A Final Letter. Or Two or Three.

Dear marriage-

Sometimes you’re like another human being in our lives. One day you’re fun and silly, the next you’re confusing us with your seriousness, and some days we’re not sure what you’re feeling at all. But we all live under this roof together and try to make it all work: love and friendship and passion and grace and all our paperback books. We weren’t quite sure about this “two become one” thing initially, but the longer we battle through these things, the more we start to look like one another. And more like the one who created us all. I think we’ll keep meeting every day, but go easy on us for the next few decades. Life is about to get really interesting.

Dear Kyle-

Thanks for making me do difficult things, even when I don’t feel like it. You know that I struggle with being consistent in anything, but you’ve taught me nothing since I met you if not that discipline is the key to any success. You are the most disciplined person I know, which is mostly good, but sad when I want to play and you have to write. It makes me feel like a puppy and like you’re an old lazy dog, so confused by my scampers and hops but still focused on what you’re doing. Thanks for putting up with me and carrying dragging me through so many things. I have nothing but faith in you.

Jen

Dear Jen-

Thank you for carrying me when I needed it and loving me when I didn’t want it. This last year with you has been spectacular, the full physical manifestation of all my hopes and fears and dreams about relationship between two people. Living together has been tough at times and not very much fun at others, but I wouldn’t trade it for easy, I wouldn’t trade it for frictionless or less complex either. It’s been worthy and I think when you get married that’s really all you can ask for. Just think, only 49 (or so) more years. Most of which will be filled with other little people who further complicate our lives.

Always,
Kyle

Dear readers –

This blog would be little more than the working out of our relationship in the abyss of the internet without you guys coming to our site every day. Sometimes that was scary but we were always grateful for your feedback, your thoughts, your (sometimes spirited) opinions, and your love. And on love, writing on this blog every day has been a labor of such. We went through phases: first we loved it, then we loathed it, then we didn’t know what to do with it, then we loved it again, then it was time for it to end, and now we’re here.

I’m not sure it ever grew into what we wanted but that’s okay because we loved it for what it was. And we’re hopeful that it was something to you: encouragement, inspiration, hope, anything really, anything that moved your soul closer to the Lord and farther away from the things of this world. I think we’ll probably be around in some form or fashion in the coming months. We aren’t sure quite yet what our next project will be but we’ll alert our Twitter followers as soon as we know. If you aren’t following yet you can do so here. Thanks for reading- we hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as we have.

-Kyle and Jen

Let the Countdown Begin

Sometimes we look at the past year and wonder how it’s gone so quickly. Other times we wonder how we’ve only been married for one year and not ten. With eleven days left to go in our “Julie and Julia” blog project, we’ve got a bittersweet feeling that comes with the end of any era. We’ve been praying about what to do with this thing since January, and we both feel like the Lord has given us much closure in moving on, in letting it be a digitally tangible example of how we lived, what we ate, and who we met during our first year of marriage. The husband is already on to new projects, and the wife can’t possibly stay out of writing for long, though God only knows when she’ll commit to doing anything for longer than a week. We pray for that daily.

All that to say, we’d like to use this post as an opportunity to answer questions about marriage, about blogging, about anything you’d like to know from us (silly or not). If no one participates, it will just be like every other post on this blog. But at this point, with eleven days left, we’ve really got nothing to lose!

Have at it: If you could ask us one question, what would it be?

Snowpocalypse

We rarely compose posts together, mostly because we haven’t learned to work well together in writing, which is ironic since this is a marriage blog. But today we’re both contributors to a vaguely entertaining post to help you make it through your separation from all of humanity.

As a girl, I enjoy clean, dry fun. This is unfortunate because snow games don’t generally fall under those two categories. But growing up, my favorite memories of snow involved my dad, my sister, and a big red sled. My grandparents lived over a large hill which was perfect for sledding, and if we couldn’t drive up it, we’d park at the bottom and trudge our way to the top, red noses and oversized boots in tow. Our backyard snow adventures left my mom’s dryer running constantly for days on end, working only to dry us out long enough for us to get soaked again. And as mild and wonderful as our first Dallas winter has been, I must admit that my heart finds itself a bit jealous at the thought of so much snow back home, with days off work and board games and hot chili abounding. While you’re all waiting on the white death, remember to see the beauty in it all. And send us some pics!

I was a little less romantic and a tad more adventurous in my gallanting as a young lad.

My buddies and I would troll our neighborhood snagging icicles, molding snowdrifts, and precisely packing dozens upon dozens upon dozens of snowballs. We’d man our boy-made forts and wait for the signal.

Who were we waging war against? I have absolutely no idea. I think sometimes it was each other, other times an unsuspecting neighborhood family, or, if we were feeling especially dicey our parents as they got home for work.

See for us snow days meant engineering prowess, architectural ingenuity, and utter domination of any and all who would dare enter our fortresses of dominion. Like I said, less romantic than Jen, more adventurous. We’re meeting in the middle now though as I’m now subjected to things like “let’s make a rug out of old skirt material” or “can we read Norah Jones lyrics aloud to each other all day?!?”

Somebody toss an icecicle dagger for me today (at an imaginary intruder of course…not a real person)

What’s your favorite snow memory?

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A Tale of Two Games

Last night we went to a Thunder/ Mavs game here in Dallas. We had a lot of fun and these were the highlights:

From Kyle:

I texted Jen at like 6:10 last night with something like, “hey, do you want to go to the Mavs Thunder game tonight?” I expected one of the following responses…

“Who are the Mavs?”
“No, tonight I’m introducing you to three new wines I discovered and we’re watching 7 Gilmore Girls episodes”
“I have better things to do than waste my time on sports events”
“?”

That’s it, that was my range of expectations.

Instead I got, “Yes, what time are we leaving.”

Whoa.

Not only was I going to get to see my man-crush of 5 years (Kevin Durant) but my wife was willingly subjecting herself to finding a parking spot, scalping tickets, and sitting through 150 minutes of basketball? As the kids these days like to say, boo-yah.

So we made the 6-minute drive to American Airlines Center, couldn’t find parking, and ended up driving around for 20+ minutes looking for a free spot. At this point we’re already 10 minutes late and still don’t have tickets. All I could think was “Durant is probably 7 buckets into a 50-point night and I’m going to miss it.” I was seething. We ended up parking illegally at a bank and I started borderline sprinting for the arena as Jen proceeded to grab my arm with her hand and walk at a pace that would make Betty White look like Usain Bolt. “My hands are cold!” she said, “Durant is playing!” I replied. Marriage! It’s awesome!

We finally arrived at the stadium (after I almost got smoked by an SUV) and Jen even helped me scalp a pair of terrible tickets. Much to my chagrin (and her delight) the game hadn’t even started when we walked through the doors. So we climbed Everest made our way to our seats and settled in for a fun night of hoops and chatting.

You have to understand, watching a sporting event with Jen is like playing Russian roulette with an encyclopedia — I never really know what she’s thinking or what she’s going to say. Seriously, I’ve heard everything from “that [running back] looks a lot like Zacchaeus” to “seriously Kyle, athletic departments are like the government — they collect all the money made by the football teams and redistribute it to the teams that don’t make any money.” A profound statement for sure, especially coming from someone who, 5 minutes after the game ended last night said, “did we win?”

From Jen:

1. The American Airlines Center is only 5 minutes from where we live. Major score here. It meant no late night driving for Kyle while I sleep in the passenger seat on the way home.

2. I had my first run-in with a scalper. I actually talked back to a guy with a mouth full of solid gold. I have no idea what got into me (the only people I’ve ever talked back to are my parents and my husband), but Kyle’s going to start wearing bulletproof gear when we venture out onto the city streets at night.

3. There were two mass exoduses; one during halftime and one with 5 minutes left. During the first, we looked around and noticed a half-eaten bag of peanuts under the seat above us. We started sneaking them out one at a time, but as time went on, I realized the peanut owner wasn’t coming back. So I snatched the whole bag. This was really fun until Kyle got nervous and started looking around for the police or a lightening bolt. He never does anything wrong. He’s like Tebow. He makes perfectly good peanuts taste like sin.

4. I really loved getting to hang out with my husband. He lets me make fake sports references and people watch all I want, and he even lets me buy cotton candy when I grovel and beg.

I know you’re picturing me twiddling my thumbs and eyeballing peanuts all night, but I really enjoyed watching the game. I even yelled out a “Get the rebound!!!” with 4:34 left in the 4th quarter and threw up a fist pump for a KD dunk.

Cheers and Thunder up!

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A Porter Style Christmas

Our holiday weekend consisted of some pretty basic things which included eating, last minute shopping (for each other) and eating some more. We played games, we opened gifts, talked about “the good ol’ days,” and laughed a lot. Here are some pics and a little loot we came away with.


Kyle’s dad and bro…suave.


All the kids gathered around papa Kyle for story time!


(most of) the Porter/Goodwin fam including the latest addition…and someone in the top right corner who apparently wants to be an addition…


Kevin in his sock monkey onesie.


Jen opening her new pride and joy. Good thing too since Kyle traipsed 8 mile and had to negotiate with some people of questionable morals to snag that bad boy…


It’d be a lot “cooler” if those headphones were actually plugged into something…


All the fun we could handle…

Day 5 – A Double Giveaway

Congrats to Brittany W. on winning the coffee + cozy and thanks to everybody who entered, your comments were killing us.

Hip hip, hooray for a giveaway times two! That’s right- because we love you guys so much (or because we couldn’t come to an agreement) we’re giving away two delightful gifts. One for him and one for her.

For the girls –

I know we make a lot of jokes about the fact that I’d give up any of my appendages to have Domino magazine back, but there aren’t many things closer to my heart. And then, there was the Domino Book of Decorating. Before I owned this book, I used to frequent the local book store and read it in segments. Every page is full of color and life in every style imaginable. To steal words from the cover, “This book demystifies the decorating process and provides the tools for making spaces that are personal, functional, and fabulous. It’s the new decor bible for how we live today.” *sigh* What more could a girl ask for? Except a free copy?

For the boys –

Guys, I’m sorry. I’m sorry we talk so much on here about Etsy and Jen’s always putting up pictures of her crafts and I’m talking about The Pioneer Woman like she’s family. You deserve better than that. Well, actually you probably don’t since 75% of our readers are girls but this is me trying to give you better.

Simmons’ hoops book was easily (and I mean it wasn’t even close) my favorite guilty reading pleasure of 2010. I read the hardcover version this summer but don’t worry we’re giving away the newly-released paperback with dozens of pages of new material on Kobe and DWade and LeBron’s new legacy and how KD has an outside shot at being the greatest basketball player who has ever walked on planet earth. Like I said, don’t worry.

Plus it makes for a great Christmas break read. Only 700+ pages worth of hysterical nonsense on sports, culture, and history as only Simmons can write it. I probably won’t be spinning it into a spiritual post on my marriage where I compare Jen to an aging Bill Russell but it should be on your gift guide nonetheless.

Girls – give us your favorite magazine of all-time to enter the Domino giveaway.
Fellas – give us your favorite athlete of all-time to enter the Book of Basketball giveaway.

Jen just brought up the fact that “some guys out there might want to get into the world of decorating.” I don’t know if that…umm…”demographic” is a big part of our readership but guys I suppose you can comment on your favorite mag to win the Domino book and girls can comment on an athlete to win Simmons’ book.

Good luck!

This giveaway ends on Sunday night at 11:59 CST

Day 1 – 12 Songs For Christmas

You know how last Saturday we asked all of you to give us the Christmas albums you were rocking out to this Holiday season? That was partly selfish in an “I’m too lazy to peruse iTunes” kind of way but also partly a bit of foreshadowing for today.

See, we were going to just wrap up a nice little iTunes gift card to our winner but who puts “iTunes gift card” in their Christmas gift guide? I’m actually raising my hand right now because I love getting iTunes gift cards for Christmas, but, seriously, how dull is that? Incidentally I’m typing this one-handed because I’m still raising my hand.

Anyway, instead of boring you with a gift card we decided to put together a little 12-song 2010 Christmas music guide (descriptions by Jen) to go with your egg nog spiced cinnamon caramel whole milk latte (those are real, right?). To win our album (we have an album!) all you need to do is write your favorite season (spring, summer, fall, winter) in the comments below and we’ll pick a winner Friday. The playlist will be delivered to the winner’s inbox Friday morning to be enjoyed all weekend. Without further ado…

2010 Christmas Music Guide

  1. Snowfall by Ingrid Michaelson – A cute and predictable Ingrid song oozing with wintry goodness.
  2. Christmas Lights by Coldplay – We know this is probably hitting the airwaves like crazy, but there’s a reason. And to think I used to hate Coldplay.
  3. O Tannenbaum by Vince Gaurauldi Trio – Every time I hear this I can taste the egg nog and see us dancing a little ditty in our apartment together. We’ve never actually done that, but a girl can dream, right?
  4. Cool Yule by Louis Armstrong – I love this song so much I actually played it at our wedding in the middle of June. Christmas and Louis Armstrong are celebrated all year in my heart.
  5. I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm by Judy Garland – I also played this one at our wedding. Even if it was 105 degrees out. The warmth of love is so abstract anyway.
  6. Christmas Tonight by Dave Barnes– Our favorite Dave Barnes song on the Christmas album (thanks to all the reader suggestions!)
  7. Sleigh Ride by Harry Connick, Jr. – From one of my favorite Christmas albums of all time.
  8. Winter Song by Sarah Bareilles & Ingrid Michaelson – Two of my all-time favorites collaborate to accidentally perform a song about Jesus. He’s always sneaking himself into the strangest places.
  9. Winterlove by Parachute – One of Kyle’s new favorites.
  10. Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow by Michael Buble – A classic at our house.
  11. Happy Xmas by John Lennon – Johnny from the good years. I think this song is the longest-lived war protest in history.
  12. Auld Lang Syne by Ben Rector – A little something to wrap up the playlist and your 2010. Our goal is for all the world to sing Auld Lang Syne by heart, though it may not happen until 2012.

And technically everybody wins because here are a couple of free Christmas downloads we highly recommend:

Tracks in the Snow and O Come O Come Emmanuel by The Civil Wars

Giveaway is open until 11:59 CST Thursday evening. If for some reason you hate music come back Friday for a new giveaway.

PS: Big thank you to all of you who helped us create our 1st giveaway.

Christmas Ornament Contest

Yesterday we decided to skip church and make Christmas ornaments and eat ice cream. This makes us seem rather immature, but what makes it even more ridiculous is that, of course, we made it into a contest. Mostly Kyle turned it into a contest because he finds no joy in anything unless he’s competing for an award. Because we’re also stubborn, we couldn’t pick a winner between us, so we’ll let you do it.

Why Jen thinks she should win:

“I made the most mess which means I tried harder. Plus who doesn’t love a glitter disco ornament?”


Why Kyle thinks he should win:

“I think my attention to detail and creativity was paramount. Anyone can glue some sequins on a round ball with glue and make it glisten. But it takes talent to peel stickies and wield a sharpie like I did.”


Kyle’s ornaments are on the right and Jen’s are on the left – vote below. Thanks!

October Loves

Lots of inspiration for October, though October in and of itself is usually inspiration enough.

Music
Come On Get Higher – Matt Nathanson
All the Poor & Powerless – Sons & Daughters
Blank Pages – The Album Leaf

Netflix
Mad Men – Season 2 – We thought season 1 was outstanding and season 2 is embarrassing it so far. The jump in quality between the two seasons is unbelievable.
Babies– The long anticipated (by Jen) documentary about the first year of babies growing up around the world. If you’re thinking about being a parent but are afraid you’ll kill your child, just watch this documentary. They’re virtually unbreakable. Note: some nudity occurs.
Born Into Brothels– Another great documentary about the girls growing up in Calcutta’s Red Light district and the reporter who is teaching them a sense of self-worth through their own photography.

Food
Buffalo Bill’s Pumpkin Ale – I can’t imagine anything else screaming “October!” more than drinking this on a chilly night.
Uncle Julios – Great Mexican food + new friends = nights of Dallas awesomeness.

Podcasts
Evernote – We use Evernote to collect all our ideas for this blog and they talk about some interesting data collection information on their podcast. Just for the record, that sounded a LOT less nerdy in my head.

Books
Searching For God Knows What – Read this in Colorado…not Donald Miller’s best work but if you’re wandering (like I always am) it’s a good read.
Respectable Sins – Jen’s girls group is reading this and discussing for the next few months. It’s a convicting book about the sins we consider acceptable in our world, and the grace that covers them all. Perfect for small group discussion or to read with an accountability partner.

Blogs
Messy Canvas – We’ve detailed her work before but we just can’t help ourselves.
Daily Thunder – Blogs like this make me wonder how newspapers are even still around. Really great stuff on the OKC Thunder here.

Sites
Red Velvet Art – I had to scoop Jen up off the floor after she saw this…
OmmWriter or Entri – A pair of writing mediums just a little more inspirational than Microsoft Word.

What did we miss?

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