Posts in Married Life
How He Asked: Our Love Story
Photography Credit: Kyle Hartman

Photography Credit: Kyle Hartman

Photography Credit: Kyle Hartman

Photography Credit: Kyle Hartman

Getting engaged to Mr. A was the most magical moment ever. Actually, our entire courtship was magical and a complete whirlwind.  Our first date was the day after we met. Our second date, four days later. Two weeks after that I met his family.  I spent Thanksgiving with them and remember thinking at the dinner table that I could absolutely marry this man and his family. That Christmas he came with me to AZ. Three months later we went on an epic trip to Asia visiting Thailand and the Philippines. Over the next several months we did a ton more travel to Big Bear, Vegas, Breckenridge, Sedona, NYC and I think there’s even more but I can’t remember. Then we decided to plan a trip to Tulum, Mexico to celebrate our almost one year anniversary. Little did I know that this trip would completely change our lives forever and I’d be getting proposed to! I get giddy just thinking about it. Luckily my hubs set up a camera before he asked me to marry him and we have the entire proposal on tape! We are also grateful to our dear friend, Jillian Ezra of Ezra Productions who invited us to talk about our proposal together with a his and hers perspective. Scroll down to watch the proposal and the interview of us sharing how it all went down!

Photography Credit: Kyle Hartman

Photography Credit: Kyle Hartman

Photography Credit: Kyle Hartman

Photography Credit: Kyle Hartman

7 Things You Should Do Everyday for a Healthy Marriage
Photography Credit:  Brandon Kidd Photography

Photography Credit: Brandon Kidd Photography

I don’t know about you but I’m trying to have a healthy marriage, one that lasts, endures and thrives! I wanna feel like a newlywed when I’m 100. Early on into our courtship Mr. A and I made the commitment to make our relationship top priority and after attending our first marriage retreat a few years ago, we decided we would commit to a couple’s retreat once a year.

Last weekend we attended our second marriage retreat (we’ve been married two years so we are two for two!) and I left there feeling even more excited about the life we are creating together. I plan on writing a few posts about our experience and maybe I’ll even get Mr. A to guest host but here are the 7 things you should do everyday for a healthy marriage.

The Rule of 3

This might seem pretty straight forward but “touch” is a huge part of the way we connect! In this day and age, so many of us are busier than we’ve ever been and if you are a parent on top of that, time together can be very limited. When we show affection to each other we are acknowledging one another and giving the other attention (which can also be a sign of respect), showing them they are important and cherished and most importantly, affirming your bond to one another.

  • Kiss each other three times for 3 seconds everyday

  • Hug each other for 3 minutes everyday

  • Speak to each other (in a meaningful, undistracted conversation) for 30 minutes at least once a day -holding hands if possible

Unplug

Half of an adult’s day is spent consuming media. Reread that. Half. The average time adults spend on media (listening, watching, interacting) is 18+ hours a day. Young adults ages 18-34 spend 43% of their time consuming media on digital platforms. (Source: Nielsen) These statistics are so startling it makes me want to make major changes in my life. A few of these small steps can have a significant impact:

  • Set media boundaries. For example, no phones at the dinner table is a great one!

  • Place a limit on how many hours of television/phone/tablet etc. you use

  • Turn off all media 30 minutes before bed. This includes phones! This is part of the reason why we don’t like televisions in bedrooms. Bedrooms are for retreating, sleeping, connecting or mattress mambo. :)

Envision Your Marriage

Take time each day to envision what you want your marriage to look like. One of the exercises we did before we got married was write a family prayer. I definitely encourage you to do this with your spouse and family. You can call it a guide, blessing or mission statement/manifesto for your home but it was a great way for us to write down exactly how we want to live and what we hope to accomplish together as a family. Everyday we pray together. We pray for our family, our marriage and anything that is on our mind in our lives. Thoughts become things, things become habits. The more you envision what you want, the more likely you are to take the steps you need to make your vision become a reality.

Walk With Your Spouse

Ever since buying our home and becoming parents we’ve done a lot of walking. Maybe it’s cause when you have a newborn and want to get out of the house, a stroller walk seems like the easiest way to get fresh air. It could also be cause we are absolutely obsessed with our hood and love how close we are to the beach and all of our town’s stores and restaurants (we are so grateful). When we walk together we talk together. Go on a walk everyday with your spouse. Make it a thing. I’m telling you it will change your life. A walk is great for your heart (literally and figuratively). It gets your body moving, blood flowing and energy going. It allows you to decompress, connect with nature, relieve stress from the day and time to talk. And if you don’t want to talk, you are still walking side by side, breathing in fresh air, observing the world around you. We used to say that the sunshine was Milly’s babysitter cause no matter how upset she was we could take her outside and she would immediately stop fussing and start smiling. Connecting with the Earth allows us to connect with each other.

Do Something Together

This can be as simple as sharing a hobby or making dinner together. Even laying in bed and making a bucket list together, planning your next trip or reading the same book together (Chris and I do this sometimes) is doing something together! I know sometimes it can be easier for us to watch our own shows or do our own thing but incorporating each other in those hobbies or tasks or at least watching the show together is always better. You make memories and hopefully have a lot of fun. #BetterTogether

Let Go of the Little Things

The same things you fight about now will be the same things you fight about 20 years from now if you don’t let go of the little things. And, the little annoyances can lead to bigger issues if you don’t find a way to overcome them. Whether it’s figuring out who’s in charge of doing certain chores around the house but also understanding that all tasks are both of your responsibilities or accepting that they will always forget to hang up their wet towel and you’ve accepted you will always pick up the wet towel for them, you’ve gotta let go of the little things.

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

No marriage is perfect. Even the healthiest marriages have challenges but what sets the ones that work and the ones that don’t apart- is exactly that. Work. Both people have to be on the same page about dealing with challenges and obstacles. This means resolving conflict together. And the quicker the conflict is resolved the better. Daily check ins are so crucial to making sure each person’s needs are being met. This is something you can do each evening or some time in the morning.

I’d love to know if you have any tips for living a healthy marriage or please share any activities, resources, etc you use in your relationship below. And keep coming back to the site for more posts as I continue to share more of what we learned at our retreat. Thank you!

A Letter to Milly, an 8 Week Update
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Happiest two months baby girl!  You are so incredible. You have really lived up to your name @LittleAmazing.  I knew when you were in my belly you would be like this-calm like the ocean and bright like the sun.  You radiate light, my love. I could stare at you forever. 

You're 8 weeks old today and it has been the most powerful time in our lives.  You've taught me so much patience, a trait I've never really had before.  But I'm not talking about patience with you. I mean patience with myself.  Expectations I have for myself as your mama, as a working mama trying to balance it all are somehow not so high because all that matters is I'm doing my best. There are so many firsts and so many new things but we are learning together and I couldn't do any of it without Daddy.  We are so lucky to have him.  When you were born he did all of the night feedings. Do you remember, baby? Daddy let Mama sleep and he took such good care of you.  In the mornings he helps take care of you too so I can sleep in.  And he feeds us. He makes us breakfast every morning with lots of coffee and he makes dinner for us too. That's why I have so much energy when we're together lovey.  He does so much for us. He loves us so much. 

I love how you make me slow down and pause.  I am soaking up every bit of you. I love spending time with you. I love our conversations. You're such a good listener, so alert and interested.  You seem to love the sound of my voice and I love the sound of yours.  You started trying to talk to me. We've been communicating since you were in my belly but now you are cooing and singing to me a lot.  Your voice is sweet like honeysuckle. And your soft milky breath is like heaven.  

You never cry. You yelp if you're bored and ready to be held and you fuss when you're hungry but you aren't a crier. You have so many expressions.  You are so good about telling us exactly what you want.  When you were itty bitty you would inch your way up daddy's chest until you were right under his chin and couldn't go any farther and then you would sleep there for hours.  We would call you our inch worm.  Now we call you our little hungry hippo. You love to be in the water and I started taking baths with you. It's such a peaceful time and it reminds me of when you were born...in the water, my little mermaid.  You're an easy baby and we are so grateful.

Before you go to sleep at night is one of my favorite times with you. We talk about our day and how much mommy & daddy loves you. I tell you about Jesus and how much he loves you too. You always look so relaxed and you go to bed happy, baby.  You love when I massage you and when I touch the back of my hand on top of your head. I massage the spot between your eyes and you fall fast asleep.  But at night I've been missing you.  That's because you've been sleeping 6-7.5 hours. I'm still getting up to pump, baby girl but when I look over at you in your bassinet you look so peaceful dreaming deep in your sleep.  Sometimes I just stare at you and then have to stop myself from picking you up.

This week we started our Mommy & Me class, baby yoga and infant massage. You really enjoy going to class.  You are not a homebody that is for sure.  You thrive being outside, in the stroller, in the carrier, in your car seat.  You love watching, looking, observing and exploring. 

We are so in awe of you, Milly. It has been an absolute gift calling you ours.  We love getting to know you and are soaking up every moment.

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Mr. A's Bacon, Brie & Jalapeno Pizza

Every Friday we host pizza night at our house. Mr. A will make several different pizzas in the Big Green Egg and we'll invite some friends over to enjoy. No matter what flavors he makes, the most popular pizza is always his bacon, brie & jalapeno pizza! It's spicy, salty, meaty and I love the creamy sour bite the brie adds to the pizza. The best part about this pizza is you don't really need a recipe. We use pre-made dough from Whole Foods, an easy pizza sauce (or you can make yours homemade) and then as many toppings as you want. Cook the pizza in your oven according to the directions on the pizza dough package OR if you prefer to use your grill (like Mr. A), cook until dough is cooked through, cheese is melted and toppings are crispy but not over done. Watch the video below to learn how to make it and to see what NOT to do when you make it...or are helping your husband make it. Then, let us know in the comment box below what else you want to see us make together! Thanks!

Our @LittleAmazing Birth Story PART TWO
Photo Credit: Jenny Quicksall

Photo Credit: Jenny Quicksall

If you enjoyed reading PART ONE of Milly's birth story, keep reading to learn what I think helped me have a smooth labor and delivery. 

THE “A” TEAM From the moment I met the Owner/Certified Nurse Midwife, Simona and her team of professionals at the Natural Birth Center, I knew it was the place I wanted to deliver our baby and where I would get the best care possible. I appreciate that Simona is a certified nurse in addition to a midwife. She has attended over 1,000 births and her reputation precedes her. The environment she has created is welcoming, empowering and their philosophy is simple.  They believe that "every woman has the innate wisdom, power and sensibility to birth her baby naturally."  Our bodies were made to do this and their midwives and birth team trust in your own strengths and wisdom as a woman and soon to be mother.  It made me feel good to be in a place where I would be surrounded by women who support my decision to give birth naturally, a place where I would have a voice to make decisions about myself, my baby and my birth. I also loved the idea that I would be in a comfortable environment similar to my home, not a sterile hospital that would make me feel like I was having a medical procedure done instead of a beautiful, natural birth. And, since the birth center is across the street from Cedars Sinai Hospital, it was comforting to know that if myself and the baby needed to be transferred, we were close by.  I also loved that I could have the water birth I had envisioned for myself and our baby at the birth center-something you can't do at a hospital.  And finally, I loved the sense of community at the birth center and the complete trust and love I felt when I was there. 

HYPNOBIRTHING So much of our amazing birth story I credit to hypnobirthing.  Mr. A and I studied with Nina Phelan of The Soulful Birth every week the month before Little A was born.  Nina's class absolutely prepared us for our natural birth.  She was imperative to our birth journey.  Using the Mongan Method, Nina taught us how to relax and trust our birth journey.  I learned how to connect to my body and our baby and tune in to the natural birthing process.  She is an incredible teacher.  Because of the breathing and visualization techniques we learned I was also able to get through the intensity of labor in a relaxed pain-free state. The hypnobirthing classes very much prepared both of us. Nina's class prepared Mr. A so he could be the best possible birth companion.  He was able to help me stay focused and grounded during labor. He knew exactly how to support me through breathing, counting the waves (or contractions) and offering massages during the different stages of labor. He was my constant and my rock-keeping me motivated throughout the process.

No matter what kind of birth you envision for yourself and your baby, hypnobirthing is a powerful, priceless skill that will help you release any fear you have about birth, help you manage pain and stress levels and an incredible tool you can take with you throughout other areas of your life.  

DOULA  I think having a doula is key especially if you're having a natural birth and plan on laboring at home as long as possible.  We were referred to our doula, Darla of Darla's Darling Doula Service from our good friends who hired her for the birth of their daughter two years ago. They swore by her and said it made all the difference in the world having her on their birth team. We really appreciated that she is also a labor and delivery nurse so her birthing experience was unparalleled. I also liked that she is a wonderful mama of four, also had natural births and is extremely tuned in and was supportive of our birth plan. The way I thought of our relationship with her was that Mr. A would be in front of me so I could lock eyes with him, hold his hand and lean on him for emotional support. Darla would be behind me, giving me pressure massages and offering physical support. This would allow Mr. A to be my husband, my rock, my birth partner-and for him to not have to stress or worry about knowing all of the answers or to need to remember everything we learned in our birthing class because we had Darla.  For us, being first time parents, there are so many unknowns and having a doula on call was imperative. As soon as my water broke I texted Darla to give her a heads up and keep her posted on my progress.  A lot of first time parents end up going to the hospital or birthing center too early so having a doula helps you determine how far along you are so you don't go to the hospital prematurely.  In our case, Darla saved us from having Little Amazing at home since my labor did move so quickly! I thought I had time but if she hadn't of told Mr. A to get me in the car and head to the birthing center, we would have definitely had Little A at home (which was not the plan at all)!

MIND, BODY, SOUL I believe the harmony of mind, body and soul played a huge part in the ease of Milly's birth.  Labor and delivery is obviously a very physical journey so I knew I needed to keep my body strong throughout my pregnancy.  From the beginning of my pregnancy I practiced stretching to keep my pelvis and hips open, stayed extremely hydrated, did light exercise (mostly walking) and attended prenatal yoga a couple times a week at Happy Baby LA.  I'm obsessed with this studio and their holistic approach to creating a safe, nurturing place for mommy and baby.  I love the sense of community there and how you are surrounded with other mamas. The instructors, the people and the vibe is all positive. It's completely different than going to a traditional yoga studio that offers prenatal yoga. One of my absolute favorite prenatal yoga classes is taught by Khefri who uses Kundalini Yoga, meditation and mantra to nurture the mind, body and spirit. Her class helped me practice my breathing, allowed me to focus on my baby and really put me in touch with my body.  Her class really prepares you to have an empowered pregnancy and birth. The hour and a half I was there each week was so powerful. Every time I left class I felt closer than ever to my baby and more excited about my delivery.

I've always believed in the power of affirmations. During my pregnancy I consistently told myself affirmations. I wrote them down over and over again, would say them out loud and focused on them throughout the day. "Thoughts become things." This is a belief I carry with me through other areas of my life as well.  I told myself I would have a beautiful, calm, peaceful, healthy natural birth. Anytime I heard a positive birth story, I would think about it, take all of the amazing aspects from it and visualize my own birth story. I imagined it all of the time and I was very specific. I even told myself I wouldn't be at the birth center longer than 3 hours...and I actually believed it.  I would paint the picture over and over again of what Little Amazing's birth would be like. I think half of having a natural birth is committing to it. Most importantly, I really believed it would happen that way. In the deepest part of my soul, I believed that's exactly how it would be.  I would consistently have talks with God about his plan and praised him for this blessing. Everyday I would thank Him for choosing us to be Little A's parents and for this healthy, amazing baby.  It's such a miracle to get pregnant and to have a healthy pregnancy and it's something neither of us takes for granted.  And so I would quiet any negative noise I would hear anytime I shared I was having a natural birth at a birth center (which happened often). And Mr. A and I would choose to only focus on our choice, our pregnancy and the power of positive thoughts.  Even when I started getting painful back labor and acid reflex toward the end of my pregnancy we fed our minds with positive thoughts and focused only on the positive. This painful back labor only meant we were getting that much closer to meeting our baby!

YOU & ME + BABY MAKES THREE  I couldn't have done any of this without Mr. A. Having an active, hands-on partner during my pregnancy and delivery made a world of a difference.  I can't imagine going through any of this without him.  My "easy" pregnancy was mostly easy because Mr. A helped me so much. In the first trimester when I was so sleepy I could barely keep my eyes open after coming home from work at 7pm, he would do all of the cooking and cleaning. During all of our baby classes Mr. A is the one who took notes, asked questions and made sure we did all of our homework.  All of the day to day mundane "life" things at home he handled. This allowed me to focus on my body and the baby and not worry about anything.   He gave me a break when I needed it and even when I didn't think I did. He encouraged me to go to prenatal yoga, booked prenatal massages, helped me eat right, made sure we went on date night each week.  When I started getting pregnancy insomnia in my third trimester and the braxton hicks and back labor would hit in the early morning hours, he would get up with me and massage my back, get me water and help me go back to sleep.  He came to every baby appointment with excitement and joy. And on the morning of July 7, 2017 when my water broke and our pre-labor began, Mr. A was there supporting me, holding me and encouraging me. When I got tense and my breathing got off track, he helped me relax and calm down. His overall excitement about us being pregnant was powerful in making me feel secure and excited too. 

TRUST When it comes down to why I think I had such a beautiful birth experience it is all centered around TRUST. I trusted my birthing team beyond measure. Even when I realized my midwife's assistant would be delivering Little A because our midwife wasn't there yet, I felt confident and had complete trust in her.  Hypnobirthing taught me to trust my body, trust my baby and trust the birthing process.  Most importantly, I trusted my partner that no matter what, he'd be with me right by my side. I knew I would never feel alone or scared because I was holding on to him. Mr. A was holding me up when I was too weak,  and holding my hand when I delivered our baby girl. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Maternity Photoshoot in Flat Rock, Palos Verdes

After the sun didn't cooperate for us during our Malibu maternity photoshoot at El Matador Beach with Photographer Jenny Quicksall, we decided to try again a couple weeks later. Jenny was really hoping to capture some images with a fiery sunset. Mr. A and I were thrilled with the maternity photos we took in Malibu so we figured this other shoot was like a bonus round.  Unfortunately because of June gloom we still weren't able to get that sunset shot Jenny was hoping for but what she did capture was still just as magical.  For this shoot the vibe was very editorial and Drew of Rogue & Fox Floral Co. created a beautiful floral installation. Mr. A and I totally felt like we were models with the romantic table set for two dressed like we were going to a fancy dinner or event. I rarely wear black so I really felt out of my element but it was fun to show this side of our personality.  Being up on Flat Rock was pretty breathtaking. You really feel like you're on top of the world up there. Take a look at the entire shoot featured on POPSUGAR now. 

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AMA with Mr. A and a Little Amazing Update

We are SO close to meeting @LittleAmazing! I can't believe it! So many feelings as we get closer to becoming parents. I hope you enjoy this AMA and then be sure to head over to POPSUGAR FOOD to watch another AMA I did there updating all of you on how content will work for Eat the Trend and Get the Dish during my maternity leave.

Also, HUGE UPDATE: Mr. A changed his instagram handle to @MrAMeals so follow him there! 

Waiting to Find Out Our Baby's Gender Until I Deliver

In a world where are there are few surprises, Mr. A and I made the commitment early on to wait to find out the gender of @LittleAmazing until the moment after I deliver.  This journey has been an absolute thrill and I strongly recommend it to anyone who has the patience! It has really allowed us to focus on how grateful we are just to be able to create this miracle baby and to start our family together.  We know it is already written. God knows our baby and it is all part of His plan. You can read more of my thoughts on why we are choosing to wait in this post I wrote for POPSUGAR MOMS. 

Photography Credit: Jenny Quicksall 

Photography Credit: Jenny Quicksall 

Mr. Amazing's Fresh Fruit Smoothie

Every morning Mr. A and I have breakfast together. Sometimes I make him bacon & eggs or a big breakfast sandy but most mornings he is in the kitchen making us smoothies. He seriously makes the best smoothies. They're the perfect consistency and I love the flavors of all the fruit combinations he comes up with! Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube page and also here on BrandiMilloy.com and let us know what else you want to see us shoot together! 

Sneak Peek: Our Maternity Shoot at El Matador Beach, CA
Photography Credit: Jenny Quicksall

Photography Credit: Jenny Quicksall

From the first time I spoke with our maternity photographer, Jenny Quicksall, I knew she was the perfect person to capture this special chapter in our lives.  Not only is she incredibly talented with an eye for detail, lighting and composition but she is an absolute joy to be around.  Her beautiful energy is infectious and being a mama of two, she and I immediately connected about my pregnancy and our babies. Jenny is extremely easy to work with and makes shooting with her feel natural when photoshoots never "feel natural." She made the entire experience so much fun despite it being cold and cloudy that even Mr. A was even enjoying himself! We chose to take our maternity photos at El Matador Beach in Malibu, CA since we love the beach and wanted to get some shots with the large rock formations.  While we were taking photos we realized that a year ago we were in Joshua Tree shooting our engagement photos with Brandon Kidd. So wild to think of all the milestones we've reached together in a year. We got married in August, traveled to Greece & Italy for our honeymoon, found out we were pregnant with Little A, bought our first home together, renovated our first home and now we are only weeks away from becoming a family of three.  What a truly amazing year we've had! Seeing these photos really makes me appreciate Mr. A even more. He is such a great partner, friend and husband but I really can't wait to see the wonderful father he's going to be. He already does so much for @LittleAmazing and I and I thank God everyday for our life together.  

Continue scrolling to see our maternity photoshoot sneak peek with Jenny Quicksall @JennyQuicksall and stay tuned for the full feature on POPSUGAR.com

Photography Credit: Jenny Quicksall

Photography Credit: Jenny Quicksall

Photography Credit: Jenny Quicksall

Photography Credit: Jenny Quicksall

Photography Credit: Jenny Quicksall

Photography Credit: Jenny Quicksall

Photography Credit: Jenny Quicksall

Photography Credit: Jenny Quicksall

Photography Credit: Jenny Quicksall

Photography Credit: Jenny Quicksall

Photography Credit: Jenny Quicksall

Photography Credit: Jenny Quicksall

Photography Credit: Jenny Quicksall

Photography Credit: Jenny Quicksall

CREDITS: Photography by Jenny Quicksall | Dresses by Pea in a Pod |  Hair & makeup by Kasia Bohos | 

SUBSCRIBE NOW to BrandiMilloy.com for new content EVERY WEDNESDAY!

I'm happy to share that I will be posting more about my personal life right here on BrandiMilloy.com From being married to Mr. Amazing and our journey together as newlyweds, new home owners and soon-to-be new parents to decor ideas and renovation projects from our 1930's Spanish bungalow to entertaining ideas and recipe hacks PLUS my travel guides and must have food spots....I can't wait to create and share more with you all! So be sure to SUBSCRIBE to BrandiMilloy.com, my YouTube page and follow me on Instagram, Facebook & Twitter. xoxo, B

Mr. Amazing & I Answer All of Your Questions on Life, Love & Little A

I finally convinced Mr. A to do an AMA with me. He was nervous at first but I think he'll get the hang of it! We had fun doing an Ask-Me-Anything video for POPSUGAR FOOD and then did a bonus video for my YouTube Channel. Head over to my YouTube Channel to watch all of the fun and let me know what you think. Be sure to subscribe because we'll be doing more content together...showing you our relationship, life with a baby on the way, home renovations, trips, our favorite recipes and more! 

9 Reasons Why I think Every Couple Should Go to Marriage Counseling Before Saying "I Do."

Brandon Kidd Photography

Brandon Kidd Photography

When I met Mr. Amazing or Mr. A (a nickname I gave my husband after meeting him-since he was the most amazing man I had met besides my dad), it took us only two dates before deciding we never wanted to be apart.  We said “I love you” six weeks later, went on an epic trip to Asia, fell in love with each other’s families and after 11 months, we were engaged. It’s our whirlwind romance that felt like a dream.  But despite all of the perfect feelings, we decided early on into our courtship to talk about the tough topics and ask the hard questions. And because having a full, healthy, lifelong marriage is something both of us are very serious about, soon after getting engaged, Mr. A and I decided to go to marriage counseling. We knew we wanted to make it a top priority to build a solid foundation for our future together before the big day and we also respected enlisting the help of a professional.  In a lot of ways, we spent more time planning our marriage than we did our wedding. Over the course of nine months we made it our mission to prepare for our sacred union.  This included writing and creating our family mission statement, sharing our goals and expectations and going on a weekend engaged couples retreat through our church. 

Here are our nine crucial topics we covered and why I think going to marriage counseling before the big day will save you from couples therapy later.

1.    The Past Is the Past…or Is it?

One of the first exercises we did during our couple’s retreat was share our past and I’m not talking about exes. We each had to complete a serious of questions about our childhood and our upbringing and then discuss them together. This included how we were raised, how we were disciplined, our parent’s relationships, how arguments were resolved in our house, and how we were shown love as a child. This was really interesting because we learned how one’s childhood and how they were brought up affects and shapes how we are as adults including how we act in relationships and even how we parent. Even if you think you know how your significant other’s upbringing was, you learn so much from each other by exchanging stories.

2.    Do you know each other’s Love Language?

We took Gary Chapman’s 5 Love Languages Quiz a couple months into dating to learn how we express and receive love.  I learned I like to hear Words of Affirmation while Mr. A wants Quality Time and my undivided attention.  Knowing each other’s love language allows you to understand how your significant other interprets love and how they accept love. For example, if your love language is Acts of Service, this means having someone clean the dishes might mean more to you than receiving a gift. 

3.    Money Talks

Having a neutral space where you can discuss money, credit scores and spending is key to keeping an open line of communication about your financial future. How much money did either of us feel comfortable spending without letting the other know? How would we divide household expenses and bills? For my husband and I we decided creating a family account while still keeping each of our individual accounts worked best for us.  I found myself really enjoying the time we spent creating our budget including prioritizing spending to reach our goal of buying a home. 

4.    Rules of the Household

If everyone knows his or her job, there’s less of a chance that you will argue over spilled milk.  I’ve spent hours listening to friends complain about their husbands who never put their dishes in the dishwasher, etc.  What that has taught me is how important it is everyone knows their role in the home. For example, Mr. A usually is on dinner duty during the week because he gets home before me but on the weekends I usually try to cook for us. 

5. Future Parenting

By the time Mr. A and I were engaged, we had already discussed when we wanted to start a family but we weren’t exactly on the same page.  He already had names for our future children while I thought we would wait a while. This is also the man who wanted to get married six months after getting engaged while I thought we’d wait a year-so I should have known! After we discussed becoming parents with our marriage counselor, we learned that we were more on the same page than we thought and reached a compromise. #LittleAmazing

6.  Fighting Fair

I hate fighting; people screaming at each other stresses me out.  I’m the kind of person that wants to apologize and make up immediately.  Mr. A on the other hand, needs space and time.  We’ve both adapted to each other’s needs but this was only after hearing each other’s point of view. Writing letters to one another explaining how we feel during and after a fight and reading them to each other after things have cooled off helped too.  Keep in mind you could meet with the counselor days or weeks after the fight so you’re no longer upset but it helps you resolve the problem, figure out how to handle future conflict and move on.

7.  Family (the in-laws) Boundaries

Both of us are extremely close to our families but as our relationship grows and as we start our own new family, it’s important to keep the relationship we have together separate from our immediate families. This is especially crucial when it comes to running our household or how we will parent one day.  When you’re close to your family it’s easy to share things with them and include them in decision-making.  However, discussing family boundaries is important for maintaining your own privacy while keeping an open line of communication.

8. Social Life

We have my friends, his friends and our friends.  When you add family and work social obligations, it leaves little time for “us” time.  Figuring out how to prioritize time for each other takes work and it also means having to say “no” to others sometimes. However, a healthy balance is when Mr. A gets his boys nights and I have my girl time. A solution we came up with to make time for our friends without sacrificing time with one another is to spend time with our friends when the other is busy. Plus, we are lucky to have a ton of mutual couple friends so we love to double date.  Most importantly, we rarely make plans without checking in with each other. 

9.  Goals (mission statement)

One of my favorite activities we did during a session was write down our goals. We each made a list of our personal, professional and couples goals. One of my favorite quotes is “Love is not gazing at each other but looking outward together in the same direction.”  This activity serves as a map for where you want your relationship to go and the compromises (promises) you must make to get there.  While your goals list can and should change quarterly or annually, your family mission statement should be the core philosophy of your lives.

At the beginning of this post I said that I think marriage counseling before marriage saves you from couples therapy later. This doesn’t mean you should stop working on your relationship once you are one. In fact, I think it should continue! I believe you should absolutely continue to work on your marriage beyond your big day-whether it be with a marriage counselor, one-on-one or going on retreats. Having monthly, quarterly or yearly check ins with your significant other is healthy and a positive way to protect your relationship.  I look forward to continuing to learn more about my husband, growing and changing together and improving myself as a wife, friend, partner and soon, mother. 

Dear Little Amazing (My First Trimester Update)
Some of my favorite books from my childhood are Dr. Seuss. Can't wait to read them all to Little A.

Some of my favorite books from my childhood are Dr. Seuss. Can't wait to read them all to Little A.

Being a first time Mom is a whirlwind of emotions. And as much as I thought I knew about pregnancy from my Mom, Sister and close friends, it's a whole new adventure for me. I thought I'd capture how I'm feeling in a series of letters to our baby, Little Amazing and share them here with you.  Reaching the first trimester was such a huge feat and now I finally feel like I am settling into this new chapter of carrying our first little babe.  For photos and more updates, follow along on instagram @LittleAmazing. 

1/17/17

Dear Little Amazing,

You are such a beautiful blessing and we can’t wait to meet you.  Your Dad always said you would come right after we were married and he was right.  He told me on our second date that he wanted to be a Dad and he has been talking about you ever since. I had a feeling God had sent you even before we confirmed it.  I felt different. I just knew it.  I feel like I already know you.  You made my first trimester almost too easy.  You’ve been such a good baby-never making Mama sick.  You had me craving baked potatoes, steak and veggies but when am I not craving those things? I’ve wanted to take more naps on the weekends and sometimes I can’t stay up past 9pm but that’s probably best for both of us. Everyone keeps telling me to sleep as much as I can now but I have a feeling even when you’re here I won’t be able to stop staring at you long enough to go to sleep.

Your Dad has been so awesome-giving me foot & leg rubs and making dinner for me when I’m too tired.  He is the best. I can’t wait for you to meet him.  You have a lot of people that love you already. Your grandparents are thrilled! You have so many aunts and uncles-it’s going to be fun! And your cousins, Maximus and Bexton are especially excited! They’ve already nicknamed you “Sweetie!” You've already flipped our world upside down and changed it for the better. 

I’ve so enjoyed our first trimester together.  I find myself smiling a little more, radiating love and always on the verge of giggling. It's a miracle what's happening inside of me. My mommy friends tell me the next six months are going to fly by! I hope it doesn’t go by too fast! They also tell me being pregnant was some of the best times in their life.  I've never been happier and I'm cherishing every moment.  Thank you for being our little love baby. I hope you know I'm soaking it all in day by day and loving each milestone we reach together.

Love,

Mommy

We're Having a Baby!
Follow @LittleAmazing on instagram for more!

Follow @LittleAmazing on instagram for more!

We are beyond blessed to share we are going to be a family of three this summer! This has been the toughest secret to keep but we've enjoyed having this special time to ourselves and our families. We are most grateful to have a healthy, thriving baby and can't wait to meet him or her. I'm excited to announce I'll be sharing my journey as a first time Mama here on my blog and on all of my social media channels so be sure to follow along! Mr. A (Mr. Amazing) will also be making blog posts to share his perspective on things including below where he interviewed me about being pregnant. I hope you'll enjoy being a part of this adventure with us. We're having the time of our lives! Get ready for @LittleAmazing!

Mr. A : When did you know you were pregnant?

Brandi: I had a feeling something was different but wanted to wait a week to be sure so I waited until the following Saturday to take a pregnancy test. You were sleeping like a baby when I snuck into the bathroom. Before I could even finish washing my hands the test said PREGNANT. I couldn't wait to jump back in bed and wake you up!

Mr. A: Yeah, I was sleeping!

Brandi: I know....so I nuzzled you a little and when you finally woke up I looked at you and said "There's a baby inside of me!"

Mr. A: I was still half asleep and didn't realize really what was going on and I heard you talking but didn't register what you were saying until you flashed the pregnancy test in front of my eyes. I was overwhelmed with excitement and can't wait to be a future dad! So how did you get pregnant? 

Brandi: Haha! Real funny. That's what's crazy though! I was on the road so much that month but we managed to make a baby somehow!

Mr. A: What was your first trimester like? 

Brandi: Well I had zero morning sickness so that was incredible. I felt a little more tired than usual and I was hungry all of the time. 

Mr. A: Well that's nothing new! You're always planning your next meal when you're eating your current meal. But you have tons of energy so it was crazy when you'd want to go to bed early.

Brandi: Right? I've been a sleepy head these past couple of weeks. It was also so hard not to tell our friends we were pregnant but I'm so glad we waited. 

Mr. A:  As excited as I was my main priority was to make sure the baby was healthy before we told everyone and to get your blood work done for the genetic testing.

Brandi: I know. All that matters is that the baby is healthy and I'm so glad we focused on that.

Mr. A:  After you got your ultrasound done and the results back from the blood work and we found out the baby is healthy and thriving, how relieved were you?

Brandi: I was so relieved! And grateful! As both of us know, the first trimester can be stressful but all that matters now is we are going to be parents to a healthy baby! 

Mr. A: What are you looking forward to the most? 

Brandi: I can't wait to see how great you're going to be as a Dad.  You're already an incredible husband and best friend but you're going to be the best Dad. I'm so grateful for everything you've done to help me during this first trimester....like bringing me my vitamins, picking up loaded baked potatoes (my current craving), texting me to remind me to drink more water and doing most of the housework cause I'm so lazy right now! What are you most looking forward to?

Mr. A:  I can't wait to be a Dad. Whether it's a girl or a boy, I can't wait to hold our little glow worm, see them smile and play with them.  I can't wait to watch our child grow up and play sports with them and teach them something new everyday.  I know my beautiful wife is going to be an amazing Mom and I'm so glad we're doing this together.

Brandi: I love you.

Mr. A: I love you more.

Check out more photos from our pregnancy announcement that we took at our family Lake House in Big Bear during New Year's Eve. It had snowed 8" the night before and it was like a winter wonderland! 

 

 

DIY Dream Dessert Table From Our #AmazingEverAfter Wedding

When my husband and I were planning our wedding we knew we wanted a dessert table. How incredible would it be to have a buffet of all of our favorite sweets & candies?! From our favorite homemade Oreos at Superba Food + Bread to Mr. A's favorite Milk Jar Cookies, our guests were absolutely spoiled with the very best! Learn how to make your own dessert bar and get inspiration from ours! Click here to see all of the photos and sweets we choose featured on POPSUGAR.com

Our #AmazingEverAfter Wedding Day
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My romance with Mr. Amazing is a whirlwind. We were inseparable from the first day we met. And after only a couple weeks of dating, I met his family. He told me he loved me a month later.  On a beach in Tulum, he proposed 10 months later. And we were married 10 months after that.  Our wedding day was the best day of my life. I could relive that day over and over.  It's so surreal having everyone you love in one place. And to marry the man of my dreams is the biggest blessing God has ever given me. A full feature of our special day was featured on POPSUGAR.com Click here to see all of our dreamy photos.