Just Cause

This week Chris went back to work and, conveniently, we all started falling apart.  I have a terrible cold, Bean is teething so he’s got a fever and a runny nose, and Chris has this weird thing going on with his jaw.  Sometimes when he is particularly stressed he gets TMJ in his jaw and it seems to be happening again.  One side of his face swelled up, making him look lopsided and oh-so-attractive (kiss, kiss Sweetie…).  And as uncomfortable as it looks, apparently it is even more painful.  So, at night he has been coming home and icing his face.

It’s suuuuuper sexy.  (kiss, kiss Sweetie…)

Anyway, this whole going back to work thing is hard enough for him because he has been missing me and Bean during the day, but it makes it even harder now because when he comes home at night, Bean’s only up for about an hour or two before bedtime and Chris has been spending that time stuck on the couch icing his face.

So, yesterday I decided to try and make a few minor tweaks to Bean’s schedule so that he got to spend a little more time with Chris at night.  We took his morning nap a little earlier and instead of skipping his afternoon nap because it was too late in the day, I went ahead and put Bean down for a nap around 4:00pm.  He woke up just as Chris was coming home around 5:30 and he was rested and able to stay up playing a little later.

Bean and I also made Chris a cake yesterday.  Which may not sound like a big deal, but it really was.

In our house, we don’t have cake unless it’s for a special occasion.  Usually just a birthday.  And earlier this week I bought a cake mix for Bean’s birthday cake in a few weeks.

Because nothing says homemade like Betty Crocker.

The other night Chris was teasing me and begging me to make the cake for him at 10:00 at night because he wanted something chocolatey.  I was appalled!  YOU CAN’T HAVE CAKE JUST BECAUSE!  It wasn’t even the weekend!  Had he lost his mind?!?!

But yesterday while Chris was at work I thought, “This is ridiculous!  LET THEM EAT CAKE!”  And so Bean and I made an entire cake to surprise Chris.  Just cause.  He was so exited when he got home from work.  It just made his day.

I remember when we were first married and we had moved into our apartment in New Haven.  I spent hours unpacking box after box of our wedding china.  It seemed silly to spend all that time unpacking only to then pack it away and only bring it out once a year, if that.  So for the first month we were married, we ate dinner every night on our china.  Just cause.  Pizza, spaghetti, chicken tacos, mac ‘n cheese, BBQ porkchops – it all went on the fine china.  And it was fun and special and it made our day.  A few times we even brought out our crystal candlesticks.

The truth is that sometimes marriage is boring.  You get into a routine.  You really only have a few hours a day together when you’re not working.  You have to take care of mundane things like sore jaws and head colds.  And if you’re not careful, you can fall into a rut of regularity.

But I forget that breaking that routine doesn’t have to involve something elaborate or expensive.  I don’t need a vacation away or a night on the town (although, those are pretty great, too…).  Sometimes it only takes a $2.00 cake mix on a Thursday night to let Chris know that we love him and we’re thinking about him when he’s not here.  And that really is sweeter than any cake.

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36 thoughts on “Just Cause

  1. It’s the simple things that count for me. I remember on my wedding day my dad just reminded me that it was the simple, boring days that were sometimes the best.

  2. Sometimes, you make me believe in marriage.

    Just wanted to let you know.

  3. I like your idea of eating on the china… we may just have to start that, once we live in the same house as our china (it’s currently in one of our parent’s basements… along with half of all the other wedding gifts we received…

    anyway, what I wanted to comment about was cake! We just got our 1 yr anniversary cake and ate some yesterday (the bakery we got our wedding cake from makes you a free fresh one for your anniversary). Today, my husband left for a week long trip. Do you know what that means? I now have more than half of an extremely rich chocolate chip with raspberry filling and buttercream icing cake sitting in my kitchen. And I’m all alone, with it as my only friend… I’m doomed!!

  4. I totally agree – sometimes such small things can make a huge difference. We’ve, on occasion, pulled out the fancy candlesticks for an impromptu candlelight dinner. It’s funny how the simple glow of candles can transform a normal weeknight dinner into a magical, romantic date.

  5. That was really sweet of you, and what’s better than cake? While I’m just four short months away from marriage, you definitely give me hope that you can keep the spark alive after years of togetherness and surviving the mundaneness of day-to-day life.

  6. tessabella76

    Awwww very sweet! My husband and I are in a bit of a rut and I’m hoping our camping trip this weekend works the same magic as your yummy-looking cake!

    I know I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again, I love your blog!

  7. So sweet. =) Hope you all feel better soon!

  8. Aw, that’s sweet! Now I want cake.

    We’re on a bit of an adjusted schedule for the very same reason you state here – if we got up/went to bed at “normal” times, my husband would never get to spend any time with the baby. We get up at noon and go to bed around midnight or one. I know that seems insane to most people, but since we’re night owls it’s way better than up at six in bed at seven.

  9. I try to do little things like that for my boyfriend just to keep things interesting. You are right, things can get boring (even when you aren’t married!). And only having a couple of hours at night after work can turn into the same old sh*t every day. It’s nice to switch things up and let your significant other know you were thinking of them 🙂

  10. That’s so sweet! I was just thinking my marriage needed a little shake-up. Thanks for sharing!!

  11. Meredith N.

    ugh. the mundane rut of regularity. thanks for this post…it’s a great reminder!

  12. Bummer! Chris, hope you start to feel better soon! Nice work with the cake Katie and kudos for using your fine china. I use mine frequently and at first it made my friends nervous… “you’re serving me on your china?!?! what if I break it?!?!” To which I said, “then I buy another set, it’s REPLACEABLE!” I have dreamed of having china since I was a little girl and now that I have it I want to celebrate! Friends for dinner tonight… either Chinese or Mexican take-out on the menu… guess which plates I’ll be using.. =P

  13. This recipe could come in handy next time one of you want chocolate cake at 10pm. It’s chocolate cake you make in a mug and microwave! Definitely a super handy thing to have in your repertoire!
    http://www.eatdrinkandblog.com/2010/04/20/chocolate-mug-cake/

  14. Melissa

    I agree and we had one of those nights last night too. I let my four year old stay out with his daddy mowing grass until 8:45 last night, then he came in and ate dinner, got his bath and was not in bed until 10pm. Way past his bedtime, but you know what he got. quality time with his daddy and they enjoyed it and life is too short to worry about time. I try to remind myself of this daily because I am a very ritual person and when I get home from work on the days I work, I like to empty dishwasher, cook dinner, eat together, do bath all by at least 8pm, weird issue with me. Anyway, I try to relax more like my husband and just sit back and enjoy life and take it as it comes. Easier said than done 😉

  15. We had a blueberry pie last night for the same reason.

    I have that TMJ thingy too. Ouch. And of course it’s worse with stress which adds to the stress which adds to the pain which . . .

    Clearly, cake is the answer.

  16. As I’m sitting here listening to my bug cry in his crib I’m thinking maybe a chocolate cake would make this day a little better.

  17. Paula S.

    You know what I was thinking as I was reading this post and the one on the successful outing with Bean?

    Katie is a smart girl, a good wife and a good momma. I can’t remember how I first learned about your blog (maybe PW’s site somehow?), but now that I met you at B&N for Ree’s book signing, and I have read more of your great writing, I am hooked. I can’t wait to see how far you go with all of your talent. It is sure to be a fun ride!

    Blessings to you, Chris and Bean. I hope you all feel better soon and this transition to Chris working again becomes nice and mundane real soon.

  18. Alyssa

    I cried over this post…something about it. I don’t know what it was. Maybe it’s the insight of how marriage can be boring and life can get mundane. That ‘rut’ you speak of is a problem to be handled in every marriage, in everyone’s life- married or not. I like that you did something out of the ordinary that wasn’t really expensive. It’s a great idea. I also have china for 18 people that we have used ONCE in the past 4 years of marriage. LOL! Maybe I oughta bring it on out for pizza night!

  19. Jessica W

    This is why I love your blog. I love your view on marriage and how hard you work at yours. People don’t realize the best of marriages just don’t happen, they are made and worked on constantly. Something as simple as cake goes a long way. You are a wonderful wife, Chris is very lucky.

  20. This was probably my most favorite post of yours of all time 🙂

  21. Ugh, I have the same jaw issue! Cake is fabulous any day, but on a day when it hurts to chew anything more solid that mashed potatoes…I’m betting that cake was a homerun!!

    Also – this made me feel better because we always joke that when we’re trying to break up the routine, it always revolves around food! Always. “Let’s do something fun tonight!” “Ok! What kind of snack should we make?” Oh well! If it works, it works.

  22. DUDE! You can totally have cake just ’cause!
    There you go.
    But…it seems you figured that out already, so never mind. 🙂
    I might have to make some cake tonight.

  23. I’m super impressed with the cake and you say you can’t bake.

  24. I want to make my husband a cake now. 😉

  25. Pam

    I come from a long line of TMJ-sufferers and I must advocate going to a qualified orthodontist to get it fixed. (My mom, 2 brothers, and I have all been treated) It makes a world of difference and tmj will only get worse as he gets older. You can find an orthodontist from the American Academy of Craniofacial Pain website (www.aacfp.org).

    It might mean braces for Chris, but not necessarily, it just depends on the doctor (and the patient). For example, my mom had braces (at age 40), while I did not.

    On the plus side, most dental insurances (and some medical) will cover TMJ treatments.

  26. So true Katie! You are a sweet wife and an inspiration. Now, I must NOT let JM see this post or I will have to live up to this standard. 😉

  27. Angela

    Your cake looks so good!
    You can totally bake.

  28. That is so sweet :o) Now I want to bake a cake for my husband! We don’t have fine china though, just Target plates, but I can bake a cake!

  29. the hubby and I have been fighting a rut for quite some time… we are becoming quite CRAFTY!!!

  30. That is insanely sweet.

    BTW–For Chris–I’ve got really bad TMJ too. My dentist keeps telling me to get a night guard but they are so uncomfortable to sleep with. I found a really good brand though called plackers (http://www.amazon.com/PLACKERS-GRIND-NO-MORE/dp/B003GDKH9C/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=hpc&qid=1274596457&sr=8-1) (They’re very thin so they’re comfortable to sleep with. You can get them at CVS or Walgreens if he needs relief ASAP.

    The pain was so bad I thought I needed a root canal or something! These helped a ton, hope they can help Chris!!

    -Ilana
    http://www.ilanawrites.com

  31. wow, you totally lied! You CAN BAKE! That cake looks amazing…

    Great, thanks a lot. Now you made ME want to bake a cake. 🙂

  32. Emilyc

    Chocolate cake fixes just about everything! 🙂 Hope everyone is feeling better.

  33. I have TMJ too, ugh, and I am too cheap to go get it fixed, LOL!
    I love reading your blog, we have so much in common I think I will learn a lot from you! I might even make my hubby a cake next week!

  34. Dawn

    Awww. I hope you are all doing better!
    We have gotten into a rut recently – and I have been trying to think of ways to make each day – or at least one day a week – speacial or stand out from the boring routine. ThHen sometimes I think I am trying too hard and it shouldn’t take that much effot to make things special.
    Thanks for the ideas of a “just cause” cake and use of china for every day!!!

  35. Jessica

    I am a cake lover so if FI did this for me- he would be my favorite person in the world.

    I’m definitly someone who believes in the power of ‘it’s the little things in life’. So something like this is right up my alley!

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