for my gander

...because you know, what's good for the goose...

today is jesse's 28th birthday. so if you hadn't gathered from the title, i am doing a post answering all the same questions i made him answer for me last year on my birthday. i let him ask one bonus question to make it an even 28 (since he's so much older than me), the rest are the exact same ones i posed to him, but now flopped around as if he is asking me.

one of my favorite pics of him EVER. this is not the first pic like this. he's a happy salamander and loves to be under running water.

1. please list 28 things/traits/facts you love about me on this my 28th bday. (feel free to hyphenate): your mega-watt smile, fashion-sense, servant's heart, and navajo tan. i love that you never want to stop learning how to be more like jesus. i love your taste in movies, books, music and food, and that you won poetry recitations in grade school.
i love that you went to tech on a full academic scholarship and only got one C in all of college (in the one class that i always made you skip to hang out with me) and graduated with a double major and highest honors. i love your super-hot singing voice, how freaking talented you are at the guitar and the songwriting ability you've just begun to tap into. i love how much scripture you know by heart, and that you know all the words to that beastie boys song that you rap with such gusto.
i love how you are instantly really good at any new athletic endeavor that you try and how you dance at weddings (re: INSANELY HILARIOUS ABANDON). i love how you twitch when you're falling asleep and how you get all bashful and indignant and furrowed about it when i ask if you're okay. i love what an awesome cook you are (especially breakfasts!) and how you can fix or put together any handyman project that you attempt. i love your handwriting (forceful signature especially), the way you smell and how much you respect and love your parents. i love how you put your hand over your heart when you laugh really hard and the doberman face you make when you smell something funny. i adore the way you parent our son and the way that you never give up on us.

ok, so this athletic endeavor he mastered....just later

2. what is the best meal i have ever cooked us?: the sexual-favors porkchops are probably my alltime favorite because i was not expecting them to taste anything like what they did and definitely not to be so amazing. plus the fact that you made that recipe up.

3. the worst? ew, that chickpea pasta recipe from Real Simple magazine was heinous mushy blandsville.

don't be fooled by the awesome foodtography, it's nast

4. what is your first memory of me? i remember hearing your name for the first time weeks before i met you and thinking, "jesse dukes, wow, that guy must be some kind of badass cowboy, with a name like that." little did i know i'd get to be the Mrs. Badass Name 2.5 years later. the first time i remember seeing you i thought, "wow that's a dorky big watch he's wearing" and then a few days later when you wore corduroys and a long sleeve shirt to marisa's pool party in may and thinking, "wtf is he wearing? it's a million degrees out here"

more points off for it being a gift from an ex-girlfriend too

5. when was the first time you knew you liked me? when i suddenly realized that we had spent about 15 straight days together hanging out and started wondering why that was. though looking back, i will say when we saw harry potter 3 together during this span and mercilessly mocked it during the entire movie (and i can't even believe we went to movies together just the 2 of us and still didn't catch on that we needed to be dating until way later) i knew something was clicking.

same taste in food. aka 4 scoops of dairy

6. ...loved me? oh geez, i can't believe i made you answer this about me. this is hard. i mean i said it to you after just a few weeks and really felt it then, but now that we are married and know what love is really all about, that was probably just infatuation or being "in love." the loving you for real part came along with the hard stuff, after we were married and i first was able to be jesus to you and die to myself in an argument to show you that you meant more to me than my pride. real love turned out to be way harder and way better than the other stuff. sorry it took me so long.

7. ...were going to marry me? golly, i WOULD have married you about month 2 of dating. but i didn't know i was going to marry you until you asked me (even after you had bought the ring and i snuck into your room, with courtney guarding my tail, to try it on and peep at it). i kept waiting for you to come to your senses and realize that i had somehow tricked you into all this and that you were way to good for me. hahaha, you never did, sucker, and it's forever now!

save yourself!

8. what would you change about me if you could? not a lot. mostly the things that being with me has caused. you didn't used to be a yeller, and now you are because you had to start screaming to make yourself heard because i'm such a yeller. sorry. also your toenails grow way too fast and you tap ALL the time and it drives me insane. you aren't even a drummer!!!

9. what are your top 5 favorite things to do with me? play games (same team only: volleyball, board games, crossword puzzles), go out to exciting new restaurants and stay and talk forever (and make you order something just so i can try it with no commitment), travel (with great attitudes and teammate mindsets firmly in place), marvel at judah (do pretty much anything from sleeping to dancing), and be jesus when we're in a fight or a marriage slump. i love how as soon as one person lays down the weapons, the other one is instantly on board.

that's a favorite activity too. and we look so hot doing it
10. if you had to describe the way you feel about me using one song what would it be?

11. what's the hardest you can remember laughing with me? ok this one is recent. when we were jokingly talking about the fact that you have gained a little weight in the car and then we realized that "your body is a wonderland" was playing on the radio and i told you, "see i don't care how much you weigh, it's still a beautiful wonderland." and then you changed that channel with a disbelieving harrumph the song play was "what it's like" (a song about you don't know how it feels to walk in my shoes) which was also kind of weird, and then i said, ok, the next song is really going to be about this issue, and i turned it and it was "chicken fried" by zac brown and we lost our minds and were crying from laughing so hard. i love that you're such a great sport.

12. if you had to marry one of my friends who would it be? (if everyone was single) i think you know this one, but i love randy arrowood, and think y'alls personalities are hilariously similar. plus he is an outrageous cook.

randy: front left. love him. and his wife even more. their kids were in our wedding

13. if you had to let me marry one of your friends, who would you pick? (if everyone was single) i would want someone who is enough like me to make you happy, but way sweeter and less crazy so that you don't have to put up with the crap that i drag you through. probably natalie (who was your choice when you answered these for me!) and yes, this is the creepiest question ever. sorry, nat.

yeah, look which section jesse is holding. hmmmm, at least he doesn't seem exacted about it

14. best way you think we've grown since knowing each other? ugh. lately we've been backsliding, so that's tough. but overall, i would say that no matter how bad we eff up a conflict, we almost always find a way to resolve it and finish it up the right way by honoring each other and jesus instead of just "getting over it" and moving on. the scars heal way faster that way.

this is just warmup wedding dancing moves/facial expressions for him

15. thing we still need to work on the most? not being assholes to each other in the first place. getting to our jesus mind frames a lot sooner, before the anger takes over.

16. what are my best parenting skills? um, everything you do every day. waking up with judah, playing with him in such rough, boyish ways that always make him so happy, the funny voices you use to make him laugh while changing his diaper, the way you don't shy away from being stern with him, how you pray for him every time you put him to bed, the fact that you've probably changed more poopy diapers than me, the totally mushy yet totally manly way that you love him with 3000% of your heart and it's so evident to everyone, most importantly, him.

first wardrobe change.

17. best date we've ever been on? hopefully tonight! but in our past, i have to agree with you that it was when we went to ted's when we were just friends and afterward both said, "wow, if that had been a date, it would have been a 100 out of 100." and both of us were completely honestly not dropping any hints or trying to be anything more. idiots! also this past father's day at red lobster wasn't flashy, but it was awesome conversation.

18. best gift i've ever given you? i was so floored and touched when you gave me a huge "morning sickness survival kit for my 26th birthday when i was just a few weeks pregnant with judah and that you had dragged it all the way from atlanta on our trip to CA.

19. what do i do that makes you laugh the hardest? when you talk in our stupid baby voice or when you make gentle fun of me to call me out on being ridiculous. also when you tell stories.

serenading becky with his musical gifts.

20. what do i do that makes you the maddest? mmmm, when i feel like you aren't listening to me.

the eyes have it. and by "it" i mean "me melting on the floor"

21. what do you think i'm the best in the world at? you make grilled cheese sammies better than any human on earth.

22. ...the worst in the world? you SUCK at turning of the closet light.

23. most surprising thing you've learned about me? that you were both a druggie-skater douchebag and a jesus-loving, student body president science olympian in high school (at different points).

24. name 3 things i've made you try/love that you never would have on you own: the wheel of time nerdy fantasy books (all 12 of them, and counting), throwing a frisbee for fun, and cats.
25. name your top 4 of my physical characteristics, your wild curly head of hair (even including the gray one you found today), your amazing butt, your shoulders (despite the fact that they are only semi-functional), and every nanometer of your perfect face.

the shoulders, people, those freaking shoulders.

26. name something i'll never be better than you at and something you'll never be better than me at: like you said, i will never beat you in fantasy football (though you give up hours of time listening to NFL radio to accomplish that), i will never cook eggs, sing, play tennis, make videos, cook meat or pack a car as well as you can. i will never have your unreal sense of direction or laid back attitude. however, you will never be better than me at volleyball, having clean ears, driving, the operation arcade game, excel, or overreacting.

thumbs up for perfect eggs

27. would you do it all over again? 99% of it without a doubt. only minus the parts where i forget to appreciate exactly the caliber of man i somehow managed to land.

28. (bonus question that jesse made up): when am i in my element? you in your element = jesus crossed with a calvin klein model renaissance man genius/superhero who is a confident take-on- the-world daddy, husband, disciple and friend. and you are in that zone when you feel secure that your wife loves and respects you and when you have been spending time with your savior. p.s.: that guy is a real panty-dropper.

a random piece of graffitti some friends spotted on a building in chile. does that guy look famliar?



  1. What is is about boys and their ability to cook eggs way better than us?! Happy b-day Jesse!

  2. I love your unabashed love for one another. You are two blessed people. Love you, Aunt Jo

  3. A. I'm such a better driver than you, just ask the 10,000 cars that you've followed close enough to perform a colonoscopy.

    B. You spent all our tokens on the Operation Game and wouldn't let me try, so we'll never know who's better.

    C. Respect your elders!

    I love you! That was awesome and so much fun to read while sweating my life away at Six Flags.

  4. Now that I am majoring in 'stay-at-home momness' and minoring in Campus ministry (again) and have time to catch up on your blog.. Thanks again for the shout-out! I feel like we need formal photos of three of us or something.. Brenna? hah.

    Love you. This is such a good idea btw, I think I will make (ask) Robert to fill one out for me retroactively.