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A trip to DC

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Since we are moving to HOUSTON this summer (that is a whole other post in itself), we are trying to make the most of our time left here to travel to some of the places we’ve been meaning to visit over the last few years. One of those places is Washington DC. This was Dave’s first visit the the ol’ capitol and my second, and it was such a great trip. We celebrated four years of marriage, hung out with friends, ate great food, experienced great art, and did all of the touristy activities we could manage to cram into 3 days.

I can’t even begin to estimate how much walking we did over those 3 days. A LOT. By the end of the third day my whole body ached. But it was worth it. Enjoy the photos!

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Dave’s 30th

Dave turned 30 on Friday and we celebrated with cake and friends Friday night, then I made him a three course birthday meal on Saturday. For the meal I wanted to incorporate a few of his favorite things into the menu, and he requested lamb. As you can see from the menu, we went with lamb shanks and I must say – they were delicious! One of his favorite things is banana-oriented desserts. Not only was his cake banana flavored, the dessert I made on Saturday was Bananas Foster!

Enjoy some photos from the weekend.

Banana cake with cream cheese frosting and mocha cream.

Braised lamb shank, whipped parmesan potatoes, and garlic roasted asparagus

Wow – this makes me feel full all over again. It was such a fun weekend – Happy 30th to Dave!

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Here’s to 3 years.

Dear Milton,

Today marks your third birthday. I can’t believe you’ve been with us since December of 2008, when you were just under 10 weeks old. I remember all of the emails I sent back and forth with the breeder in Texas about all the different options – standard sized, miniature, tri-colored, lemon-colored…I was so overwhelmed! But then she sent me some (pretty cheesy) pictures of the “little guy born on October 5th” and I was in love.

How could anyone not love those leg and belly freckles? (Are beagles even supposed to have freckles??)

I also asked to see pictures of your parents.

Here is Momma beagle:

                                                  And Papa

You’ve grown to look just like your dad!

I love you so much. You are one crazy dog, with more quirks than I know what to do with sometimes. But you’ve made all of the many transitions over the last few years a whole lot more bearable. Speaking of, sorry that we drugged you for the 22-hour car journey from Texas. Believe me, it was better for everyone.

Now, we all know that I have always loved you.

But Dave took a little while to warm up to you. Those early days were rough for all of us, but you won him over with your charm and persistence.

And now you guys are best buds.


We love you and your spunk, Miltonias! Happy birthday!

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400th Anniversary

Did you know that 2011 was the 400th anniversary of the King James version of the bible? Yeah, me neither until my lovely father-in-law informed me of the occasion. Not only did he inform me, he asked me to make a cake to celebrate! So, for their visit back at the beginning of August, we ate chocolate cake and took a quiz about the history of the King James bible. It seems that one of Bill’s favorite past-times is celebrating random holidays and occasions that the rest of the world overlooks (such as flag day, for example). But I’m not complaining. Any excuse to make a cake : )


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I {day}dream of cake.

Literally. My mind will not stop buzzing with ideas. Ideas about CAKE. I’ve got a list a mile long of new cake pops to try out, flavor combinations to taste test, cupcake themes to attempt, decorations to learn how to pipe, and cookies to make. I’m spending every bit of free time with my nose in cookbooks, making note of everything I want to try.

I’m making a cake tomorrow for a friend (first bit of business!) and I wanted to try test run an idea for the filling before making the real thing. I won’t disclose what the filling is just yet as I will be posting the cake on my facebook page after this weekend… plus, the cake is a surprise. Anyway, it turned out great! I was so pleased with myself for making it off the top of my head and I couldn’t wait for Dave to try it when he got home. When he did return home I went to the kitchen and got a spoonful of the filling for him to try. Apparently I do the same thing every time I want him to try something; I tell him to close his eyes and open his mouth for me to put the spoon in.  And apparently, he isn’t too comfortable with not seeing what he is eating. I didn’t even realize I did that until he said something about it last night. But I really do that every time I want him to try something. And now I totally realize where I get it from…. my father!! Coincidentally, he is also responsible for my sweet tooth, although my mother also played a part in passing on that gene too.

Ice cream was a big deal in our house growing up. It was pretty much like crack, and still is for me. On special occasions, Dad would concoct a ‘special’ sauce to pour over the ice cream, something like chocolate or caramel. After creating the secret sauce, he would come and find us and tell us to close our eyes to taste it. Now, you never really knew what you were getting into, because he was the type of jokester who probably wouldn’t pass up the chance to feed his kids coffee grinds. But, you knew deep down that there was the chance you’d miss out on perfection if it was, in fact, one of his splendid concoctions. My Dad loved the look of sheer delight and surprise on our faces after trying his creations, and I guess I love that too, hence me trying to get Dave to do the same. But alas, it seems that my husband does not trust me. And probably for good reason. I have the distinct memory of my 11-year-old self feeding my blindfolded friend a spoonful of soil during a round of the ‘tasting game’. She didn’t like that very much, but she sure did guess what it was!!

 

Did I mention that I am my father’s daughter?? ; )

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Where’s Waldo?

Here he is.

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Talking and dreaming

I feel like I’m always doing an update on this blog as I’m not really getting around to writing very regularly. With most of my school work and job assignments requiring me to be on the computer, I have found I’ve needed space from it in other areas.

Dave and I have been having some really great conversations lately. Conversations about cultivating a faithful life, a communal life, a life that forces us to take risks, to enjoy and be present in the real and very physical world around us, and to live outside of ourselves. One of the ways I think I have changed over the last few years is that I’m learning to dream. For me, that means letting go of a little control, letting go of a little safety, and learning to just ‘be’ in the uncertainly, rather than searching for the certainty. I’ve always been a little bit of a realist, and while there’s nothing wrong with pointing out the practical side to things every now and again, there’s also nothing wrong with letting go of control and actually trying to live out some of the things you feel passionate about and called to. I’ve been thinking and talking with some different folks lately about the Christian life being one of risk. Whether that’s taking a risk to love someone who’s maybe a little different than me, or learning that I can’t control whether I will be liked or the decisions that other people make, our call is to love as Christ loved, and he took great risk in the way he loved and lived.

We are also talking about what it means to be in solidarity with the poor, and specifically, with the people of Durham. God has been working in our hearts over the last couple of years and growing a love for the people of this city. Dave has been getting really involved in Durham CAN which is a multi-racial, multi-faith, strictly non-partisan, countywide citizens’ organization dedicated to building relationships across race, social and religious lines to identify common concerns for the good of the city. I am finding myself becoming increasingly passionate about working with limited-resource families in this area. I’m hoping to get an internship with an organization here in Durham committed to the transformation of East Durham by creating a pipeline of services from birth to college. This includes parent education services, early childhood care and policy, the betterment of schools, etc. It’s been really cool to see how God is creating opportunities and avenues for us to connect with the community which we care so much about.

Other than that we are living with some pretty big unknowns right now, mostly pertaining to where we will be and what we will be doing in a year. My instinct is to start preparing mentally and emotionally for whether we will be staying or leaving, to plan, and to cover all of our bases, but God is teaching me to live fully and love the people where I am now, despite the fact that I don’t know how long we’ll be here. This is where we are now. I’m grateful to be hanging out in the unknown because that is where I am forced to listen, to wait, and to just be.

As exciting as all of these conversation are, we continue to press on through the lesser exciting, daily happenings of summer school and part-time jobs. We are both grateful for the jobs we have been given and the things we are learning in school, and Dave is desperately trying to learn how to read German in just 5 weeks! We are also trying to be more mindful of how we spend our evenings when we don’t have plans. The white board in my kitchen is currently covered in a list entitled “Non-sedentary activities” – with 21 examples of alternatives to sitting on our computers or watching shows on Netflix or Hulu. We’re hoping to spend more time playing tennis, grilling out on our deck, painting, and hiking the many trails around us. Although, let it be said, some nights there’s nothing better than cracking open a cold beer and cranking out a couple of episodes of Friday Night Lights ; )

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