Thursday, February 28, 2013

"...the secret of the Great Stories is that they have no secrets. The Great Stories are the ones you have heard and want to hear again. The ones you can enter anywhere and inhabit comfortably. They don't deceive you with thrills and trick endings. They don't surprise you with the unforeseen. They are as familiar as the house you live in. Or the smell of your lover's skin. You know how they end, yet you listen as though you don't....In the Great Stories you know who lives, who dies, who finds love, who doesn't. And yet you want to know again."

--Arundhati Roy in The God of Small Things

Monday, February 18, 2013

new baby cousin!

Two and a half weeks ago, my brother Mark and his wife Sarah had a new baby girl! Her name is Christine Elizabeth, and following the tradition of big babies in my family, she weighed in at 10 pounds, 1 ounce. If she had arrived in a timely fashion, I was going to go down to Atlanta and stay with the big sisters while Mom and Dad were in the hospital, but she took her sweet time and their grandma was there to take care of them by the time she decided to grace the world with her presence. So since we hadn't gotten to meet her yet after all, on Saturday we all went down and spent the day in Atlanta with Mark, Sarah, and all four girlies. We had a great day! Thomas spent as much time as possible holding Christine (and napping with her at every opportunity!) and Jamie had so much fun playing with his cousins, especially Adriana. I'm so glad we live close enough to visit like this!
Jamie's first time holding a new baby
"No grown-ups! You have to drop the children off and go in the other room!"
another nap! And yes, that is a strawberry on his nose, ha ha.
cousin lunch! I can't count how many different outfits Abigail and Elena wore while we were there.
Uncle Thomas is underneath that blanket. When he wasn't snuggling Christine, he was being pounced upon by the other little ladies.
Adriana totally photo-bombed this picture.

trying on Adriana's astronaut costume
modeling the Big Sister shirts I made them. Can you tell everyone was so excited about this picture??

Looking forward to next time!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Valentine's Day

On Thursday morning, I got up extra early and surprised Thomas and Jamie with a special Valentine's Day breakfast, complete with heart shaped pancakes. That was the idea at least; some of them turned out better than others!

Jamie and I made Valentine's together out of construction paper. He was in heaven with his glue and scissors.

Later we cut out heart-shaped cookies.

For dinner we had steak, mashed potatoes, and roasted asparagus. Jamie even ate the asparagus! He is usually picky about vegetables so I was excited.

And after dinner we decorated and ate our cookies. Yum!
sometimes the sprinkles come out a little too fast...
Then on Friday night, Thomas and I exchanged gifts and went out to dinner just the two of us. It was a fun couple days.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Happy Mardi Gras!

I have never celebrated Mardi Gras before. Thomas, on the other hand, spent two years in New Orleans before Hurricane Katrina, and for him the holiday has a lot of significance. So Jamie and I took it upon ourselves to surprise him with a Mardi Gras celebration! We made red beans and rice and King Cakes and found Mardi Gras beads to wear. Thomas had NO IDEA about any of it. When he got home from campus, Jamie threw the beads around his neck and announced, "Happy Mardi Gras!" He was almost overwhelmed by the sights and smells of our King Cakes on the table and the red beans in the crockpot. Unbeknownst to me, he had been bummed all day that he wasn't doing anything for Mardi Gras and had even tweeted about wanting some King Cake. Little did he know Jamie and I were busy working on them! It was one of the best surprises ever.

Making the cakes...
King Cakes are a traditional part of Mardi Gras in New Orleans. They are round cakes covered in purple, green, and gold sugar sprinkles, and they have a plastic baby hidden inside. Tradition has it that the person who finds the baby in their piece has to make the next cake. I used this recipe from one of my favorite food blogs. Jamie helped me make the dough and then later put the sprinkles on. Wow did he love that part!
don't worry, the stove was NOT ON at this stage!
His first time licking a beater! It's not often I use the beaters on something without raw eggs so he had never gotten to before. He loved it!
time for sprinkles! The purple ones were a different brand and came out EXTREMELY fast. Almost the whole bottle got used up!
now for green...
and yellow...
eyeing the cakes...
Dinner time! I used this recipe for the red beans and rice, which probably isn't the most authentic New Orleans recipe, BUT I was able to find Andouille sausage! We ate dinner wearing our festive beads. :)


And the moment Jamie was waiting for all day... Time for cake!
My piece had the baby! I was hoping Jamie would get it but I didn't remember where it was in the cake. Maybe next year!
My favorite non-food related moment of the day: Jamie ran into the kitchen with his stuffed Grinch, exclaiming, "He will steal Mardi Gras!" Made me laugh SO hard.
Also, this:
Peter and his mommy got in on the action.
Thomas said both the red beans and rice and the King Cakes were the best he'd ever had. High praise! And since the recipe made two cakes, he took the second one to campus today to share with his classmates. We had such a great Mardi Gras! We'll have to make it a yearly tradition, though it might not be quite as fun without the surprise factor.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

pictures from my phone

When I don't have my camera with me, I'll sometimes use my phone to take pictures. But since I don't have a smart phone, that generally means the pictures (which aren't very good quality in the first place) just sit on my phone forever until I bother to upload them to the computer. Well, today was the day I finally did that. So here are a whole bunch of pictures of Jamie and his cuteness that have hiding away on my phone. The oldest are from a year or more ago, the most recent from just a week ago. Warning: there are a LOT of pictures here!
hiking in the Smokies

reading to panda
sharing a muffin at the farmer's market

Uncle Matt's visit!
story time! Jamie is in orange. 

I needed to chop up some vegetables for dinner, but Jamie sometimes has a
hard time entertaining himself. He'd rather help :)

"helping" with the laundry

making a fire!

They had a wonderful special musical storytime at the library a few months ago, and
afterwards the kids got to try out the instruments.
Jamie's first meal at McDonald's, ha ha. We stopped there on our way home after Christmas just
because of the play area. Only the milk is actually from there :)

Peter has a mommy now (one of my stuffed animals from when I was little--we
brought her back after Christmas) and she takes very good care of him.

"I am being Grandpa!"