Monday, July 18, 2011

The Husband's Guide to Getting Lucky

Do y'all know my friend, Marla? If you don't, that needs to change. She's all sorts of awesomeness - mamma to three darlings and wifey to Gabe . . . a family of five that has made it their mission - literally - to love on people around the globe all in the name of Jesus. I just can't get enough of the Tavianos. Stop on over at Marla's blog and I think you might soon feel the same way.

Anyway, what makes Marla even more awesome is that she is an author! And that also means I want to be her when I grow up. I think I have 4 years to make that happen because last I checked she's only 4 years older than I am. But she published her first book when she was barely out of her adolescence so I might just scratch the catching up all together and live vicariously through her. Creepy stalkerish? Maybe, but don't tell her that.

Anyway (gosh, I like to use that transition), Marla recently self-published an e-book, and oh my goodness, y'all must check it out. It's a book for any DUDE who wants to crank things up in the bedroom with his wife. And we're not talking trickery and manipulation - no sir. Marla offers practical yet powerful tips on making every man's fantasy become a reality. Marla has a gift for telling it like it is. No subject is off limits with her - if it's going to honor God by strengthening a marriage - she'll talk about it (or in this case, write about it) - no matter how taboo or squeamish the topic. And this e-book is PERFECT because it's short, to-the-point, and simple: The Husband's Guide to Getting Lucky, Six Simple Steps to Great Sex with Your Wife.

Here's a brief summary of the book from the website: Every red-blooded husband on the planet dreams of a satisfying sex life with his wife, but many are convinced it’s a fantasy that’s out of reach. Marla Taviano, author of Is That All He Thinks About?, begs to differ. For many married men, a fulfilling sex life seems like little more than a pipe dream, but a few insights and some “simple” steps can turn wishful thinking into reality.

Quite simply, Marla is passionate about marriages that last. And she knows that one of the most important ways for a marriage to last is to keep the passion alive. She is committed to encouraging men and women that this is attainable and doable. And with the help of oodles of her male readers (or her female readers who twisted their dudes arms so that they'd respond to Marla's surveys), Marla has written a book that will change lives and marriages for the hot-and-heavier.

And here is the kicker. Marla's ebook is only $2.99!!! What - what??? I know, right. SUPER CHEAP. Because the bottom line is that Marla doesn't care about making some whack profit and moving to a bigger house and buying a fancier car. Nope, that's not Marla. She simply wants to get her gorgeous family to Cambodia so that they can love on some orphans there. That's Marla. A heart of gold, working her booty off so that she can continue to spread love globally in the name of Jesus.

Please consider buying this book for yourself or your man (click here!) Having read and re-read the book myself, I can promise you that you will not regret it.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Grandma Hollywood turns NINETY!

Remember Grandma Hollywood? The matriarch and queen bee of my family? Did I mention that twice a year she travels over 2000 miles from beautifully pleasant California to Grandma-really-likes-to-complain-about-the-weather Ohio - and she travels ALONE?! I know, I know, she's amazing.

So this year she flew out in June, one month before her 90th birthday. And let me tell you, my grandma looks damn good for 90. When I realized that my maternal grandmother was turning 90, I first thought, "Crap. I don't want those genes. I don't want to live until 90." But then I looked at the gal and thought, "Shoot! Screw 90. I'll live until 100 if it means looking like that." She's pretty hot, a fact that has been confirmed by her neighbor who has offered to "keep her company" if she's ever interested. The man can't keep his paws off of her. But don't you worry. Grandma Hollywoood's lived in Southeast LA for over 50 years making her the Mamacita de Samoline Avenue Locos and she ain't messin' wit no hombre.

So where was I? Yes, my hottie-bo-bottie almost 90-year-old Grandma flew out for a visit, and my always hospitable mamma decided to throw Grandma a surprise birthday bash. It was touching to see how many people gave up their Friday night to celebrate my Grandma - most of these people only knowing her from Grandma's occasional visits.

Her actual birthday isn't until July 24th, so she was obviously surprised to know that all these people showing up were there to honor her.

It was one of those amazing nights where I sat back and breathed in all the love that my family shares.

And I thank God that Grandma Hollywood is still around to share in that love.

While everyone was gathering outside, my parents' dog, Heidi, sampled the birthday cake.

And naturally, these two had to sample the key lime pie. It's a good thing that the dog and kids are cute.

We spent most of the night in my parents' backyard. It was beautiful.

The only thing missing was the rest of the family. My Grandma has three daughters and one son (her son has passed). Aside from my mom, her family, and my cousin Jared's family, everyone else lives in Southern California. The California family would celebrate Grandma's birthday at a later date.

9 candles - one for each decade.

Grandma with her youngest great-grandbaby. 88 years between them - amazing.

It's not easy shopping for a woman who has already started giving away many of her valuables. Nonetheless she had some wonderful gifts to open.

Bless my mom's heart. She read each and every card to my Grandma. Grandma can only read when wearing her magnifying eyeglasses and she can't hear unless her hearing aids are cranked to the max.

Grandma laughed a lot. It was such a blessing to watch her so joyful.

That's Pauline playing with Jenson. Pauline is one of my mom's dearest friends, and Pauline just happened to be my middle school guidance counselor. Pauline is really really good with middle schoolers and toddlers. It's peculiar, really.

My sister and dad. Love.

If you want your face to look thin in a photograph, stick your neck out. See?

I gave my grandmother a framed picture of all 7 of her great-grandbabies. Needless to say she couldn't tell who was who in the picture. She said, "I'll have to get out my magnifying glass and look at this later."

This is what happens when you give a 90-year-old a pair of white capri pants, elastic waist, size 8. She was ELATED. No seriously, she was so thrilled to be given those darn pants. Apparently my mom and Grandma had been to several stores only days before and could not find a pair to save their lives. All it took my fashionably savvy sister was a visit to ONE store to find the perfect pair. Thank you Penny's!

Here Morgan explains how she is awesome and found the magical pants. My Grandma's face says, "I'm in disbelief that you found white capri pants, elastic waist, size 8."

What kids don't love a party? Our friend, Aaron, came over with his niece, Audrey. The four minis were instant friends.

Getting four minis to sit still on a hammock proved impossible as you can see by how blurry the kids are in this picture.

I'm fairly certain this was their second helping of cake.

Harper had some very important "older women" questions to ask Audrey.

Crazy cuteness.

That's Susie. Another dear friend of my mom's. I just adore these women for loving on my Grandma so stinkin' well.

Did I mention that Pauline is also really funny? At least my 90 year old Grandma thinks so.

Audrey really wanted to be in our family picture. We kindly kicked her out.

Grandma with the Nameth clan.

Grandma with her Ohio family. Jared was in Cambodia and Ella & Jake were in California so only Lisa and Jenson made it to the party. Pauline is standing behind the camera trying to get the kids to smile. She was playing peek-a-boo, and instead of smiling, Harper was imitating.

Happy Birthday, Grandma Hollywood. I would not be surprised if in 10 years we are celebrating your 100th. You're a lifer.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Outer Banks, Part Three

This is the final installment of pictures from our amazing OBX vacation. I am a beach bum at heart, and it was such a privilege to see my kids enjoy the sand and sea. Though Matt and I are beyond happy to be raising our family in Ohio (I wouldn't give up October & November in Ohio for anything in the world), a piece of my heart will forever be floating somewhere out in the middle of the ocean.

I cannot wait for the next opportunity we have to visit the beach. And thank you to the wonderful Hoopers and Kelleys for allowing us to join you all for the week. It was an absolute blast.

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Outer Banks, Part Two

Prior to our trip to the Outer Banks, I didn't even know where the Outer Banks was. I knew it was somewhere down in the Carolinas, but there are so many darn destination beaches between North and South Carolina, that I never know which is where.

The Outer Banks is one of the barrier islands of North Carolina. We stayed in Corolla, which is as far north as you can stay in the Outer Banks. What I loved most about Corolla is that it is the essence of family friendly. There isn't a Hooters or Senor Frogs or similar college-kid-spring-break type bar. Corolla is vacation utopia - clean, secluded, safe, and beautiful. But what I loved about Corolla is also what I disliked about it - it lacked diversity and culture. I'm a sucker for places such as Charleston, SC and Savannah, GA - a nice blend of history, culture, and tourism. But those are both walking cities and not at all easy to do with two toddlers. The Outer Banks was the perfect vacation for us during this season of life. And the kids LOVED every second of it.

And now I could really go for some chocolate dipped marshmallows and strawberries, what about you?