Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Happy 35 to my fav

There's no denying that the kids have taken over things around here...my camera roll, our house, this blog...our lives. But before those little munchkins stole my heart (and my free time, and my sanity) there was a boy who was my whole world.

That boy is (duh) Dustin Bowden. I met him almost twelve years ago, and I was smitten from the jump (he was too...but that's neither here nor there)...and ever since. People often use the phrase, "to know him is to love him", and I'm almost entirely sure that saying was coined specifically about Dustin. Nobody doesn't like Dustin Bowden. Really. It's impossible. Even if I were capable of being impartial, which I totally and completely am not, I would still say it. because it's just a fact: Dustin is good stuff.

He's been my favorite person on the planet for over a decade now, and today we celebrate him being on said planet for a full 35 years. We'll shower him with gifts of course, but I want as many people as possible to know what a gift he is, in and of himself. So here are 35 beloved truths about my beloved, so you can know and love him too.


1. has the best laugh. We actually tease that he's an "easy laugh" because he does find a lot of things funny, but that doesn't keep me from being really proud whenever I can make him crack up. He laughs loud and often, which is just perfect.
2. has cute dimples. And a baby face. And big cheeks. (and sometimes angry eyebrows). He's the kind of guy who you see, and just know he's going to be nice. Which he very much is.
3. is a giver. I've never known anyone with such a giving heart. If he sees something that needs to be done, he's on it. He will help anyone, with anything, anytime, and is constantly showing me what it means to have a generous spirit.
4. is a fixer. He loves to problem solve- whether that involves math, power tools, or talking me off an emotional ledge.
5. has pretty feet. Ok, maybe not pretty, but they're really nice- especially for a guy.
6. is a natural dad. He was born to be a father. Every day I watch him effortlessly love our children. He's fun, and funny, and patient, and kind, and is constantly teaching them- both explicitly and by example.
7. makes the best grilled cheese sandwiches, and root beer floats. And only gets slightly annoyed when I request one or the other every night for nine months (three times now...)
8. is snuggly. When someone tells me they have a dog who doesn't like to cuddle, I get so sad, because that's like, the entire point of having a dog. And that's exactly how I feel about husbands.

9. comments when I wear something new. He's quick with a compliment, and genuinely notices when I spend extra time on my hair, or sport a new outfit. I appreciate that.
10. loves my family. He loves his family of course, but it's extra powerful to watch him embrace another group as if they're "his" too.
11. is really (like, really) good at excel. Which is totally nerdy, but also really awesome (and not just for the Bachelor Pool spreadsheets).
12. humors most all of my hare-brained schemes. I am always getting myself in too deep...to all kinds of things...But for the last twelve years, that's meant I'm always getting us in too deep. He's on my team 100% and is always there to bail me out, or link arms (and minds and hearts) with me to make my impossible dreams possible. 

13. has a lot of hobbies. He sometimes says he's the jack of all trades and master of none, but I like that he's into a lot of things. I know he finds it frustrating that he's not known for one spectacular talent, but how cool is it to be able to play bass, teach calculus, and do a muscle up? Renaissance man, I tell you.
14. is a good baby holder. and put-to-sleep-er. If those aren't the world's most valuable skills then I don't know what are.

15. is a creature of habit. He'd eat the same thing day after day without complaint, is happy to wear "his uniform", and generally finds comfort in routine. Simple tastes make him easy to please, so I'm not mad at that.
16. doesn't get mad if when I wake him up in the middle of the night to talk even if he can't go to sleep afterwards. Which happens...kind of often.
17. lets me choose the movies. And the TV shows. And the restaurants. He's pretty accommodating, and as much as he might have an opinion on things, he's willing to let it go pretty quickly if I feel strongly about something (which, you know, never happens...)
18. is a total softie about his girls. He loves those little ladies more than you can imagine. Sometimes that means he spoils them silly, but mostly it just means he smothers them with kisses and tickles and bedtime stories and "horsey" rides and cinnamon swirl pancakes, and all around unwavering devotion.
19. loves to be outside. He's an outdoor-cat through and through. I think a part of him aspires to be a mountain climbing, element testing wild man, but in our suburban life that translates to lots of deck-sitting, and car rides with the windows down (all of them, all the way down. This is one of his very few non-negotiables in life.)
20. tells a good dad joke. "What do you call a fish with no eyes? fssssshhhhhh" is his go-to. (and yes, I realize that joke doesn't work in print. But you get it.)
21. pays all our bills. I mean, with our money, but it sure is nice not to have to worry about all that paperwork. Ditto for the health insurance, and savings accounts, and really anything I deem "soul-suckingly-boring", thus "too hard". I should probably be even more thankful for this than I am.
22. is so proud of me. I need encouragement and affirmation (like, more than most people, I think) so I hit the jackpot getting a partner who is so good at giving those things. It's the best feeling in the world to know that he is genuinely, and deeply proud of me- not only when I do well, but really, all the time. He understands my intentions, even when I mess things up, and he believes in me, even when I don't have a clue. 

23. could do (and has done) a ton of different jobs, and has succeeded at all of them. He gets teased a bit, because his resume has quite the list. But he really does have a wide range of talents, and a work ethic that doesn't allow him to be anything besides great. He's been a camp counselor, jeans salesman, math teacher, department head, actuarial science student, t-shirt folder, undie allocator, merchandise planner, maintenance coordinator...and a bunch more that I can't even remember. And he's been awesome at them all. He's the kind of guy who you can drop into any role, regardless of experience, and he'll do his best to figure it out, and get things done. He's got a rare combo of technical smarts, and people skills that makes him super attractive (to companies, but also: me)
24. has so much energy. He can survive on about half as much sleep as I need, and has the amazing skill of being able to muscle through tough stuff. 

25. will always make sure everyone at a party has a drink. We call him "the pusher"- not just of alcohol (though that part comes from a place of wanting to be a good host) but of any idea he falls in love with. If there is a product or service that he likes, you're going to hear about it, and probably get a pitch to buy/join it. The stems entirely from his desire to be helpful- there's no ego about it- he just loves to stumble upon awesome stuff, and when he does, he wants to pass it on to everyone so they can enjoy it too.
26. loves all things stereo-typically boy things. Beer, tools, gadgets, action movies, Jeeps...He's a dude sometimes, and it's pretty cute.

27. just really really loves to make people happy. I know I've said he's giving, and selfless, but I don't think I could list it too many times- it's just so synonymous with who he is. He wants you to be happy. and me to be happy. And he'll do just about anything to make it happen. You can't not love that.
28. is the best road trip partner. He'll offer to drive, loves to rock out to a good playlist, will play any and all stupid car games, and is equally happy to converse the whole time, or enjoy contented silence.
29. gets real Philly when he talks to his dad. "How you doin', Pop?"
30. really interested. He takes a genuine interest in people, and loves learning about what they do, what they like, and who they are. He's an incredible listener (even if his memory sometimes fails him later), and has a knack for making people feel valued and important.

31. is super humble. Like, probably the most humble person ever. In the whole world. #nbd (but seriously, this list is going to embarrass him, a lot.)
32. can jump a lot higher than you might think. Seriously. Don't bet against him.
33. always wants to be better. He definitely has a tendency of being too hard on himself, but he just really wants to do a good job. He wants to love his kids, and provide for his family, and serve his church, and succeed at work. If he's going to be something, he wants to be a good one of those. He wants to be dependable, and competent, and feel like people can count on him. And he is, and we do.

34. has a habit of falling asleep in public. At friends' houses, he's forbidden from sitting in leather recliners. Oh, Grandpa Dustin...
35. loves me so so well. Dang, I'm lucky.
Happy 35th Birthday to my very favorite person. I love you, Dus.

P.s. I couldn't jam all his love-able-ness into one list, so you should also know that he has: nice teeth, sweet dance moves, is a total grill-master, a frustratingly good whistler, has a compulsion for clipping his nails, is brave at an open mic, and can rock a rubik's cube like nobody's business.
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  1. I can personally vouch for #34. My two reasons:
    1) despite being an Eagles fan he seems to show compassion to other human beings
    2) when I call him on the phone he asks me questions. Sounds strange but usually in a conversation Im always asking whoever I'm talking to questions. And unless directly asked I usually don't divulge much info. But w Dustin its a "contest" to see which of us can listen to the other more. I appreciate his energy as a listener and supporter.

    Happy birthday Dustin!

  2. Daddy / Jim / "sir"June 10, 2015 at 11:19 PM

    God blessed you both mightily with each other....but it's his birthday, so I focus on Dustin - he is a definite keeper! And as a father of 3 daughters that I love to pieces, I love just as much having Dustin as the son I never had. He is a refuge of testosterone in my world of estrogen! Love you man! Happy Birthday!

  3. This is so sweet. Miss you guys!