1. I love that the day we met when she was 14 she was so tan I thought she was a foreign exchange student from ... somewhere.
  2. I love that she got that tan not on the beach but working in the corn fields.
  3. I love that she came to school one day wearing a funky dress with a peace sign incorporated into the back.
  4. I love that she sewed that dress herself.
  5. I love that she sometimes called our teachers by their first names and somehow got away with it.
  6. I love that she had so many pairs of shoes.
  7. I love that she chose sweaters for her brothers' birthday presents because she wanted to borrow and wear them.
  8. I love how she had her own style that was entirely unique, perfectly consistent, and seemed totally normal.
  9. I love that we spent our first real date playing in the snow.
  10. I love that our first kiss was propositioned in Spanish because we had Spanish class together and we were making fun of our strange teacher.
  11. I love that when we first started dating, she had never seen Star Wars and had never eaten at McDonald's.
  12. I love that she was so bad at Nintendo games.
    She would forget which way Mario was supposed to go to get to the end...
  13. I love that she cried one night and left a little tear stain in the wrinkles of my parents' couch cushion and I could find that little stain months later.
  14. I love that she passed me notes every day in the hallway.
  15. I love that she bought us matching shirts.
  16. I love that she made friends with my friend Quincy and they plotted pranks together to tease me.
  17. I love that most of these pranks fell through.
  18. I love that she was always second best in cross country and track and it drove her completely insane.
    Stupid Steph Dollens.
  19. I love that she got so ridiculously sweaty at school dances
  20. I love that one night the summer before I left for college we sat on the roof of the concession stand at the softball field and she let me teach her about constellations.
  21. I love that she tried to push me into the creek in her back yard but slipped, lost her balance, and fell in herself instead.
  22. I love that when she came to my house and we were doing yard work or house work she'd just dive in and help.
  23. I love that when I told her Jurassic Park was kind of scary and then we saw it together, she made fun of me for hours afterwards for having been a little scared.
  24. I love that one time she came over and saw my dad and I working in the yard so she made lunch for us in our own kitchen.
  25. I love that she made my dad a button up shirt with garden-seed-packet print fabric to celebrate his new garden.
  26. I love that she came to visit me at work (sacking groceries) and always said she needed help carrying out her single bag.
  27. I love that she made me homemade salsa and cookies and brought them to me at college.
  28. I love that she learned how to dial into her sister's university computer system, navigate UNIX, and use 'talk' so we could have long conversations into the night when we couldn't afford long distance phone calls.
  29. I love that she asked my mom for the recipe for my favorite meal and made it for me when I went with her to her homecoming dance.
  30. I love that one day she told the high school she had a dentist appointment and drove to see me at college.
  31. I love that I remember the first time we kissed after she got her braces off.
  32. I love that she ran six miles four times a week and ran half marathons.
  33. I loved that sometimes she would run to my house and then I'd drive her home.
  34. I love how glamorous she looked at her senior prom.
  35. I love how she showed me the secret little enclosed space in the low pine trees in her hard and we would sit in there together and talk.
  36. I love that when she moved away to Arizona while I was a freshman in college and I came to visit her over spring break, she jumped into my arms and almost knocked me over.
  37. I love that when I was flying home from that spring break visit, and it became clear that my flight was going to be delayed for a long time, she told the airline there was an emergency and I had to be gotten off the plane.
    She had overheard them taking about how the delay was worse than they were letting on yet. I got off that plane an hour before everyone else and the flight didn't actually leave for another nine hours.
  38. I love that when I dropped out of school after my first year she didn't give up on me.
  39. I love how when I moved to Arizona she paid the $250 repair bill for my car so I could get there and then told me I owed her $250 for the first 15 years of our marriage.
  40. I love that when I proposed in the most unromantic way imaginable she was right there with me.
  41. I love how she cried the day before her first day of college classes because she was afraid she wouldn't be able to cut it.
  42. I love how she helped me with my calculus homework and I helped her with her physics.
  43. I love how she would always buy the giant bag of skittles when we had a big night of exam prep ahead and we'd sit in a quiet corner of some study space and eat junk food and study together.
  44. I love that her physics teacher told me she wasn't the smartest student, wasn't the most naturally gifted, but she was the best student he ever had by her sheer force of will. That she simply did not give up until she was perfect.
  45. I love that when I had a scheduling snafu at the school, and I was getting back in the mile long line to wait all over again for a signature, she walked right back behind the counter, spotted an advisor walking out of a room with a name plaque on the door, called her by that name and said "I just need that signature we talked about real quick!"
    She had never seen that woman in her life.
  46. I love how she would cry during sentimental commercials.
  47. And during sentimental movies.
  48. And whenever someone told a sentimental story.
  49. I love how when we moved out of our first apartment she was naively determined to get the cleaning deposit back so we cleaned and cleaned and cleaned until it was cleaner than it had been in years and then she was so miffed when we still didn't get it.
  50. I love how every boss she had at every job she had decided she was their favorite employee ever and always tried to convince her to make a career of whatever student job she was doing.
  51. I love how she called me while I was away in Las Vegas and told me she was pregnant and I could just hear her breathing for the longest time.
  52. I love how even though she was so sick with her pregnancy that she needed regular medical treatment, she still took her final exams.
    Near the door so, with permission, she could leave and vomit several times.
  53. I love how she delivered her babies unmedicated just to prove to herself that she really could handle anything.
  54. I love how even though movies and birthing classes had trained me to expect her to be a monster during labor and delivery, and even though I had been steeling myself for the emotional hit of her being mean to me, she was actually delightfully polite and thoughtful all the way through.
    Way more calm than I was.
  55. I love how a couple years after Isabel was born, after she had been so sick with her pregnancy and I had thought "this is ok, one child is enough," even though I really wanted more, she said unprompted, "it's time to have another baby." And when I said "but pregnancy is so hard for you..." She said "I can handle it."
  56. I love how her singing voice is so bad, when Isabel heard a song at church for the first time she said "it was the same words but they sing it with a different tune than you do, mom."
  57. I love how she used to trust everyone so much she once paid some random shifty strangers cash to "come back tomorrow and repaint the address on the curb."
  58. I love how she cried about that.
  59. I love how when we moved into our first house she immediately began repainting every surface.
  60. I love how she wanted to name Sophia after both our grandmothers.
  61. I love how she decided early on that the girls would have home cooked meals, limited tv time and limited pop-culture exposure, and stuck with it all the way through.
  62. I love how at one point she had put every single long distance phone company on her boycott list for one screw up or another and we eventually had to circle back around.
  63. I love how she always made friends with old ladies.
  64. I love how she would come have lunch with me sometimes while the kids were in school.
  65. I love how she volunteered at the school every year all the way through.
  66. I love how she made meals and did laundry for people who were sick or had new babies.
  67. I love how random teenage girls always felt like they could trust her and would talk to her about their family problems, school problem, etc.
  68. I love how as old high school friends we hadn't talked to in years started having midlife crises, for some reason they all started coming to her for a listening ear.
  69. I love how she takes people under her wing.
  70. I love that she taught our daughters to sew.
  71. I love how she made curtains, Roman shades, lamp shades, quilts, cushions, and a million other things for our various homes over the years
  72. I love that she took our girls on weeks-long road trips every summer for years.
  73. I love how she sort of half rolled her eyes when other women wondered if she felt safe taking the kids on big trips without her husband there to help.
  74. I love how when the fourth Harry Potter book came out she tried to wait for me to get home from work to read together, failed, and then kind of tried to pretend she hadn't read ahead at first before realizing it was a hopeless charade.
  75. I love how one time our sister in law spent thirty minutes trying to find a man to lift a child's bicycle into the pickup truck and eventually my wife got totally fed up and did it for her.
    And then when the sister said "oh someone finally did it!" my wife said "yeah, I did." And did a poor job hiding her contempt.
  76. I love that she is so incapable of dealing patiently with her semi-insane family that I had to stop going to visit them with her because she was such a bear it strained our relationships.
  77. I love how you alway know what she is thinking all the time because she is constitutionally incapable of hiding her feelings.
  78. I love how one day she decided to retile the bathroom and just borrowed a saw, bought some tile, and did it.
  79. I love how she called me one day while I was traveling and said "I found the house we want, what do you think" and sent me a link. When I said "go for it" she said "I knew you would say that so I already did."
    We still live there. Great location, great house, great space.
  80. I love how she manages to dent every car we own and has since before we were married.
  81. I love how she can watch the same commercial a hundred times and laugh at the "funny" part every single time.
  82. I love how when she went back to school to finish her degree she immediately turned in to a super student again at 37, and once again her teachers were telling me how amazing she was.
  83. I love how she is incapable of picking something she'll like at a restaurant and has essentially ceded her own food decision making to me.
  84. I love how she knows all my kids' friends' names and what they like
  85. I love how she always did elaborate arranging and planning for Christmas presents.
  86. I love how she captured our lives in scrapbooks.
  87. I love how she got fed up with hair care one day and shaved her head. She kept it that way for months, and did it again a few years later.
  88. I love how she never wants some of her own but always wants some of mine.
  89. I love how she always feels like she can't possibly do what she's about to do and cries and says she's failing and then when she's done it's always perfect.
  90. I love how much she loves her friends.
  91. I love that all their kids call her Aunt Mamie.
  92. I love how every baby in the room is always drawn to her.
  93. I love how she supported me through a long and complicated career focused way more on making sure I always loved my work than on maximizing income or stability.
  94. I love how while I was in graduate school and working and we were run ragged, and then I got an offer for a book deal, and I told her I wanted to do it, she immediately gave me support instead of throwing me out on the street.
  95. I love how she is such a perfectionist that nothing is ever good enough. Even though it drives me a little crazy sometimes.
  96. I love the funny little face she is probably making right now after reading that last one, with her brow furrowed, her mouth in an exaggerated frown, and her eyes looking off to the side.
    "Hey..." she says.
  97. I love how she has had a crush on Robert Downy Jr. for years. When we went to see The Avengers she said "This'll be great! There's one for you and one for me."
  98. I love how she knows when I'm distracted and doesn't hold it against me.
  99. I love how 26 years later after 22 years of marriage, 18 years of raising children, 15 years of home ownership, three years of two working parents trying to make it all work, through scares and sorrows, financial struggles, long nights, family reunions, house disasters, and everything else life throws at you, she's still the coolest person I know.