Thursday, February 24, 2011

Brace Face

Today I am going to swallow my pride and show you a picture that makes me cringe.

This is me six months ago, the day I became a brace-face.

I'll be the first to admit that I'm the most vain person I know. Maybe that's why it took me so long to get braces. I grew up hating my crooked teeth, but the idea of becoming a geeky-looking metal mouth was worse to me than having an imperfect smile.

Finally, this past summer, I caved and scheduled a consultation for braces. My heart sank when the orthodontist told me I would need to wear braces for a year and a half to two years. Somehow I had hoped mine was a special case that would only take a few months. Wishful thinking.

I couldn't come up with a good excuse not to get braces. I thought maybe Mr. Brown Eyes would be opposed to kissing a mouthful of metal every day, but he just shrugged and told me that if I wanted braces, he would support me.

"Even though I'll look like a dork?" I asked.

"You'll be adorable," he replied.

I sighed. If only.

Once Mr. Brown Eyes gave me his blessing, there was no turning back.

So one lovely summer day, I became this:


(Sorry. Now that I've posted it once I can't seem to get enough of it.)

My vanity takes a beating every time I smile into the mirror and see all that metal. Getting my braces put on was painful; my teeth ached and I couldn't chew for days. But the worst part for me was the realization that for two years every attempt at beauty would be futile. It doesn't matter how cute my outfit is or how fabulous my new haircut looks. When I look in the mirror, all I see are those braces protruding out of my mouth like some alien torture device.

Today the orthodontist informed me that I wasn't going to need to have any teeth pulled, but in order to make room for all my teeth in my mouth, they had to push them forward a little bit. "Your teeth are just bigger than normal," he told me. "You'll have to decide if you're ok with the way they look or if you want to have teeth pulled."

All I heard was, "You have horse teeth and even braces aren't going to make you pretty."

Mr. Brown Eyes never misses a chance to call me "Train Tracks" or "Metal Mouth." In the most loving way possible, of course. Today, when he asked how my appointment went, I fully expected a good dose of teasing as I dismally texted him about my "big teeth" and how I was going to have a more prominent smile.

"A big, beautiful smile," he texted back.

You know someone loves you when they accept you for everything you are, horse teeth and all.

Only eighteen months left to go. But who's counting,
The Brown-Eyed Girl

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Plunger Epiphany

One of my favorite songs contains the words, "When all that I have is all that I want." During my single years I would often wonder what that meant. Was it even possible to have everything you want? The idea baffled me. All I knew is I wanted to love someone who loved me too, someone who wanted to spend eternity with me, someone who wanted to raise a family with me. And I didn't have that.

Falling in love was what I wanted. It was what I wished for when I saw a shooting star, when I held my breath through a tunnel, when I snapped a wishbone.

Now I am married and my wish has come true. My prayers have been answered. I no longer look at couples passing me in the street and ache to know what it feels like to be held and loved. I know.

And now that I know...sometimes I forget.

Our love is everything I dreamed it would be during my single years, and plenty of not-so-glamorous things that I didn't dream about. As our years together stretch on, sometimes I forget those nights I spent crying because no one loved me, the slow dances spent on the wall, the Friday nights waiting in agony by the phone. Sometimes I forget how badly I wanted this life I have now. Sometimes I have to step back and remember the plunger.

There are lots of things I dreamed about when I fantasized about my future marriage.  Flowers, white dresses, a gorgeous husband to cradle me in his arms, long nights of romance. But I never envisioned myself making a late-night stop at Wal-Mart because my dear sweet husband had clogged the toilet and we hadn't had the forethought to buy a plunger when we moved into our apartment.

Yet there I was. I had grudgingly volunteered to stop at the store since I was going to be out anyway, and I was nothing but grumpy as I wound my way to the plumbing section to pick out my plunger. I tried to be nonchalant as I carried it toward the register, but there is something about buying a plunger that makes one feel completely conspicuous. It was as if the plunger was screaming to everyone I walked by, "She clogged the toilet!" and I wanted to shout, "No, it wasn't me, I swear!" but that would draw more attention to myself so I kept quiet.

As I waited in the checkout line, the plunger awkwardly cradled in my arms, my grumpy mood slowly drifted away and soon I was laughing to myself about the whole situation. Certainly there were plenty of places I would rather be at that moment, but it occurred to me that buying the plunger meant I had Mr. Brown Eyes, and any night spent with him, even a night spent unclogging a toilet, beats all those nights I spent alone before I met him.

By the time it was my turn to pay, I plunked my plunger onto the conveyor belt and smiled broadly at the cashier.

When I get caught up in the routines of day-to-day life, I think of the plunger. I remind myself that I would rather buy a million plungers, wash dishes for the rest of my days, and flip dirty socks right-side-out every time I wash them than not have Mr. Brown Eyes. I remind myself that all those things I wanted when I was single, I now have.

Of course there are still things that I want. A house that cleans itself. That adorable $175 dress. An all-expenses-paid trip to Italy. But those are things that would be nice. I do not stay up nights pining for them.

Because of Mr. Brown Eyes, I can honestly say that all I have is all that I want.

So forget diamond necklaces for Valentine's Day! Nothing says "romance" quite like a brand new plunger for the one you love.

Just kidding.

Happy Day of Love,
The Brown-Eyed Girl

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Mr. Pony

During our first year of marriage, in the middle of buying our first house, I came down with an awful cold. We're talking wadded-up tissues in every conceivable place--on my nightstand, in my purse, in the bathroom, in the pocket of my jacket. The day our house inspections were scheduled I felt so miserable all I could do was curl up in the sunshine on our couch and sleep.

Mr. Brown Eyes burst through the front door, giddy with excitement that our house passed all its inspections, but all I could muster was a half-hearted, "Oh, that's good."

That night as I sniffled and sneezed in bed, Mr. Brown Eyes picked up the newest treasure my mom had made for me--a little crocheted horse with yarn for hair and shiny black beads for eyes. With a twist of his hand, Mr. Brown Eyes made the horse cock its head as if it was staring at me with great interest.

"Hmmm," he voiced in a French accent. "I am Mr. Pony, and I find you intoxicating."

I smiled. "Mr. Pony" walked closer and nuzzled my neck.

"Oh, yes," Mr. Brown Eyes continued. "You are so beautiful. Run away with me. Tonight."

I showed Mr. Pony my left hand. "Sorry. I'm married."

"No! Who is this man? I will destroy him myself!"

"He's quite a bit bigger than you," I said with a sneeze.

"What are you saying? That you do not think I am strong enough? To prove my love for you, I can do anything!"

"I don't know. I kind of like my husband. I don't think I want you to destroy him."

Mr. Pony started planting crocheted kisses on my face. "Oh, but once you taste my love, you will forget all about your husband."

His yarn mane tickled my nose and I giggled. "I don't think it would work between us. I'm a person and you're a...pony."

"A minor setback." Mr. Pony nuzzled my ear and started kissing my neck. If he weren't a crocheted horse it would have been a regular scandal. Mr. Brown Eyes' French accent soon had me busting up with laughter, which didn't help my runny nose.

As I recovered during the next few days, Mr. Brown Eyes brought out Mr. Pony so often that I asked my mom to make another one for him. This one was brown with blue yarn for its mane and tail.

Mr. Brown Eyes named her Mrs. Pony.

With her as a distraction, Mr. Pony finally stopped hitting on me.

It never would have worked out anyway,
The Brown-Eyed Girl

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Random Thoughts

I really feel like writing but I can't decide exactly what I want to write, so here are some random thoughts/stories, in no particular order.

1. Baby Brown Eyes has been sick for the past few days. We thought it was just a cold that he would get over, but Mr. Brown Eyes was inspired to have me take him to the doctor. Turns out he has his very first ear infection. Poor baby. He's also losing his voice so his cry is more of a squeak. So he'll cry and our hearts will break that he doesn't feel good but at the same time we laugh because he sounds so cute.

2. We made artichoke and goat cheese pizza the other night. It was seriously delicious. Everyone must try it.

3. Baby Brown Eyes' antibiotic is what we referred to as "bubblegum medicine" when I was a kid. Like the "rootbeer medicine" we took for runny noses, "bubblegum medicine" was delicious and more of a treat than medicine. Baby, however, does not agree. He clamps those little gums shut very tight when he sees me coming toward him with the pink syringe. Mr. Brown Eyes pins down his arms while I fight to get the syringe into his mouth and squirt the medicine down his throat, half of which oozes back out after we think he's swallowed it. Then we love him and snuggle him and give him fun things to play with until he's stopped crying.

4. Babies. They don't know how good they have it.

5. I love February. It's my birthday month.

6. February is also the month of Valentine's Day, which I didn't like until I met Mr. Brown Eyes. Our first Valentine's Day together, I was so excited to finally have a Valentine for the first time in my life that I made sure we did all the cliche things--bought each other flowers, teddy bears, and chocolates and made googly-eyes at each other over a romantic dinner. Of course, the dinner was in the back of Mr. Brown Eyes' old Bronco, and all we could see from the mountain we'd parked on were the scattered lights of a little farming town, but everything is romantic when you're three weeks away from getting married.

7. Love. I am in love with it.

8. If we planted artichokes and bought a goat, we could have artichoke and goat cheese pizza for every meal.

9. While that would make me very happy, Mr. Brown Eyes might complain.

10. Maybe we'd just eat it for every other meal.

Happy Tuesday!

Feel free to send me birthday presents,
The Brown-Eyed Girl

Thursday, February 3, 2011


I just finished reading The Hunger Games series. To say I devoured them (no pun intended) is an understatement. I snagged every second when Baby Brown Eyes was happily playing or sleeping on my chest to read, even if it was just a paragraph. I had to know what happened next! Wow. There were times I wanted to throw the books on the ground, when a twist in the plot ripped out my heart, They are the kind of books that stick in your mind for days. I really liked them. They kick Twilight's butt a million times over.

Mr. Brown Eyes is also reading The Hunger Games. Mr. Brown Eyes was not much of a reader before he met me, but I introduced him to the thrill of a good book by encouraging him to read Percy Jackson and the Olympians, and he's been hooked ever since. Blames me for the fact that he hated the Percy Jackson movie because it was nothing like the book. Right now he's loving The Hunger Games. And I love being able to talk all literary with him like a couple of nerds. Except for the last few days our conversations have gone something like this:

Me: From a guy's perspective, who do you like better, Peeta or Gale?
Mr.: Gale hasn't been in it enough for me to make a judgment on him.
Me: Oh, right. You'll see more of him in the second book. And then...well I wait until you read that part.

Mr.: I really like the part where Katniss blows up the food supply.
Me: Me too! Just wait until...oh, you haven't gotten to that part yet.

Mr: I think Peeta's a little too good.
Me: Just wait until...ugh, you need to finish the books so we can talk about them!

I wonder if he thinks I'm annoying yet.
I was actually talking to Mr. Brown Eyes on the phone the other day and was getting frustrated that his only responses to every topic I introduced were, "Yeah," "Uh-huh," or silence. Finally I burst, "You're reading the book right now, aren't you?"

He laughed. "Yes."

That's what I get for turning him into a reader.

Here's to another evening spent side by side on the couch, reading.

Proud to be a nerd,
The Brown-Eyed Girl

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Me at My Worst

One night a few months ago Mr. Brown Eyes and I decided to go out to eat before meeting up with one of his friends. It was past dinnertime and hunger gnawed at our stomachs as we drove around looking for the restaurant that we wanted. After half an hour of driving up and down the same street, flipping U-turns, and calling my parents to look up the address for us, we finally found it--shadowy and empty, with  boards in the windows. Like it had been closed for a long time.

We sighed. Our stomachs growled.

With our mutual indecisiveness, it would be hours before we both agreed on a place to go, so we chose the nearest restaurant, whipped into the parking lot, and darted inside. Then we realized we forgot Baby Brown Eyes, so we went back outside and retrieved him.

Just kidding. We didn't really forget Baby Brown Eyes.

But we could have. That's how hungry we were.

However, for me, by the time we pushed open the doors of the restaurant, it was too late. The hunger-crabbiness had descended upon me, that moment when the anger of my growling stomach takes root in my brain and transforms me into a monster. My stomach gave up its fight and I no longer felt hungry, just mad at the world. I looked over the menu and nothing sounded remotely appetizing.

Mr. Brown Eyes ordered his meal, but when the waitress looked at me I just shook my head.

"You're not going to order anything?" Mr. Brown Eyes asked.

"No," I answered flatly.

"You need to eat something," he said. He knows my hunger-crabbiness all too well. The idea of me going all evening without eating probably filled him with dread.

I knew he was right. I knew my mood would get worse and worse, but even as Mr. Brown Eyes' food came, a part of me would not give in and have some. He offered me a bite of a warm, fluffy biscuit, but I shook my head, stared at the table, and sulked. When Baby Brown Eyes started fussing in his carseat I let Mr. Brown Eyes deal with him, distracting him by giving him a spoon to play with. Then I felt like a bad mom for ignoring my baby and started crying.

The people around us probably thought I was evil, psychotic, depressed. At the very least they probably felt bad for Mr. Brown Eyes. I am not proud of the way I behaved. But it hit me, as I contemplated the various ways people might have been judging me, that I am guilty of the very same thing. That I make judgments about people who seem rude or unfriendly when maybe, like me, they're not usually like that. Maybe, like I was that night, they are not at their best. And just like I would never want anyone judging me when I am at my grumpy, sulky, emotional worst, I would hate to do the same to anyone else.

So the next time someone seems a little unfriendly and I'm tempted to write them off as as a great big jerk, I am going to try and consider that maybe they are at their worst, and underneath it is certainly a person worth loving.

To finish the rest of the story, Mr. Brown Eyes didn't say a word about how stupid and childish I was being. He just patiently drove home with two crybabies in the car, accepted my apology for ruining the night, gave me a kiss and told me he loved me, and built me a fire in our fireplace while I finally got something in my stomach.

 I think it's safe to say I married the most amazing man on earth.

Oh, and Baby Brown Eyes stole the spoon from the restaurant.

Serves them right for having gross food,
The Brown-Eyed Girl