Twelve Years

Sunday marked the twelfth year since Jake and I were married. Four years ago, we started going "Family Bowling" on our anniversary as a way of celebrating with the girls. Last year actually ended up being "Family Miniature Golfing" because we were in Arizona, and the girls really wanted to go to Golfland. I didn't mind switching it up a bit because I hadn't been to Golfland in years but have so many fun memories with friends and family there. 

This year, as we were leaving for church, I said "Let's go to Santa Barbara!" Jake was initially hesitant, and thought of all the cons out loud almost instantly. After twelve years, I've grown accustomed to this initial reaction of his. It has been quite deflating throughout the years, but as time goes on, I'm getting better at remembering he speaks as he's processing, and he's getting better (sometimes!) at just going with it. 

Remember all that talk about how marriage is compromise and hard work, and opposites attract? It all certainly applies in a marriage where one is super spontaneous (Me!) and one who can't make sense of things that aren't planned a good time in advance (the other person in my marriage!). Maybe this is why old couples are so good being together in silence: They're both tired of one each other's [you-know-what], but there's no one else's [you-know-what] they'd rather deal with, so they've called a truce.  

So now that you know we're just like everybody else...

Santa Barbara was fantastic! Neither of us, er, not one of the four of us, had been. We spent most of our time exploring the shops on State Street as we made our way down to Sterns Wharf. We took our time and let the girls look at whatever they wanted to. They especially loved all of the cooking gadgets at Sur La Table. Magnolia was so afraid she would fall over the edge of Stearns Wharf that Jake held her the whole way, and she held him. She was mostly okay if we didn't get too close to the edge. I don't blame her one bit. The end of the wharf had no rails! The city was beautiful, full of the Spanish-Colonial Revival architecture that I love, and all against a lush mountain backdrop. We drove through a few of the neighborhoods and saw Old Mission Santa Barbara

We headed a bit further west to check out UCSB because that is what academics do. Jake and I actually have this weird superstition about visiting places we might like to end up at some day. So far, every school we've visited that he's applied to, he's been accepted to, so I mean, why not continue the logic that one of the schools we visit might be the place where he gets a job.

Speaking of school....

We've been in it forever. When I say, "We," I mean it. When one member of a marriage is in school, so is the other. Even in the four years between Chicago and Los Angeles where Jake wasn't in school, it still felt like he was because he was constantly researching and continued to publish articles. He is literally the hardest worker I've ever met. EVER. His work ethic borderlines on obsessive, but he's been fortunate enough to work in fields for which he has a great passion. Now if only music and musicology fell into one of those super high roller gigs...

Our time at UCLA has been the very first time in our twelve years where he hasn't been employed. And "unemployed" isn't the right term here because he gets a fellowship when he's not teaching, and a stipend when he is. We both worked all through undergrad, he took on crazy hours while working on his masters so that I could "retire" from teaching and stay home with Cora. He worked at DePaul in Chicago when I was in the throes of HG (hyperemesis gravidarum) while pregnant with Magnolia. He worked 60-80 hours a week at OCU in the four years between Chicago and UCLA. Work, work, work, school, school, school... It sounds weird to say I'm so glad he gets a break while he's in the middle of a PhD program, but I really mean that too.

He's doing cool things right now. This week, he's taking his Special Field Exam. He's planning on defending his dissertation proposal sometime this spring. After that, he has to finish researching and writing his dissertation, which he thinks will be ready for revisions sometime this fall. All of that means he'll be ready to start applying for jobs this fall, too. He'll be doing so ABD (all but dissertation), which can sometimes be a little tricky as he won't defend his dissertation until spring 2017, but I have a great deal of confidence in him and his abilities. It's okay if you all want to start praying with us now that super rad jobs will be open when we're applying.

There are definite perks of someone who is wildly spontaneous being married to a major planner; I don't think there are many people who could rock their way through a PhD program like he is. I've entered into the dreaming stage already - dreaming up our lives in a myriad of places we might end up. I can't help it. I was over living in our teeny tiny grad school housing apartment before I ever moved into it, though I must say, I've made it awfully cozy. But you know how cozy can mean snug, and snug can mean tight? The walls still feel like they're closing in sometimes. Thankfully we live at the edge of a continent, and we get to go stand with our toes in the sand looking out into sky and sea so far that they disappear into one another.

(On Stearns Wharf - it was not exactly sunny SoCal weather)

One final note: We ate at a cute little Thai restaurant (Zen Yai) for dinner before we left SB. At the end of our meal, our server said, "You don't look old enough to have two kids." I told her we were out celebrating our twelfth anniversary. She smiled and, without hesitation, kindly touched Cora's shoulder while saying, "You have a Hot Mama!" I laughed. Thank you, Sweet Server in Santa Barbara, for your total bewilderment at the numbers I was throwing at you. It was the cherry on top of an already wonderful day. 


  1. You are a hot mama! Happy anniversary, friends! We love you guys dearly and can't wait to see where your dreams and Jake's hard work take you!! :-)

    1. Haha! If Regan thinks I'm a hot mama, it must be so!! I can't wait to find out the latter half of your comment either. I've been obsessively looking at housing in all of the major cities in California lately. But for real. So. Expensive.



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