Friday, September 9, 2011

the learning curve

I find myself defaulting to this phrase quite a bit lately.
No joke.
Ask me about my new job.
Learning curve
Ask me about my new haircut.
Learning curve:
Ask me about my new laptop.
Learning curve:
there's an "x" is on the left!
why is there an "x" on the left?
and why do I have to "quit" even after i push it?
worthless piece of j...
oh wait! 
it saved my doc.
bless you, you little worthless "x" you!

Whether I'm investigating the threat landscape driving enterprises to automate the management of encryption assets across their network infrastructures and in the cloud
(I promise that's written in English...),
or determining how to manage a hairstyle I haven't had since I was four
(it's a tightrope walk between the look that's sassy & sophisticated or a throwback to my first-day-of-kindergarten),
or realizing that it'd be wiser to trouble-shoot before flipping a brick over my brand new Mac's screen brightness function key being broken
(perhaps I might have noticed how the keyboard backlight's rapid fluctuations perfectly matched the pattern of my furious tapping...),
I should have known the Macbook Pro would designate a key for each function.
This sophisticated machine continues to expose my ineptitude for operating such refined equipment.
i hate it.
but i love it.
I'm simply working past a learning curve.

segue to the point of this post
I believe marriage is much the same way.
And though I'm convinced no one ever completely makes it past the learning curve
(with every life change promising a number new challenges
i.e. how to divvy up responsibility for insomniatic babies, whether to take a good cop/bad cop approach with sassy kiddos or ally against them, what to do once elderly Chelsey develops dementia and starts trying to ditch her clothes and run away from home)
I think you round a few considerable corners the first year.

Which, I believe, is exactly what we did.
That's right.
Happy first anniversary to me!
I mean us...
woo woo woo woo woo!

We're a few months late celebrating here in cyber space, but may it be known,
on may 12 of this year,
we joined the ranks of marriage veterans.
yes I am claiming that title.
no, I dont' really think we've earned it just yet.
simmer down sparky.

Parker and I still feel a bit lost on why advice for newlyweds so often includes well wishes for surviving the first year or promises that it will get better. 

Truth is,
we thought it was great! 
every bit of it.

Of course we made adjustments along the way.
Of course we had our moments where we were so spitting mad we wished we could bop a bit of sense into the other
or even push 'em off the bed.
I'm not saying it happened.
I'm just saying it could be a sweet
-and mildly hilarious-
Don't act like you've never thought about it.
Of course we disagreed on what to buy, where to eat, what to do, who to see, and every dumb little thing in between.
i.e. last night.
"Chels,you can't have the whole sheet."
I shoot Parker a sharp look before begrudgingly wriggling my way out of it and handing over his half.
He sits up, fluffs it, smooths it, then plops down right on top of it.
"What are you doing?"
"Going to sleep."
"No...what are you doing with the sheet?"
"I'm laying on it."
"Shouldn't you be under it?"
"It's just so hot.  Why's it always so beedin' hot?"
"You little stink. Why did you ask for it if you didn't even need it?"
"Because I wanted it."
"You wanted it?"
I begin sweetly.
he replies in that same ominously sweet tone. 
He looks at me with wide, knowing eyes,
daring me to make the call for surrender.
"Give it back."
"But you're not even using it."
"I might get cold later."
"But I'm cold right now..."
"Use the blanket."
"That blanket's the size of a towel."
"It's still a blanket..."
"Then you should use it."
"It's too small."
"Well, where's the blanket you usually use?"
"On the floor."
"You should get it."
"You should get it."
"I'm not the one who's cold."
"You're right. I should get the sheet.  You can grab the blanket if you get cold. 
Now give it back."
"Give. it. back."
And just like that the game of tug-of-war begins.
I wind myself tighter and tighter in the sheet, rolling hard to the left in a last ditch attempt to wrench the remainder of the sheet out from under him 
when suddenly,
he relents,
sending me flying off the edge of the bed all cocooned up in that stupid sheet.
And what do I land on?
That stupid blanket.
Parker breaks into hysterics, laughing away in his little Scooby Doo giggle.
"Baby! Did you find the blanket okay?"
I shimmy up to a sitting position,
my nose edging up over the side of the bed.
My eyes narrow.
I quip,
then plop back onto the bed like the same snuggly little sheet bug I'd been 5 minutes prior. 
"I love you baby."
"I lov-a you too Chels."
And then we fell to sleep.
The end.

But I suppose we just always expected we would.
We were as young and crazy in love as the next couple.
As idealistic and optimistic about our future
and every bit as happy.

I just don't think either of us were naive enough to believe that our being a perfect match meant every moment of our forever could or would or should be perfect too.
(not to say we haven't come incredibly close).

With that said,
here's a post in tribute to our first year.
A brief sketch of the many reasons were out of our minds happy and so helplessly, so hopelessly, so desperately in love we could hardly stand it.
And a bit of insight on those moments of understanding, humility, and forgiveness that helped refine and redefine that love.
(note the silver lining of life's little learning curves).

happy reading & happy first anniversary to us...

we have our own interpretations of affection
After a whole year-and-a-half spent fawning over each other,
you'd think we'd have rounded this learning curve like an All-American sprinter.
Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure that sprinter's in need of an intensive nose job with how flat we fell on our faces.
It turns out we weren't only on different pages with respect to this facet of marriage, we were reading different novels altogether.
me? needy? never....
Parker? impassive? no way...
hmm...perhaps we need to redefine what it means to really love and be loved.
because one or the other HAS to be the case if we're this split on our interpretations of the situation...

We quickly realized we'd simply encountered a little hiccup that had nothing to do with either of us being an overly-insecure, compliment & cuddle craving, excessive reassurance seeking head case or detached, unfeeling, emotionless narcissist of a robot.
We simply had very different interpretations of affection.
My fluency in all 5 love languages made me crave the emotional expressions of love valued for their affective appeal,
 while Parker's validation stemmed from the one, maybe two categories that could be gauged by basic logic.
And because pitting emotion against logic never makes for a fun fight,
we decided to have it out and over with ASAP.
and may I say it is THE smartest thing we ever did!

The result:
Parker made a concerted effort to elaborate beyond "I love you's" and abandon his anti-PDA tendencies on occasions a cuddle or kiss would mean oh-so-much to his oh-so-smitten wife,
while Chelsey willed to remember why she so loved his short-but-sweet affirmations of adoration and acknowledge his many subtle expressions of love.
The determination:
He absolutely, positively meant every word he said,
even if those words were few.
And she knew, without question, how deeply he loved her;
she simply needed,
every now and again,
to hear and remember the reasons why.
we be busy
MYTH: When you promise marriage and promise forever you have the promise of spending every second of every day of the rest of eternity together.
While that's true in theory,
I think it's safe to say reality never got the memo.
We've been burning the candle at both ends from the moment we met.
 And marriage, if anything, accelerated our pace from a sprint to an I-forget-what-saliva-feels-like-and-will-be-upchucking-all-my-vital-organs-in-t-minus-10-seconds pace.

But this time the clock met its match.
Projects, meetings, homework, deadlines...
nothing distracted us from making our marriage a priority.
Not that that's much of an accomplishment--
it's easy to make time for the best part of your day.
Aside from bapples
Parker's mine
and aside from biking
 I'm his.
Plain and simple.
And whether we connect for 20 minutes before bed or get away from it all over the weekend,
we always find our way back to each other.
miss you already baby...
we communicate
say what you mean and mean what you say.
our best married friends call it content communication.
If you're upset and he asks what's wrong, tell him.
If you ask him how it looks and he says beautiful, believe him.
If she's planning away your weekend and you're iffy on the guest list, let her know.
If he's missing every hint, please ask for it.
And if you need her help, just say so.
Have we mastered this?
Of course not.
That would mean ditching every deeply ingrained default response and intuitive communication strategy for being 100% honest, authentic, and candid with each other 100% of the time.
We still have those moments where my thinking the answer is so glaringly obvious he should just know is interpreted as a situation that requires an advanced method of mind-reading.
But we're doing exceptionally well.
Because, really, what can't you say when you know love's unconditional?
we downhill mountain bike
I am a terrible student.
Not in the sense that I'm slow on the uptake
or have difficulty grasping concepts.
I'm just not the most teachable being on the planet.
This is evidenced, quite clearly, in my approach to mountain biking.
Parker's happy we have a hobby we can share and so enthusiastic about teaching me all the tips and tricks.
Meanwhile, I'm miffed that I'm not an instant pro and livid that little weenie me is holding him back.  
He thinks I'm progressing famously,
I feel like I can't escape my ineptitude fast enough.
But as often as I'm a stinker on the trail,
he still can't help but smile seeing me out there on my "sexy" bike.
And I can't help but think how lucky I am to have a husband whose love grows for those things he already loves to do when I'm there by his side loving it all too.
And I do love it.
I really do.
And my new sexy bike too!
Besides, my competitive side's always needed a healthy dose of humility.
Better I learn from bikes than babies, right?
Those little munchkins will suffer enough without having to battle a crazy critical self-appointed sideline-coach of a soccer mom too.
we like endorphins
Exercise gives you endorphins.
Endorphins make you happy.
Happy people just don't shoot their husbands;
they just don't!

Leave it to Elle to articulate this better than I ever could.
I've realized two things here.
A. The word "shoot" can be replaced with any action that takes the happy out of a happy marriage.
resent. belittle. needle. nag. discount. disregard. distrust.
etc. etc. etc.
and B. It works both ways!
Happy husbands don't [insert verb here] their wives either.
Because we're both endorphin junkies,
we both make it a point to try,
key word here,
to make exercise a priority.
Because really, what's healthy for you will, 
99.9% of the time, 
be healthy for your relationship too.

Just a few of the plusses?
Thinking our sexy spouses are that much sexier?
 Finding a quick fix for that rush of natural euphoria?
Feeling better equipped and more motivated to tackle energy-sapping projects & assignments?
Taking a few mental health breaks from crazy busy weeks to take care of ourselves?
Feeling better about ourselves and our appearances?
Having that confidence translated into our relationship?
Being able to spend time together doing the things we love? 
Plus. Plus. Plus.
luv 'dem endorphins
and gittin' dem wit my luver-baby.
i'm his bestest friend
and he's mine.

It's funny.
Included in the long list of summer posts I've yet to write are a couple posts dedicated to the weddings of two of my very best friends.
Can you guess what I wanted to title them?
"My best friend's wedding."
and the award for originality goes to...
anyone BUT the hypocritical girl who's undermined her post dedicated to combatting cliches on so many occasions you almost have to feel sorry for her.

But I quickly realized,
A. there's 2 best friends and title
you little creative genius you!
and B. the title's a bit misleading anyway.
Because in truth,
my best friend's wedding was on a windy Wednesday last May.
I remember every detail.
but how could I forget?
it's the day he married me.
When I asked Parker to explain why we're best friends he simply said,
"Best friends do everything together. And I want you with me all the time."
He elaborated on how many couples live his & hers lives.
Hobbies and vacations become getaways where you get to do what you want to do or feel like you can't do when you're together.
"There hasn't ever been a moment where I questioned whether or not I'd be happier having you there with me. I always want you to see what I'm seeing and do what I'm doing because I know you'll love it just like I do and I know I'll love it more because you're there.  Besides, at the end of the day, you're the first one I want to talk to about all of it anyway.  Think of all the time we'd save catching up if you were there experiencing it with me from the start."
Oh my sweet, logical boy.
But it's true.
Having Parker by my side makes the best day even better.
I've never smiled so much in my life
and never met anyone who makes me laugh quite like he does.
details on Parker's funnies still to come.
He's listens to me chatter away and always cares what I have to say.
He's let's me know he's mine and makes sure I know I'm his.
He's my best ally, my closest confidant, and my biggest fan.
He tells me I'm beautiful
inside and out, 
even when I feel so very far from it.
And the most beautiful thing about it is that he really does believe it.
He loves me unconditionally,
loves me more than I know,
and though he insists it can't be true,
I still think I love him more.
We're always on the same page
and always happier together.
And at the end of the day,
he's the friend I want to share all life's adventures with.
best. friends. forever. baby.
we're pretty lucky.
we love the gospel
I'm convinced that all the love in the world could not compensate for what we would lose if we didn't have the blessings of the Gospel in our lives and in our marriage.
I genuinely believe that a marriage built upon principles of faith, hope, charity, and love brings greater possibilities for happiness than anything we'll find in this world or the next.
And having that promise of forever,
knowing my temple marriage can transcend time
and keep me with the love of my life for all eternity
just as long as I continue to live worthy of those blessings,
is all the motivation I need.
And the reality of it is,
when we're living the Gospel of Jesus Christ
--when we're strengthening our testimonies by magnifying our callings, listening in our meetings, attending the temple, studying the scriptures, kneeling together in prayer, and living worthy of the Spirit--
we're exponentially happier in our marriage anyway.
Our relationship sweetens,
our love strengthens,
our appreciation for one another grows,
and we have so much more hope for the future knowing our Heavenly Father will be there to guide us to it.
This is the kind of marriage we want,
and this is the kind of marriage we will always work to keep.
We've felt the difference
and we're convinced,
living, learning, and loving the Gospel brings real happiness to our marriage
and so. much. more.
You can read about what we believe here and here.
we cut hair
These are not buzz cuts where you simply set the level and try to keep a straight line.
In fact, for the first little while, we had a strict no-razor policy.
Which I just discovered had not a single thing to do with our wanting to keep the length but everything to do with his not trusting me to take a razor to his precious blonde locks.
Have any of you similarly inexperienced non-cosmetologists ever attempted an all-scissor cut?
You really only have one of two options.
Be so precise and methodical in your scissor-maneuvering that the cutting process is painfully slow
or take the speedracer approach that almost always ends with you apologizing for the world's worst hack job and weakly promising the section you just snipped to smithereens will grow back really quickly.
Now, to my credit, we've only had one semi-traumatic scissor slip.
In fact, we've even had a handful of GQ-worthy cuts too 
if you don't look too closely.
But even still, 
I think it's safe to say my skill sets translate better to sales & marketing than they ever will to styling.
Parker's since taken ownership of his cuts, enlisting my help with the back and only the back.
which I'm totally ok with.
because really baby,
the back of yo head is ridic-a-lus anyway!


i don't even know what that meant.
moving on...
we're still individuals
Every time I begin to think we've become this amoeba of a being,
I'm reminded of how we are still very much our own individuals.
We have our own preferences, tastes, outlooks, and opinions.
And while we're lucky they overlap as often as they do,
and very lucky we're almost always on the same page,
that doesn't always have to be the case for us to be happy.
Parker thinks it's wasteful,
but unless he's willing to drink my nast-tastic cereal milk, it's going down the drain.
I think using nail polish to fix the paint chips on his bike is pointless,
but unless I can think of a more economical solution, he'll be painting away like a pro.
It's the same thing with kissing pictures,
words with Friends,
trips with friends,
my iPhone,
gum wrappers,
kisses before bed,
gum in the garbage,
make-up in the car,
shower curtains,
couch covers,
kitchen table clutter,
etc. etc. etc.

But notice,
while all these make for fun run-ins and equally funny stories,
not one of the items on the list is a deal breaker.
And so long as that's the case,
I can appreciate every one of our differences.
Because really,
what fun would it be being married to an opinion-chameleon anyway?
we joke around
I'm convinced that laughter is essential to a truly happy marriage.
It's the reason for many of my happiest moments with Parker,
and the sound that echoes in the framework of my best memories.
Laughter's contagious quality is so sweet to me,
and I've seen the ways that sense of playfulness can positively impact our marriage.
It bring us closer together,
gives us greater perspective,
and opens us up to all kinds of new experiences.
What kind of fun can you have when you take every second so seriously?
I love that we can be silly together.
I love our playful altercations, our inside jokes, our invented social cues, our well-intentioned teasing, and our dumb little language too!
Parker wanted me to omit the last line because he didn't want people to think we're one of those couples.
but i love it too much to leave it out.
so...maybe look at it as a more intelligible form of minion-speak with the occasional hint of hillbilly & ebonics.

And because I hope you'll be able to fully appreciate why it is that I find my husband so hilarious,
here are a few gems from the past week.

When a friend suggested Parker invest his back-to-school shopping funds toward a smarter smart phone.
"Dude, that's why I'm taking it to school!"

As we watched the cutest little be-goggled toddler learning how to swim.
"What's up?"
"Could you teach me how to float?"
"Oh Park, everyone knows how to float!"
"I don't..."
he whispers and drops his head in shame.
"I...I'm all muscle!"
cue dramatic sigh.
I know...
the poor baby.

The day Parker couldn't find an open Mac at the library.
"Do you remember what it's like to use a PC?
I had to push down so hard on all those keys...
I felt like I was playing the organ!"
"You don't play the organ Park."
"Well that's why!
Who'd wanna do that to their fingers?  
And then there's the tower just chillin' there takin' up the whole freakin' table.  
If you can put a computer in a phone I'm pretty sure you can make a tower smaller than a cinderblock."
etc. etc. etc.
He'd had a rough day.

The day I came home with a new haircut.
"What do you think?"
"Wait, wait, wait!
I can do this."
"You can do what?"
just listen.

cue monologue of a dialogue.
'Baby do you like my hair?
Yes baby, I love your hair!
You really like it?
I really really like it!
Oh baby, you don't like it.
No I do! It's beautiful!
Like a surfer chick or businesswoman.
Really? You really think so?
I really think so.'

The end."
"Wow. I'm so glad we had that chat."
"Yeah, you know, I feel pretty good about it too."

The weekend I suggested we grab sushi and catch a movie.
"We'll eat 'dem sushis den go to a movie!"

When I packed my pink & white dress to wear to church in Richfield last Sunday.
" picked this one? 

You look like the girl from the Sprint commercials!"
"You mean T-Mobile?"
"That's whud I said."
"That is so not what you said."
"Pretty sure it's whud I said.
Don't worry, I bet you just had bad service.
Not everyone can rule the air."
Apparently my husband is both a fashion critic AND Verizon's newest spokesman.
Congratulations sweetheart.

When I wondered about whether or not I'd have crazy bedhead in the morning.
"I just really hope my hair sleeps well."
"Well baby--hurry up and put it to bed!"
hardy har har.

When asked Parker to cuddle sickly little me to sleep.
He'd banned me from nap time in the bedroom earlier that day because I'd been, quote, "too wiggly" when we'd tried to cuddle on the couch.
"Baby, I'm so sick of bein' a germ bucket!  
I jus' wanna go home, cuddle up in your arms, and fall right to sleep.  
Doesn't that sound so nice?"
"'s just...well...
baby I really do want you to feel better.
I really do! 
But if it's anything like the couch, I just don' wan' it!"
"Ouch Parker."
"I didn't mean it!
Okay I meant it.
Maybe the nighttime drugs will help you lie still?"
He wasn't kidding.
He's been pushin' pills on me since 6 o'clock tonight too.
Apparently they take a "really long time" to kick in.
Oh Parker!
I'd wonder about you if I didn't know how much you love me.
I know you really do have my best interests at heart.
and sometimes yours too

When we had our hands full carrying all our luggage downstairs and Parker looked like a handicap trying to turn the lights off with a hanger.
After watching him struggle for a good 30 seconds.
"Here sweetie, I have a free hand. Let me get it."
"Stop babe!
Lemme get this.
I wanna get this for myself."
He furrows his brow in persistence as I about wet my pants.
love my little handicap
we like to kiss
love sweet kisses!
love 'em when we say hello.
love 'em when we say goodbye.
love 'em when we first wake up.
love 'em when we say goodnight.
love 'em when we're being nice
and sayin' sorry for being mean.
i'll love sweet kisses all my life
so long as they're with Parker B. 
i know, i know, i know!
rhyming is for babies and first grade poetry pieces.
but did you really think I was going to sit here and write a dissertation on how the positive associative effects of kissing make for a stronger, sweeter, spice-up-your-life type marriage?
i didn't think so... 
we say i love you

"Parker, I'm writing a blog..."
"beedin' blog..."
thank you Mr. Bad Attitude.
This is off to a great start.
"...and it's all about you so you might even read it!"
"Lovely.  K, so what is it that surprised you most about our first year of marriage?"
"That girls like to ask beedin' questions like,
what surprised you most about our first year of marriage?"
"Great start sweetie.
unfortunately, that's not really the angle I'm going for.
Let's try again"

"That girls are so beedin'."
Cue my O-KAY-I-understand-you-don't-care-about-this-but-this-very-simple-question-requires-maybe-two-brain-cells-to-come-up-with-a-very-simple-answer-and-the-sooner-we-do-it-the-sooner-it's-done-and-the-sooner-ornery-you-can-go-to-sleep!
He cuts me off close to the start.
"You didn't let me finish."

"I was most surprised that girls are so beedin' insecure."
"Okay! Progress. Would you care to elaborate on that?"
"I think you should elaborate on that..."
"If I do, will you let me go to sleep?"
"Of course sweetie."

I just don't think girls hear anything guys say.
every night, you're like
Parker, do you love me?

And I'm like,
Of course I love you baby.
And you're like,
No you don't. You don't love me.
And I'm like,
Yes I do! I really do love you baby.
And you're like,
But WHY do you love me?
And I'm like,
Oh baby, I love you cuz you're so beautiful and cuz you're my best friend.
And then you're like,
Those aren't good things
cuz you always say those things.
Tell me 4 good things.
And so I tell you 4 good things.
And you're like,
I know all those things too! 
I want to know new reasons.
And I'm like,
I just love you very much baby!  
Can't I just love you very much?
And you're still like,
Nope, you gots ta have reasons!  
And I'm like,
I tolded you all my reasons.
And then I'm like,
Why do you love ME?
And you're like,
I already know why I love you.
I just don't know why you love me.
And then I'm like,
Oh my gosh. Kill me now.

And then you gets your feelings all hurt because you's a girl.
And I has to be all nice even though I'm sooooo tired.
so I cuddle you and hold you and give you lots of tisses.
And then,
just before I fall asleep you tiss my cheek and say,
so you really do love me?
True story.
Girls is beedin' insecure."

I try to suppress a laugh.
"Is that all?"
"That's all."

" in summary,
what most surprised you about marriage is that you can't ever seem to say 'I love you' enough.
Did I get it all?"
I smile.

"You got it all,"
he laughs and he pulls me close.

"I love you beeder."
"Love you too little beeder-ette."

-three things before we move on-
1. What you've just read is a dramatization of real life events--
please note that Parker's heavily biased account is maybe 50% accurate.
2. We've included this sketch for your entertainment. 
The opinions expressed here are those of a quipping couple and do not necessarily reflect the real views of 
Mr. or Mrs. Parker B. DeMille.
3. For the record--Those three-little-words-that-mean-so-much still mean so much to us.
We love saying "i love you" and showing our love too.
because as cliche as it may sound,
when Parker & I can see that we love each other in what we say AND do,
our i love you's mean so much more.
we make messes
do you ever feel like you undo everything you've done so quickly that you wonder why you ever did anything at all?
I talked about this with my mother-in-law & sister-in-law quite a bit this weekend.
And I can't help but think,
if my mother-in-law managed to wash, feed, clean, clothe, raise, love, and pick up after 7 kids,
and my sister-in-law can manage 4 boys' schedules and 30+ hours of football each week,
Parker & I can manage our little family of two.
It's just a matter of finding an approach that doesn't let our schedules get the best of us,
and one we'll both be good at sticking to too.

Parker's more-so a clean-as-you-go type while I'm definitely the deep-clean-do-it-all-at-once-or-not-at-all binge cleaner.
It's made for an interesting dynamic in our relationship.
Parker unpacks the moment he's home from a trip; I live out of my bag til it's empty.
Parker tidies the dining room table often; I wait til I can sort through each piece of mail, return every item to its rightful place, and obliterate any and all signs of dirt, dust, grime, etc.
Parker does a few dishes at a time knowing he'll be more likely to want to take on the next stack if he doesn't burn out on the first; I commit myself to the sink until we've spot checked every last utensil.
I would've thought our varied approaches would make us a cleaning machine!
But unfortunately, we work to one another's disadvantages.
Parker doesn't like to pick up as we go because it's too hard to do alone.
And I don't agree with the out-of-sight, out-of-mind strategy because stowing everything away just to get it out of the way makes it that much more of a time-intensive task when you go to deep clean later.
I can't stand cluttered cupboards.
Parker loathes cluttered counters.
How to compromise?
We shall see.

This is still a work in progress.
We're working on developing a clearcut cleaning program that'll keep Parker sane through the work-week and save Chelsey from dedicating her whole Saturday to the cause.
We'll see what we come up with.
we need A/C
Let the battle of the thermostat begin!
Why is it that our body temperatures never seem to sync up quite the same way our brains do?
On those nights Parker's convinced we live in a sauna,
I'm feeling like I'll be lucky to survive the night with all my fingers and toes. 
And this leads to all sorts of fun.
I crave the cozy warmth of cuddling he sees as torture.
He's BFF's with the same fan that's made itself my enemy.
I bundle up in the pile blankets he wishes we'd confine to the hall cupboard.
etc. etc. etc.

Though it's not making much sense,
I did pick this title for a reason.
It would be oh so nice to have a thermostat;
I feel very much at the mercy of the elements.
But I suppose, if anything,
that'd just compel us to adopt guerilla tactics.
And I'm fairly certain Parker would agree with me when I say that this hot/cold war we're having is preferable to feeling like a couple of menopausal grandmas because we've reverted to making a sneaky temp changes behind each other's backs.

Oh the joys of the first apartment!
At least we have a home to call our own
we learn to live with each other's oCD
Our hypocritical perspectives on this are hilarious.
I'd press Parker to file away his mental checklist so I could have him all to myself.
Parker'd plead with me to see off my project's tunnel vision train for the night so he could cuddle me to sleep. 
We'd heave heavy sighs of exasperation whenever the other couldn't quite part with his/her project,
then somehow suppress those memories of neglect when we were the ones on the manic spree.
two self-proclaimed perfectionists blind to their own unhealthy habits.
too too funny.

Good news...
we finally recognized the similarity of our situations and realized how much we really are two little bugs in a rug.
And because we've both had the opportunity to see it from both sides,
we can sympathize with each other whenever the OCD bug strikes and either 
A. be patient and work to help the other finish what they're so compelled to do
B. snuggle in close by their side and help them see that it's okay,
healthy even,
to take a break and spend a minute with you.

Our greatest strength can be our greatest weakness.
Who knew?

we're patient
as often as we imperfect beings can be.
Patience is tough!
But it is also the indispensable virtue we must practice, practice, practice
when we fully acknowledge the fact that we'll be living together forever--
for all time and eternity.
Patience helps us keep the peace in close quarters and helps us understand the true nature of unconditional love.
When we have patience, we're able to keep peace on our home even when my less-than-lovable idiosyncrasies threaten to drive him up the wall.
my chronic lateness
piles of clothes
knack for forgetting to refill the Brita
tendency to take over the kitchen table
with my purse and paper piles
excessive analogies
etc. etc. etc.
and even when Parker's not-so-cute little quirks have me ready to pull my hair out
his nonchalant attitude toward high-priority assignments
affinity for folding only his half of the laundry pile
refusal to trade me for his side of the bed
resistance to sharing alarm clocks
etc. etc. etc.

 It's funny...
as I read through this list it all seems so petty.
But in the heat of the moment,
patience is the only thing that keeps us from spoiling a perfectly imperfect day with quick criticisms and snide comments.
And the thing of it is,
we oftentimes realize long after the moment's passed
that those less-than-lovable idiosyncrasies and not-so-cute quirks are actually quite endearing!

I love this quote from Elder Wirthlin's Conference address:
"Husbands, be patient with your wives; and wives, be patient with your husbands. Don’t expect perfection. Find agreeable ways to work out the differences that arise. Remember President David O. McKay’s wise counsel regarding marriage: keep your eyes wide open before marriage and half closed afterward. And perhaps, on occasion, our wives could get into the car and honk the horn while we, as husbands, get the children ready."

Hmm...I can picture it all now except for one little detail--
 I'm only rushing to ready myself.
my poor Parker!
good thing we're learning patience early.
we're quirky
Oh the places we could go with this part of the post!
We are very unique individuals 

with more cute little quirks than I can count.
And while learning to live with one another's idiosyncrasies can be a feat,
it has been, 
without a doubt,
at the top of the list of our first-year favorites.
Knowing Parker inside and out gives me that much more of him to love!
And letting him know every piece of me has helped me embrace that vulnerability that allows you to really love and be loved too.

I've touched on our individual quirks all throughout this post,
but here's a few more for curious minds like mine.

in Parker's words
1. She picks out all the best parts of a trail mix package and leaves only the cashews, peanuts, and the raisins if she think they're too salty.
2. She thinks she has to play all her Words With Friends moves on her iPhone before she falls to sleep.  
3. She thinks she needs to know everything and anything about everything. Everything sparks her curiosity.
She'll read up on the life story of a politician whose name's just a plot prop in a movie during the movie or dedicate the entire dinner conversation to learning the backstory on friend's families we likely never meet.

in Chelsey's words
1. Parker treats his cute little basil plant like a puppy.  He talks to it, lets it outside each afternoon for a bit of sunlight, brings it in at night, pays for all sorts of plant vaccines i.e. chemicals to keep the bugs away, and is absolutely ecstatic to show me anytime it's experienced a little growth spurt.  It's seriously so cute.
2.  Parker can't stand wrinkling any of his dress clothes.  He hangs them up the minute we're home from church.  It's great that he takes care to keep his things looking nice & new--he'll make it all last forever! I just wish I had more time to check out my sexy husband. This is my favorite look on him by far.
3.  Parker doesn't like to be fussed over.  He's very independent and feels guilty whenever someone to worries about him, does him a favor, or gives their time on his behalf.
Luckily we learned we'd have to give AND take early enough in our marriage that he's always been great about letting me help.

we need resolution
The only problem,
I need it now.
Parker likes it later.

You can only imagine both our frustration when we're both absolutely exhausted and I
(the girl who can't even think about sleep when things aren't settled)
am pleading with my dear husband 
(the boy who's perfectly okay going to sleep upset b/c he knows he'll be much better equipped to handle it in the morning) 
to talk it out.
The husband who wants to sleep won't talk to the wife who needs to talk.
And wife who needs to talk won't stop talking to the husband who needs to sleep.
I'd say so.

But somehow we found our way to a compromise,
and in doing so engineered a beautifully lush middle ground in what we'd both considered a desolate wasteland.
We still have our moments where we wander in the brush for awhile before finding the way to our happy place,
but we do always find our way there.
And the more often we walk that path,
the easier it is to find our way.
we have sex
lots of it.

Can you tell I had Parker help me brainstorm our ABC's?
Let me recap the conversation for you,
"Ok sweetie. What about the S?"
"Any other ideas?"
I can't think of anything else at the moment,"
cue his trademark coy, flirty smirk.

I've gone back-and-forth trying to decide whether or not to post this,
but in the words of my very astute 10-year-old nephew after his first serious birds-and-the-bees chat,
"When you're married, you can have all the sex you want!"
Well said little one.
And yes, intimacy is part of a happy marriage too.
i'll leave you to sketch out all the reasons why on your own.
these details are for Parker & me.

you may all stop blushing.
we're finished.
you survived it.
no need for rosy cheeks.
we talk
about everything and anything.
and it is so much fun!
who knew talking to a boy could be so much fun?!
I've said this far too many times already,
but it is amazing how often we are on the same page.
And like, not only on the same page,
but the same line,
the same word,
the same consonant!
He's like my brain twin!!!
my brain twin that sees the world from a boy's perspective.
I love it.

seriously though,
I really believe that when you can really talk to each other...
when you can be really open and honest about how you're feeling, 
what you think, 
what you want,
what you need...
when you can help each other grow by shooting straight about what might not be working
or where you can improve,
or how you can be a better you,
or I can be a better me,
or we can be a better us...
when you're genuine and real and authentic in your relationship in your communication,
the big issues don't seem quite so big
because you've been talking about them all along.
There's no time for that build-up that lead to big blow-outs because it's already out there on the table.
You both know where you stand, 
and because you've talked about it,
because you can talk about it,
you're more likely to stand together.

But that's just me.
I've never known how to mute myself,
and try as he might,
Parker can't seem to find the button either.

we'll be talking for a long, long time

btw...I love how talking's taught us to be good listeners too.
yet another reason we don't drink coffee...
we try not to come undone
We are both perfectly imperfect people.
Chelsey can be persistent and cheeky.
Parker can be headstrong and confident.
Both can be stubborn and taken to pride.
This means,
on those occasions we disagree and decide we're determined to see it our own way,
our best qualities become our worst.

Luckily, we've managed rather well.
I worried for awhile.
I knew, when provoked, I'd spew.
And I knew Parker had a short fuse.
It seemed like a lethal combination.

But get this,
it hasn't ever been an issue.
Okay, maybe the one time.
But it didn't get ugly so it doesn't really count.

Maybe it's love?
Maybe it's what changed us.
I know it's the reason I'm so easygoing with Parker
and probably why he's so patient with me.

Whatever it is, 
we've always made is a point to not come undone during our little tiffs,
and I'm glad we've made a conscious effort not to.
Because with two people so stubborn and so easily taken to pride,
it'd be very easy to lose patience with the situation and just come unglued.
But at the end of the day, who wants a knock-down, drag-out, no holds barred fight with the one they love?
What does it accomplish?
I don't know.
I just can't imagine a fight like that doesn't leave its mark.
And who wants to deal with stitches when you can just
band-aid up the bumps & bruises you'll have along the way?
Not me.
stitches freak me out yo! 

That said,
here's an article I found on how to fight fair.
Made me rethink the whole "we're-so-super-awesome-at-fighting" approach I just took.
There's plenty of room for improvement.

happy reading!
we value relationships
We love, love, love our family & friends
and feel so blessed to have such positive influences in our lives.
And even though life keeps us so crazy busy,
we always want to make sure they're a part of it.
Because as backwards as it may seem,
developing relationships with the people around you really does positively impact and strengthen your own.

This is evidenced so well in our approach to the social scene.
We're very different in our motivations/needs.
I crave the social interaction.
I love the perspective and insight each unique personality brings to the conversation and really love mixing & matching friends with family, family with friends, friends with friends.
I'm funny that way.
I like to coordinate people & events and love seeing people happy because of it.
It makes me feel like I've done something worthwhile and it's a bit of a challenge too.
I just love it.
I don't know why but I do.

on the other hand,  
likes familiarity.
He appreciates the camaraderie he feels with those people he's closest to and likes spending time with friends & family who know him well.
It lets him enjoy his free time without feeling pressured to orchestrate the event, make the right first impression, mediate between different circles, maintain an image, etc. etc.
In essence,
he can just be himself and be responsible for himself.
Other people's happiness & success aren't dependent upon him being on his social "A" game all day.
It's easy, relaxing, and it makes for a good time,
and that's the whole point of socializing right?

What's interesting about our relationship then,
is how well we work together.
Being able to spend time on both sides of the social fence has brought a really healthy balance to each of our lives.
I've learned I can relax quite a bit more when I'm not in charge and that I don't always have to be the one taking the initiative to make things happen.
And Parker's realized that the payout you get from making efforts to bring people together is actually pretty sweet.
The ways he's mellowed me and the ways I've amped him up have helped us find a really sweet social dynamic.
Makes me laugh to think how much I fought the whole "opposites attract" theory all those years.
I never would've guessed we'd make such a great match.
Glad to see we complement each other so well.
he wakes me up
I am not good with alarm clocks.
mmmm...that's not quite right.
Let me rephrase.
My subconscious is not good with alarm clocks.
If I absolutely, positively have to be up at a certain time,

I'm up!
And life's great!
But if there's any room for negotiating,
any reason my mind can find to justify even 5 more minutes,
snooze it is!
But this is a problem.
Oh many reasons.
1. I have a knack for hitting "sleep" instead of "snooze."
2. My mind is incredible in its ability to create a very convincing picture of reality. 
I see vivid pictures of my whole morning regime, only to wake up panic-stricken once I realize it was all a dream and
I now have 5 minutes to get my tush dressed and out the door.
3. My subconscious isn't always judicious in its justifying. 
On those mornings it convinces me my hair has one more good day, 
the super-sexy cowlick in the back decides it's immune to all straighteners, curlings irons, hair products, etc. 
On those mornings it sells me on wearing slacks instead of shaving,
 I'm fresh out of clean spandex and have to pack shorts for the gym. 
On those mornings it sways me to disregard the weather reports and spend the extra 15 minutes I'd planned to dedicate to my commute sleeping, 
I end up in bumper-to-bumper traffic because of accidents caused by the rain. 
And on those mornings it decides I'm due an extra 10 minutes just because, 
I spend 15 minutes hunting for my keys.
It is so much fun!
Nope, no actually it isn't.
And because humans seem to have much better success at freeing my from my morning coma
than machines could ever hope to,
I decided to involve my dear husband.

I probably should've just invested in another alarm clock.
We spent the first while bickering about why he should be involved.
"You're perpetuating the problem."
"Baby, all you have to do is say my name."
"I don't see how that's more effective than an alarm."
"People don't have snooze buttons Parker."
"I'm not saying your name 20 times."
"You only have to say it once. I promise. 
I pop right up when I hear my name."
"I really do."

Then we graduated to debating technique.
"I'm up! 
Babe I'm up!
You don't have to rip the covers off me too."
"It's faster. Look how quick you hopped out of bed!"

And finally, we compromised.
"Why not do it when you come to kiss me goodbye before school?
Just come in before you pack your backpack."
"How do I do it?"
"The same way you always do.

Just kiss me and let me know you're leaving.
No shaking, no blanket confiscating, no body-slamming.
It'll be great!"
"Can I squash you?"
"If it's a nice squash."
"And I have to kiss you?"
"You always kiss me..."
"I know. Just checking!"
"so it's a deal?"
"It's a deal."

It's been perfect.
so perfect!

hooray for compromise!
and human alarm clocks too.
whatever would I do without you baby?

be a chronically late, furry little grease monkey?
that's what I'd do.
we express appreciation
"Hem your blessings with thankfulness so they don't unravel."

I stumbled across this sweet quote and had to use it.
My marriage is one of the sweetest blessings in my life.
Am I hemming it with thankfulness so it doesn't unravel?
I hope so.
I hope Parker thinks so too.
Because the longer we're together,
the more likely we'll be to forget how much we appreciated the little things
and take for granted that x, y, and z may not have always been the case.

I didn't always have a sweet husband who'd hold me when I couldn't fall to sleep.
I didn't always have a roommate willing to take out the trash anytime it got too full.
I didn't always have a date who'd drive halfway across town to buy me a bapple.

There's a lot of things I didn't have before I had my Parker.
And I know there's a lot of things Parker didn't have before he married me.
And I guess I'm just glad we make it a point to acknowledge and express our appreciation for all the little things now.
Because it's true.

The longer we're together, 
the easier it'll be to take for granted all the little blessings marriage brings to our lives.
I hope we always make it a point to remember them.

I love this quote from Elder Nelson:
"To appreciate—to say “I love you” and “thank you”—is not difficult. But these expressions of love and appreciation do more than acknowledge a kind thought or deed. They are signs of sweet civility. As grateful partners look for the good in each other and sincerely pay compliments to one another, wives and husbands will strive to become the persons described in those compliments."

so inspired.
and so true.
thank you Elder Nelson!
we remember we're young
Do you remember being little and thinking,
being a teenager's where it's at!
football on Fridays, glitzy prom gowns, high school, summer breaks, driving, dating.
i just want it be here already!

Do you remember when it came and you,
the crazy-driving, super-dating, too-popular teen,
envy of all little children,
wished you could will time to move you on to the oh-so-glamorous college life?

Do you remember when you made it there and you,
the all-nighter pulling, roadtrip-taking, party-planning & crashing college coed,
envy of all high school teens,
couldn't wait for the time when you'd be the one finding & falling in love?

I think we've all been there.
**If you were somehow so caught up in each moment/satisfied with life that you escaped the grass-is-greener mentality in every stage of it--kudos to you! Feel free to skip along to the next section.**

It's really easy to go there.
But here's my advice.
If I've learned anything in all the growing up I've done this last year it's that this grass-is-greener mentality is SO overrated.
If we are always getting ready to live but never living, we are taking for granted this beautiful thing called LIFE. 
To make the most of a moment, you have to live it.
Not endure it.
Not think it might be better if the circumstances were x, y, or z.
Just live it!
And appreciate the fact you've been given a moment to live.

Now, as I clamber down from my philosophical soapbox, let me explain how this relates to the title.
I've found that,
even in marriage,
it's easy to be in a hurry to be on to the next phase.
some couples are eager to start families.
some can't wait to be through with school.
some pine away for big promotions.
some long to know where they'll go for grad school.
some are anxious to buy and be in a home.
and some want all of the above.

and that's absolutely okay.
if you're ready to move along and the opportunity presents itself,
take it!

but I do hope you enjoyed this phase of life while you were in it.
I am loving being a newlywed with Parker.
It is such a sweet, simple time in our lives.
And as often as I think of how nice it'd be to have one or all of the above,
I remember how often I've wished I could hit rewind, revisit little me, and remind her to enjoy the moment.
"You'll be grown up in no time!
This is your time to be a little girl
and do all the things little girls do 
that teenagers and college kids and married people can't.
Make the time count little Chels.
You have the rest of your life to be like me."

This is our time to be newlyweds
and do all those wonderful newlywed things!
And I'm going to make the most of every minute
because, newsflash!!!
We have the rest of our lives to live out those tomorrows.
Now's the time to live out our today.
we need our z's
As I'm writing this, my sweet Parker is trying to force feed me two NyQuil tablets so sickly me will be ready to sleep with the rest of the world.

He's so good to take care of me.
Really, he is.
I'm not always an easy patient.
i.e. naughty me just tucked the pills in my pocket.
I should go to sleep, I know.
but I'm not ready.
not just yet.
my OCD's overshadowing my strep symptoms at the moment.
i'm just soooooo close!
so close.
I just thought it made for a good segue to this section.
Because as much as I'd like to think he's trying to whisk me off to bed for my own sake,
trying to save me from my own worst enemy
and help me sleep my way to a speedy recovery;
I know there's a teeny weeny little part of him that sees the drug pushing for what it is:
an act of self-preservation.

We do not function well without sleep.
As my brother-in-law might say:
we become a couple of ornery little cusses!
We really do.
Lack of sleep breeds discontent, irritability, and irrationality in this household.
We quickly recognized it as a catalyst in all our major contests.
And, as such, we've tried to avoid it at all costs.

Does it always happen?
I'm a night owl by nature.
Parker's an early riser
whose "not-so-early-to-bed" tendencies
(he shares said bed with a night owl)
make for VERY early mornings.
And we're both B-U-S-Y!
so no,
making time for sleep isn't always easy.
But we do try.
Because really,
isn't life so much happier when the little fatigue monsters are kept in hibernation?
I think so.

maybe i should go take my pills...

what's that?
how did we celebrate?
with roses my sweet Parker purchased...
...and anonymously delivered to my work.
with the characteristically thoughtful & sweet cake recreation 
my Mom coordinated all the way from Sparks...
...same decorator, same flavors, same colors, same design...
all because the original accidentally made its way to the wrong home when we left for our wedding night.
thanks a million Mom for keeping a first anniversary tradition alive!
with an exquisite anniversary dinner at the lovely La Caille...
...with my exceptionally handsome husband...
...a savory salmon entree...
...and the most adorable mini-desserts I'd been dying to try since the wedding.
with our favorite Bridge Hampton from Gandolfo's...
...and a fabulous Park City shopping spree...
notice how much he's loving it
before he realizes I'm garnering evidence for the husband V. high heels case.
nice try "tuff" mcgruff.
we all see right through you...
...and a romantic Park City retreat to cap off the weekend 
thanks to our favorite cousin's whose infinitely generous and sweet...
...with failed attempts to find a Park City meeting...
...and a speedracer ride home to catch Sacrament somewhere in the stake...
...we had the most wonderful first anniversary to celebrate 365 days of wedded bliss!
so happy you're mine Park.
I feel so lucky I can say that forever.

thank you for all the sweet memories.
i love you Parker B!


p.s. I will not be attempting anything like this post

i'm exhausted.

but here's to all we have to look forward to in year 2!
so many exciting things happening!!!

til next time...

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