After Nearly 10 Years of Marriage, My Wife and I Have Decided to Get a Dinnerware Set (Melange Nantucket Weave) to Replace Our Original One

A decade ago, I had just proposed to the love of my life. We hadn’t even been dating for a year yet, but I was already feeling at that point that my proposal was past due. That’s how much I knew she was the one.

I proposed on January 14th, and our wedding day was less than 6 months away, on July 5th. I suppose that’s just how our story goes. We didn’t need a long time together to decide to get married, nor did we require a long time to be engaged.

The entire year of 2008 is a blur to me. In early January we were just dating, and by early December, we had already been married 5 months. That really puts things in perspective now, in hindsight, what a big year that was for us.

At some point that year, my wife and I spent a day at Bed Bath & Beyond where we had registered for our wedding. When it came time to pick out the dinnerware set, she found a red set that she really liked.

Then we realized that for some mysterious reason, the same set in blue was half the price. So we went with blue.

Amazingly now, after nearly 10 years of using that dinnerware set, from Bush to Obama to Trump, and with two new smaller human members joining our family, all pieces of that set have survived other than a bowl and a cup. That even includes a move to Alabama and back.

Ten is a big number. Just a couple of weeks ago, my wife got to pick out new jewelry from James Avery for Valentine’s Day. That’s the only new jewelry she has gotten (or said she’s wanted) since her engagement and wedding rings back in 2008. So it was a big deal.

So while we’re in the spirit of my wife getting new things, in convenient accordance to our upcoming 10th wedding anniversary, we now have a brand-new set of dinnerware:

Melange Dinnerware, Nantucket Weave

It was not a rash decision. My wife obsessed over, I mean, carefully studied, dozens of sets online through the course of a week.

She then requested my opinion, as well as our son’s, to give her further direction after she had finalized her selection to the top 3.

I have learned over all these years that often, when she asks which one I like the best, whatever the thing is I’m helping her to decide, my answer only reinforces her own decision; which is never the same one I chose.

Amazingly, this time it was different.

Even though she was leaning towards another set, our son and I both chose Melange Dinnerware, Nantucket Weave, and apparently we swayed the vote!

Now obviously, with me being a man, you can imagine that in the end, my choice in our new dinnerware set was not a passionate one.

But now that the new set is here, I have to say, I am very pleased with our decision!

It’s like a crossroads of both Country and Class, which is how I think of my wife. Yeah, she’s from northern California but she loves Country music and grew up on a 5 acre farm with sheep, pigs, cows, chickens, and rabbits. She’s arguably more Southern than I am, yet I was born and raised in Alabama!

Soon, when you see pictures of our kids eating at the dinner table, you won’t see the decade old blue cups and plates anymore; as we start phasing in our white wicker-looking ones.

I never would have thought that picking out a new dinnerware set would be worth writing about, and on your end, reading about.

Yet here we are.

Now let’s see, so far this year, my wife has gotten a new set of jewelry and dinnerware. Meanwhile, I’m still driving my 2004 Honda Element that I’ve owned since January 2006.

Hey, I wonder if I will finally get my Jeep Wrangler I’ve been wishing for all these years?

Nah, probably not. Old Hondas just never die.

By the way, if you’re reading this because you are already actively looking for the Melange Dinnerware Nantucket Weave set, just click here:

Melange Dinnerware, Nantucket Weave

That link will take you straight to Amazon, where you’ll likely find the best deal on it, like we found.

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Wear Your Love Story: Taking My Wife to James Avery for a Special Valentine’s Day 2018

DISCLOSURE LANGUAGE

James Avery partnered with bloggers such as myself for this program. I received compensation for my time, creativity, and SEO platform. I was not told what to purchase nor what to say about any product mentioned in these posts. James Avery believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. James Avery’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines, and social media engagement recommendations.

When it comes to gifts for my wife, she’s always made it easy on me, telling me all she really wants is maybe a new pair of slippers or pajamas, along with a bag of red licorice.

But for this Valentine’s Day, as we are just months away from our 10th wedding anniversary in July, I decided to make this one extra special.

With her mother in town from Sacramento, and our 7 year-old son at school, my wife took the day off from work so we could make the drive in the 2017 Mazda 6 to the Cool Springs Galleria Mall, where there is a James Avery artisan jewelry store.

Honestly, the thought of trying to choose jewelry for my wife is slightly terrifying. For a gift this special, I wanted her not only to have the experience of choosing the gift herself, but also to be able to enjoy seeing all the options in the store; to make the final selection that much more satisfying.

So I figured it would be a lot more fun for my wife, and for me, if we simply went to there together with a James Avery gift card in hand. My wife was able to focus on shopping, as I tended to our 21 month-old daughter in the store.

At the front of the store was a timeless, crafted Valentine’s Day gift set collection. Immediately, my wife was drawn to the Petite Heart Gift Set. She tried on the heart-shaped earrings and necklace pretty much immediately. It’s funny because as long as we’ve been together, I can think of only a couple of times she has worn earrings, but that changed during our store visit.

My wife was sold on the Petite Heart Gift Set, but I encouraged her to take her time and not stop there. I reminded her, “There’s no rush. Enjoy this. Get what makes you happy.”

Meanwhile, I looked over to see how my mother-in-law was doing, and to my surprise, she was in the middle of purchasing a new silver ring for herself.

I smiled as I made my may over to see her selection. She laughed and she explained, “You should have known better than to bring me into a jewelry store and expect me not to come out empty-handed.”

The assistants in the store were extremely helpful and knowledgeable along the way. My wife ultimately depended on their direction, as well as my opinion, in making her final selections.

As I handed over the James Avery gift card to make the purchase official, I realized that the total was a little bit higher than the amount of the card.

Oh well. I didn’t hesitate and just quietly paid the difference.

After all, my wife deserves it. For someone who is content with a new pair of pajama pants and licorice for a typical gift, it was time for me to go way, way beyond her expectations. And I did!

So for this Valentine’s Day, I know my wife of nearly 10 years will feel even extra special. It truly brought me joy in knowing I made her day!

If you would like to see my wife’s final selections from James Avery, just check out our “haul video” below…

My Parents’ 40th Wedding Anniversary Celebration in Hawaii

Yes, today is Father’s Day. So, Happy Father’s Day! (Even though 73% of my blog readers are actually female.)

But for my parents, it’s an especially epic day: Exactly 40 years ago today, my parents got married.

The date was June 18, 1977. My dad was 20. My mom was 19.

And now, 40 years later, they have two children and four grandchildren.

For their special 40th wedding anniversary, they decided to go big, as it was literally years in the making:

They had been planning and putting aside $20 a week, for the past few years, to fund their tropical vacation/anniversary celebration in Hawaii.

And now, after a whole week spent in the Aloha State, my parents are back.

The whole time they were out there, my mom kept me up to speed by sending me pictures from her phone. I am glad my parents were not shy about asking strangers to take their photos, at each place along the way.

So much for taking it easier. Instead of the word vacation, it seemed more like an expedition!

They were so proud of the Mazda 3 they rented and were able to go exploring in.

It is obvious they made the most of their journey to Hawaii. Instead of just hanging under an umbrella on the beach all day, they were on the move!

Among many other adventures, they hiked a volcano, swam in a waterfall, and visited Pearl Harbor where they met a 97 year-old survivor of the attack.

Not to mention, they definitely enjoyed the local cuisine.

It’s funny because if it were my wife and I taking this trip, I am convinced we wouldn’t have been so ambitious! But my parents were dedicated to making the most of their 40th wedding anniversary celebration.

They got their money’s worth.

And now, they will have these memories as their souvenirs.

Happy 40th Anniversary to my parents!

Our 5th Wedding Anniversary Gift Of Being Debt-Free!

July 5, 2013 at 12:16 am , by 

2 years, 7 months.

Dear Jack,

Today is a very special day… for more than one reason.

It was five years ago that Mommy and I got married!

We had talked a couple of weeks ago about what we would get each other as 5th year anniversary gifts. Well, we couldn’t have planned this, even if we tried, but…

As of today, our family is officially debt-free!

I can’t think of any greater gift Mommy and I could give each other on this special day.

Of course, we still have a mortgage. But as far as school loans, car payments, and our credit card, which mainly consisted of our wedding expenses and pre-existing debts from single life, those are all paid off now.

No other debts. Done.

Just to make sure this good news holds its worth weight, the amount of debt we paid off was a little over$58,000. And just to be clear, our household income level is completely average for Nashville.

No, Mommy and I didn’t win the lottery, gain a huge inheritance from a rich uncle, or suddenly get a multi-million dollar book deal.

We just took Dave Ramsey very seriously. Maybe a little too seriously.

I now equate credit cards with the devil, or at least Monsanto; but really, I think they’re all the same thing anyway.

Every penny we earn is accounted for. We tell our money where to go so that it doesn’t tell us where to go. We snowballed our way into debt and we snowballed our way out.

Another thing that financial guru Dave Ramsey taught us was that if we live like no one else now, we’ll live like no one else in the future.

He jokingly talks about living off beans and rice until you’re debt-free.

Considering that through this process, you and Mommy became vegetarians, and I became a vegan, you could say we took Dave Ramsey’s “beans and rice” advice pretty literally, even though our “plant-based, non-GMO” lifestyle change was motivated more by other reasons.

Either way, our family never, and I do mean never, eats food from a restaurant anymore. That saves us a lot of money every month.

Speaking of, on January 1st, I wrote “5 Impractical Ways To Save Your Family Money in 2013,” in which I proclaimed that this would be the year we would become debt-free.

Here are the 5 ways I mentioned:

1. We don’t pay for cable or satellite TV.

2. We don’t pay for Internet on our phones.

3. We hardly ever go out to eat. (That, of course, has since changed from “hardly ever” to “never.”)

4. We don’t update our electronics or possessions that cost over $100.

5. We live by a strict weekly budget, on an Excel spreadsheet.

Then, a week after I wrote that, I revealed that we also tithe 10% of our income. As Dave Ramsey puts it, “If you cannot live off 90% of your income, then you cannot live off 100%.”

Oh, and I cut your hair now. That saves us about 12 bucks a month.

I’ve never been so happy in my life to be at ground zero. Our family will continue the rest of our lives with our extremely frugal (!) lifestyle no matter what our income is.

Now that we’re out of debt, we will begin to snowball our savings and eventually our investments.

Granted, one of the greatest benefits of strategically working our way out of nearly $60,000 of debt is that Mommy and I will carefully teach you everything we’ve had to learn the hard way about money management.

Apparently, that knowledge alone is worth at least $60,000. It was for us, at least.

 

Love,

Daddy

 

Photos by Joe Hendricks Photography.

Review Of Sunburst Adventures Whitewater Rafting, Ocoee River

These days, each year for your wedding anniversary, you’re evidently supposed to post a picture on Facebook of yourself with your spouse on your wedding today, with a caption reading something like this:

“Happy Anniversary! I can’t believe it’s been (insert number here) wonderful years of wedded bliss…”.

Review Of Sunburst Adventures Whitewater Rafting, Ocoee River

Meanwhile, my wife and I were too busy on the morning of our 6th year anniversary (July 5th) to update our Facebook statuses…

We left at 6:23 AM in the Toyota Highlander to go to Benton, Tennessee for our 9:30 departure from Sunburst Adventures for whitewater rafting! I had been rafting several times thoughout my high school years, but mainly on the tamer Nantahala River near North Carolina.

But on the Ocoee, the ride is wild enough to require a guide. My wife had never been at all. It had been 9 years for me.

Review Of Sunburst Adventures Whitewater Rafting, Ocoee River

Simply put, going whitewater rafting was the perfect way to celebrate our 6th year wedding anniversary. I was particularly pleased with the set-up of Sunburst Adventures, as compared to other companies I have gone with in the past.

The guides were fun, free-spirited, and great at communicating the directions. (We loved our guide, Abby.) I was also impressed with the facilities as well; not run down at all.

Review Of Sunburst Adventures Whitewater Rafting, Ocoee River

The family of four that my wife and I were placed with in the raft were a great fit for us. Turns out, randomly, that the dad of the family and I graduated from the same small high school, 12 years apart; in Fort Payne, Alabama. We had never met until this weekend and only learned what we had in common halfway through the trip!

Going whitewater rafting brings people together. It’s not scary, but it is thrilling. So it only makes sense that my wife and I chose whitewater rafting as a way to celebrate our anniversary.

Basically, it’s impossible to not talk about how fun the trip was afterwards. You just can’t be bored doing something like that.

Review Of Sunburst Adventures Whitewater Rafting, Ocoee River

Plus, you get to be outside enjoying God’s green Earth, breathing fresh air, and feeling the sunshine.

Our son is only 3 and a half, so he’s not quite old enough for an adventure this thrilling. Until then, my wife and I have sort of decided to make it a new tradition to go whitewater rafting each summer.

Thanks for reading my newest Family Friendly Daddy Blog review! You didn’t have to, but you did. I wonder what I’ll review next?

Nothing to Lose; Everything to Gain Back

July 15, 2011 at 7:10 am , by 

Seven months.

Last Tuesday on July 5th, my wife and I celebrated our third wedding anniversary… at Panera Bread in the neighboring town of Rome, Georgia.  While we typically take a weekend trip to a bed-and-breakfast for our anniversary, this year had to be different.  And not just because we have an infant now, but because we’re in the midset of restarting our lives again as we prepare to move back to Nashville.

Needless to say, if we’re moving because we just couldn’t come close to making it financially here in Alabama, which is precisely why we are moving back,then we didn’t have the money or mental capacity to enjoy a relaxing weekend getaway trip this time.

The flowers I gave my wife this year were picked from our backyard.  While they may seem like the cheapest flowers I’ve ever given her, they were actually the most expensive.  I could have only obtained these flowers by us moving away from our financially secure life in Nashville and exhausting almost all of the savings we moved down here with. So yeah, they weren’t cheap flowers.

But at this point it’s about proactively moving forward; not getting stuck in the damning mind game of “if only we would have known…”. My motivational life slogan right now is, “I’ve got nothing to lose; everything to gain back… and more.”  We’ve never had a better advantage in life than we do right now, based on what we’ve learned by moving away from Nashville.

You can imagine that if our anniversary dinner was a sandwich and salad combo at Panera Bread, that we know now more than ever, how to appreciate living on little.  So as we re-enter a lifestyle where our combined income will be well over double what it has been for the past several months, we will maintain our current 1930’s Depression Era mindset from now on.

Yes, this has been our version of The Depression that our grandparents experienced.  We are forever changed by it.  More income for us will simply mean more money wisely managed.  It’s been a baptism by fire; no doubt.

So as for next year for our fourth wedding anniversary, I plan on the two of us being able to go away to a bed-and-breakfast again, in a quirky town where we can enjoy a few nice meals.  I will buy her really nice flowers, too.  But still, this will all take place as frugally as possible, without compromising the enjoyment of it.

We’ve got nothing to lose; everything to gain back… and more.