Mission Statements…by Ms. Coco

Mission Statements…by Ms. Coco

This month of rituals and traditions have shaped our relationship in a different way than I imagined. I believe the Gentleman Farmer and I have always observed various rituals and traditions but have never talked about why we do what we do.  I think it is always important to know why we do what we do, whether that is personally or together. The Gentleman Farmer and I have discussed this for the past couple of weeks. For example, each night we give each other a kiss before saying goodnight. I think that is important and it lets me know we care about each other and are acknowledging each other before bed. If we miss a night my feelings are slightly hurt. (Don’t judge…we all have our things.)

For the last week or so the GF and I have discussed writing a mission statment for our relationship. I listen to many podcasts and at least three of them last week mentioned mission statements within their relationships. The couples who discussed them relayed how this mission statment was a tradition or ritual based on where they were in their lives. One couple just got married, another just had their third child, and another had been together for two years. I thought this concept of creating a mission statment was great! It directly impacts the work I do on a daily basis with families, but also it is a great thing to do with my honey. This exercise is ongoing and flexible and can be modified whenever we need.

So we started with a few questions. What is the purpose of our relationship? What type of life do we want to live? What does being right and wrong mean to us? What legacy do we want to leave together? Where do we want to raise our future kids? I asked the GF many questions that I found on the internet. I started with Cooperative Extension websites first because I wanted to see research based information. Then I looked at other samples and websites. I am always curious to see great examples of how others showcase their real realtionships. The GF and I both have our faults but I do believe, and hope, that we care about our relationship enough that we will foster intimacy in various ways other than just the physical.

We haven’t actually written the mission statement yet. And like the couples in the podcasts, this is a working “document” if you will. Maybe one day we will share it with the world. I wouldn’t mind.

We did go to the Juneteenth celebration this weekend in Lexington. It was pretty interesting. We didn’t stay long enough to hear or see the other informational acts that day but it was in a park after an African-American jockey from the late 19th century. I also signed up to volunteer with a coalition in the city. I believe community is important and I am trying to join communities in which we share similar interests. We’ll see how this goes!

Our New And Old Thing…by Ms. Coco

Our New And Old Thing…by Ms. Coco

Well, the month of May has come to a close and the Gentleman Farmer and I have made it out alive! I never had a doubt whether our relationship would still be in tact after 31 days of cohabitation, I just wondered how our mental state would be…or more so, my own mental capability after this month’s challenge. I think it was much easier than I anticipated overall. The Gentleman Farmer would tell  you he is an excellent “roommate” and I would have to agree with him. He is courteous of others, he does his share of chores – even though we never verbally discussed chores this month – and he prepares breakfast more times than I do! I am not a huge fan of breakfast but I fully understand why we are more productive and healthier if we do. However, I am a pretty good “roommate” if I say so myself. I cook dinner most nights (that we are at my house), I have snacks that he prefers (and La Croix water), and he always has lunch for the next day! I realize all of this revolves around food…but hey, I know what I know! I think it was a tie for this challenge.

The month of June is when we discover, explore, and create traditions that will last a lifetime. We certainly already have a few rituals or traditions that we observe. The Gentleman Farmer prepares dinner on Sunday nights. We celebrate accomplishments! Not every family celebrate birthdays, holidays, graduations, or other milestones. However, we do this together and make a big deal of them, or at least I do and drag the GF along with me. June brings celebrations of African-American Music Month and the Juneteenth Celebration. I have grown up celebrating Juneteenth and would like to see how Lexington does so, if at all. We used to have community events at the park where I grew up. This included some type of learning program and lots of food. We usually celebrated other African-American holidays such as Black History Month and Kwanzaa. My mother was serious about her children learning the history of our people. She, and Nas (the rapper), always said “they” never teach you came from kings and queens. I am a Zimbabwean princess afterall…from the Shona tribe. 🙂

I look forward to starting and continuing traditions or rituals with the GF. He is my favorite person and I like being as spontaneous with him…or as predictable with him. All of these things set a strong foundation for how we choose to live our lives. And I like the way we are going. Every year I feel you should ask that person you like and love if you’re still going in the right direction. Since I asked him this a few months back I will have to ask another time…but for now we are both on the same page. I like that very much.

Boundaries and Such…by Ms. Coco

Boundaries and Such…by Ms. Coco

The Gentleman Farmer asked me a couple of weeks ago about personal boundaries and if we give each other enough space. At that moment I thought we did a pretty good job. Then when we went to North Carolina he decided to be the best person and clean out my car. Ha! I had no clue where he was for a few hours during our annual family cookout for Mother’s Day. I happened to wonder aloud, “Did the GF get lost on his way to the grocery store?” My hometown is small and there is really no way to get lost, especially with the usage of technology and GPS on the phone. My sister said, “Oh, he took your car to the car wash.” No problem there. Until he came back and he put all of my items in a bag. I tried really hard to not be aggravated. We made it all the way back to Kentucky before I expressed my frustration.

Now…please do not misunderstand me. I love this man. He is the best man I know. Even in that task of being helpful I should be grateful, and I am. However, there is a thing about knowing where your boundaries lay. And one of mine is that if you must use/move/clean anything of mine the items should be placed back where you find them. I don’t know why that is my thing; I just know that it is. This has occurred enough times in my life to know that I would be upset about it no matter who did it. One time my sister came to my house and moved all of my furniture in the house. I was very upset about it. I waited until she left to rearrange my furniture the way I had it. At that moment I was a young 23 year old and I wanted to live my life the way I chose and she interrupted that by moving furniture! It WAS serious! Haha.

After the Gentleman Farmer and I discussed the feelings I had about him cleaning my car he brought up a concern. He wondered how this would affect us living together. Anyone would be wondering the same, I suppose. However, when the GF and I decide to move in together, I am going to assume that we will both agree on where to place items. Once we decide TOGETHER then I will have no problem when it comes to the movement of items. However, the problem I have always had is that when my items are kept in other places within my home, my classroom, my office, or my car, others feel that where I kept items were not good enough and took it upon themselves to rearrange to the point where I could not find my things. That is my issue. The GF usually finds his stuff in the same place I got it from…even if he finds additional things there too. Haha. That is what I need to work on myself. Not leaving additional things for him to find. 🙂 He loves me anyway. And I love him more and more each day.

We Are Living…Single….OR Together? By Ms. Coco

We Are Living…Single….OR Together? By Ms. Coco

The month of May brings the Gentleman Farmer and myself living together. I must admit, I have never lived with anyone other than family. Well…I had suite-mates in college and the last person I lived with was my twin and that was a disaster! We were Resident Assistants in the same on-campus apartments and it was someone’s bright idea to have us living together. She complained about the bathroom being dirty while I complained that she would leave dishes in the sink overnight. We drove each other CRAZY! So after her I decided I didn’t need roommates to survive.

I am pretty sure I have scared the Gentleman Farmer with the fact that I haven’t lived with anyone for several years now. Or maybe not scared him but I am sure he has some concerns. I don’t really know what to expect so I can only say this will be some form of an adventure. I have very few concerns (usually I am joking if I say that I have any). I may only really care if I feel annoyed or am being annoying. I have realized since I moved to Kentucky that I get annoyed over certain things. Things like food (or lack thereof), phone calls, and tiredness brings crankiness. I only like a few things for breakfast and ideally I’d rather it be real food than junk.  I think it’s rude to talk on the phone if we’re in the car together. This goes for my friends as well. Haha. I get super annoyed when I haven’t been able to sleep well. I try really hard to not let my mood affect how I interact with the GF…but it doesn’t work in my — or his — favor all the time.

The Gentleman Farmer told me I shouldn’t be disappointed if things don’t stay the same. The real question is, who isn’t disappointed? Engaging conversations, pieces of cake or macaroons when I see him, or flowers when I least expect it are things I live for! Ha! However, I am well aware that I may not do the same things I did when we first started dating…well, hopefully I still do a lot of what I did when we started. So I can’t — and won’t — be upset if we gradually change, as long as we are changing for the better. I only hope and pray that we will continue to move in the same direction with the same purpose.

So since we have been in May for two weeks now it hasn’t been that strained. Like I mentioned previously, I was at a conference for a week. This past week hasn’t been that bad either — due to the Gentleman Farmer. I went to the greatest concert of my life — my boo Trey Songz! Haha! I have LOVED him since 2005 when he had the braids and the oversized t-shirts. ❤ ❤ ❤ I have been to SEVERAL of his concerts and this one was simply amazing! That was the good part. My oldest sister took my keys out of my pocketbook and I didn’t realize they didn’t find their way back into my purse until my other sister called. However, I was halfway back to KY by that time. So they were to be overnighted to me but you know mail is slow sometimes. So the GF was kind enough to allow me to borrow his car so that I may get to the many meetings I had scheduled this week. That was really no surprise — he’s done it before. However, I know that he was inconvenienced this week and I certainly appreciate his generosity. 🙂 Waking upan hour earlier each morning to get to work has driven me crazy. I am not used to doing it on a weekly basis and it has just solidified that I don’t want to drive an hour to work and back each day. However, waking up next to him each day has been so pleasant. When we decide where we should reside I definitely think we should take commute time into consideration.

 

Extreme Couponer Or Not…by Ms. Coco.

Extreme Couponer Or Not…by Ms. Coco.

I have not done well at all with this extreme couponing month. And I thought I would. Obviously those people take the time and effort to find coupons. I haven’t tried AT ALL! I feel so bad too because I am the one who suggested to do the extreme couponing to donate the items to our local Family Resource Centers in the schools. The programs help with what we call the “Backpack Program.” Students who qualify for free or reduced lunch also get items to take home on the weekend to ensure they are eat over the weekend. Sooo…the Gentleman Farmer clearly won this challenge. I will try to do better this week since he did so well. I must at least find enough coupons to match his savings. Hey, we both know our strong points in this relationship.

We will call tie on the random acts of kindness part of this challenge. The GF did teach a class for me on finances at the Adult Education Center. He thought it could have gone better but I thought he did a FANTASTIC job. I am the teacher by trade in this little family we are creating, yet he stepped up to the plate and made me look good with his professional ways. I will forever remember this…or at least until my memory fades.

Since I am sooooo late on this post and also on my couponing, we will look forward to the future. The Gentleman Farmer and I do not live together currently but we do spend at least 50% of our weeks together. For the month of May our challenge will be living together. HA! I have NEVER lived with a man except my father or grandfather. And I haven’t lived with anyone else since my twin sister, Natalie, and I lived together in college. And that was an experience; also that was over eight years ago! So we will see how this works out for us. We may do really well…the first week I am away at a conference. Did that occur on purpose? Hmmmm…I am slightly nervous. Who will cook breakfast? (He will.) Who will annoy whom first? (Probably I will annoy him.) Whose house will we stay at the most (his…I cannot have a dog at my house…even though I like spending time in my own bed.) But none of those are actually important. Will we make it through? Will we continue to create routines that will work for the both of us? Will we figure out the next step in our lives, separately and together? Will they align with our needs, wishes, hopes, and dreams? Those are certainly more important to me. I hope they are to him as well. If not, what are we here for? Obviously I am here for him. Forever, for always, for love.

Nothing Can Be Finer Than To Be In Carolina…by Ms. Coco

Nothing Can Be Finer Than To Be In Carolina…by Ms. Coco

For the month of April, the Gentleman Farmer and I are supposed to be focusing on good deeds and an extreme couponing month. The GF usually says I am a sucker for doing things for others, even if it isn’t in my best interest. However, if I do something for others I feel I am somehow helping the “angels” among us and I know favor comes back. It is not solely this purpose of receiving favor, but knowing I am able to help others is so important to me because so many people have poured into my life and have assisted me in the path that I have taken that I can only repay them by helping others. So I am so excited to do this coupon challenge and donate the food purchased through this activity to our respective Family Resource Centers in the communities in which we live and work.

The Gentleman Farmer always is doing something for me or others. We are in North Carolina this week for my uncle’s induction to the North Carolina High School Athletic Association. He has won over 28 state championships and is pretty amazing, although I feel my family members are superstars anyway. Before driving to NC he called me several times to ask what he should get my uncle as a gift (I honestly didn’t even think to get him one), bought my other uncles things they would like, and bought several other gifts for family members. He does this every time we go, even though it might also be slight bribes to be seen as favorable (I love him, so they do too)! 🙂 SO I know he will do well with the random acts of kindness this month, as well as the extreme couponing. He is the saver between the two of us and I look to him as inspiration. Otherwise, he asks when I buy new clothing or where I got it from. He misses few things.

While in North Carolina we took a trip to my house in High Point because I am hoping to sell it. When we drove into the driveway he was like, “Oh, your house is cute” like he was surprised! I’m quite confused at this point because I never said it was ugly. I just said I need to sell it ASAP! Then he goes into his whole advice giving speil about what I need to do to sell it…I really want to get it off my hands. I am less interested in making a huge profit by this point…but you know how men can be. They must be heros. Haha. Wish me luck and a speedy process with this. I have learned much from being a homeowner for the past 8 years but it is time to move on to something else.

We’re also spending the week in Asheville for a conference I’m attending on Extension Volunteerism. I am excited that we will be here for a warm week and that we will be able to eat at Tuppelo Honey again! I have been dreaming about their buiscuits and chicken. Who doesn’t like that combination?!?! I mean, the place is really amazing. And if you have never been to Asheville, it is one of the meccas of Hipster living. My honey should fit right in, even if he denies being part of that subgroup! Haha.

 

March Madness…from Ms. Coco

March Madness…from Ms. Coco

It is the final week of March Madness and if your bracket is still intact after the upsets of Wisconsin, Florida, Dook, and Kentucky losses then you must truly be a genie. I do believe the God knew what He was doing when he made the sky Carolina Blue (what a win over Kentucky; the Gentleman Farmer’s team and my employer)! As we all know what happens when the hometown loses (as I refer to Kentucky) we see that people have lots of emotions. The whole town of Lexington, and probably 90 percent of the state, will be feeling pretty sad about their loss for the next two weeks. I’ll try to hold it in while I go to work tomorrow.

With the craziness of March Madness also comes the craziness of other emotions. If I haven’t mentioned it previously, my love language is quality time. Specifically, I like to be heard when I am talking. And I have issues when I feel people aren’t listening to me, especially the Gentleman Farmer. We have discussed this on multiple occasions. Yet, I still feel slighted for not receiving confirmation or reactions to what I am saying. In this month of savings, I have not saved enough patience when being confronted with what I feel is a lack of understanding or engagement on his part. I feel twice as bad for not receiving what I need and then making him feel like he isn’t trying. One day we’ll get there….it just isn’t today…and probably won’t be tomorrow either. *shrug* I know myself to know that I need to continue to store up, or save, as much patience as he has with me. That cannot be an easy task.

We also are trying to do the hard work of training our new puppy, Bates, so that it will save us issues in the future. We are still planning our trip to Cuba and we will have to leave him with someone! His behavior has to be acceptable by that time! 🙂 I can tell you one thing, this is not for the faint of heart. He cries at night in his cage, uses the bathroom ALL over the house right after he’s taken a 20-minute walk, and he gets soooo dirty right after he gets a bath. But I wouldn’t trade him for any other puppy in the world. I just don’t remember my other dog, Puff, to be this rambunctious when he was a puppy. I think its so funny all dogs have their own little personalities. He’s exactly like the Gentleman Farmer. Haha!