Saturday, September 3, 2011

Wet Vacs and the Red Sea

One of the requirements during the marriage preparation process was meeting with an assigned peer couple from the church.  This is a couple who volunteers to invite the engaged couple into their home for 3 sessions, and go over the  FOCCUS assessment and anything else real-life marriage and family related.   The FOCCUS assessment asks questions about all aspects of the relationship, feelings about the future marriage, etc…everything from “Have you both discussed and agreed upon how you will manage your finances?”  to “Do you think you will be completely comfortable naked in front of your partner?”

You can imagine all of the conversations that came out of these and –literally-165 others .  It was probably my favorite part of the process, though it was also the most challenging as you have to go over these questions in front of somebody else.  No beating around the bush, deciding to just “figure it out later”…it was time to figure this stuff out.

Last night we met with our peer couple for the 3rd and final “official” session, which was basically dinner with their family (all other sessions were just us and them after their kids had gone to sleep).

And let me tell you…it was such a fun, crazy, awesome, messy, real-life evening.  It started off the minute we walked through the door.  I had remembered them telling me they had 6 kids in our first session but for some reason I forgot the details of that.  I walked in and literally counted – with my finger – all the kids.  “3..4..5….6!  Ok..6.  Here we go.”  There was a 1-year old in his dad’s arms just chillin, a three-year-old who started bouncing everywhere he went and interrupted or just chatted about things I could not understand, a shy 5-year-old who just woke up from a nap, a 7-year-old still wearing her school uniform from earlier that day, and the two oldest hanging out on the couch – 9 and 11-year-old boys.

Everyone was hungry so after introductions of names, ages and favorite movies (4 out of 6 said they preferred Star Wars), we started gathering around the table.  Some people standing, some sitting, baby in the high-chair, mom and dad opening the pizza boxes, excited 3-year-old bouncing on and around his chair, other kids waiting patiently for the go-ahead to get some seemed very normal.  And then, in one fell swoop, as if almost on cue, a series of events happened that I am still laughing out loud about.

Joel and I and half the kids have their pizza and are about to dig in.  I’m up getting something, and when I come back the 5-year-old, who is sharing a bench seat with her 7-year-old sister and 3-year-old brother, without warning, casually turns to the side and VOMs.  Chunks everywhere.  The little guy next to her gets up unscathed and heads over to the other side of the table, ominously picking up a container of garlic butter.

Everyone is ordered not to move as the towels and buckets are gathered.  The older girl next to her doesn’t budge…just starts in eating her pizza like absolutely nothing happened.  Mom tells us that the best piece of advice she can give us is to always have a wet-vac on hand.  We kind of chuckle, and as dad takes the little girl to change her clothes, I turn to the little guy and he is fumbling with the garlic butter cup. One..two..three...all over his shirt.  He says something to me (again, no idea) and  I ask him, - oh buddy!, do you want to go change your clothes with your sister?  Naahhh he says.  He smells like garlic for the rest of the night.

In a few minutes, everything has died down and we all sit and enjoy pizza, along with stories about the best parts of the kids day, their recent vacation to Vermont, and so on.  Soon after we finish and the kids all run to the next room and start playing with a singing globe, my favorite scene appears.  All 5 of the big kids are huddled around this globe…the oldest taking charge, the middle ones pushing the buttons, the little ones watching, and the 5-year-old who threw up just 20 minutes ago sits there with her bucket up to her chin…you know, just in case.   Her parents tell us she is very social and probably doesn’t want to miss out on the fun, and we all laugh.  I don’t think we’ll ever forget this night.

Even though Joel and I will probably not go the 6-kid route, the beauty, and the chaos of family life is exciting and overwhelming all at once.  It reminds me of something I just read about Moses’ parting of the Red Sea.

As we all know, the story goes that Moses and the good guys are fleeing Egypt and trying to get away from the bad guys.  Moses takes his staff and slams it on the ground, and the Red Sea opens up for the good guys to get away.

Well, in a certain Jewish tradition of this story, it is thought to have happened a different way.  In this version of the story, the waters do Not part when Moses “commands them to.”  As the Egyptians are closing in on the Israelites, and they are getting more and more nervous, a Hebrew named Nachshon just starts walking into the water.  He wades up to his ankles, his waist, his neck…and just as the water is about to cover his mouth and nose, the waters part and the Israelites escape.

The point of this version is that sometimes miracles only occur when you jump in. 

I have been thinking about this a lot with a life-long commitment to marriage soon approaching, and especially after last night hanging with a family of 8.  I hope I continue to have faith enough to “jump in” to the craziness of life and trust that the miracles will come.  I also hope I remembered to register for a wet-vac.

Sunday, August 14, 2011


Well if you haven’t noticed, it’s been a while since we began here discussing Marriage and Weddings 101.  I apologize deeply for this, but as anyone who has, or has helped plan a wedding knows, I’ve been a busy girl.

So dedicated to planning in fact, that even though I am embarrassed to say, I am also inclined to stay true to honesty on this one, to tell you that my busy-ness has led me to self-prescribed pre-carpal-tunnel syndrome.  What this pain has brought me:
The most beautiful wedding dress I found online (after *cough*2*cough* other attempts),
Finding my DJ and Photographer
Many days-worth of ideas from,,, etc.
Countless emails to my mom , dad, Brooke at Brookes Party Rentals, etc.
My wedding website, and most recently..
My wedding map (my new favorite thing).

Welcome to planning a wedding 1,336 miles away.

Update: By the way, here's a picture of that dress from the day-of:

I also have been doing an exorbitant amount of push-ups lately, to prepare for wearing the Dress.  This is probably not helping matters with my pre-carpal-tunnel.  

ANYWAY, I know you’ve all been wondering about the mucus talk so let’s get at it.

One of the classes we just finished taking was Natural Family Planning.  I will decline from taking this opportunity to defend this very scientifically updated, healthy, chemical free, pain free, communication and relationship –building, 98% effective, empowering…Method that can be used to avoid pregnancy J, I will instead discuss what you are all wondering about: namely, sitting in a comfortable office, next to your fiancé (who happens to be male don’t forget) facing the instructor, and a picture book.  A picture book you might ask?  What’s so bad about that?  Well it’s not bad of course, but the pictures are of mucus.  All the different kiiinds of mucus.  Damp, wet, shiny, gummy, gluey, pasty, creamy, tacky, clear, cloudy, cloudy-clear, yellow, stretchy up to ¼ inch, stretchy up to ¾ inch, stretchy past an inch…stretchy with lubrication, stretchy without lubrication…gummy, gluey, pasty, creamy did I say all of these?   I mean..The honeymoon. Is over.

Let’s also just say that I have the most amazing, unflinchable fiancé in the world.  He really didn’t think this was that bad (at least that’s what he said when we got in the car after the session). 

And I would actually have to agree…the book wasn't that bad, but that’s really not the hard part.  The hard part is actually talking about your OWN mucus.  First of all, if the word Mucus wasn’t so bad this whole thing might be a little easier.  But starting sentences like … “well on Saturday my mucus was like ______, and then the next day it was __________, but then yesterday the weirdest thing…it was ______________. 

Now that is humbling.  If a guy can know that kind of detail about his fiancé / wife, I truly believe they are set for life.  To be serious, it takes respect, maturity and real love (not just the mushy feelings) to get through conversations like that.  All in all, I am very glad we took the class, grew in our relationship, are planning on using the method, and are probably going to welcome Joel Bodie Jr. 9 months from November 26.  Just kidding J

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Love and Parties

In our lives we will go many places, do many things, meet and love many people, and plan many parties.
Love and Parties…the things that fill my mind.  I am getting ready to become a wife (out of mushy loove obviously) and plan what I hope to be the best party I (we) have ever thrown.  I hope to share in the coming months the honest, straight-up feelings and events that occur in the midst of all this love and party stuff.  So if you’ve read this blog before, welcome to the name change.
So…let’s get caught up.  First of all, let us not grow weary of reminding everyone that a Marriage needs more preparing for than a Wedding.  Yes yes yes, ok ok OK.
Well of course I agree.  But wedding stuff is just so much FUUN!
So to catch everyone up, we got engaged in January.  It was an awesome day, he proposed on a hike (see below) and surprised me with a small celebration party that evening.  Joel still likes to remind me of the peculiarity that although I am an avid crier, I just so happened to not cry during/after the proposal.  Well I would like to remind him, during this honest record of events, of the peculiarity of us going on a hike, a week after ring shopping, with a camera in his Camelpak. 

No seriously, I was as sure that we would get engaged at the top of that mountain as I was that I would BEAT him up the mountain (we don’t “race” but…we race).  That was - Hopeful, But Not Sure.  And I was wrong about beating him that day, so anything could happen.  All in all, it was awesome.  Ring: Check.
Soon after that we enrolled in Marriage Preparation classes at my church, St. Thomas the Apostle here in Phoenix.  Joel is not Catholic but is totally on-board with the “let’s do everything we can to prepare for and have a great marriage” thing.  I’m a lucky lil Catholic girl.  Check.
Then, on my recent trip back home we decided on the reception venue and officially set the date for Thanksgiving!  The feeling of OMG it’s really happening: CHECK.
In that list of “21 Suggestions for Success” by H. Jackson Brown, the very first suggestion listed is “Marry the right person.  This one decision will determine 90% of your happiness or misery.”  I believe this to the extent that the person you decide to daily eat, sleep and negotiate between the Today Show and Good Morning America with (negotiations currently under way) will indeed have a profound effect on the rest of your life.  In the words of my very own naïve, starry-eyed self…We are going to be so awesome at this.  So a little twist on the tip for success, but I’m aiming for “90% happiness” in this thing.  What thing?  The whole thing.  And I know we'll get there.
Next report: how to survive hearing the word 'mucus' 36 times in 120 minutes.