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Whether it’s a cosy hot tub, a full-sized pool or something in between, having a private place to take a dip at home is one of life’s greatest luxuries. There is little that compares to shrugging off the day’s troubles with a few relaxing laps or a good book and the gentle massage of…

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The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.

Every day it becomes easier and easier to hack websites, blogs, home networks, and phones. Nothing seems to be immune from malicious digital attacks, but you can make it harder for them to get in. 

We've been testing the…



Living in Sin

If you've ever gone and clicked on the "My Family" tab at the top of this page, then you know that Eric and I aren't married.  We live together.  We have two children together.  We've spent nearly every moment of the past eight years together.  But no, we're not married.

We get a lot of "Why aren't you two married yet?" or "When are you ever going to get married?"

::shrug::  Does it matter?  I am not against marriage.  I don't not believe in marriage.  I support straight marriage, gay marriage, even polygamy!  As long as it's between consenting adults, and the basis is love, have at it!  Who am I to judge?   I feel that I *am* married.  I have committed myself to this person that I'm sharing my life with.  He's committed himself to me.  Isn't that what marriage really is?  I've had arguments (online, of course, where we are all brave enough to say what we really feel) about the instability of live-in relationships.  I've been told that without a marriage license, there's nothing to prevent one of us from waking up one day and saying, "You know what?  This sucks, laters, baby!" 

What the what?  There's *nothing* preventing one of us from leaving?  Eight years of our lives, two children, all of the experiences we've shared, spectacular highs and miserable lows, memories we've made... they can't stand on their own without a marriage certificate?  It's laughable, really.  You'd think if one of us was going to leave we'd have done it by now.

Another favorite of mine: why buy the cow when he's getting the milk for free?  Let me correct the two assumptions you've made in that one sentence.  It isn't because of Eric's unwillingness that we're not married yet.  It it were up to him we'd have been in and out of the courthouse years ago.  When we do get married, and we will, eventually (because I do want his last name), I want it to be a memorable celebration of our relationship.  Getting married in a courthouse sounds... sterile.  Unimaginative.  I'd rather get married in a chapel in Vegas than go to my county courthouse.  Also, he isn't getting anything for free!  Apart from some recent months of unemployment, he's provided for us the best he's been able this entire time.  He loves our boys.  He unclogs the toilet and fishes my hair out of the drain.  He kills spiders!  He organizes Nerf battles.  He knows when I need a cuddle and that sometimes, letting me cry it out is the best bet (especially while pregnant).  He has endured sleepless nights and endless days with a fussy newborn.  He stands by me through thick and thin.  He is my husband in every way.  Except one.  To too many people, that's the only way that matters.  I see "officially" married couples living miserable existences together, barely tolerating each others' company, sniping at each other daily, etc.  Are their relationships more valid than ours because they got married and we didn't?  I don't think so.

I've even been wearing a ring this whole time.  Our first Christmas together I got the gold ring you see at left: 10k yellow gold with 10 small cubic zirconia.  Two years ago as a combined Valentine's/ anniversary present I got the upgrade: 14k white gold with 13 small diamonds totaling 1/4 carat.  I love them both.  I keep the old one on my necklace with my birthstone babies, because I never want to get rid of it!  So, yes, I let people assume I'm married.  I don't correct them unless they ask a question like "How long were you together before you got married?"  Then, yes, I have to backpedal a little bit and re-explain myself.

My rings, just like a marriage (to me) are symbols of my love and dedication.  The only thing I have to complain about is that while I wear a ring on my fourth finger, Eric does not.  I've never known his size!  So guess what he's getting for Fathers' Day.  Yes, a ring.  A symbolic representation of our relationship.  I let him pick it out, and it's on its way from Amazon.  Titanium and cubic zirconia.  Maybe in five years or so I'll buy him an upgrade.

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