Thursday, December 29, 2011

5 years

We celebrated our 5-year anniversary last week and feel like we've reached a true milestone in our marriage. 5 years feels...legit. Solid. Lasting. In fact, to date, we've been married 25.47 Kardashians. In celebration of our accomplishment, we're each writing a little something about the other. 

Why Camber thinks Isaac is awesome (in no particular order)
By Camber Hess

1) He is one of the few people I know that first recognizes people by their voice instead of their face. 

2) He never loses his temper. Never. And he has never, ever raised his voice at me. He is, however, a sharp-shooter with a rubber band (I learned this yesterday. Wish I'd known that before we got married). Ouch.

3) He is, it turns out, super smart. He has a perfect GPA in graduate school so far and yet has mostly maintained his personal policy not to study excessively. 

4) He plays the piano and guitar, has an angelic singing voice, and can memorize the lyrics to a song after listening to it just a few times. 

5) He is one of the easiest people in the world to cook for. His favorite food? Spaghetti. Really. His eyes light up with pure joy when I tell him spaghetti is for dinner. He will also eat leftovers, whole wheat pasta, and canned green beans. How did I get so lucky?

6) He loves to talk. Loves it. (See my blog post about this here). If there is anything on his mind he will sit you down and tell you all about it. It makes him very easy to come to know and communication has never been even the slightest problem in our marriage. And I never find him boring. 

7) Along with #6, if there is a secret he has to keep (like a present he got me for Christmas) it kills him not to tell me. So he tells my mom in the meantime. 

8) He has great athletic prowess. He can run fast, jump high, throw a frisbee with incredible control, and beat Camber at arm-wrestling even when she's been working out for months. Grrr.

9) He loves good books, and that includes the Harry Potter series, which we have read out loud to each other. Twice. Also he loves Jane Austen. We have watched the 6-hour Pride & Prejudice together at least 3 times. 

10) He can entertain himself for hours with his wedding ring. In mid-sentence I have found him flicking it in the air, spinning it on a table, trying it on different fingers, or pretending it's a monocle, and at restaurants he makes obstacle courses out of salt shakers to roll it through. Many a stimulating conversation has been put on hold by "Oh! Dang it!" Followed by Isaac crawling under the table or searching between couch cushions. It's adorable. 

I'll keep him around, I think. At least for 5 more years.


10 Reasons Camber Deserves to Rule the World*
* Benevolently, of course
By Isaac Hess

To Whom it May Concern:

Since the financial crisis, I understand that your committee has been tasked to find an authoritarian leader to save us from ourselves. After being married now (blissfully) for 5 years, I would like to respectfully submit the name of my wife, Camber Hess, for your consideration regarding the post of benevolent dictator.

10. She will feed us all.

And I'm not talking about any of this food ration garbage, where each person gets just the necessary calories for survival. I'm talking about delicious food: Indian curry, amazing pastas, casseroles, breads—oh, don't even get me started on the amazing breads!

But most importantly, each slice will be baked with Camber's love. You want to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Give them a fresh slice of Camber's home-made wheat bread, and they will not only stop fighting—they'll start sharing jam.

9. She gives wonderful back rubs.

This may appear, on its surface, a skill Camber will rarely apply as dictator. You think this for two reasons: (1) you have not thought of the many possibilities; (2) you've never entered heaven through Camber's back rubs as I have.

Just think of how Camber's back rubs will ensure swift world peace. Kim Jong Un will immediately agree to reunite North Korea with the south once his knots are worked out under Camber's masterful hands. (Once those hands have begun their work, Camber can be denied nothing.) Drug lords in South America will agree to cease their murderous fighting under the influence. In fact, once we have trained an army in the way of Camber's massaging, we can probably cure all drug and alcohol addiction overnight.

8. She is an amazing musician.

The piano, organ, kazoo, accordion, nose flute—need I go on? If music is communication that rises above language, then Camber will unite the world under a flurry of piano pieces and egg shakers. Plus, she can play Rachmaninoff; that should please the Russians.

7. She loves outdoor activities.

Legend tells of a time when Camber brought down a lion cub and bear cub with her bare hands—at the same time! I have not confirmed this, but given the outdoor feats I have witnessed with my own eyes, I do not doubt it. She hikes, bikes, kites, camps, canoes, and so much more. No one will miss Vladamir Putin. Camber can kill tigers just as easily, if not more so.

6. She is an exercise maven.

Obesity is a serious problem—for other people. Camber is as lean as a panther, maybe even leaner if we're talking about a panther that just took down a wildebeest. Camber's addiction commitment to exercise is inspiring. Do you think she stops when she's sick? No! When she's tired? No! When she's dead? Unsure, but I doubt it!

Think of how this will inspire the world to healthier ways. And if she brings this same level of indefatigability to her other responsibilities, the world will thrive in gloriousness.

5. She saves lives at work already.

As benevolent dictator, Camber will have to allocate scarce resources, including health care. Let's face it, there just isn't enough to go around. Some people will have to die. Some of my friends' grandparents probably won't make the cut.

But Camber has been there. She takes care of sick people all the time, and does so with compassion and grace. This will give her compassion for her people, but will also give her the wisdom to know when it's time to just give up on entire nations/states (sorry California—we're sending you out to sea).

4. She laughs at my jokes.

As the future "first man" to Benevolent Dictator Camber, it is important to my ego that she does this, so it is important for you, as the committee, to know that she does. This will placate me despite the fact that I have no power, and will prevent me from seeking to overthrow her rule. Why would I need to? My wife thinks I'm funny. What else can a man aspire to?

3. She supports me in my schooling.

For the past two years I've been sucking money away from our bank account at about the same rate she puts it in, all for a stupid piece of paper called a Masters Degree. And she's happy! Clearly Camber isn't in this for the money. She's good. She's supportive. And it makes me happy.

Once the whole world feels this love and support, it will transform us from a mass of in-fighting people to a mass of in-loving people. (That sounds gross, but keep your mind out of the gutter.) It has changed my life to know I have her support; think of what that would do to the whole world?

2. She's beautiful.

It is a well-accepted fact, that it is vital to be smoking hot to be an effective leader. Camber has this covered.

The men will want her. The women will want to be her. People will never be compelled to pay taxes: they will do so of their own free will. Laws will never be enforced: people will obey as a token of love. Pilgrims will travel over the whole world to see her—which will increase tourism revenues, helping the economy. All will love her, and despair.

1. She Loves Me.

Why does loving me make her fit to rule the world? Simple: it proves she can love anyone. Loving me as she does is no small feat. If she can love me, she'll have no problems loving and serving even the dregs of society, giving them of herself all day every day.

Plus it means I get to live with her in the palace.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Baby Jesus v. Santa

Some years, when December rolls around, I feel like I'm really celebrating 2 holidays. Just when I start feeling all happy and hopeful about little baby Jesus I think, "Sheesh! Why are there so dang many people to buy presents for?" (Insert the genius idea of gift rotations. Best idea ever.) 

After some sad experiences over the year, the Savior's message of hope and peace has found profound meaning for me this season. And yet, rather than revel in the comfort, I compulsively brainstorm gift ideas on scratch paper and mentally curse stores when I spy obviously inflated prices. And I reluctantly join the hordes of people at Wal Mart scowling at each other over the last box of Peppermint Oreos and precariously balancing awkward rolls of wrapping paper on the way to the car (because I am NOT making more than one trip in this weather, thank you very much). Christmas is a holiday at once spiritual and secular, hopeful and hectic, cheering and chaotic. And alliterative.

So who wins, baby Jesus or Santa? As a child, I liked baby Jesus and all but the magic happened Christmas morning when I woke up at 4 AM and peeked in my stocking. Presents are a little more immediate than, you know, salvation. 

In our house, Isaac, who counts down to Christmas starting in about June, has banned all Santa decorations, at least for now. Instead we have a nativity for almost every year of our marriage. 

If you look closely, you will notice there is no baby Jesus in the middle one.
It came that way.
Maybe he got to feeling self-conscious that day.

However, our household Santa ban did not prevent us from going to see the most decked-out Santa house I have ever beheld. 

And yet, next to the Santa display was this:

Maybe they can both win. 

On a somewhat unrelated note, we lost our original star and bought a new one online this year. Isaac made me wait until he got home to put it on the tree. Aaaaannnnd this:

Note to self: increase tree-topper budget for next year.

Merry Christmas all.

Friday, December 2, 2011


Thanksgiving this year was an epic 5-day masterpiece of sugar binging, Arizona sunshine, and Camber's family. I feel like I have a lot to be thankful for this year, in addition to the usual good health, family, Gospel, free country, etc.

First, I got to meet my niece Hannah, already a year old, and my nephew Jake, who was born in September.

Jake was so excited to meet me that his bowels filled with joy.

Which left no more room for poop. 

So he had a spectacular blow-out--in my arms. This was his first blow-out of such grandeur, and I am proud to have helped.

I am grateful I chose to carry him at that time with his backside facing out. 

Also, I am grateful for the 1st annual Cooper Turkey Trot. By hosting a private 10K, we saved a collective $75 and slept in 3 extra hours. 

I am grateful I got 3rd place. Even though there were only 3 runners.

I am grateful my dad worked hard to produce an incredible Thanksgiving dinner. And I'm grateful it made him tired so we could take this funny picture during games.

I am grateful we got to be there for Jake's baby blessing. And that in Phoenix it is warm enough to wear short sleeves in November. WHY do I live in Iowa?

Isn't my family adorable?

Last of all, I am grateful that Isaac's mouth is, indeed, too small to swallow a baby.