4 Reasons to Travel w/ Your Spouse’s Family

4 Reasons to Travel with your Spouse's Family

When Mr. M and I started spending more time with each other at our family’s houses, we learned a LOT about our family structure. For instance, Mr. M’s family is chill. Even though there are four kids, they are all close in age; all but one are now adults. His youngest sibling was 10 when we started dating.

In contrast, all six of the kids in my family are all close in age, but there are SIX of us. My parents went on the 2 1/2 – 3 year plan, so we are all evenly spaced out. My youngest sibling was 5 when we started dating. His family is pretty low-key, my family is high octane. We spent a lot of time at his family’s house sitting around and talking; we spend a lot of time at my family’s house sitting around and talking and doing and there is always noise in some capacity. Most of the members of my family have busy personalities, and all of us kids speak loudly. You would think we have Italian roots, but nope. We’re Scotch-Irish.

About a year after we first started dating, I went on a family vacation with Mr. M’s family. We spent a week at the beach with no set schedule. We stayed up late playing Settlers of Catan, slept in until 11am or so, spent the afternoon on the beach, and took turns cooking in the evening. Our vacation mirrored the way the M family live their life.

Last weekend Mr. M and I flew to Las Vegas to see the Thunderbird Air Show with my entire immediate family + my pappaw. This was the first “family vacation” Mr. M had gone on with us. We had been invited by a colleague of my dad’s who had been a Thunderbird back in his day. The reunion show was breathtaking. Planes were zipping everywhere, performing amazing tricks. Having the Thunderbird Air Show on Veteran’s Day Weekend also put a lump in my throat; I am so thankful for the men and women and their families who sacrifice to fight for our country and our freedom.

Aside from the Thunderbird Air Show, we tried to pack as much of Vegas into the short weekend as we could. The weekend was very reminiscent of how my family operates – high octane. I love it. I am always wanting to go and do. I get it from my mama. We spent the weekend walking through hotels, eating good food, watching my brave sister jump off the Stratosphere, and getting very little sleep.

On the way home from our trip, I asked Mr. M, “What did you learn about yourself this weekend? What did you learn about my family this weekend?”

I think every couple should go on a vacation with each other’s family either while they are engaged or while they are at the foundation of their marriage. I love to compare and contrast how our family’s do things – not in a bad way, but because we are combining two different cultures and it makes for a lot of fun and intriguing conversation. Really, any marriage is the combining of two family cultures – even if you are both from the same area. Each family has their own way of doing things, and that is what your spouse is used to. So when you are able to observe and discuss how your respective families interact, you are able to grow closer to each other and each other’s family.

4 Reasons to Travel with your Spouse's Family

1 – You learn about each other’s family dynamics

When I went on vacation with Mr. M’s family, I saw the realities of working in ministry: even when you’re on vacation mode, your ministry isn’t. Papa M spent many a late night or early morning on the phone with his ministry coordinator’s in Zimbabwe. Knowing that one day Mr. M and I will be assisting in the coordinating of his family’s ministry stateside, I learned a lot of what it would take to coordinate even on vacation. It sparked a conversation between Mr. M and I surrounding his family’s ministry and the opportunities we will have when we are more involved one day.

When Mr. M went on vacation with my family, he got to see how my family coordinates pulling together the desires of 11 different people each wanting to experience a piece of Las Vegas. While some of us all wanted to do the same thing, there were a few of us who wanted to do different things at different times. The younger kids would want to do something that catered more to their age and style, and the older kids wanted to check out the different hotels. At times we would split up and at times we would come together. Experiencing vacation together with my family allowed Mr. M and I to laugh about how a family of eleven operates versus how a family of six operates. It also allowed us to compare and contrast cultural differences between Americans and Zimbabweans and how we approach family dynamics. This is what happens when a psychologist marries a sociologist.

2 – You see how your spouse responds in “vacation mode” 

Vacation mode with just your spouse is vacation mode with just your spouse. Vacation mode with your spouse and their family is a whole ‘nother animal. When Mr. M and I went on our honeymoon last year, we were the ones calling the shots. We only had to compromise with each other. When we went on vacation with each other’s families, we had to compromise with several other people.

When I went to the beach with Mr. M’s family a couple of years ago, I had to learn to slow down. I was so used to going going and going as how that is how my family’s vacations are usually structured.

When Mr. M went on vacation with my family this past weekend, he had to learn to go go go with the flow. Usually I am the one who likes to know the plan in the relationship, and Mr. M is the one who wants to go with the flow. But when you are coordinating a large group of people, sometimes you only get a partial piece of the puzzle – the piece that is most important to you. I was okay with knowing the most important details, Mr. M wanted more details. In general, this is quite opposite of how we interact at home.

4 Reasons to Travel with your Spouse's Family

3 – You spend quality time with each other’s family 

Gosh, you guys I love love love my family and I love love love Mr. M’s family. Going on vacation with Mr. M’s family was the first time I really felt like I was truly getting to know his family well. Although I had spend countless hours with them, I started to get closer with Mr. M’s family members when we went to the beach. This was also when I started to pick up more Shona words. Although I have it as a life goal to learn to speak Shona fluently, it’s hard to do so when it’s just Mr. M and me and we both speak English most of the time. The only opportunity I get to listen to Shona is when I spend extensive amounts of time with his family.

Having Mr. M spend time with my family – and especially spend quality time with my brothers – brings a lot of joy to my heart. My youngest brother has spent almost half his life with Mr. M being my boyfriend or my husband, so he truly sees him as a brother. Mr. M has even stepped into the older brother role with my sisters – he teases them and also asks them the hard questions concerning their relationships with their boyfriends.

4 – It sets up expectations for how YOU do vacation

Mr. M and I like to say that we get to take the best of both worlds and merge it into one. We get to take our favorite family traditions and implement those into our family. Last night we were laughing about how much I like to do activities and how much he is okay to just sit at home and talk. I said, “Listen, I grew up doing, and you grew up not doing, so we’re just going to have to do.” So on our vacations, we have to have a good mixture of down time but also an exciting excursion.

4 Reasons to Travel with your Spouse's Family

Have you gone on vacation with your spouse’s family? How do you and your spouse navigate the differences between your family?

The 3 Places You Want to Go in Greenville

3 Places You Want to Go in Greeneville, SC

Happy Wednesday!

I’m back with the travel series to spill the beans on my favorite places to eat in Greenville, South Carolina. This summer Mr. M and I went to Greenville for an extended Memorial Day Weekend getaway. It was our first time in Greenville together and it was our first Air BnB experience! Mr. M was a little hesitant about actually staying in someone’s house, so he said if this didn’t go well, we wouldn’t be doing it again.

3 Places You Want to Go in Greeneville, SC

Our First Air BnB Experience

Luckily, our first Air BnB experience was absolutely amazing. We stayed at a little place close to downtown Greenville called The Studio. The host was phenomenal in touching base with us, and even stopped by to say hello one morning. Because I shout “we’re newlyweds!” from the rooftops, she even left a baby orchid for us and a sweet note welcoming us to their home. The Studio was the perfect mix of modern and cozy. It had a stove and oven where we could cook breakfast, organic and ethically produced coffee beans, and – most importantly, a comfy bed. She even left little chocolates on our pillows for us!

3 Places You Want to Go in Greeneville, SC

3 Places You Want to Go in Greeneville, SC

10/10 would Recommend

(If you’ve never signed up for airbnb before but would like to try it, you can do so here! By booking through this referral link, you’re giving Mr.M and I the opportunity to get travel credit so we can tell you about more adventures!)

Our stay in Greeneville was so short, but we made sure to spend a lot of time outside and most importantly, eating great food.

Jamaica Mi Irie

Our first stop for lunch was at this amazing Jamaican restaurant in downtown. We sat outside and each picked out a lunch special. Mr. M had jerk chicken and I tried the curry chicken. They gave us SO much food for only $6 each, and they even topped our meals off with the most delicious tropical tea I’ve ever had. I came back to work and raved about it to my Jamaican co-worker.

3 Places You Want to Go in Greeneville, SC

3 Places You Want to Go in Greeneville, SC

Fall at Reedy Park

If you need to take a break between all the eating you do on vacation, I recommend going for a stroll around Fall Park on the Reedy. This park is behind Furman University and is a favorite for wedding and prom photos. There is a beautiful, massive waterfall and a gorgeous walking trail around the park. My favorite landmark is this tree with exposed roots. (You may recognize this tree from Monday’s post.)

3 Places You Want to Go in Greeneville, SC

Spill the Beans

Greenville in the summer time is basically a heat bath of humidity, so it was absolutely necessary that we avoid a heatstroke with ice cream. We checked out this cute little ice cream shop, Spill the Beans, right beside Fall Park. Our bellies and our souls were satisfied.

3 Places You Want to Go in Greeneville, SC

3 Places You Want to Go in Greeneville, SC

Tandem Creperie 

OK, y’all. I saved the best for last. TANDEM. CREPERIE. This little gem of a creperie is located outside of Greenville in this precious little spot called “Traveler’s Rest.” It will be a mandatory stop along the way any and every time I pass through this adorable little town. But y’all. These were the best crepes I’ve ever had. Mr. M with the savory and I went with the sweet this time, and then we split it in half. (This is really the way to go, my friends.) But I almost didn’t want to share my sweet crepe because it was mainly blueberry yogurt and whipped cream.

3 Places You Want to Go in Greeneville, SC

3 Places You Want to Go in Greeneville, SC 3 Places You Want to Go in Greeneville, SC

If I had more time, I would have taken a thousand photos of and around this little place because it was just too adorable. We need an Indie film to come shoot a movie here.

We had a great time in Greenville, and we definitely did not get to uncover as many of this city’s littl gems as we wanted. Greenville is a perfect little short weekend getaway. and if you have a hankering to watch Clemson play, they’re pretty close, too. 🙂 (Let it be noted, though, I know nothing about football. I don’t even know if Clemson is good. I just think somehow they pull off orange and purple quite nicely.)

Have you been to Greenville before? What are your favorite things to do on your weekend getaways?

To check out our other adventures, see here and here.

August Adventures

August Adventures

August felt like the longest month of my life. With a lot of things going down at work and personally, I was ready to see the calendar turn over into September.

During August I participated in The New Wifestyle’s 31 Days of Kindness. While I unwittingly tapered off at the end, the intentionality of doing something kind every day of the month was such a great reminder to not only see good in the world, but be good in the world.

august adventures

Mr. M’s birthday was at the beginning of August, so I spent a Saturday afternoon baking a homemade cheesecake. I’ve tried twice before to make a homemade cheesecake and it never turned out. This month, the Good Lord must have been smiling upon me because 3 hours of baking and two hours of setting later and voila, the perfect cheesecake appeared on our plates. And we ate cheeescake every day for the next week. Yumm.

august adventures

Perhaps the coolest event of August was of course, the solar eclipse. Mr. M and I took our little much needed  mini vacation the week of the eclipse and we visited friends and family in North Carolina before we ended up on Wrightsville Beach. I was so obsessed with the solar eclipse and I didn’t think I would be. Naturally, I dedicated a whole post to that experience. Mr. M and I spent the few days at the beach unplugged, enjoying our books and each other. It was like a little mini moon, which I highly encourage every married couple to go on if they can. 🙂

august adventures

This month’s book of the month book club was One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, which was quite the experience. We picked book titles based on the book Tequila Mockingbird so we could have the literary cocktail book club of our dreams, but One Flew Over the *Cosmo’s* Nest maybe was a bit of a stretch for all of us.  Either way, we ate lots of good snacks, watched Jack Nicholson’s stellar performance (because if you read the book, you have to watch the movie, right?) and had a great time discussing mental health.

august adventures

August Favorites:

This post from the New Wifestyle concerning white privilege and the Charlottesville Riots. (note: there is some strong language.)

Some seriously girl boss inspo from Apron Strings & Sticky Fingers.

When Taylor Swift drops a dope(y) new single, When Life Gives You Rubi brings it to millennial perspective.

This Instagram Hashtag Hack from The Confused Millennial because I’ve been doing it all wrong.

And speaking of Instagram, I discovered In Search of Sheila this month and her blog has been MAJOR insight into the blogging world. I love her post on authentic strategies to grow your engagement on Instagram.

What was the highlight of your August?

Photo Diary of the Solar Eclipse 2017

Photo Diary of the Solar Eclipse 2017

For the first time in a long time, I’m feeling refreshed, positive, and full of hope and joy – and that is all without my morning coffee.

Friends, the beach does wonders for your body, mind and soul. Over a long weekend, Mr. M and I enjoyed a wonderful few days visiting friends and family, and then we spent a few days by ourselves at a little beach house, unplugged, enjoying each other, the fresh ocean air, and of course, the eclipse.

Photo Diary of the Solar Eclipse 2017

I had been pretty laissez faire concerning the eclipse because I didn’t think we would see much of it in Wilmington, North Carolina, so I didn’t give it much thought. The Thursday that we left, however, I checked the map and saw that we would see 96% of the eclipse, which is still an A, so then I became frantic and disappointed because we didn’t order eclipse glasses in time.

No worries, they were selling on Amazon for like $86. For 2 hours of a cosmic wonder. So I spent the remainder of the weekend looking up DIY pinhole cameras. Monday morning – ever the procrastinators we are – Mr. M found a garden nearby that was giving out free eclipse glasses at their eclipse party (for only $9 a person, so was it really free?)

We packed our bags with picnic food and beach chairs and hoped for the best. We arrived to Airlie Gardens, checked in, and got our free eclipse glasses and found our picnic spot. They had several different stations and events to learn more about our solar system, why and how eclipses happen, and of course, my favorite spot: the Kona ice truck. Mr. M and I strolled the gardens (which is incredibly breathtaking; 10/10 would recommend) while we waited for the eclipse to start. We started looking up at the sky around 2pm and saw the moon had taken a bite out of the sun.

Photo Diary of the Solar Eclipse 2017

I was mesmerized, and maybe I did steal a glance or two without my eclipse glasses and without looking directly at the sun. So of course I freaked out for the next 12 hours because did I just blind myself?

As the moon covered the sun, it started to get darker around us. I was expecting a night time darkness, but it was more like I was looking out of a sepia tinted window at the people surrounding me. It was an eerie thing, but the coolness that accompanied the darkness was much appreciated as I had already sweat through my white dress.

Photo Diary of the Solar Eclipse 2017

While we didn’t get to see the eclipse in totality, seeing it cross the sun was an awe-inspiring event I will remember forever. I couldn’t stop staring at the sun as I watched the moon cover it and scoot away. Despite all the end time prophecies and events of apocalyptic nature that sprinkled my Facebook here and there, I couldn’t help but sit back with a settled peace in wonder of the universe and our God who created it.

Photo Diary of the Solar Eclipse 2017

One thing I love about the Eclipse is that it brought people together. Strangers sat on a lawn together, marvelling over the Universe. There was an older lady who had a cereal box pinhole camera and was passing the box around to show people a different perspective. She wanted to share how she saw the eclipses as a child.

Photo Diary of the Solar Eclipse 2017

Surrounding us were people of several different nationalities and languages. It was like Mr. M and I were in the International Triangle with a Spanish family and an Arabic family flanking us on either side. It was such a lovely moment to sit back and revel in the melting pot that America is. That is one thing I truly love about our country: the diversity and the friendliness we have towards each other. Despite the media, the racism, and the heated political ideology, when we put aside our differences and stand in wonder at the universe, we see each other for who we really are: souls coming together under the awe of creation.

Did you see the Solar Eclipse? How much of the eclipse could you see? 

Why You Need to Get Away

Why You need to Get Away

Today we are on  our second leg of Mr. M’s birthday road trip. For the past 3 years, I have given Mr. M a concert ticket as his birthday present. Panic ensued this year when I realized there was not a concert anywhere in sight that I knew he would just love.

So instead, I came up with the idea of a birthday road trip. It started out as a trip to see our Aunt & Uncle in North Carolina and then turned into an instance of “wait, we can go here and here and here!” And voila, we’re taking 5 days away from our daily routine and soaking up some quality time with our friends, family, and each other.

Why You need to Get Away

The Best Marriage Advice

Before we got married, a long-time married man gave Pai the most excellent advice,

Every season, take a night away.

I love myself a good vacation, I resonated, thanked and amen’d this man because I love adventures.

Embrace the Quiet

I’m excited for the much needed respite from the noise of the world. It is so easy to get consumed in the busyness of life. Looking ahead at my work calendar, I see that our regularly implemented date nights will have to come to a halt as there will be weeks when I am gone all night.  As a quality time person, I don’t fare well with zero face to face time. I become selfish, caught up in what I need to get done, snappy, and hateful. I’m not really my best self.

We spouses are encouraged and called to give our best selves to our spouses. While this isn’t always possible and no situation is ever ideal, we can do what we can to show our love to our S/O.

That’s why it is important to get away. Step away from the noise. Turn off the phones. Turn off the media. Bring a board game, a book of fun questions, a marriage exercise, your favorite drink, favorite eat, snuggle up and enjoy each other.

Send your man away for an hour or so and get dressed up for a date night like you did when you first started dating. Be intentional in your conversations.

I know sometimes it’s impossible to do, especially when you have kids. So if you don’t have kids, your time is now. I’m not saying you should spend more than you have, but sacrifice and set aside a part of your monthly income for a date night away.

Be creative, woo your spouse, and allow your spouse to woo you.

Why You need to Get Away

What is your favorite thing to do for quality time with your significant other?