24 April 2014

Happy Anniversary

The twenty-fourth of April will always be a day to remember how much I love you. In the last four years, you've shown me so many reasons to love you. This post serves two purposes: to tell you what those reasons are and to document some stories that have yet to be documented.

I love that you are persistent.
I know you still deny that this story ever happened, but it's my favorite story to tell and I'm sure anyone who's anyone has already heard it anyway. Our first date. It was the beginning of a lifetime together for you. It was just a first date for me. Well, an important first date that I tried hard to look nice for...
"Why are you wearing that?" you genuinely-but-I-didn't-realize-was-truly-genuine asked.
I just gave you a puzzled look. "It's a short-sleeved sweater. I tried to look nice."
In your defense, it was July; however, I was already turned off to any potential hand-holding that evening. No matter; you tried anyway. We were sitting on the couch. You went for the hand.
"I'm thirsty. Would you like something to drink?" I held onto that glass for dear life. You were oblivious.
You went for the knee. Boy sure is persistent. I pulled my knees up to my chest. That oughta do it.
Nope. You went for the ankle. The ankle. Is there no stopping this kid? I didn't dare adjust again for fear of what you might try next.
At least I knew you couldn't get enough of me—which is good to know now, considering I don't spend three hours picking out a sweater you think is impractical for chasing around a toddler with dirty hands. And you are still persistent with your it's-good-to-be-home kisses, no matter how I look.

I love that you are money conscious.
I so do wish I had a picture of this story. Oh, about three months into our marriage, I came home from work one afternoon to unlock a door that smelled strongly of bananas. Smells like Curtis is frying bananas, I thought. Oh, was I wrong. I opened that door only to hit a wall of banana. Literally. I saw you sitting in the middle of the kitchen floor with bananas strewn all over the counter (we had a lot of counter space), the table, and the floor. You were peeling banana after banana and placing them into freezer bags.
"Macey's had a sale on bananas today!" you said with glee. Clearly, I thought. "I saw a box of bananas with a sign that said '$3' on it. I asked the produce manager if it was for real. He said, 'Yes! Here...' and even tossed in more bananas! I weighed them when I came home, and we got something like 46 pounds of bananas. For $3. Jessie, that's like 6 cents per pound."
This experience was one of the first times I saw your passion for finding ways to save money. You have since taught me the joy of cooking from scratch, growing a garden, and doing things ourselves (from changing our own oil to making our own laundry detergent) in an effort to save money. I knew we would always live in plenty.

I love that you are knowledgeable.
I'm not sure the first time I heard Bernoulli's name, but it's safe to say he's awfully proud of you for making his principle a regular topic of our road trips. When I ask you questions about why the mud is splattered in different patterns on the backs of differently shaped vehicles, I don't always care to know the full answer. However, I do love road trips because I feel so full of knowledge when we finally reach our destination. You teach me about physics, such as thermal expansion and Bernoulli's principle, and a lot of other useless bits of information, such as the history and variety of names for a horse-drawn carriage ("Fetch me a handsome, Watson!"). I'm honestly surprised when you (rarely) don't have a definitive answer for something I ask, but you "know enough to figure it out. And it's probably correct." I, on the other hand, do not know much about the way the world works, but I do know that you'll be Sebastian's favorite when he learns the word "why."

I love that you are forgiving.
This story isn't so much about you as it is about what you've taught me. You know me: I've been known to hold grudges. You forgive instantly. In our relationship, this is great for me but not so much for you. However, I remember the first time actively chose to forgive you on the spot.
We were driving from Provo to Murray for a family function at Aunt Kim's house. And then we were pulled over. Anyone who's driven on I-15 knows that no one drives 65 mph. That Sunday was no different. Except you, who was driving maybe 5 over, were singled out by that mean officer. "Keep it at 65. That's a $180 ticket." He threw a slip of paper into the car and walked off.
Inside, I was pretty irritated. Outside, I probably looked irritated as well. We finished the drive in silence. When we arrived, you came over to open my door because I was apparently too ticked to open it myself. I stepped out and chose to hug you. You looked shocked!
"I guess we'll be donating plasma this week to take care of that ticket," I smiled.
"You're not mad? I've been so afraid that you'd be mad at me all week." You were nearly in tears. My heart instantly melted. That was what you were worried about. Not about the $180—but about our relationship. We ended up having a splendid evening with the family, which would not have happened if I had chosen to hold a grudge.
The next day, I dug through the car to find that ticket. I looked at it carefully. It didn't look like a ticket; it looked like a warning. I guess the officer was just reminding us that speeding can cost roughly $180. I was relieved that I chose not to be angry with you, for if I had, it would have been over nothing at all.

I love that you embrace who I want to be.
When you were nearing the end of your mission, I deliberately remember thinking, Gosh, Curtis is probably a conservative boy. I guess I need to grow out my hair. So I did. Over the next year, I slowly let my locks grow to my shoulders. About a month into our marriage, I whispered to you solemnly during church.
"Curtis, I don't feel that I've been totally honest with you. I have something that I need to tell you."
Those words probably aren't the most comforting to hear shortly after you've married someone (and especially in church), but it's good this story ends well.
"It's my hair. It's just not...me."
"Well, what would you like to do about it?"
"I think I'd like to cut it."
"Ok. Cut it."
"Really? Don't guys like you love girls with long hair?"
"I just love you."
"But I'd like to cut it short."
"But I'm not sure..."
"Jessie, by the time I get home from church today, your hair better be gone."
"Yes, dear."
I came home while you helped the bishop count tithing and hacked away at my head with my long-lost scissors. Free at last!
I'm not sure I was fully aware of how wonderful of a trait this was in you. You always encourage me to do things that I really want to do, things that will help me be myself and be happy. I never have to be afraid of telling you I want something because I know you will always support me. Cutting my hair. Living in Japan (that's another story). Getting another bachelor's degree. Serving only salad for dinner. Working while you stay home with Sebastian. Dying my hair purple. Taking naps during the day. Using cloth diapers. And not only do you support me, you trust me. That is what free feels like.

Now, this list is in no way complete, but I figured it was a good start to help us remember why we are so good together. Four years has gone by fast, but at the same time, it feels as if this is always how it was meant to be. I love you and I'm grateful for you. Happy anniversary, Curtis.

21 April 2014

Starting Fresh

One winter, while President Dieter F. Uchtdorf was skiing with his 12-year-old grandson, he lost control on an icy patch, crash landed in the powder, and sat helplessly alone.

"I tried every trick to stand up, but I couldn't—I had fallen, and I couldn't get up.

"I began to wonder what it would take to rescue me. That was when my grandson came to my side. I told him what had happened, but he didn't seem very interested in my explanations of why I couldn't get up. He looked me in the eyes, reached out, took my hand, and in a firm tone said, 'Opa, you can do it now!'

"Instantly, I stood."

Today, I'm going to stand. It's taken me four years, but I "can do it now."

That's right. I'm finally starting our family blog. 

Over the last four years, I have kept talking myself out of starting this blog because I didn't start from the beginning. I have this thing—an enslavement, if you will—that prevents me from wanting items in an incomplete set. For example, because I didn't buy a marching band t-shirt that depicted our show (In the Spring, When Kings Go Off to War) my freshman year, I couldn't bring myself to buy one any other year, including the year I was a drum major. Same scenario with yearbooks. Get this—since we didn't start sending out Christmas cards until our third year of marriage, I actually had to go back and recreate fake Christmas cards from our first two years if I wanted to keep any of them. I chose a representative picture, wrote very-after-the-fact highlights of our year, and ordered just one copy for myself—to what? convince my distant-future self that I was on the ball with Christmas cards from the very start?

Despite this "thing" of mine, if there is one lesson I learned from my reflections on Easter this year, it's that it is never too late. Because of Him, we all have the chance to stand up after we fall—even if we've been on the ground for what feels like too long.

Without further ado, let me introduce you to our family:

I'll do my best to give chronological glimpses into our life, but don't be surprised if I have to go back and recreate blog posts on old memories. At least they won't be fake.