My Sweet Marie

Archive for the ‘Married Life’ Category

I figure once you are married 33 years, you can celebrate all weekend! In this day and age, it’s unusual to hear of people married so long, especially at our age so we take it all in. This year has been a roller coaster of a year so we thought we’d take it easy all weekend, have a nice dinner out and just live it up!

I’m sure you don’t want to hear all the gory details, especially our girls, and I promise I’m not sharing them! We have been reminiscing all weekend, something comes up and we’ll say remember the time we went to Collingwood for our anniversary? Then we spent the better part of an hour trying to figure out what year that was and who watched the girls?! All I remember is the fireplace, how cold it was and the hot tub! Good times.

Anniversaries have always been a special celebration for us, we always do something. There have been times when all we could afford was a picnic in the living room but I know there were candles, sweet nothings shared and gratitude for what we do and/or did have.

My favorite all time anniversary gift was a Sweet Marie bar. We were married only a year, had just moved to Toronto, had no money to our names and we promised each other that we would not even buy a card for each other.  I made the best dinner I could with what we had, lit a few short candles, put on some music and Denis shows up at the table with not only a mushy card but a Sweet Marie bar! It was always his little nickname for me so it was fitting. I know it’s not a diamond ring or gold but to me, it was priceless. I still get choked up 32 years later thinking about it.

Some years you can afford extravagant gifts or trips, some years you can’t, that’s life. What matters is that we are both healthy and happy and have a bright future ahead of us. I love my dear sweet husband and am grateful everyday, well almost everyday, for the wonderful husband, friend that he is. I am sure there will be many more memories for me to share in the future and I look forward to doing that!

Sweetest regards Denis!

Sweet Marie




On Tuesday it’ll be my sweetie’s birthday! We celebrated early yesterday with our girls and their families! We , as in I, made a nice meal complete with cake and ice cream! This year Denis asked for carrot cake and I was happy to oblige since this summer I found the “Namaste Gluten-free mixes”! They have a spice cake that rivals any cake mix, let alone a gluten-free one! I toss in coconut, pecans and raisins and call it morning-glory cake! I top it with an icing made of icing sugar,coconut oil and almond milk, and a dash of vanilla…can you say yummy?

We had three options on the ice cream, a rare treat in our home! We had mint chocolate chip, vanilla and we had a coconut milk ice cream that was turtle flavor! Between us all, we finished off a couple of the cartons! Melanie and Holly and I were absolutely crazy about the turtle ice cream, it was dairy,soy and gluten-free! You got to love that! We made the most noise at the table!

Our dinner table is getting crammed with all the kids, we need to come up with a plan where we are not all eating with our elbows glued to our ribs! One slip of a fork and you could lose an eye! Our family has grown so much in the last five years, it’s hardly recognisable! This is a great thing in my eyes!

We feted on jalapeno poppers, humus, fresh salsa for snacks before the real food got served! For the actual dinner we had spinach salad, smoked pork chops a la Denis, steak, scalloped potatoes, and a mix of green and yellow beans! Just a few of Denis’ favourites! We made two pots of scalloped potatoes, one was a regular ooey-goey cheesy casserole, the other was dairy and gluten-free! The Dayia cheeses that I got at Whole Foods last week came in handy! It’s a bit of work to make dishes for the ‘special’ people but when everyone else is having something, it sure is nice to have some too even if it is a different version of it!

Dinner is my favourite time when the kids visit, as that is really when the true character of the kids comes out! Blake goes into stuffing mode, eating anything and everything in sight, Heidi likes to tell stories while supper gets cold, Holly tells stories too but mostly giggles at Heidi and Evelyn just nibbles away at just about anything! It is amazing to me that only eight months ago she was a preemie and now here she is fully caught up and just as cute as can be!

If Denis were writing this blog, he’d tell you his favourite time is when he has one or two or three of the kids on his lap, us singing Happy birthday and he is blowing out the candles! It’s heart-warming to know how loved he is by those kids, as am I. The feeling is certainly mutual.

Family is love and love is family. that’s my story and I am sticking to it!

Happy birthday my love!

Sweet Marie


Yesterday was Mother’s Day and I have to say, this year Denis (my hubby) did a fantastic job of rustling up the family for a very special day! The girls, both Mommies themselves, came over with their families in tow and we had a great BBQ!

Denis smoked and barbecued ribs, chicken, and potatoes. To go with that, he had  salad and greens beans and for dessert we had bumbleberry crisp! I’ll take credit for the crisp, I made it on Saturday! It was gluten-free, soy free and dairy free! It had strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, apples and blueberries covered with a nice crispy topping! Yummmy as Blake said!

The first part of the day was quiet and relaxing, kind of the calm you expect before a storm! We went for a stroll to Forrat’s and had us a little chocolat! I did say we walked there right? So no guilt now! then we sat and read our books in the quiet of the garden and then….then the kids got there and we forgot all about our quiet!

Heidi arrived first, having being dropped off by her other grand-mother! She’d been at their brunch and wasn’t ready to go when Melissa was so they dropped her off to our place on their way home, how convenient for us all! Shortly after, Melanie arrived with her crew and Holly and Heidi were full of hugs! That is of course after Pepe got his hugs! Him first…always? What’s up with that? I do all the cooking, baking, shopping for these kids and who gets all the hugs??? No fair, I say!

I had a few surprises too! Melanie got me a beautiful plant of Gerber daisies which will look great in my large planter! With it came a lovely heart-felt card which got me a bit misty until I saw her autograph and a few pennies fell out…a little joke of ours. (Years ago she got me a jar full of pennies for Mother’s Day and she said I will do anything you want for a penny! I had her fetching me lemonades, sweeping etc and had a whole lot of pennies leftover still!) In her card she made a note that Holly is the slave this time, I got a kick out of that!

Melissa arrived with Blake, no Dan, as he was home with a virus! She had a beautiful basket of geraniums for me, and a pot of petunias that Heidi insisted on buying with her own money! I thought that was very special for a 5-year-old to part with her money like that! I knew she adored me! Take that Pepe!

The kids had a great time running around the ‘yellow brick road’ path all over the garden, chasing squirrels and chipmunks, and throwing things like footballs at the fish? Why do boys have to throw things? I’ve got a lot of learning to do! So we ‘fished’ the ball out of the pond, once, twice and the third time it went up high to “dry”! They had fun and we kept busy making sure they didn’t drown in the pool or the pond! Oh my…time flies when you’re chasing kids!

So you see, it wasn’t a fancy dinner out or big huge gifts but it was a day together with my family. Add food in there, sunshine, laughter and children and what more could a girl want in life? Nothing more at all!

Cheers, I hope you had a great Mother’s Day too and if not, maybe next year!

Sweet Marie

This week I went over to Port Huron for the day with Melanie, so I needed to get my passport out of the safe. Now I wasn’t snooping, I legitimately had to get my passport but while in the safe a bunch of things fell out. One of those things was a ring box, uh-uh a ring box. What do I do? Do I open it? It is Christmas right around the corner….what could it be?

Well, I knew it’d be a ring, duh it’s a ring box! When I opened it, I was surprised to find a ‘antique looking’ or used ring. I thought what the heck? Did he pawn a ring off someone and think he’d give me a used ring for Christmas?

So on the way to Port Huron I was telling Mel my dilemma, she always has to go for honesty, just fess up and tell him you found it, she says! Heck no, I ain’t doing that, I said, can’t you ask him what he got me for Christmas? So she did, and it’s not a ring!

Ok so maybe he inherited the ring from someone and plans to rebuild it for my 50th birthday right? Well, it’s possible! I was racking my brain about it last night when Denis says ” what are you thinking about?” You look far too serious!

I told him what I found when I went in the safe and he says “you’re crazy, there’s no ring in there!” Ah yeah there is! Hmmph…wonder where it comes from he says? What? You don’t know? Nope.

So, all we know is we’ve had this safe since 2007, and this ring looks like it’s from Mexico, it’s silver and has some Mexican design to it. I would say it’s been in there a while too.  I won’t say exactly what it looks like but if you can tell me how it got in a safe that only two people have the combination to, and both of those people don’t remember putting it there, what would you think?

I vaguely have this recollection of perhaps finding it and saying we’d keep it safe…but I don’t know if I dreamt that or remember it! It’s odd, it’s a pretty ring but where does it come from? Bizzarro!

Anyhow…it’s a mystery to me!

Sweetest regards,

Sweet Marie

Thirty one years ago today, Denis and I got married in Annunciation church in Stoney Point,ON, before our family and friends. We got married on a Monday because my parents owned a restaurant and frankly, that was their slow day! It seems so silly to me today when I think of it! We inconvenienced so many just so Dad didn’t have the close the restaurant down for one day! Most of my siblings got married on a Friday for that same reason but no, I married on a Monday! Crazy!

Anyhow, some years we go all out for our anniversary, trips, expensive restaurants, wine and gifts but not this year! We decided to keep it low key this year and I made us a delicious dinner. Denis brought home a bouquet of flowers, lit some candles and poured the wine! We enjoyed a French Mushroom Soup, much like French Onion but with different mushrooms (Portobello, white, cremini)! Delicious! Then we had a chicken breast stuffed with ham and swiss and asparagus on the side! Wow, very yummy…and to make matters even tastier, I stopped off at a bakery and picked up only two cupcakes, a red velvet for me and double chocolate for Denis! Does that sound like a celebratory dinner to you?

So we have the evening ahead of us to just relax and enjoy each other’s company.  We’re headed out for a nice walk in this brisk weather and then come in and warm up with another glass of red! I think I’ll get out the wedding album and share a few giggles with Denis over some of the images, that’s always fun!

Denis, if you’re reading, I love you and am so happy I chose you to be my husband and you chose me for your wife! You’re all that I ever dreamed of and more!

All my love,

Sweet Marie

I haven’t posted a ‘marriage advice’  blog in a long time and thought it was due when I came accross this article by Dr.Phil in ‘O’ magazine from March of 2003. I hope Dr.Phil doesn’t mind me re-posting his words!! Here’s his 6 rules of ‘listening’.

Rule #1: Insist on emotional integrity
You gotta tell it like it is! You must insist that everything you say, imply, or insinuate is accurate, and if your partner challenges you on those messages, you must step up and own them. Mean what you say and say what you mean. You don’t have to tell people everything you think or feel. But you do have to be accurate when you choose to disclose.

Suppose you’re upset. When your partner senses that and asks, “Is something bothering you?” emotional integrity requires that you won’t deny the message you’re sending verbally or otherwise by saying, “Nothing is wrong; I’m fine.” You may not be ready to discuss it, so the accurate answer might be, “I don’t want to tell you right now; I’m just not ready to talk about it.”

A lot of couples flagrantly violate this principle. Then they say, “We have trouble communicating.” Of course they do—they both lie like dogs! And while we’re on the subject: A material omission—leaving out something of crucial importance—is as much a lie as any actual misstatement.

Rule #2: Be a two-way, not a one-way, communicator
A one-way communicator talks but never listens and pays no attention to whether the listener appears to be “getting it.” For her it’s all about the telling, as in, “What I want you to do is go out there, get this work done, give these people this message, put those kids to bed, and come back in here.” If that’s how you communicate, all you know is what you’ve said, and you haven’t got a clue about what the other person heard. Result: conflict.

But as soon as a one-way communicator asks for feedback, look what happens:
She: “Here’s what I’d like you to do: A, B, C, and D. Does that sound okay to you?”
He: “Well, L, Q, R, and P don’t make a whole lot of sense to me.”

No wonder they’re not getting along—they’re not even talking about the same thing! When she checks to make sure that he has received the message, she uncovers a communication glitch. By soliciting feedback—by giving as much weight to what is heard as to what is said—you put a spotlight on the issues you, together, need to clarify.

Rule #3: Establish a motive
Whether you’re talking or listening, you need to be clear about why something’s being said. Motive and message are important. If you’ve got a husband who says, “You’re like the Spanish Inquisition. You’re always asking me these questions and bugging me all the time,” you need to look at what’s behind those words. Is he trying to make you feel guilty because there’s something he doesn’t want you to see? Or are you trying to control too much of his life because you are insecure? In answering those questions, you’ll figure out the motive and be able to move on from there.

Rule #4: Check in with each other
You and your partner must agree to test each other’s messages and respond honestly. No more b.s. Ask your partner, “Is what you’re saying really the way you feel? Is that true?” Remember that when you ask the question, you have to be ready to hear the true answer. And you’ve got to be willing to take the same test yourself. If asked, “So you’re really okay?” have the guts to say, “No, I’m not,” when you’re really not. Ask your partner the questions that will confirm his or her feelings.

Rule #5: Be an active listener
Most people are passive listeners. If you intend to become an active listener, you’ll need to master two important tools. A famous psychologist named Carl Rogers called them Reflection of Content and Reflection of Feeling. I don’t agree with a lot of what Rogers taught, but he hit the nail on the head with this one.

Reflecting a speaker’s content means that you listen to the person; then you give him or her feedback that makes it clear you’re receiving the factual message—but as you’ll see, it ain’t all about the facts. Here’s an example of someone’s getting the information but missing the message:

A: “Sorry I’m late. As I was leaving the house, my dog ran into the street and was hit by a car.”
B (reflecting the content): “So your dog got hit by a car?”
A: “Right.”
B: “Is he dead?”
A: “Uh-huh.”
B: “So what did you do with the dog’s body?”

In that example, Person B establishes that Person A has been heard, which addresses a fundamental need for A. But B has clearly missed the point.

To be an active listener in an emotionally relevant situation, B has to do more than just reflect the factual information that A has conveyed. Reflection of feeling tells your partner not just that he’s been heard but that you have “plugged into” his life and experienced it in some way, which is essential to his satisfaction. Reflection of feeling sounds like this:

A: “Sorry I’m late. As I was leaving the house, my dog ran into the street and got hit by a car.”
B (reflecting the feeling): “Oh, my gosh—you must feel terrible.”
A: “Well, I do. We’d had the dog for 12 years, and my kids really loved him.”
B: “I’m sure they must be so upset; I’m sorry you’re going through this.”

Being able to reflect the feeling, not just the content, is essential to the success of your communication.

Rule #6: Evaluate your filters
When you and I engage in conversation, I can’t control how well you communicate; I can only control how well I receive what you’re telling me. I can go on the alert to things that may distort the messages you’re sending me—I call them filters. To be a good listener, you’ve got to know what your filters are. Maybe you’re coming into a given conversation with an agenda. Maybe you’re judging the speaker and don’t trust him at all. Maybe you’re angry. Any one of these psychological filters can dramatically distort what you hear.

Filters cause you to decide things ahead of time. You may have prejudged your partner and decided that he’s a hound dog, that he doesn’t love you anymore. Result: No matter what he says to you, you’re going to distort it to conform to what you’re already thinking, feeling, and believing.

Take an inventory of your filters. If you’re not aware of them, you can defeat the best communicator in the world because you’ll distort the message, regardless of how well it was sent.

Those were all Dr.Phil’s comments and I especially like numbers 2 and 5! It is so easy to spew your feelings but to listen what the one you love has to say isn’t always easy especially when they are pointing out a fault of yours! I hope this has been helpful to all the married or committed folk out there! I know I liked it!

Sweetest regards,
Sweet Marie

Today is father’s day for all the men in my life. To my husband , son in-laws , brothers and brother in-laws, and my step-father, I wish you all a Happy Father’s Day. Growing up I don’t remember Father’s Day being a big deal but when we got married I made it a big deal for my husband. He’s a great father and I think at least once a year he’ll know he’s appreciated.

Denis was always the Dad that dug in the dirt with the kids, there are pictures of him painting the girls nails, bathing them and even folding their little clothing. As they got older it was soccer and rides to work but still he was always there for them and a protective Papa bear he was. I pitied the young men that would have the nerve to show up on our doorstep to pick up our daughters for a date! On their way out the door he’d say to them, “remember now, that’s my daughter you have in your car, be sure to drive safe”! That usually garnered him a yes sir!

Today, he’s a grand-father or Pepe to his favourite little people and the role changes all the time. Now it’s babysitting, borrowing tools or advice the girls need from us but never the less, they know they can always count on their Papa. He will always be there for them as he’s proven over the years.

Somedays I wonder if they really know how lucky they are to have Denis for their father? He’s always been in their life and always been there for them so they know nothing else. He had a great role model for a father and for that I will always be grateful. He had a father that played ball with him, that took him fishing and that was at the dinner table every night. Not everybody is so lucky but I’m glad he experienced that so that our girls grew up with it too.

To all the fathers out there, may you remember your important role in the lives of your children and be the role model they’ll grow up to be!

Happy Fathers Day all!

Sweet Marie