Sunday Letter

Dear husband,

Thank you for my new phone. This game where I yell out, “Whose number is this?” and you use the search feature to check my Google contacts is pretty fun. Maybe eventually I’ll put them all back in my phone, but for now I’m really enjoying the guessing game behind it all. I’m still not sure where we got the idea to switch phone companies, sell our old phones, change our minds, and switch back, but it’s been a good week for life lessons. I’m sorry you have to wait until November to get a new one, but by then you can tell me about all the new bells and whistles and fancies it has, and I’ll pretend to be jealous. I’m still not sure what higher power kept you from taking this phone yourself and giving me the less desirable one; that’s something I would have thought even Jesus himself wouldn’t have been able to overcome in you. Thanks for being selfless.

I still can’t believe that Zeb and I had the whole night to ourselves this week. I could have sworn you were going to be home for my fancy dinner, but it was sort of fun to eat it all myself. Thanks for bringing the Sonic drink at midnight as a peace offering. I’m not even sad that it kept me up until 4am- it was worth every drink. For our next fancy dinner I think we’ll just have salmon. Unless you’re up for cooking the lobsters.

I had so much fun with you last night. Thanks for cooking fajitas and taking me for ice cream while we listened to Robert Johnson and the sound of planes landing so close by. It was just the perfect mingling of two separate centuries, mixed together with all our thoughts and the faint scent of mint chocolate chip.

Cheers to being your bride-

Jen

The Adventures of Zeb

Welcome to the adventures of Zeb. Zeb is, of course, the lobster I killed last night after lots of prayer and a glass of wine. Okay, two glasses of wine. I would have been able to do it minus the vino had Zeb been dead upon purchase. But if you buy a dead lobster, let’s be honest; there’s really no reason to name him.

After much research on the subject of boiling a lobster, I realized two things. One, I can do this. And two, researching anything online leads you to some pretty interesting websites. See below:

Some say that you can ‘hypnotize’ a lobster by rubbing the top of its head or its abdomen, thereby pacifying it before boiling. The theory is that the adrenaline produced by a frightened lobster adversely affects the texture and flavor of the meat. I have never seen or tasted any evidence of this, but if you want to cover all possible bases, go ahead and hypnotize your lobster.

I made fun of this guy in my head until I actually tried to boil Zeb. It was then that I realized that his lifeless little body wasn’t so lifeless, and hypnosis would have been my best friend. For when I put him in the boiling water, he began to squirm and proceeded to use his tail to grasp onto the side of my not-so-lobster-sized pot and pry himself out. Even writing this, I’m feeling squeamish. I gasped heartily, grabbed the tongs, and tried to maneuver him back into the water. There was lots of splashing and wrestling, and right before I passed out, Zeb relinquished. At this point I debated on a third glass of wine, but decided against it for the sake of my lemon butter. I set the timer for ten minutes (the standard time I gathered from about 15 different sites) and proceeded to wait.

After taking Zeb out of the water I started to dig the meat out. This would have been much easier had I owned a lobster cracker, but after multiple trips to several stores I settled on my kitchen knife and a pair of scissors from Hobby Lobby. It eventually yielded acceptable results, though I soon began to realize why no one bothers to cook lobster. It’s not because it’s difficult to prepare, but because it takes so much work to eat. I’m not sure who decided to make this a worldwide delicacy, but if he’s still alive I’d like to talk with him. It really was delicious with the amazing lemon butter and savory meat, but in the end, all you really have are bits of shell and a wine cork that smells strongly of lobster.

Rest in peace, Zeb.

Lobster Day

Today is “clean out the pile of crap in our bedroom that we meant to donate months ago” day. I have a love/hate relationship with these days. They’re so hard to get started, but once you’re on a roll, you want to get rid of EVERYTHING. Fortunately for us, we’re able to hand all of our goodies to a family that’s having a garage sale, they keep the money, and we never see our stuff again. (Thanks, Jen!)

Today is also “let’s learn how to cook a lobster” day. I don’t really know what happened- I think I read too many Martha Stewart Living articles on how to have the ideal summer party. Tonight’s party is just going to include the husband and I, but maybe if I perfect this lobsterness, we can have the ideal summer party too. As long as our lobsters don’t have us for the party first.

What are you learning today? Has anyone ever cooked a lobster?

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In Love and War

Last Wednesday, as we walked into church for our congregation’s monthly prayer meeting, Kyle and I were in the midst of a domestic dispute. I can’t quite remember what it was about- I was probably irritated about not having eaten dinner or Kyle was upset because I seemed distracted by the fact that he was texting while telling me a story. Either way, it was something really mature. We walked in a few minutes late (because there’s always plenty of seating at prayer meetings) and both sat down in a huff, arms crossed, ready to address the triune God in all his glory. Almost immediately the pastor stands up and says, “Father, thank you for this time for us to gather in your name. Please bless our time together, heal broken marriages…” at which point I feel my husband’s strong finger poking in my back. This brought on some very serious giggles, followed by a snort, which was followed up with stares from the ones who were actually mature enough to attend the prayer meeting.

Sometimes I’m not sure what we’re doing. I honestly think we both had very realistic expectations going into marriage. But sometimes I think our expectations were of what our marriage should be. Not what we thought it would be. When you’re dating, it actually seems very realistic to think you’ll spend lots of time talking, dreaming, and gazing into one another’s eyes in marriage. That’s what you do when you’re dating. It’s easy to think that’s what marriage should be like because it’s all you know of love at that point. You think you’ll never argue over finances because you were each great at managing your own. You’ll never get tired of being together because you always had the opportunity to go home.

Well, my friends, we’re still working on all these things. It’s difficult for me to be realistic about our time together because I genuinely want more of it. It’s difficult for Kyle to relax a little on finances because he genuinely wants to buy a house in the semi-near future. When these things are matters of the heart, we realize that it’s about more than compromise.

And some days, changing the heart seems like the most impossible task in the world.

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A Small Focus

Sometimes I try to mentally rewind to before we were married, to try and remember my view on marriage as a single woman. I often find it difficult to remember my emotions and thoughts from a former period in my life, though I suppose this is meant to happen, lest we live our current lives with our hearts in the past.

After almost a full year of wedded bliss, I think most of what I expected from marriage has happened. Living with a boy is difficult but doable, and having two sets of emotions under one roof hasn’t made anything spontaneously combust. Even though some days I wanted to physically combust my husband. Our dynamic with friendships has changed some, partly because we moved to a new city, and partly because when you’re married, the best thing at the end of the day is to come home to someone who loves you more than anyone else.

I think in any scenario when you’re looking forward to the future (which would ideally be all stages in life) you put a certain level of expectation on that next phase. On going from high school to college, on being single to being married, on being a couple to being a full-fledged family. There’s always the stir of excitement, of new responsibilities, new things to decorate (girl stuff), and experiencing things for the first time. In each stage, we have a time of preparation, a time when everything else fades away and we focus solely on becoming who we need to be for where God is taking us next. I found a journal entry from our engagement that simply had four items.

March 24, 2010 6:30am

– Pikes Place Roast. Four creamers.
– Yellow sheet of paper
– Listen to listen, not to form a comeback
– Read his love languages.

This is such a great picture of our marriage counseling, not only because we were sneaking around at crazy hours trying to avoid scrutiny from co-workers and friends, but because we simply took one thing at a time to focus on. For me, the best thing to do right now is not to focus on the next stage in life, but to have three or four tiny goals to make my marriage better every day. Right now, these would look like this.

May 3, 2011 8:26am

Speak with kindness.
Choose your words carefully.
Pray for your husband.

And in these times of small focus, everything else seems to fade away. At least until it’s time to bring it into the light.

Farmers Market Trip

The last few days in Dallas have been particularly rainy and dreary. In order to combat this, we’ve been taking part in things that bring sunshine to the soul. Project one: Dallas Farmers Market. This is something I’ve been wanting to do since we moved to Dallas almost a year ago, but no worries; we went twice this weekend to make up for it.

Initially, I wasn’t sure about all the tropical fruits, knowing you can’t grow pineapples in Texas. But after some looking around, we found the local farmer section. The husband and I purchased some new potatoes and green beans, along with some non-local pears and tangelos. We had a great time just walking around and felt like we’d eaten a meal when we left thanks to all the generous vendors with samples aplenty.


Now we just can’t wait to cook and eat all our new finds. I’m already excited about their list of April and May classes. What did you do this weekend? Have you ever visited the farmers market in your area?

A Sunday Letter

Hey hey husband-

I sort of can’t believe the royal couple stole our favorite kiddy names. I mean who isn’t going to name their kids William and Kate in the next ten years? We’re definitely going to have to reconsider. I’m not naming our littles anything ranking in the top 50 most popular names, mostly because I’m one of about 8 million Jennifers born in the 1980’s. Right now, some options are Howard and Doris. Great thing we have lots of time to keep looking.

I have two very favorite things from this week. One has absolutely nothing to do with you, but that’s only because you didn’t know what milk frothers were before I got one as a gift. The other one is all you. Thanks for letting me play fake golf with you in the yard this weekend. I had so much fun, even though I lost all four games in a row. Thanks for letting me start the scores over whenever I felt that a win was just beyond my reach. That isn’t why I married you, but it would have been part of it had we played fake golf during our courtship. Next time let’s invite that fun looking neighbor girl. I think we could definitely be friends.

Thanks for always encouraging me to learn new things, even when they seem frivolous. I know my hobby bouncing makes you crazy sometimes, but this life is so short and there are just too many things to figure out. I know this will make me one of those old people who always calls themselves, “a jack of all trades and a master of none!” I rather despise this phrase and realize it might become a detriment to our marriage as a whole, but let’s be honest. There’s just nothing left to describe me. I’m not in any hurry to purchase a house, but it will definitely open up a whole new realm of possibilites in the hobby department. Gardening and canning vegetables? Now that one is practical. I promise promise.

I think I could bump Jude up the list.

Na na na na na na na.

xoxo

A Royal Morning

Tomorrow is a rather normal day in the Porter home, we’re both off work, will probably go on a walk, maybe to a few thrift stores, have lunch. Oh, and we’re both definitely waking up at 4:30am to watch the royal wedding.

That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, we’re probably affecting our sleep schedules for the next 3 days to partake via technology in the “Wedding o’ the Century.” I’m still trying to convince Kyle that it should include mimosas to pry me out of bed, but he says it’s too early. However, I’m doing my best to find other reasons to get excited.

I am fascinated with fascinators. A term which has escaped me for far too long, the fascinator is what all the British wear to any fancy occasion. A trend I’m dying to bring back to America. Here are some of my favorites off Etsy. I’m thinking of making my own, though I can’t decide what colors would go best with my sweatpants.

via bridalcouture on etsy
via theheadbandshoppe on etsy
via bridalcouture on etsy

If your wedding is coming up and you’ve invited us, don’t be surprised to see me in a fancy black hat like the one above. I’ll sit in the back so everyone can see. Oh, and if you’re not feeling the hype, go back and read this post with a British accent. It’s much more festive. Darling.

Will you be watching the Royal Wedding?

I Am What I Am

If you are what you eat, then I am a giant vat of kettle corn. Ask me on any given day, and I am usually a large container of chips and salsa, but we recently discovered a recipe for homemade kettle corn. This stovetop popper is the best wedding gift we received (thanks to everyone who gave us Bed, Bath, and Beyond gift cards) and we use it more than anything else. The sugary salty crunchy goodness has become part of my life; the recipe, part of my brain.

2 T oil
1/2 c kernels
1/4 c sugar
1/2 t salt
Stir, stir, stir. Yum, yum, yum.

If you are what you read, I am a middle aged black woman working for a white woman in Jackson, Mississippi in 1962. I don’t know much about what civil rights are, I just do as I’m told, use what I’m supposed to use, and keep their houses clean, their kids raised. Until I have the chance to tell my story, in a book no less. Three cheers for Kathryn Stockett on this one, and three cheers for Becca for letting me borrow it.

And if you are who you hang out with, I am an 18 month old little girl with lots of personality and the ability to entertain myself with almost anything I can get my hands on. My favorite words are “go go,” “nacks,” and, of course, “no.” I love going to the park, watching Yo Gabba Gabba, and eating fruit. Life is really good, even though I don’t know it yet.

What are you surrounding yourself with this week?

Our First Easter

Yesterday, we got another badge on our grownup marriage vest. We spent our first married Easter in Dallas.

After a full morning of church, we feigned a real Easter dinner with some other 20 something pretend grownups. And it actually turned out to be pretty legit. There were fancy things like crescent rolls, green bean casserole, an actual baked ham, and a homemade pound cake with toppings. For the day, with all eleven of us and the two tiny ones, it sort of felt like being with family. There was laughing and crying (not any of the adults, thank goodness) and shared cleanup and games in the yard. There was nap time and life discussion and then there was even a birthday party. With more food and more games and the pitter patter of some rain on the roof, though we couldn’t really hear it from all the game-induced giggles.

All in all, it was a successful Easter, though I’m still not entirely sure what the Easter Bunny is for. Am I supposed to get my kids to believe in him like Santa? Is he supposed to leave eggs in the yard for them to find when they wake up? Or is he just some mythical creature we celebrate in the form of milk chocolate and eggs? Does anyone realize that bunnies don’t actually lay eggs?

Someone help me.

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