pressure is put on the process of marriage and starting a family and I'm not sure why everyone is in such a crazy rush. After our wedding we agreed that we didn't want to bring up the idea of having a baby until we had been married a year. (Let me add a side note here.....this is our opinion and not what I think everyone else should be doing. Every couple is different and I truly believe each person should do what is right for them.)  So, we celebrated our first anniversary and naturally the question of starting a family came up. We had a crazy first year of marriage with the show and traveling and I wouldn't change a single moment. But, we are still enjoying the ability to travel as we please and to take advantage of opportunities that are sent our direction.

My mind goes back to college and living the single life. I always wanted to live in the moment and experience everything I possibly could at that place and time. It was my chance to be selfish and to only worry about myself. Now, I want to live in the moment with my husband and to be selfish in a different way with him. Is that so bad?? Expanding our family will be a huge decision and we need to be ready to commit to the fact that our lifestyle will change. I think everyone is aware of my only child syndrome and I am still getting used to sharing a bed with another person! I'm learning to share and I'm still learning that I don't always get my way. So with that said....I'm throwing any sort of planning out the window. What is meant to be will be and I will roll with the punches. (Chris will say this is not a phrase that ever comes out of my mouth.) I don't typically roll with the punches. I am a planner and I am fairly OCD in making sure there is a plan in place. I get this from my mother. Chris drives me crazy because he is about as opposite from me as possible in this capacity. He NEVER makes a plan. EVER. Which is good at times because as I have said before, marriage is about balance and compromise. But for real, you think we are going to just walk into a very popular restaurant at 7:00pm without reservations and it's all going to be fine? Just make a reservation.....why is that hard?

With the family planning topic, I just need to be mentally prepared for how our life will change. I have seen friends who get pregnant immediately, some who got pregnant by accident and others who have struggled through every effort of trying to conceive. This is the reason for throwing out the plan. I have no idea what our experience will be. I would like to say that we will have 3-4 children close in age and that things will be smooth sailing. But it's time to enter the reality of the situation and that's looking like we have to roll with the punches and take it as it comes. I find it so ironic that women try so hard not to get pregnant, then when many are ready to start a family it's near impossible to get pregnant. So many of my friends have experienced this and it makes me think about what my experience will be. Everyone is different. My grandmother had my father and his twin brother at age 45 so crazier things have happened. She was a saint....identical twin boys at 45. So, maybe I will follow in her footsteps.....hopefully before I'm 45.

Jimmy and Charlie

Until the 'right' time comes along I think it's time to get a dog! We have been looking at Swiss Mountain Dogs. My parents have two Newfoundlands, who are huge and so lovable. I wanted a Bernese Mountain Dog because they don't drool like the Newfies, but Chris wasn't thrilled about all that hair. So that's what brought us to the Swissy. Let me know your thoughts if you have experience with them and if you know of a breeder in New England that you would recommend. I'm already picking out names....all southern of course because I know I will lose that battle when it comes to kids names.

Gabby and Lillie at Christmas

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Where do I come from?

This week while watching television, I finally paid attention one of the many Ancestry.com ads that came on during a commercial break. I have watched this ad a million times and always thought in the back of my mind that it could be cool to look into my family tree. I don't know how to answer people when the question "where do you come from" is asked. My answer consists of "I come from a small town in East Tennessee...you've probably never heard of it." But if the inquiring mind asks me about my family heritage I come up blank. English...Irish....Scottish....I don't know. I'm a white blonde girl so it has to be one of those. All I ever really knew was I had extended family in Virginia and Tennessee so we are southern to the core.

My dad told me his father came from Canada so that got me thinking. Chris's family is also from Canada....oh crap what if we are related??? I think that's what ultimately was keeping me from looking into the family tree. I said I was southern, but not in the marrying your cousin kind of southern. I'll cut to the chase....we are NOT related beyond our marriage. Shew!!

Here's the breakdown.....my mother's side of the family is from Virginia and Tennessee for the most part. There are a lot of them! My grandmother had 4 brothers and before her generation there were even more. The Blessing family was blessed in the fertility department. My grandfather is a Reed, but his last name should have been Read. Somewhere in the birth certificate department the spelling was changed. I have found this in several extended lines of the family. Multiple spelling of names.....that totally wouldn't fly in 2013. I guess before technology handwritten documents were easy to misinterpret.

My dad's side of the family was interesting to me. My first and middle names, Peyton Jennings, come from that side so I really wanted to dig deep into where my name originated. This was another common question I couldn't answer...."Who were you named after?" My answer...."Ummmm a great, great, great not sure how many greats, uncle or someone who was in the Civil War and an aunt of some sort that we spend Christmas with, but I'm not really sure exactly how we are related." Now I can proudly say I was named after Peyton N. Hale, a Captain in the Civil War who was the cousin of my grandmothers grandfather. The website lists him as my first cousin four times removed. My parents saw his headstone in a family cemetery before I was born. I believe his middle name is Nimrod....no joke. My mom used to say that was the other name they had on the short list when I was born. Glad that didn't work out! The third name on the short list was Eli, who was my grandmother's great grandfather. Ironic isn't it....Peyton and Eli......Manning. Get it now?!?!

Then my middle name, Jennings before I got married, came from Lucille Jennings who was my grandmother's first cousins daughter, or my second cousin 1 time removed. Still don't understand the times removed part of these relationships. I grew up knowing her as 'Wogs' because when she was a child they said she looked like a pollywog. Not sure that resembling an amphibian is a compliment but it stuck as a nickname until the day she died.

Now do you see my confusion when answering these questions about my name??

To go a little further, my dad's father was from Montreal, Canada. I never knew him as he passed away when my dad was in his 20's. But his grandfather, so my great, great grandfather, Captain James Wright, originated in Scotland before heading to Canada in the 1830s....on a boat. Can you imagine how long that had to have taken??

So to make this extremely long story short, I come from a Scotland, Canada, Virginia and Tennessee. What a wonderful combination!! I do have to give credit to my cousin Rachel for starting this project before me. I pulled so much information from parts of the tree she had already created and that was a huge help to finding what I was searching for. Thanks Rach!

And thanks mom and dad for creating me! Love you!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Marriage Year 1

My mind is blown as we approach our first wedding anniversary this Sunday May 5. I have been experiencing flash backs all week as I remember exactly what I was doing at every moment leading up to the wedding. Today is Friday and 1 year ago at this exact moment, I was laying at the pool with all of our friends and family preparing for the rehearsal welcome party. (Hard to believe since it's 50 degrees here on the Cape today). The entire weekend was perfect-marrying the most wonderful man I could ever imagine, sharing our love with friends and family, and having the greatest time at a wedding in the history of weddings. I'm sure every bride says that, but our wedding truly was the best ever! I have a lot of favorite moments from the weekend, but I think the fact that so many of our guests traveled to Charleston is a true testament to how amazing all the people in our lives are. It was wonderful watching them all meet and then hearing how many of them have kept in touch since the wedding. I couldn't believe that many people from so many different parts of the US and Canada would all mesh like they had known each other for years. Really cool to see!

The past year has been a complete whirlwind in the best possible way. I went from being a pretty independent only child to a wife living with a man.  Our life together has been anything but normal. But really, what is normal?? We have traveled the country helping families fix their outdoor spaces for HGTV and in the process have learned to live on the road together, as well as work together. Curve balls have been thrown and we find a way to work through each road block. I have to give credit to my extremely patient husband for keeping me from blowing too much steam out of my ears. He causes plenty of the steam but is great when it comes to putting out the fires. With the travel and crazy schedules, it has made us stronger and has helped me relax and learn to roll with the punches....well some of them. I did mention I am an only child, right? I like having a plan and rolling with the punches has never been my strong suit. But marriage is all about balance and compromise. I think our biggest argument has been over who is making dinner. And not the 'I'm not cooking tonight, you are' kind of argument. We both really like to cook but in very different ways. I like to add butter and cream of something or another to about every recipe I know. I'm from the south....that's what we do! Chris is a very clean eater so we have really learned to compromise on the cooking front. I'll thank him one day when he doesn't have to wheel me down to the beach.

Chris is a runner and I am not at all. There have been several attempts at running together but that hasn't gone well. I grew up in dance and the furthest I ever ran was a mile to warm up. This will never compare to my husband who won awards for running track in college. He did convince me to run my first 10K at the Falmouth Road Race. I did it and ran most of the way. I was totally shocked and amazed at what adrenalin can really do for you. This year, I have decided I will train for the race. I said that last year too, but I figured if I put it in writing then maybe I will stick with it. Stay tuned for updates.

As the wife of a landscaper, I am learning to get my hands dirty. I find that weeding can be pretty therapeutic believe it or not. I actually spent the entire afternoon outside the other day pulling weeds and cleaning up our yard. Just because you are married to a landscaper doesn't mean you automatically have a beautiful yard. You can compare it to the saying about the cobbler's children not having shoes. The landscaper's yard can be touch and go depending on how busy the season. So I decided to learn and take matters into my own hands. We have a whole shed of tools that I have no idea about, but I will learn....and YouTube will help me. After a year of waiting for Chris to drill a hole for the dead bolt on our new front door, I went to Sears and bought the tools needed based on a YouTube video. I had to look up another video to show me how to use the drill, but the point is I learned how to drill the hole properly all by myself. I love having a partner I can come to for help, but it was really fun figuring this project out all on my own. Chris tried to tell me week after week that drilling the hole was a really difficult process and would take FOREVER. It took me about 30 minutes. Now we are in the early stages of a massive house renovation. We both plan on being very involved with the work. I'm going to make an attempt at refinishing some furniture and will keep you posted with my progress.

After a year of marriage, I can say we are on the right track and I am excited to see what our future holds! It's all a learning process and I am loving every minute! We plan to spend our anniversary weekend on Cape Cod because we desperately need a weekend at home! I am looking forward to watching our wedding video and flipping through our amazing photo album telling stories and reliving the best weekend of our lives. But first, we will watch an all new episode of our show, Going Yard, on HGTV Saturday morning at 9:30am EST. I hope you will join us in watching the show! We really want to film another season and need those ratings!!!! :)