Favorite (motherhood) books + podcasts right now

Hi friends!

It is 7:22 am on a Tuesday morning, and Gio is taking his first nap; he was up at 4:30 am.

So, since I’m already one pumpkin muffin + 1 cup of pumpkin spice coffee in, I figured I’d do some writing 🙂

I’ve been wanting to share some of my favorite books and podcasts lately, because they have been so encouraging to me, especially in this season of motherhood. What I particularly love about reading books by other moms or listening to podcasts hosted by moms, is that often times I find myself saying, “ME TOO!”.  That is what I love about this new community I am in, we just GET each other. All other societal divides are put aside when you meet another mom. You have a connection and bond that no other person can understand. No matter what stage of motherhood you’re in, all moms have been through whatever it is you are going through, and that to me is SO comforting.

Since becoming a mother, I have noticed that I don’t judge people as much as before. I heard someone say, (I believe it was Ashlee Gadd on the Coffee + Crumbs podcast) that “we do way less judging as a mom, because we don’t want to be judged for being a bad mom.” 

SO true.

That mom who lets her child eat food off the floor? …FINE.

 

That mom with the crying baby in the checkout line at Target…I’VE BEEN THERE.

PSA: THIS IS A JUDGMENT FREE ZONE MAMAS.

We all have to make decisions that are best for our family, for our child, for ourselves…so, how we choose to parent may look a little different. But, no matter what, we should extend the same love and grace that we would want to be given; because at the end of the day…we fed, clothed, changed, played, bathed, and kept another human being alive; and that deserves some praise!

Podcasts 

Coffee + Crumbs– I learned about this podcast from another mom who posted a link to the show on Facebook. After listening to the first episode, I realized that all 3 moms who host the show all live in California! I felt even more of a kindred to these mamas who were living and raising kids on the west coast.

The Goal Digger Podcast– This is not particularly motherhood related, but I’ve been following Jenna for a while now, (since before I was pregnant), and she is such an inspiration. From starting her own photography business, to educating others on how to start a business, to launching her own podcast for creative girl bosses; she is such an authentic, hardworking gal. She has also been very open about her personal life and struggles, including two miscarriages in the past year. Right before I found out I was pregnant with Gio, she shared that she had a miscarriage. Although I’ve never met her, I grieved alongside her as she shared her walk down this road. I’ve been continuing to follow her journey and no matter what you are going through in your life, she is an encouragement for all of us.

My favorite episode recently is: #74 “How to Stay Creative and Tackle Your Next Project” with author Emily Freeman. I resonated with so much of what Emily said and it was actually from listening to this episode that I felt encouraged to start blogging again. (I had been on a little hiatus since April).

Books

Of Mess and Moxie – by the hilariously funny Jen Hatmaker. I literally laugh out loud when I read her books. Now that I am a mom, I can relate to her so much more. She is just honest and real y’all (she lives in Texas, which is rather fitting for her big personality). I also recommend reading, “For the Love“.

*Check out Jen’s interview on the C+C podcast !

The Magic of Motherhood

A collection of short stories complied by the women of the Coffee + Crumbs podcast. An easy, encouraging read. I started crying 2 pages in. Lots of good reminders — I did a lot of highlighting!

Some of my favorite quotes from the book:

“Above all else, your body will become a home for your children- your lap will become a place of security, your chest  a place of warmth, your arms a place of assurance. Every inch of you will be used to care for these children, and though its completely and utterly exhausting on most days, the super hero stamina is still a miracle worth noticing.”

“You are always a mother. You are not only a mother.”

“It turns out, one of the most wonderful joys of motherhood is the other mothers.”

“Other moms have messy feelings too, and it doesn’t make us monsters. It makes us human. It makes us weak. And acknowledging that makes us strong.”

 

 

AMEN TO THAT.

 

 

 

 

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Giovanni: 10 Months

Hi friends,

Wow my little baby is 10 months! My last monthly update was when he was 4 months…and I don’t nearly have the time to catch you up on everything since then; but, I would like to share what’s been happening recently.

Gio learned to crawl! It started out as a scoot/belly crawl at the beginning of September, and moved in to a full on crawl on all fours. Now it seems like he can get across our little apartment in under a minute (CUE: SHOCK FACE). Heaven help me when the boy starts walking…thank goodness we live in California where the weather is pretty much perfect everyday; I have a feeling we’ll be spending a lot of time outside!

Gio also learned to pull up this month. It just happened in the past week actually, and all he wants to do is grab things at a height and pull them down, especially the remote control. If he eyes that thing, he is SO determined to get it that he’ll risk being thrown off balance; resulting in some bumps to the head.

We had to put up a baby gate/superyard, and the same day I was going to order one from Amazon, a mom in one of my Facebook groups posted one for FREE. ((I had no idea that baby gates can cost over $100!!)) Not really a fun purchase to make, so I was stoked I could get it second hand.

Some of the highlights this month also included a trip to Santa Barbara and Los Angeles mid-september. The last time we were in Southern California was in April (right after Gio turned 4 months), so I was excited to go back and make new memories in our favorite place … more on that in another post. 😉

Although some things have gotten easier when traveling, like not having to stop as much to breastfeed or change his diaper, it has also gotten harder because he’s now growing and moving and doesn’t like to sit STILL! He really doesn’t like his car seat and 50% of the time will make a fuss when I put him in it. We lucked out on the drive down and I was able to sit up front with Kendrick while Gio napped a bit and entertained himself for the most part. We also broke out “The Wiggles” Nursery Rhymes video on YouTube when we needed to…on vacation anything goes!

Another fun part of Gio growing up is having him join us at the table when we go out to eat. He looks so cute and grown up sitting there in the high chair. Let me tell you, the kid LOVES to eat. Like father, like son. He pretty much will eat anything I give him; correction, he WILL eat anything I give him. We ordered him a side of broccoli when we went to lunch in Santa Barbara, and he gobbled it up. He also had his first taste of pao de queijo (gluten free Brazilian cheese bread). If you’ve been a loyal follower, one of my very first posts I shared with you that I made Kendrick a homemade Brazilian dinner – complete with pao de queijo! Read more here) .

I want to write a separate post on our trip to Santa Barbara, but in case I forget, I HAVE to share with you our most favorite restaurant we discovered. It’s called the Brasil Arts Cafe, and of course, the menu offers a variety of authentic, Brazilian food AND smoothies, acai bowls, salads, and some typical American fare. We loved it so much we ended up going THREE times while we were there.

Anyway, this past month has been so much fun and each week with Gio is a blessing that I never take for granted.

Some other highlights:

  • He transitioned from 3 naps, to 2 naps. On a good day, he’ll take an hour and 15 minute nap in the morning, and an hour and a half nap in the afternoon. (HALLELUJAH!)
  • He loves to play peek-a-boo with me and always laughs when I hide and ask him, “where’s Mommy??” and then pop out and exclaim, “There she IS!” …haha gets him every time 🙂
  • He started saying, “dada” and it’s his only recognizable word…although he doesn’t say it exclusively to Kendrick, so he has no concept of the meaning yet
  • He signed “milk” for the first time while we were on vacation. Every evening I give him a bath before bed, put on his pajamas and sleep sack, and then breastfeed him before bed. As I was putting on his sleep sack he signed “milk” because that’s always what he gets before bed. (YAY GIO!)
  • He laughs at the words “BOO” and “MOO”. A sure way to get him to laugh is when I demonstrate the “cat/cow” move like you do in yoga. He ALWAYS laughs when I add the sound effects while doing this.
  • He has always loved swinging at the park and is now able to play on the rest of the play structures…like crawling through the tunnel! We try to walk to the park/playground down the street every evening if we can. I like to get him tired out before bed 😉

 

Oh Gio, I love you so much!!

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That smile can brighten any day!

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This is a picture of my husband Kendrick around Gio’s age…what a resemblance!!

Out to eat in Santa Barbara…eating pao de queijo and broccoli

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We stopped in a toy stop while in SB…and let Gio test drive this car 😉 maybe he’ll get it for his 1st birthday…

Gio’s first trip to the zoo!

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Daddy’s mini me ❤

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Pumpkin Applesauce Streusel Bread

Hello friends!

It’s been 5+ months since my last blog post, so you probably thought that I disappeared on you…forever to be lost in the the thick of mom life; changing diapers, cleaning up messes, folding laundry, and chasing around my (now) crawling baby! That list is actually rather short, and doesn’t nearly encompass all that I do during the day. I’ve had to give myself a lot of grace lately, and pat myself on the back because I’m doing THIS…I’m doing this mom thing by myself. I don’t have my mom or mother-in-law remotely close by to help, which is a huge game changer. So, when I make it anywhere on time (“on time” to me now means within 1 hour of the start…) I feel accomplished that I was able to get myself dressed, fed, and hair brushed while simultaneously caring for a (almost) 10 month old.

Did I lose you yet??

Don’t worry I’ll save my mom rants for another day 😉

Now onto this delicious Fall bread, which is totally baby friendly…minus the streusel topping.  Now that Gio is eating real food, I’m always looking at the ingredients in recipes to make sure they’re OK for him. I’ve been doing a combination of purees and baby led weaning since Gio was 7 months, but he doesn’t like when I feed him anymore so he mostly eats finger foods now.

If you’re a mom or not, you may know that babies are not allowed to have honey under 1 year old. I also have been substituting egg in baked recipes because

  1. Gio has some friends who have an egg allergy
  2. Kendrick and I have been trying to consume less animal products

I’ve made the bread both with, and without the eggs and I actually prefer it without the eggs (surprising!). The eggs make it more spongy.

You can make this recipe as a bread, or make muffins for your little one with or without the topping. The topping is perfectly safe for them, I just don’t like to give Gio added sugar.

The bread alone is vegan, dairy free, oil free, soy free, and is naturally sweetened.

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((Baby-Friendly)) Pumpkin Applesauce Streusel Bread

INGREDIENTS FOR THE BREAD:

  • 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons of flax seed + 6 tablespoons of water (**1 egg= 1 tbsp flax seed + 3 tbsp water)
  • 1 heaping cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

INGREDIENTS FOR THE STREUSEL:

  • 1/4 cup oats 
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar (not packed)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon flour 

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9×5 bread pan with cooking spray (I like to use coconut oil spray).
  2. Mix the wet ingredients together in a large bowl.
  3. Add the dry ingredients saving the flour for last.
  4. Pour into bread pan.
  5. Make the streusel topping in the same bowl.
  6. Sprinkle evenly over top of bread.
  7. Bake for 40 minutes at 350, or until a fork inserted in the center comes out cleanly.
  8. **If making muffins, bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a fork comes out cleanly.

ENJOY!

Giovanni: 4 Months

This past month with Giovanni has been my favorite so far! Each month he grows, I love him more and more. Weighing in at 16 lbs, 14.7 oz; his days as a newborn seem long behind us! He’s already in 6 and 9 month clothing, and size 4 diapers!

He started sleeping in his crib this past month, retired the Rock-n-Play, and graduated to the jumperoo…which he LOVES! He likes to bear weight on his feet when we hold him, so I knew he would be thrilled to exercise a little independence and jump on his own..I’ve already taken so many videos of him in it! He’s so darn cute 😉

He has his own little personality now and this may sound weird but I forget sometimes that he can’t talk (haha)…he expresses his love for me in so many other ways that just melt my heart. Like when I wake him up in the morning, and as soon as I pop my head over his crib his face lights up. Or when he’s sleepy and I scoop him up in my arms and he nuzzles on my chest.

He took his first vacation this past month, and this weekend we’ll be heading down to Southern California for spring break.

Yesterday marked one year since finding out I was pregnant (read how we found out here), and looking back now I smile because though we were SO happy in that moment, we had yet to find out how much more joy Gio would bring to our lives. And as each month passes, I know that there is something even better that lies ahead.

Here’s what happened this month:

  • Gio discovered his hands…and now they are in his mouth ALL.THE.TIME.
  • He has become much more expressive and talkative…I know he’s happy as a clam when he just sits and babbles to himself.
  • Sleeps 8-10 hours at night
  • Likes to look at himself in the mirror- when I hold him in front of it and smile, he’ll smile back 🙂
  • Has such strong neck and leg muscles …he always wants to stand on our laps.
  • He is now able to grip things..and just started holding onto his rattles and toys.
  • Hasn’t rolled over yet, but he’ll roll on his side so I think he’s almost there!
  • Is stretching out- he’s now 2 feet, 3 inches long (99% percentile), definitely gets his height from dad!
  • Is becoming more of a Momma’s boy which I secretly love… 😉 if he meets someone new now, he’ll look away toward me.
  • Loves listening to his Portuguese children’s songs…since I’m home with him during the day and I speak English to him, I try to play more Brazilian music so he’s exposed to that.
  • Is looking more like mommy now..his eyes aren’t as almond shaped as they were at birth (which made him look a lot like Kendrick).

 

My how this little one has grown!

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Happy 4 Months Giovanni!

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Outtakes…

Quinoa & Turkey Stuffed Peppers

Hello again, friends! I’m so grateful to Angela for having me here on Mrs. K-Fit for a second time. When she asked if I had a recipe I’d like to contribute, I knew immediately that I needed to share my Quinoa + Turkey Stuffed Peppers. This meal is always a big hit at our house. It’s one of my husband Matt’s favorites, and I always feel really good about cooking and eating it because it’s healthy, well-rounded, and not too difficult to make.

This version of the recipe is adapted from my favorite cookbook The Skinnytaste Cookbook. The original recipe doesn’t use turkey, but I like to add a leaner protein to meals whenever I can. One thing you’ll notice is absent below is the use of garlic and onion. I’ve been dealing with digestive issues for about five years now, and one of the biggest fixes for me has been removing those foods from my diet entirely (I would totally recommend it for anyone dealing with chronic stomach pain and bloating. Give it a try!). That being said, you can feel free to add 2 cloves of chopped garlic at step #2 of the filling instructions, if you’d like : )

Ingredients:
For the filling…
1/2 cup white quinoa
1 pound ground turkey
1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup canned crushed tomatoes
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
3 tbsp. grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1/2 cup chopped baby spinach
2 tbsp. chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

For the peppers…
2 large bell peppers (red or yellow)
4 tbsp. canned crushed tomatoes
2 tsp. grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup low-sodium vegetable broth

Directions:

For the filling…

Make your quinoa, using vegetable broth instead of water to infuse extra flavor. Put the quinoa in a medium saucepan, add the vegetable broth, and bring to a rolling boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes. (HINT: A rice cooker is another great — and easy — way to make quinoa! Simply throw the grains and the broth into the pot, turn it on, and you’re ready to go!)

 

Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the oil and ground turkey. Stir until the meat is fully cooked, about 10 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes, salt, and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes to develop the flavors.

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Remove the pan from the heat and put turkey and tomato mixture into a large bowl. Add cooked quinoa, Romano, spinach, basil, and mozzarella.

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For the peppers…

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Halve the peppers lengthwise and remove the core, seeds, and stem. Place the peppers cut side up in a baking dish.
  3. Fill each pepper with the filling. You can stuff them to your taste — I like mine a little overfilled!

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4. Top each pepper with a little extra crushed tomato, Romano, and mozzarella.
5. Pour remaining broth into the bottom of the dish.

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6. Cover tightly with foil and bake until the peppers are soft, about 50 minutes.
7. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

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HINT: We usually end up with extra filling, which is one of my favorite parts of this recipe! I’ll mix a scoop of it with fresh spinach, which makes for a great lunch the next day. The stuffed peppers themselves make great leftovers, too… and they keep really well in the freezer for longer periods of time. Sometimes I’ll double the ingredients so I can make sure I have extra to put away. Don’t you just love getting multiple meals out of a single recipe?

Thanks so much for reading! I’d love to see you over on my blog Finding Plan A and on my Instagram! xo

 

by Alli Hoff Kosik

 

Our First Trip with Baby

I’m so sorry for my absence this past month! As baby Gio gets bigger, he requires more play time with mommy and less sleep during the day…which I’m not complaining about 😉

He’s been sleeping through the night for over a month now. In the beginning, I was doing a late evening feed around 9 or 9:30pm, and then he would sleep until 7:30am or 8! Recently he’s been wanting his last feed earlier around 7:30pm or 8, in which case he’ll wake up earlier around 6 or 6:30am. We’re not on any sort of set schedule, but depending when his last feed is, he’s pretty consistent in sleeping 8-10 hours after that.

We transitioned him to his own room when he turned 3 months. We had my in-laws in town the beginning of March, so I figured it would be the opportune time to do it. Kendrick and I slept in his room on an air mattress (he was in the bassinet), and after they left, we put him in his crib and he slept through! His room is caddy corner to ours and we share a vent, so I knew I would hear him if he woke up.

In other news, this past weekend was our first family getaway!

Kendrick and I have been going up to Lake Tahoe every winter for the past 3 years. Now that baby Gio is here, we were even more excited to share our love for this place with him. It has become a special place for us because it was one of the few places Kendrick hadn’t been to in California before I moved here. We went for the first time a month before our wedding, and have been back almost a dozen times since.

A friend asked me what it was like packing for him, and I told her it was more fun than packing for myself! Naturally I overpacked for him, and under packed for myself, classic mom move! We decided to forgo bringing his bassinet (mainly just to save space), and let him sleep in the bed with us. The only other item I brought besides his stroller was this Fisher Price seat, which was foldable!

What I packed for Gio: (3 night trip)

  • 5 long-sleeve pajamas
  • 4 long-sleeve onesies
  • 3 pairs of pants
  • 2 short sleeve onesies
  • 3 pairs of socks
  • 1 hat
  • 3 bibs
  • 2 Aden and Anais swaddle blankets
  • 3 burp cloths
  • 1 lightweight thermal blanket
  • 2 fleece blankets
  • 1 fleece bear suit( didn’t use because it was so warm!)
  • 1 washcloth
  • Baby shampoo
  • Bath squirt bottle (instead of bringing his bathtub we just brought a squirt bottle to rinse him off in the sink)
  • 1 fleece hooded jacket
  • 40 diapers
  • 1 package of wipes
  • Baby Einstein music box
  • 2 rattles
  • Infantino teething rings
  • 2 changing table liners
  • Diaper bag
  • Skip-Hop Changing station
  • 1 bottle
  • Pump
  • Breast milk storage bags
  • 2 pacifiers
  • Gas relief drops
  • Baby tylenol
  • nasal aspirator

..I think that’s it!

He was super fussy our last night there and kept crying which is unusual for him (the last time we saw him that upset was after his shots), so we decided to give him a little Tylenol assuming that the altitude may have been bothering his ears.

Other than that last night, Gio was a perfect angel! We hit the slopes on Friday, and even though it was St. Patty’s Day, I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t crowded. Diamond Peak has an interchangeable parent pass ($74 all day) which was so convenient for us! Kendrick and I both got a chance to ski twice.

We rented a house in Incline Village (north Lake Tahoe), which gave us plenty of space to spread out. My sister came with us and was a HUGE help – she sat in the back of the car with Gio on the way up and entertained him (thanks sis!). We only had to stop once on the way up to feed him, and opted for a Starbucks. When I went to change him in the restroom I couldn’t believe they didn’t have a changing table! The sinks were too close together to change him on the counter, so thank goodness for my Skip-Hop station, because we had to change him on the floor! So not ideal.

A life-saver on the trip was my UnderCover baby breast cover! Initially I tried the Bebe au Lait cover after Gio was born, but didn’t like how bulky it was and that it didn’t have full coverage around my sides. I decided to return it and instead bought this cover online. Another mom I follow on Instagram recommended it and I’m so glad she did! It’s lightweight, has 360 degree coverage, and also doubles as a scarf, carseat cover and shopping cart cover. I feel way more comfortable nursing now in public, which is good because we have more trips ahead 🙂

Here are some photos from our weekend!

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Happy baby during our long car ride
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We made it just in time for sunset at Kings Beach

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Incline Beach
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Happy St. Patty’s Day from Tahoe!

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Skiing is exhausting 😉
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We stopped by The Ritz at Northstar for some s’mores

Practicing tummy time

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Burnt Cedar Beach

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Momma bear and her cub 🙂

Until next time…<3

A Newlywed’s Top 10 Tips on Building a Better Marriage

*Today’s post is brought to you by my friend Alli Hoff Kosik, the blogger behind Finding Plan A. Alli lives in Brooklyn and is a freelance writer for media companies such as Brit+Co., Refinery29, and Bustle (SO cool!). We both went to the same high school, and re-connected on social media after college. Her husband, Matt, also attended our high school and they were married last June! 

It’s been one year since starting my blog, so, in honor of my very first post  AND Valentine’s Day tomorrow, I reached out to Alli to have her share with us her own tips for a healthy marriage 😉 

 

Hi, everyone! It’s great to be spending some time with you today on Mrs K-Fit! I feel super lucky to have gotten to know Angela so well over the last few months… I only wish we’d known back at our 2,000-student high school that we should find each other and be friends 🙂

When Angela invited me to share some thoughts on a successful marriage with you, I felt a tiny bit unqualified, since my amazing husband Matt (seriously, how cute is he?) and I got married just six months ago — but then I remembered that we’ve been together for nearly eight years! In that time, we’ve definitely learned a lot about what works for us and how to keep our relationship happy and thriving. Here are my ten (newlywed) tips for marriage!

    1. Be silly! One of the distinguishing characteristics of our marriage is a little playful weirdness. I think my maid of honor said it perfectly in her speech at our wedding: “The three of us were sitting on the couch chatting, and then there were a few silent moments, and you just looked at each other and made a few faces and burst out laughing.” Matt and I never cease to crack each other up, and sometimes we spend weeknights just sitting around sending each other into fits of giggles with the most random jokes and comments. It’s important to keep that kind of fun and lightness in a marriage!
    2. Know the right time to step away from a difficult conversation. I’ll be honest — this one doesn’t come easily to me. My instinct is to talk all. the. way. through a challenging discussion. As I become more emotional, I tend to talk more, while Matt tends to get quieter. You can probably imagine that this combination can often lead us to an impasse! What’s been working well for us instead is to agree to take a break (usually at the point when one of us can sense that we’re no longer being productive) and to set a time (usually about 30 minutes later) to come back and talk more calmly. It gives each of us a chance to organize our thoughts so we can redirect in a more positive, less emotional way.
    3. Find passion in your personal pursuits that you can share with your spouse. Matt and I find that we are most likely to bring our best selves home to each other when we are each fulfilled in our individual jobs and activities. When I was miserable in my corporate career, I wasn’t able to be the kind of wife I wanted to be, and it was hard for me to even have a conversation with my husband after work because there was so little from my day that I actually wanted to share. Now that I’m writing full-time, I can’t wait for him to come home so I can fill him in on what I’ve been working on. Since I’m happier, I also have the emotional energy I need in order to go above and beyond and be the type of wife I want to be. Additionally, I carve out time for exercise and dates with my girl friends, too, both of which help me be the best version of myself. Matt and I both like that version better 🙂
    4. Be intentional with your words and your tone. While we are not perfect, Matt and I are very thoughtful about the way we talk to and about each other. Your spouse should be your biggest cheerleader! We notice that there are couples who use teasing and subtle jabs at the other’s expense as a common pattern of conversation. We firmly believe that this should not be part of our rapport. Of course, we’re only human, so sometimes we slip up, but for us, this is usually a symptom of a larger tension that needs to be worked through and not a casual, offhand comment.
    5. Sometimes, it’s easier to let things go. Let me tell you about something that we call “The Zone.” The Zone is an L-shaped area of our bedroom that starts on Matt’s side of the bed and extends across one wall and into his closet (the doors of which are never closed). Within one week of moving into our apartment, I realized that Matt had very efficiently covered The Zone with t-shirts, clothes hangers, scrap paper, and other random items. I am extremely clean and neat, and at first, I fought against The Zone. Fast forward a few months, and I’d decided that it really didn’t matter. Matt has given me total license to keep the rest of our apartment just the way I like it, and he happily cleans The Zone whenever we have visitors — so what’s the point in constantly arguing about something so silly? It’s important to really think about the battles you want to fight — and for me, it was OK to let The Zone go.
    6. Be comfortable with quiet. One of the first things I noticed about my relationship with Matt was that silences never felt awkward. Very early in our dating life, Matt offered to drive me from Pennsylvania to Washington, DC, where I went to college. A four-hour road trip is bound to include a few quiet moments, and I was worried that all of that time in the car would be uncomfortable. It actually felt very natural! Day-to-day life can be pretty low-key and uneventful, so it’s important that you and your spouse can relax into quiet time without feeling awkward. For newlyweds, it’s also important to be comfortable in the post-wedding calm, which can be a strange adjustment after months of chaotic planning!
    7. Find great “couple friends.” We are so lucky to have jointly befriended a few pretty incredible couples over the last few years, and I wouldn’t trade those relationships for anything. Having great couples to hang out with makes for lots of fun double dates, but it has also given us a chance to learn from other relationships.
    8. Check in regularly about long-term plans. Matt and I try to talk about big picture topics (money, kids, where we want to live, etc.) approximately every three months (sometimes we even schedule it on the calendar!). We never want to get into a situation where those conversations feel more stressful than necessary because one of us feels like they are up against a deadline, so regular chats help keep things casual and authentic. To make it a fun date night, we splurge on our favorite take-out and buy a bottle of wine!
    9. No-phone time. Just like most other twenty-somethings living in 2017, Matt and I are both guilty of getting a little caught up in our phones. While we were on our honeymoon, we started implementing “no-phone time.” Any time either he or I feels that we’re both a little too distracted by our Apple-branded friends, we are allowed to invoke the no-phone rule. We also try to leave our phones at home when we go out on a date.
    10. Don’t forget the importance of being best friends. Naturally, marriage comes with perks (wink, wink) and responsibilities (budgeting, anyone?) that fall outside the realm of typical friendships, but Matt and I really do try to keep our best friend relationship at the core of our life together. Ultimately, there’s no one in the world that I would rather do anything with than Matt, and there’s nothing I wouldn’t do to make him happy. When all the other stuff gets stripped away, it’s important that the integrity of those feelings stay intact so you can remember what’s really most valuable.

 

Thanks so much for reading! You can find more of my thoughts on marriage, life, work, etc. at Finding Plan A and on my Instagram! xo

alli-and-matt

Photography credit: Bri Cibene