how we say “i love you…”

When Frank and I were first dating, we thought it would be incredibly insightful to read the book The Five Love Languages. We were being all academic about love.

We bought the books… and then?

And then we spent the last decade making up our own love language.

Yes, that’s right, Frank and I have been hanging out romantically for a decade now.


So to celebrate a decade of smoochin’ and snugglin’ and stealin’ each other’s desserts – I thought I’d kick things off right with the top 10 ways we say “I love you.”

In no particular order:

10. Snuggles.

We snuggle all.the.time.  It’d be annoying if it wasn’t so delicious. There are nights where we follow one another from one side of the bed to the other and back again.  We’ve even named some of our favorite ways to snuggle.  That way, like good little quarterbacks, one of us can yell out, “SWEET SPOT!” and we assume the position.

9. The Clean House Maneuver.

This maneuver works great on both of us. It’s not complicated: clean the house while the other spouse is out. That one gets me every time!

8. The Clean Car Maneuver.

Similar to #9, but with either or (if particularly amorous) both vehicles. It differs from #9 because we have, on occasion, let our cars get particularly yucky.

7. Sweet Texts.

I’m sure in the olden days, spouses would have to find a piece of paper and pen and ::GASP:: write a note. Us? We just grab our phones and shoot over a text message.  Some of my favorites:

Frank: 11:30 a.m. doctor appointment for the twins.

Me: OK.

Frank (a few hours later): It’s Herpes.

Me: What?!

Frank: Nevermind. Girls are fine. Love you!

Frank is, as you may know, a pilot.  Occasionally (frequently…) I forget where he is going, until he gets there and texts me:

Frank: Love you in SFO (San Francisco)

Me: Oh, good. I didn’t know where you were going. XOXO.

On the first Tuesday of every month, the state tests tornado sirens.  Every first Tuesday at 10 a.m., I get a text that looks something like this:


Me: Shhh. In meeting.

6. Laughing at the Same Jokes Over and Over and Over Again…

We have a cycle of jokes that is on endless loop.  Just like when I was kid and my sister and I watched Howard the Duck on an endless loop until my mom “dropped” the VHS tape, Frank and I can’t get enough of some of the same old jokes.

And there is comfort in that. Singing goofy versions of Kenny Loggins song Danny’s Song (“Even though you look kinda funny, I don’t care cuz you’ve got money!”); Frank chasing me up the stairs saying, “I’m gonna getcha!” while I freeze-up laughing, unable to move; holding hands and trying to be the first to tuck our thumb in between; responding to the other with “yer mom”; and the list goes on and on. No matter what we’re going through – there is always a small, sweet way that we can say “I love you” that brings a smile to both of our faces.

… Juvenile as it may be…

5. Holding Hands.

When snuggling isn’t an option, we often have to settle for holding hands. We hold hands everywhere we can – even in the car. We talk about how if we have to be in separate beds in the nursing home that if we can’t snuggle there, we’ll hold hands all the way until the end. Pity the nursing home peeps that try to get in between us. We will go all ninja old people on them. That’s how we roll, yo.

4. The Postcard.

You guys:  Frank and I have never discussed this.  Ever.  It’s one of the rules of Postcard Club: we don’t talk about the postcard. Seriously. I was worried that if I shared the postcard, it might lose some of its magic, but it’s a risk I’m willing to take so that our children and our children’s children will know exactly how nuts we are. 

In 2005, I took a trip to Utah for work.  It was a lovely trip, but only a 2 day adventure.  I bought a postcard that I intended to mail to Frank, but never did because I would get home before the postcard would.  I gave Frank the postcard and thought it was the end of the postcard. Until I found it tucked in one of my drawers.  So I put it in his overnight bag.  And he put it in my work bag.  And I put it in the cupboard next to his cereal and he put it in my pillowcase.

This postcard has made it through at least 3 moves and 7 years without being lost.  Which is more than I can say for about half a dozen spoons, three dinner plates and a shelf.

Whenever I find the postcard, sometimes months between sightings, it always makes me smile.

3. Spanish Radio.

Yes.  You read that right.  Nothing says, “I love you” like 105.1 FM in Chicago.

See, because we use our SUV for carting around the twins and our sedan for lots of driving/chores/what-have-you, we tend to swap out cars a lot.  And even if we aren’t swapping out cars, Frank often is nearby my place of employment to drop off the babies and from time to time, he stops by my car, turns the radio to Spanish Radio and cranks the volume.

While some people live in fear of turning the key in the ignition and a bomb going off, I live in fear of turning the key in the ignition and being bombarded with the music stylings of an enthusiastic mariachi band.

But as soon as I peel myself off of the ceiling of my car and get my wits about me, I remember that it is just a small way of Frank saying “I love you” using the only Spanish he remembers from high school.  Note: Aside from finding Spanish Radio formats on the dial, he can also say “The cat is on fire” and “The cat is in my pants.” What can I say? I’m smitten…

2. Our Rings.

For most married people, their wedding bands are a symbol of the promises they made to one another.  You know, the part where I lied and told Frank I loved to cook and could not wait to cook all.the.time? (And now Frank does 99.9% of the cooking)

But for us, our rings are also a symbol of our love (which is probably what it symbolizes for everyone else, too… we aren’t very original in that department… but whatever this is our top 10 list!).

I’ll spare you most of the schmoopy details, but basically it went like this:

Me: I love you, Frank.

::Cue the music, the soft lighting, the raw romance. Soap operas and love stories could learn something from this kind of passion.::

Frank: Aw, I love you, too babe.

After a few seconds of analysis.

Frank: If you were to quantify your love for me, how much would you say you had?

Me: This much!

Frank: (furrowing his mighty eyebrows) Which way?

Me: (exasperated) Always!

And so when Frank and I were engaged, we each separately decided to engrave a message on the inside of the other’s wedding band.  On the day of our wedding, after the vows and rings were exchanged, we couldn’t wait to slip off our rings to see what the other wrote on the inside. When I slipped the ring off of my finger and turned it into the light, I saw that, magically, we both wrote:

“I know where you live.”

Ha ha.  Just kidding.

We each engraved: “This Much, Always. 09-19-03”

I mean, occasionally we do get things right.

And so, when we look at our wedding bands, it is a constant reminder of our love – and that I don’t cook. Ever. Except when I get in the mood. But really, let’s be honest: dude has to cook all of the meals.

And, last, but not least:

1. We Love to Make Each Other Laugh.

Sure, I guess that’s been the under-riding theme of this entire post.  But truly, nothing delights either one of us more than the other being delighted.

These are the kinds of pictures that Frank sends to me with some sort of funny caption.

Eventually Frank’s series of Panda captions became his Anniversary Card to me one year.

And for Frank’s Golden Birthday, I surprised him with a few of his closest friends and some bread pudding.  He was delighted!

I always get a laugh out of Frank when I make that face.  What can I say??  I’m a charmer.


And so, in summary, we are probably certifiably crazy.  But that’s OK: we’re crazy together.

To Frank, I say, “Thank you for being my friend!”

… “Travel ’round the world and back again.  Your heart is true, you’re a pal and a confidant!  And if you threw a party! And invited everyone you knew!  You would see, the biggest gift would be from me and the card attached would say, ‘THANK YOU FOR BEING MY FRIEND!'” (Sung loudly, totally off-key and with heart because really, if you don’t sing it with heart, what’s the point??)

Extra Credit: Name that TV show theme song.  Nate? You got this one?


On a beautiful Friday eight years ago today (9/19/03), Frank and I were married. It was the last Friday of summer – the kind of Friday that you wish lasted all year: sunny, warm and fragrant.

I remember feeling peaceful on my wedding day.  I remember being happy and content. Was it perfect? Not at all.  I believe that God uses the engagement and the wedding to prepare you for what is to come.  I think of the engagement as a boot camp of sorts – how to deal with the family, the friends, the job, etc – how to set precedents.  

Frank and I didn’t live together, which is how I prefer it.  As unpopular as it is to not live together these days, I wouldn’t do it any other way. I’ve had roommates before.  I know about globs of toothpaste in the sink, one tablespoon of milk left in the jug before it was put away (I mean, really? Just drink it!), missing food, too-long showers – etc, etc, etc. I was friends with Frank for four years before we started dating.  We dated for nine months before we were engaged. We were engaged for six months (almost exactly) before we were married.  If he was a jerk, living with him wasn’t going to expose anything I shouldn’t have already known.  And if leaving the toilet seat up (which he doesn’t really do anyway) was going to be a deal breaker, well, gee whiz, I need to examine my own heart first!

So really, our wedding was the beginning of a new era for us.  Our lives were about to radically change in very real, tangible ways. And there I was (as someone with major anxiety issues) feeling peaceful.

Peace, as I’ve learned over the past years, is precious.  Shalom, the Hebrew word for peace, does not necessarily mean the absence of conflict.  Instead, it means fullness or completeness.

On our wedding day, I knew that it wasn’t going to be easy, but I knew it would always be worth it.

At last my love has come along, my lonely days are over and life is like a song

Oh, those were the words that were supposed to float over us while we danced our first dance as husband and wife.  But alas, our DJ, who swore he had five copies of the song, came up empty handed when we took to the dance floor.

Watching in slow motion, as you turn around and say, my love, take my breath away…

Instead, we danced to Take My Breath Away. You know, the hot, steamy, cheese-errific song from Top Gun (oh, the pilot cliches!). Also the title song for my junior prom, it was the only song we could come up with in the two minutes we had to come up with a new song.  Oh, the agony.  Through gritted teeth and pained smiles we hissed at each other on the dance floor through the entire first verse of the song.  But then we laughed, realizing that it was silly to get all worked up.  By the end of the song, our smiles were genuine and we knew we would laugh about the first dance mishap for years to come.

It was like God gave us our first lesson as husband and wife – gently telling us that life would not be perfect, but as long as we could laugh together through it, it would be so worth it in the end.

When we were first married, we would lie in bed, listening to the wind rustling through the vertical blinds in our apartment and the distant sound of train horns, and we would talk about our future.  Frank would hold my hand and say, “I just feel like we are on the launching pad – we’re getting ready for a great adventure – we just don’t know what it is yet.  I can’t wait to go on this adventure with you!”

And oh, what an adventure it has been!  It has not turned out the way we imagined it would – there have been curve balls and disappointments and challenges and victories – but it has been so worth it in the end.

So, to Frank, on the occasion of our eighth anniversary:

I love you. This much, always.

Help Help!

Gotta find a job… getting down to crunch time… loosin’ my mind…

Gotta find an apartment…. but where??? I don’t know! Why? Cuz I need a job!

Gonna freak out… RIGHT NOW!!!

I need a big (non moldy) bathtub with lots of candles so I can relax. Guess I’m going to my parents’ house…

My tummy hurts. Last night I thought I was going to puke. I think it’s stress related. Or it could be from the tilex I sprayed + the smelly paint pens I used to write Dor’s invitations for her bridal shower. Someone help me!

Angie & Bill S

Frank and I went to Angie and Bill’s wedding on Saturday and it was STUNNINGLY beautiful! I haven’t ever seen a wedding reception quite like it. Very tasteful and elegant and perfect. Angie’s dress was just about the prettiest dress she could have had and fit her personality perfectly. It had a princess neckline and waist, a ball gown bottom and just exquisite beading. The reception site was gorgeous. It was at The Glen Club in Glenview. The brick terrace overlooked the golf course that was laid out in such a way that it obscured the surroundings and made you feel that you had plunked down in the middle of nowhere (except when the occasional plane took off from O’Hare). Angie and Bill had special cocktails that included the Wedding Bellini and the Mai Bride. They even had a harpist!

For dinner, we ate the most yummy tomato bisque, followed by a great salad, then fillet and chicken for dinner with asparagus (yum), mashed potatoes (yummier!), and finally, an almond wedding cake with creme brulee & strawberry filling. SOOOO GOOD! I told my mom that this is where my sister needs to get married. Just gotta find her a guy, first.

Showers, showers, everywhere…

The showers were really nice this weekend… from what I saw of them… eek! Too much on my plate. I left Dor’s early to go to Angie & Bill’s wedding. And I was TERRIBLY late for Jennie’s. Due to some miscommunication between my roommate and me, I thought the shower was at 4p, but it was at 12n. Woops. I was soooo embarassed! But this is what happens when you are crazy busy.

Last but not least…

Mom and Dad’s party went off with few hitches and they loved it. I can’t write any more about this because, quite honestly, I’m tired. 🙂

Wedding Pictures

We have been married for nearly 10 mos, and we just got our wedding album.  Even though it took most of our marriage to get these pictures (drama queen), I have to say I am VERY happy with the results!  Our album is gorgeous!!  I cried looking through it, it turned out so beautiful!  YAY!  I had been worried about it because it had taken so long and I wasn’t sure how it would look.  I was actually scared to see it because I didn’t know how it was going to look.  But wow–it defied all of my expectations!

Anyway.  Good stuff with that.

Hangin’ Out with Erin

I spent this evening over at my dear friend Erin D’s house–she has just the cutest place!  She and her husband have just done a great job fixing up the place–new windows, molding, cabinets, counters, sinks, bathroom, tiling, garage–everything!  Just so beautiful and cozy and well-decorated!  Lots of personal touches from their lives around the house, too.

Anyway… long day… time for bed!!!

What a weekend!

Well, this weekend Craig and Jamie got married–hurrah! Frank was a groomsman and I was a reader, so we were both at the rehearsal dinner and then, of course, the wedding.

Okay, first things first: it was a beautiful wedding! Jamie looked just like a snow princess! Craig didn’t look nervous, but according to the Father of the Bride, his hands were cold and clammy–how cute!!!

As I was watching the ceremony (and alternately checking out my husband–ow ow!), it occurred to me how things have really changed since high school. I mean, one would hope things *would* change between high school and now. But it was like stepping back and looking at my life like it was a still life painting and I was watching myself in high school and college and now. It was amazing to see how everyone changed, but still remained friends. And how some of the friendships deepened, some of the grew apart and how we all remained friends in the end. It was very cool to see.

So here we are, Craig and Jamie M are now happily married!! Way to go, guys!!!

Another one bites the dust. 😀

It has been far too long, my friends. Far too long.

First of all, appropriate kudos (like the candy bar) to Jane P for finally updating her journal. It was 2 months in the making, but all in all a fantastic recap of the adventures she has been on in Australia and all over this lovely planet. Jane, I didn’t know you were born in the land down under–this is news to me! Wow–a real live Aussie and I didn’t even know it!!

On to other things. As Jamie mentioned in her blogger, this weekend was her bachelorette party–rock! It was a very good time indeed! Frank says that he had a great time at the corresponding bachelor party. This made it at least a little bit easier to get out of bed on Sunday and drag our sorry butts to church the next morning.

Since we had the bachelorette & bachelor parties–a wedding is not far behind! Jamie and Craig will be married this Saturday, January 24th, 2004. Hurrah! After their wedding all of the appropriate festivities will follow, ending, we hope, in a night of passion for someone, somewhere.

These past two weeks have been very trying at work, but I will surivive.


Love, Babies and How the Former Can Sometimes Make the Latter

… and boys and girls, please, remember, birth control is YOUR FRIEND.

Thank you.

So anyway, I thought I would drop that in there since I was just reading my brother’s band’s website and these teens were discussing birth control on the message board. Apparently the band members (this, sadly, includes my darling brother), are well versed in birth control and we needn’t worry about them.

Thank God. Wait until I tell Mom….

Speaking of birth control in all of its glory–I went to Erin & John’s wedding on Saturday. Actually, I was in their wedding. I have to say, it was absolutely a fantastic wedding! Everyone loves their own wedding, but their wedding made me want to get married all over again. Or, at least, have another big party! woohoo!!! Aside from the other Maid of Honor (as a married hag, I was MATRON of Honor) blacking out at the altar (ladies, let’s keep those knees LOOSE!), the day went off with only one hitch: the bride and groom (cue cheesy laughter). See, they got hitched… hitch? hitched??! Ha!

Erin’s dress was beautiful–scoop neckline with beading on the bodice and a chapel length train. It was ivory and absolutely stunning! She had her hair up in a MASS of curls (if you know Erin, you know she has 5xs the average amount of hair on her head) with a beautiful crystal crown. I’d say tiara, but there was just so much sparkle, it was definitely a crown!

They had SO much food at their wedding, too! Oh my gosh–we just ate and ate and ate! They served appetizers, soup, salad, pasta, filet AND chicken, twice baked potato, vegetables, international coffee service, chocolate mousse, cake and a sweet table. HOLY COW–I have never eaten so much! 😀 Well, maybe I have, but this just tasted so good!!

At our wedding, our DJ forgot the music for our first dance. It was tragic because Frank and I worked hard to choreograph our first dance and then–woosh–no song! eeek. At Erin’s wedding, the DJ had our song and we danced our dance to it before the other guests arrived. It was very happy! 🙂

So this weekend I am going to run down to visit my sister in St. Louis for a couple of days. I can’t wait to see her!!! I LOVE HER!!! EH EH EH EH!

Okay, gotta be productive… must go get some lunch!!

Picture Perfect

We got our pictures back from the photographer and they are AWESOME!! YAY! I love them. We didn’t have time to do a lot of the pictures that we wanted, but what we got is incredible–rah!!

It’s amazing that I am now looking back on my wedding. It felt like the day would never come and then, woosh, there it went! It truly flies by.

How’s Married Life Treatin’ Ya??

That is the question of the ages. My response is a resounding, “Great!” But what does that “Great!” mean?

Only two months into it, and I can tell you that being married is the greatest thing. Frank and I have a fantastic time together, laughing and generally enjoying eachother’s company. And Frank is a fantastic husband! The other day I came home and he was vacuuming and running the washer and dryer. He makes the bed nearly every day. He eats the food I make him with little to no hesitation (brave man). He tells me that I’m cute in the morning, even if my mascara has run all over my face and my hair has developed new and interesting cowlicks.

It’s also one of the toughest things, too. There is life before marriage and life after marriage. The priorities I had before marriage are definitely different from the priorities since marriage. You realize that you are your own little family and you have your own little family problems and traditions and quirks. You realize that it’s not as easy as signing a marriage license and throwing a little party.

And this brings me back to the night Frank proposed. For a long time I have been trying to put into words the feelings that came over me that night. I felt incredible joy that we were going to take our relationship the next step. I felt delighted and giddy and excited and nervous and surprised and content. This is how things were meant to be.

But there was another feeling, a feeling of awe. It was as though I walked into an ancient church with bright, ornate stained glassed windows lining either side and pews, uniformly assembled, solemn contemplative rows in front of a lavish alter. And the ceiling is several stories overhead and old, tender light filters in from every perfect crack and crevice. But even more awesome than beauty of the old space is the overwhelming sense of history in the room. How many lives were announced, merged, celebrated and mourned here? What words could you possibly use to sum up the experience of standing in this church? And it’s such an experience that it must be experienced with another person, if not for the reason that when you walk out of the church and you lack words to describe it, you can look at that person and know that they understand.

After he proposed, Frank examined my ring on my finger for along time. Then he said to me that it was amazing to think of what that ring will have seen 50 years from now. It will see children, homes, pets, people coming, people going, grand children. Maybe even great grandchildren. Who knows? And maybe in 50 years the ring will be given to a grandson. And maybe he will ask a young woman to marry him. And who knows–maybe she will be filled with the same sense of awe and wonderment.

What a very great thing, indeed.


I am just too happy! 🙂 The wedding was amazing and everyone looked beautiful and the whole day went smoothly–I couldn’t be happier!

Frank and I had a fantastic time on our honeymoon and just love living together–it’s fantastic!!!!

More on our adventures as married people later 😉