Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Reclaiming Romance + Bonus Cookie Recipe

the best chocolate chip cookies in the world

In His infinite wisdom, God brought two of the worst dates in the history of, well, everthrough courtship without having to really date. Long distance engagement was great for us, because picture perfect romance isn't our strongest suit.
Our musical tastes and senses of humor are not the same. Our ideal restaurants could hardly be more different. Our lack of pop-culture romance is due, in part, to my "allergy" (read "skepticism") toward a certain genre of mushy-gushy stuff. The other day Daniel laughed that if he bought me something from Hallmark I would probably change my relationship status on Facebook to "It's complicated." Guilty as charged.
We have a unified front on the big stuff: Faith, children, finances, but what movie to watch on a Friday night is not exactly a foregone conclusion. All that to say Valentine’s Day is a hard holiday to get excited about in our household. I'd be more sheepish about that if I wasn't pretty sure plenty of you have this problem too!
All the hype heaps up a lot of expectation. One day a year cannot be the emblem of a life-long devotion. Daniel and I are finally, gradually, learning to let off the pressure. Here are a few resolutions we have for Valentine's Day.

We will pick our best time to celebrate- There's nothing sacred about February 14th. Racing around to book a sitter and reserve a table at a restaurant on such a high-demand night after a full day of child-wrangling or work is stressful. We try to pick a weekend afternoon when we will have time to enjoy one another at a slower pace.

We will make our expectations clear and reasonable- There's nothing like a completely avoidable let down to bring out the best in us as a couple. It needs to be very clear well in advance who is planning what, and it's good for us to check in about it. Who is getting the kids squared away? Who is heading up the itinerary? Will there be gifts? On Valentine's Day I would like an orchid. He would like chocolate chip cookies (Recipe Below!). Or, if we are trying to surprise one another we define the level of the surprise by budget or genre to avoid those tricky moments when I think the surprise is a getaway trip for 2 to NYC and he thinks the surprise is a clandestine trip to a motel, or he thinks the surprise is a splurge at our favorite lingerie boutique and I think the surprise is a nice long conversation. Completely hypothetically. Of course.

We will be ourselves... together- If dressing up and candlelight dinners are where you are at your best as a couple, by all means go for it! As much as I love dolling up and eating good food, it's not the way we feel most intimate and relaxed. For us a hike, working out together, an afternoon at home (sans kids!) to work on a project together, browsing a book store, or playing a board game at a coffee shop are all better bets for turning up the heat than squaring off over a few courses.

We will choose our own way to communicate- We are ditching cards, flowers, and chocolate in favor of frequent texts and a shared journal to write each other notes in. Everyone is a nerd in their own way. We are nerds in a lot of ways. In the interest of raising our vision beyond child rearing, we are reading a book together and enrolling together in an iTunes U class on sustainable waste management destined to start many an excited non-child-centered discussion. Classes and books on trash are probably not your gig, but think back to your most meaningful communication when you were dating. How can you continue it?

This year we aren't letting our romance be defined by movies and television. How are you making your mark on V-Day?  
Download the printable version

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies. Period.
These cookies are soft yet firm, and the proportions of sugar and salt are just right. The key is to turn them at 7 1/2 minutes. Legend has it the recipe came from a box or a magazine back in the mists of time, but I got it from Daniel's mom. 

2 eggs
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 t vanilla
1 cup butter, melted
2 3/4 cup flour
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
12 oz chocolate chips

Makes 18 large cookies or 2 1.2 dozen small ones

Mix eggs, sugars, vanilla, and butter. Add flour, soda, and salt. Stir in chips. Cover cookie sheet with waxed paper, drop dough with ice cream scoop 6 to a sheet. Bake at 325° for 15 minutes, rotating sheet half way through. They won't look done, but trust me, they are! 
Download the printable version


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