Love & Marriage
As you guys might know, last Thursday was John’s 31st birthday and West Elm in Houston whipped up this amaaaaaazingly DIY-riffic cake for him. #edibletapemeasure #umyeahtheressawdust
Every year we write birthday posts about what we got each other and this year John actually got (well, is getting, since I’m letting him pick it out) a nail gun (more info on that when we get it). So because I don’t have photos of him holding up various presents like we’ve shared in former years like this post from last year) I thought I’d over-share slash cheese it up on a Tuesday afternoon with a little brain dump of seven things I love about John (surprise, honey!). #warningitssappy
After all, this is definitely a week for being grateful. And since this whole blog is basically just a diary of our lives, I thought it was about time that I shouted a few cheeseball-but-true things from the rooftops. Which is not to say that we never fight (if you believe that I have a talking ceramic animal to sell you) but although we’re far from perfect, I’m so glad he’s mine. Here’s what I’m thankful for:
1 – John’s love of Clara and his patience with her – even when I’m about to lose my mind he’s my rock. I love how imaginative he is with her and I don’t think there’s anything sexier than walking into a room and seeing your hubby whipping up a wooden sandwich with your daughter at her play kitchen that he built for her. Or lazing around wearing matching shirts and discussing the merits of a table saw versus a hand saw. Am I right?
2 – His ability to love a small chihuahua just as much as I do… even though when we adopted Burger John said he “looked like an alien” and acted like the dog would be my thing. I think by that weekend Burger had him whipped. And that, my friends, is a guy who is comfortable with his dude-dom. I’m telling you, walking a tiny dog is the sign of a real man (it might be a good test of marriage material to those still dating… will he man up and take the leash…?). There’s not an ounce of I-won’t-do-that-because-it’s-not-manly-enough-and people-will-see-me in John (probably thanks to him growing up with three sisters) and I love that about him. He’s confident. He doesn’t look around sheepishly. If the dog needs to go out, he takes him out. If I need lady-items from the supermarket and he’s doing the shopping, he buys them for me. I won’t say he doesn’t blush and hide them in the bottom of the cart, but he gets things done. And I love it.
3 – That he kissed me first. Anyone who knows us loves this tidbit since I’m the loud outgoing one and they picture me pouncing on him… which also happens – but he pounced first. Yup, he’s a man of action. And he’s shy but confident, which might be the perfect combo. Plus I gotta say that I love the way he dresses. Some girls are into giant built guys who can scarf serious quantities of beef jerky, but I couldn’t be more into tall, dork, and handsome. Basically when John threw on this shirt with this sweater a few months ago, I swooned. It’s little things like his love of old wooden boxes or his excitement to fire up a new tool (he gets a gleam in his eye like a kid opening a new toy) that get me all giddy. It’s like his excitement is contagious. All of this rambling is to say: dude’s got style.
4 – His brain. There are many sexy things about my husband, but his quick wit is unparalleled and he makes me laugh until my stomach hurts at least once a day with some spur-of-the-moment quip that leaves me wiping the tears out of my eyes from cry-laughing. To anyone who knows us, John’s sense of humor is one of his most defining characteristics (along with his whip smart brain full of seemingly limitless trivia knowledge). Heck, he’s so smart that even though he has the answer 99% of the time (be it DIY or life related) he somehow makes me feel like I figure out my fair share of things too. How does he do that?! It’s sheer brilliance. Also he looks pretty darn good in pumpkin sunglasses. Just sayin’.
5 – His devotion to me and our family. He makes us feel safe, loved, and appreciated – I honestly couldn’t be more grateful. I’ve had relationships in the past that felt like I was chasing that person more or trying harder than them, but John makes me (and Clara) feel secure and cherished and I could almost cry talking about it. Sorry, I warned you guys this would get sappy…
6 – His calloused project-loving hands and his sweet smile (this might veer off into TMI territory, but he has the best lips ever). #backoffhesmine #putabirdonhim
7 – His willingness to help me with “one more thing” and to lay in bed at night and brainstorm our next project when I know he might rather be watching TV or out for a run or… you know, getting friendly… while I’m running my mouth about some idea instead. I couldn’t be luckier that he’s happy to be “in the trenches” with me every day. It’s amazing that he has his own interests (he can train and run a half marathon) while still staying involved with us and not checking out.
I think some folks might question what kind of man runs a DIY blog with his wife about paint and fabric and family and my answer is: a real man. I love that he can build Clara a dollhouse and code our entire website and has even built a deck for our family – although he has no background in any of that stuff. He figures things out as he goes and he’s not afraid to jump in and learn new things. And I love that he’s not scared to weigh in on my hair-brained decorating sprees instead of saying “you handle the girly stuff and I’ll stick to the power tools.” He truly makes me feel like we’re a team and we’re in it together and as a result our house feels like us. I honestly have no idea how I got so lucky. I promise I didn’t hypnotize him or anything.
In summary: he’s the one. Mah man. And he makes me happier than bees riding bicycles (and those make me pretty happy). Happy 31st birthday, babe! Thanks for everything and then some.
And so ends my lovefest for el hubbo. What are you guys grateful for? Any birthdays going on in your house? Who’s getting what?
UPDATE: John discovered the post! Finally! After doing a project in the basement, uploading photos, and editing a video (all while I sweated profusely at the computer). Here’s his reaction.
Q: Hey guys!! I find that I often look to you all on things DIY related, but more often than not, on things life related. I would love to hear items in or around your house that you are so glad you own because it helps with the day to day. I really enjoyed reading about how you saved money with Clara (what items you skipped out on or decided to go back and buy) and how you saved money with your wedding. I am getting married next June and it would be super helpful to hear what things my fancy (fiance) and I should register for. You guys are my favorite! – Tyne
A: Let’s do this. Haha. We thought it would actually be fun to search our brains to see if they would even stretch back to 2007 and remember what we got, what we still love, what we regretted asking for, and what we wish we’d asked for. Because friends and relatives can be amazingly generous (and at least in our family really seem to appreciate a list of things you love so they don’t have to guess), so it all comes down to thinking long and hard about what you actually will use and love for the long haul. No pressure, right?
Registry items are definitely one of those personal preference things (some people might love that they registered for formal china, while other folks like us are happy to skip it) but in general we think the key is to know how you live and what you will actually use/need (registering for a Kitchenaid mixer when you don’t cook/bake is probably not the best idea). So try to toss out romantic notions of who you “should be” someday (ex: don’t picture yourself as “a grown up” hosting a giant formal 20 person dinner if this won’t actually happen – not everyone grows up, gets married, and does that).
Instead, try to focus on how you live now and how you realistically think you will continue to live and entertain over the years. Whether you’re a casual couple or are fancy and formal, embrace who you are and think about what you’ll truly use and love. Chances are you’ll still be who you are in a few decades – you might evolve a little, but you probably won’t become a completely different couple with a completely different personality and lifestyle.
Also, trying to choose things that are classic never hurts, just so that if your tastes change over time, you won’t be completely over a bunch of style-specific stuff that you once loved but now loathe. It can be pretty expensive to re-buy everything instead of going with something timeless – and you can always add personality later with inexpensive and easy to switch out items, like patterned cloth napkins, table runners, etc. See? White dishes, clear glasses, and basic silverware can be dressed up a whole bunch of ways:
We also learned that it helped whenever possible to choose things that are attractive enough to be left out (ex: a nice stainless steel toaster or blender) because you never know what you’ll leave out for convenience’s sake. So skipping something in a crazy color that might clash with your future kitchen curtains or forgoing something super cheap that you’d never leave out in favor of something that looks a little more elegant is usually the way to go for lazy folks like us who tend to leave the blender out for three weeks after we make smoothies.
But enough chitchat, we thought it would be fun to share a list of the stuff we registered for and still love to this day, a few things that we regret putting on our registry, items that we passed on (and why), and items that we wish we had added to the list. So without further ado…
Kitchen Stuff We Registered For And Still Love:
- Basic silverware from Crate & Barrel
- White cloth napkins
- Basic white dishes that go with everything (we’re still loving that they’re classic and they’re not too precious, so if one breaks we won’t cry for days)
- Good serving bowls and serving ware (three salad/chip bowls, three large platters)
- Stainless blender & toaster (we also have a griddle)
- A cute strainer (ours is bright yellow)
- Chunky wood cutting boards (two, since we leave them out on the counter because they’re charming and use them all the time)
- Simple and small (easy to store) can opener (we didn’t want a giant electric countertop one)
- Cute clear pepper corn and sea salt grinders (classic, yet kinda fancy since they grind)
- Basic glass pitcher (we definitely tried to go for timeless basics)
- Stemless wine glasses (they’re more versatile, so they can also work for oj or smoothies)
House Stuff We Registered For And Still Love:
- Two Dolce lounge chairs from Target that we still use today (they’re in the guest room of this house)
- Two basic glass based lamps that lived in our first house’s living room and this house’s bedroom/entryway
- Organic bed sheet set (in white) and four nice bed pillows and cases
- Gorgeous large leather photo album that we used for all of our wedding photo strips
- Fluffy white towels (which we still use to this day, both in our bathroom and the guest bath)
- West Elm daybed (from John’s way too generous Godmother)
- West Elm parson’s desk (from my way too generous BFF Cat)
Stuff We Got And Later Regretted (all our fault – we wish we had chosen more wisely):
- Hepa filtered vacuum (regret: we registered for a cheap one that didn’t hold up very well, so we later upgraded to a Bissell Helix Bagless Upright)
- Set of knives in a knife block (regret: again, totally our fault, but we chose a cheap-ish set that we have since had to replace, but our current one is by Paula Deen from HomeGoods and we like it)
- Basic white mugs (regret: we didn’t think about scale at all, so the set that we got is so small it was sort of like teacups – we’ve since replaced them with larger mugs that actually work for tea and hot chocolate without feeling like you’re at a kid’s tea party)
- Cordless hand vac (regret: we wish we had done more research before randomly choosing something, since ours bit the dust pretty fast – we later replaced it with a Dirt Devil Kurv)
- A few basic pots and pans (regret: they weren’t great quality and got scratched and beaten up pretty fast – we later learned about Greenware pots and pans, which are eco-friendly and teflon free, so we asked for them for Christmas in 2009 and have been enjoying them ever since)
Stuff We Passed On (mostly specific kitchen gadgets after we realized we just wouldn’t use ‘em):
- Coffee maker (we’re a tea household, and even when coffee folks stay with us we all go to Starbucks)
- Kitchenaid mixer (as much as I’d love to buy one in a fun color, it would totally collect dust)
- Monogrammed towels and robes (we’re not robe people and basic white towels sans monogram did it for us)
- Espresso machine (same as coffee maker, just wouldn’t get used)
- Ice cream maker (didn’t think we’d ever use it)
- Toaster oven (after thinking it through we decided a stainless steel toaster and an oven were all we needed, and five years later we’re still happy without one)
- Rice cooker (much like the ice cream maker, we just didn’t think we’d use something so specific)
- Panini press (ditto)
- Waffle maker (ditto)
- Martini glasses (ditto)
- George Foreman grill (ditto)
Stuff We Have Since Bought (if we could turn back time, we’d have registered for these too):
- Nice set of wood spoons and spatulas for a caddy next to the stove (get things in sets whenever possible, our old ones were all mismatched and later we updated to a matched set and appreciated how much better they looked)
- Immersion blender (we didn’t miss any other gadgets but we did end up yearning for this one – and we use it often enough to warrant storing it)
- Cute “Cucina” soap and lotion set from Anthropologie (so charming on the counter in a kitchen or bathroom)
- More specific things as rooms evolved and our taste became more clear (ex: green cloth napkins, J & S mugs, metallic holiday glasses, etc)
- Sonicare toothbrushes (wish we had thought to register for these guys)
- Two big clear glass containers for cereal, flour, sugar on the counter
- Clam shell fruit bowl from ZGallerie (it has been our fruit bowl for years)
I’m sure we forgot a few items (it was five years ago!) but that’s a pretty good idea of what we registered for, what we regretted/replaced, what we skipped, and what we wish we had added. And after compiling that list it made me want to poll some friends and relatives to hear their five favorite registry items (you know, because I’m nosy) so here are their responses. It’s so interesting to see who loves what the most (and it definitely reinforces that knowing what you will love and use is more important than putting too much stock into what works for someone else (like slacker chefs and non-coffee-drinker like us, haha).
- My BFF Katie: white dishes, white platters, white towels, stainless toaster, and basic silverware
- My other BFF Cat (you’ve seen her wedding here): basic white towels, a silver goes-with-everything serving platter, everyday dishes (colorful Fiestaware bowls, plates, and serving dishes), a brightly striped ceramic pitcher from Crate & Barrel, and a cute bowl set from Anthropologie.
- My friend D from All Things G&D: my crockpot, a good set of knives, good pots and pans, an Aerobed (air mattress) and G’s heavy bag (for boxing – it was his “guy” gift from all of his groomsmen).
- My friend Heather (you’ve seen her wedding here): everyday dishes, a blender, nesting bowls, picture frames, a Rainbow vacuum cleaner. Things I never use: martini glasses, electric knife, cake stand, and ice cream dishes (why did I register for special ice ceam dishes when basic bowls work even better?!).
- My friend Cody: plush white towels, a 9 x 13 baking dish, a throw blanket, a welcome sign wall hanging, and of course white dishes.
- My friend Kristin (you’ve seen her awesome house here): white everyday dishes, knives/cutlery, small electronics like toaster/hand mixer, serving platters that don’t go out of style (plain but nice), and basic glasses. All boring kitchen stuff! But I have friends who got married 8-10 years ago and registered for trendy everyday ware (in a specific color and style) and are now replacing it all since they no longer like it!
- My friend Lisa: a nice set of knives, pots and pans, flatware, and an ice cream maker (we’ve been married 13 years, so nearly everything else has been replaced).
- My brother (who’s officially Doctor Dan, not Almost-Doctor-Dan – woot!): basic towels, a good knife set, simple flatware, a coffee maker, and picture frames.
- My sister-in-law Katie: coffee maker (still going strong after 9 years!), casual dishes, stainless steel silverware, serving dishes that match our casual dishes, Wustof knives (we surely would have put pots and pans on this list but we already had those before we got married, but those are still going strong too).
- My mother-in-law Kathy: wow- who can remember?! Haha. Crock pot, hand crank ice cream maker, big woven basket that we use as a laundry basket, glass canister set, and a beautiful bowl. We were very practical and did not register for fancy china.
So there you have it. A whole lotta registry loves and a few shoulda-woulda-couldas. What are your favorite registry items? Anything you got that you wish you hadn’t? Or that you later purchased and wished had made it onto your registry? Hindsight is 20/20, huh?