Wednesday, December 22, 2010

It's Beginning to Look a Little Like...

Hope you're prepared for a wild calamity of self-portraits.  It seems that while no one told me it was so hard to take a decent "belly shot", the fact that I stayed so far from them for the past 25+ weeks would indicate that perhaps this is just one of those "motherly instincts" (insert laughter here... oh, and when exactly do those motherly instincts kick in?). 

Not only will these be the absolute worst pictures (from an aesthetic and technical standpoint - double whammy!) that I'll be forced into sharing, they will also serve as the content for the post with the most pictures of myself included. And very quickly you will discover why I'd much rather take pictures of faces like these, than my kinda-sorta (?) expanding mid-section... and equally fast, you will be thanking me.

Here we start with the horribly off-centered picture... the picture with Kara making a weird face (that's my "how in the heck do people take these pictures?" face)... let's try it with the hand down... or is the key to pull a 180!?!  

Maybe it's having the hand on hip... and black and white?

At last, something semi-reasonable... after I called for reinforcement... 

Yup, that's all I've got to show for 25+ weeks of growing our little one.  And with that, I will stumble back into the kitchen to take pictures of inanimate objects... or maybe just drown myself in the massive amount of dust I must clean before family arrives.

PS - it's true, shame on us... we haven't done a darn thing with that guest room I begged for suggestions on eons ago

PPS - if you expect to receive a Christmas present from us, please don't study the items on the bed too carefully as that was our staging ground for gifts... which are all beautifully wrapped and waiting under our tree now (or they were in my vivid pregnancy dream last night)

Monday, December 13, 2010

A New Tradition

If you've been around here longer than a day or two, you are probably expecting to hear all about another one of our family's recent weekends in Philly... watching Navy pummel (sorry to any Army fans... but it's the truth) Army for the 9th year in a row.

For the first time in ages... and I won't even attempt a quick count... no members of my family were in attendance.  No Jim's cheesesteaks (provolone, mushrooms and onions for mom and me... Cheez-Whiz and onions for Chris and dad) Friday night... no inhumanely freezing cold game Saturday... and sigh, no La Viola (weep... Carolyn, I know you feel our pain) post-game heavy Italian delicious-ness.  Aside from all the food that we (clearly) very sorely missed, I must admit within the first 5 minutes of the televised broadcast, I had commented no less than twice that perhaps this game was better watched from the comfort (read: warmth) of our own home.  The video intros were well thought-out, touching and patriotic, I could multi-task - in and out of the kitchen pulling Christmas cookies out of the oven, and did I mention, it was so warm.

Warm at gametime, I should clarify.  Where we found ourselves very early Saturday morning, however, was decidedly not warm.  I'll blame my wishy-washiness on pregnancy and hormones but in the moment, I may have even said "I'd rather be in Philly," though we all know how that would have worked out in the end.  Cold or warm, there aren't many places I would have rather been than with the other thousands of volunteers at Arlington National Cemetery, laying wreaths on around 24,000 graves of our veterans and their family members.  

Chris had read about this wonderful volunteer opportunity through our alumni group, CAN, and we jumped at the chance once we realized that for the first time in ages, we'd actually be in town on the big weekend.

Never say never, of course, but I'm tempted to declare that we've found a new tradition, even possibly in the face of missing our beloved Army-Navy... the idea of bringing our kid(s) with us, having them lay their own wreaths and explaining the sacrifice and courage that these men and women put forth for the freedoms that we enjoy each and everyday, is all but decided upon (though the jury is still out on how we will best be able to participate next year... wear the 8-month old or push him/her in the stroller?). 

**I'm not in anyway affiliated with Wreaths Across America, but just in case you are interested (there are tons of non-DC wreath laying ceremonies and donation opportunities), in helping out, click here.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

So You're Saying There's a Chance...

Someone assure me that my brother didn't get all the cute baby-making genes in this family. There's gotta be some smidgen of a percentage that our baby might look like this. Right... right??

Or at least this... I mean, there's no denying that one of the (main) reasons I'm carrying around this (shockingly only 1 lb.) bebe is for a chance at cheeks like these...


**You think this one is cute? There's more where she comes from...

Monday, November 29, 2010

Fancy Meeting You Here

The fact that the pictures staring back at you this holiday season (and the many months leading up to it) have been of (albeit adorable) kids frolicking in a crystal blue pool on a very warm summer (ah-hem, July) day is not (and has not been) lost on me. Rest assured that it's bothered me undoubtedly more than you (anal-much, Kara?)... even perfectionism aside, I have (had) so much to share!

Right out of the gate, let's get the 'where have you beens' out of the way. For the most part, that answer is right here... even in this very seat, though clearly not here with you. Then what could possibly have filled such a void? I'm not altogether sure what this means (it's me, not you... I assure you), but I quickly jam-packed the time I used to spend here (and admittedly reading any number of related and unrelated other blogs) without batting an eyelash. In fact, more than once I wondered how I had ever found the (embarrassingly extensive amounts of) time (and to be honest, more accurately, how you all continue to find your devoted time) to show up here. And while it's true that absence does indeed make the heart grow fonder, once I'd been gone for a while, it became harder and harder to right the ship.

Seriously, Kara? That's all you've got to say for yourself?

Not entirely... okay, not even partially. It is, and/or was, and/or will almost always forever and ever be about this...


Sure, aside from the initial three month-schedule of make-it-through-the-day and then rush-home-to-sleep... and repeat... we've also set foot in three (or four, depending on which one of us you ask) new countries, been busier than ever with work (not complaining, we are grateful for our jobs), nervously entered the world of photo shoots (and edited... and edited some more, said pictures), survived a sub par football season and if possible, an only occasionally more exciting Redskins season, and visited family and friends, local and distant... but when it comes down to it, everything in the past 5 months has revolved around a few black and white (sometimes cuddly cute, usually scarily skeletal-looking) images that I cling to like super-glue (that those images represent a (hopefully) tiny, little person that I'm going to have to deliver, and keep alive (!!), come early April 2011 are details I choose not to, ah-hem, dwell on, right now).

Though now that the cat is out of the bag, if you did some quick calculations, you will quickly discover I'm more than a bit tardy in my announcement (today happily marks 22-weeks and then some!).  While the first few months of silence were 100% for you (believe me when I say I had nothing of interest to utter about food, or life in general, except "I feel gross... there should be something edible in the fridge if you're hungry" or "I'm tired"), the rest was selfishly for yours truly.

And even though I'm back, I make no promises what my presence around these parts will look like. I can guarantee you a variety of whatever's on this scattered brain of mine - and it may be just that, as I've missed writing... but I'll attempt perhaps a recipe or two (though taking pictures of food is less than interesting to me these days), recaps of our travels, some thoughts about how things around here (i.e. me, probably, if I'm brave enough... and our house) are changing and probably some ramblings on what we've gotten ourselves into, surely including more than one plea for someone to reassure me (even if you have to lie) "yes, you will be able to do this thing called motherhood".

Of course we'll also show you how we're planning on turning this room... (in it's current state)

... into a home suitable for our little one, with the bonus challenge of not knowing whether April will shower us with a boy or girl. If I do say so myself, though, I think we're reconnected at just the right time in the life of this project... as decisions are (finally) being made and this momma-to-be feels like it might actually come together before our child can walk.

Without a doubt there will be pictures... of us and our families, anything we eat that I think you might have enjoyed the leftovers, our house (and any fun projects that I continue to dream of us finishing before we are otherwise occupied), other innocent people who agree to let me take their pictures, and our recent travels. Through it all, please chime in with any questions about something I gloss over in an effort not to bore you to death (as I'm aware I've done here).

Sure my friends probably haven't recognized me without a camera in hand at every meal and event we've shared recently... and it was fun while it lasted but truth be told, I missed it and couldn't be happier to be back. So there you have it... the last "too many" weeks in a (rather long) nutshell... I only wish it'd passed that quickly in real life because for a while there, I'd forgotten how nice (and productive) it is to stay up past 8pm and eat more than toast and yogurt (and the occasional potato chip) all day. If you're still here with us now... a hearty thanks and we'll see you soon!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Water Babies

Spending the afternoon at the pool with my favorite little people (well, two of them at least) brought back a flood of memories.

So much of my childhood was spent at our neighborhood pool - weekly summer swim meets (which also meant an introduction to sugary candy and a fear of loud, startling noises, like the Starter's gun), birthday parties (if you were lucky), and when we were the luckiest, days that turned into evenings when my mom would call for us on the main pool phone (am I dating myself?) with the welcome news that she and my dad would be bringing down dinner... to be eaten poolside, probably at adult swim, so we didn't miss a minute of time in the water.

It also reminded me of the less happy memory of the huge hill that we had to bike up in order to return home each evening. The hill that had been all laughs and a strong breeze as I had flown down it with barely a care in the world earlier that morning. And to think... I thought life was hard just because I had to walk my bike up a steep incline?

Seeing these two swim around, with the water splashing across their faces... all received with nothing but laughs... seemed to wash all our cares away. Sure Charlie didn't love being submerged and Caroline's life jacket made it hard for her to swim as much as she'd have liked... but the raw emotion and excitement they both had with each step into the relative unknown was undeniable and I couldn't have been happier to be there... with them, with family.

It's afternoons (and sweet kids) like this that make any amount of work worthwhile. You try and be a grumpy adult with one of these smiles staring back at you.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

No Pictures, Please

 Recipe: Whatever-You've-Got-Quesadillas

If for nothing else, this post is dedicated to the fact that I truly do take pictures of (almost) everything that comes out of our kitchen... and that I know it's annoying (sorry?). Though most meals (thrown together using whatever is in the fridge) are immediately deemed too insignificant for the blog, with our strictly formal atmosphere and all. Thus, the sometimes fluorescent-lit - tsk, tsk, I realize, but folks, we eat dinner at night and as such, when there is little to no daylight - photos become just more - and more - practice shots (which I suppose, I'm the better for, though my work might indicate otherwise).

It must be noted, while we're here, that spouses of those of us who do play paparazzi with their dinners should be awarded medals. What else can you say for someone who sits patiently as I photograph each (mundane) step of (any-ole) dinner and then snap even more pictures as the meal sits (getting cold), all the while, certainly anticipating that first bite.

As if that weren't yawn-inducing-enough, what I've got for you today is one of those previously mentioned, thrown-together, weeknight meals. Quesadillas are certainly not a Kara-original. But they are a delicious meal that might just be perfect for a multitude of reasons. None of the least of which because it's Mexican - and as long as I'm eating Mexican, the world is right. And it's ideal for weeknight meals to boot - just grab any protein, vegetables and cheese you've got, along with some tortillas and heat, and dinner's on the table (or at least ready to be photographed).

Whatever-You've-Got Quesadillas
serves 1-2 for dinner, 3-4 for snack/appetizer (can be scaled for your group)

1/2 c chopped onion
1/2 c diced bell peppers
1/2 c frozen corn
1/2 c black beans (we cook dried black beans in large quantities using this method and then freeze them in small portions)
1 c chopped, grilled chicken (ours had previously been frozen)
2 TBSP cilantro, roughly torn
1 c shredded cheese of our choice (we used cheddar and Monterey Jack)
2 whole-wheat tortillas

Spray a 10-inch frying pan with cooking spray and cook onions over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until translucent. Add peppers, corn and beans (drained) and cook until heated throughout. Add in chopped chicken, just to warm. Remove all ingredients from pan, leaving the pan heated.

Place one tortilla in your re-sprayed pan and pile half of your chicken and bean ingredients on one side of the tortilla. Cover with 1/2 of your cheese and fold the tortilla in half. Heat the tortilla through, until the cheese has melted and then remove from heat and (take pictures and then) serve!

But if I've bored you... worry not, on the other side of this (i.e. as soon as I'm ready to write another recipe post) is some to-die-for (and absolutely worth every photograph) homemade Key Lime Pie Ice Cream, complete with pieces of homemade graham cracker crust throughout (and perhaps a teaser of some Key Lime Pie Sorbet).

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Literally... how do you get it to grow?

I've talked before about our yard and garden... even at times, sounded ridiculously proud of it. Sure, we have shrubs that we lovingly prune each year and they (thankfully) flower again and again. A bed of your typical perennials also continues to grace us with their presence. Of course there are herbs... can any "cook" live without them, after all? And my mom has helped me over the seasons to arrange a mean container.

But... (a very big) but... this hydrangea (that I now know could be a beautiful pink flower!!!)... this glorious little (wimpy in comparison to its sister and brothers I'm seeing everywhere) flower has stumped me from day one. I know hydrangeas flower from old wood and thus need to be pruned very early... so after having no success the first year when I cut it back immediately after flowering, I haven't pruned her for the past two years. You read that right... not one snip (which these folks say shouldn't matter). As a result, we got a healthy looking shrub... with vibrant, dark green leaves - but no buds, or flowers. And this year - what can only be attributed to the heavy snowfall - four or five buds appeared on our once again otherwise-flourishing hydrangea. While I'm as grateful as can be for these blossoms, I would love to know how we got so lucky and moreso, how I can duplicate this effort (and then some) next year.

In the meantime, my gardening satisfaction for the year will have to come from the other side of our yard... in the form of vegetables. After a successful spinach and still burgeoning green leaf lettuce crop, we've started digging up our sweet baby carrots and enjoying our fresh tomatoes (while waiting on our pole beans, zucchini, and bell peppers). There's just nothing more fun than pulling a grown-from-seed real-live vegetable from your own (compost and all) garden.

Thus, as you might expect, we're already thinking about what to grow in the kitchen garden this fall and again, next spring! Besides conquering a finicky hydrangea, any recommendations for another season of fresh, homegrown, veggies?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Mysterious Splashes and Squeezes

Recipe: Chicken, Craisins, and Walnut Salad (Sandwiches)

It's true that we just got back from somewhere a lot more exciting (and photogenic) than this chicken salad but we've been devouring this salad (and/or sandwich, depending on who you are in this household) for almost 3 years so I couldn't wait another moment to share it with you. *pictures of our July 4th weekend to come... someday

Devouring? A "typical" chicken salad? Really, Kara... the food(-ish) blog world doesn't need one more person over-hyping a recipe. So with that, I will make a promise to you that this is no over-hype... sure it might just be that we have warped taste buds or the fact that we like anything in salad form (egg salad, tuna salad, etc.), but this Chicken, Craisin, and Walnut Salad truly is one of our favorites.

Is it the mysterious splashes of hot sauce? Or the squeeze of lemon? We'll never know (not that we're ever left with much time to figure it out)... all I know is that this is one of the two most often requested dishes around here, which to me says it is anything but typical. It also says "make me tonight... or tomorrow... or better yet, both!" (these leftovers are highly coveted in this house)

Chicken, Craisin, and Walnut Salad Sandwiches
adapted from Bon Appetit

1 1/4 lb skinless boneless chicken breasts
1 1/4 c thinly sliced green onions
1 c coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted
3/4 c Craisins
3/4 c mayonnaise
1/2 c chopped fresh parsley
2 TBSP fresh lemon juice
1 (scant) tsp hot pepper sauce
12 slices wheat bread, lightly toasted

Arrange chicken in single layer in medium skillet; add enough water to cover. Bring to simmer over medium heat. Cover; reduce heat to low and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 25 minutes. Transfer chicken to cutting boat. (chicken can be made in advance using this method, or slow-cooked and shredded using this recipe)

Cut chicken (or shred) into 1/2-inch cubes. Mix chicken and all remaining ingredients except bread in large bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide salad among 6 toast slices and top with remaining pieces of toast.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Hits the Spot

Alternate Title: Yet Another of my Mom's Treasures

I'm pretty much (sorta) over apologizing for the fact that I quote my mom here over and over and over... though saying "quoting her" should be taken lightly, seeing as how quoting anything is neither of our strong suits.

Speaking of strengths, I must give credit for the presence any athletic bone in my body to (wait for it) my ice cream-loving father. Gotcha, didn't I!? You'd have guessed my mom - and I wouldn't have blamed you - except for the fact that I've seen her (attempt to) tread water and break her toe at the mere touch of a soccer ball. Luckily, while my dad and I take care of the sports in our family, my mom can do just about everything else.

And this time, she exercised (no pun intended) her gift of uncovering a treasure (which happens to be my favorite spot #3 - I told you it was just a spot!).

If you don't recognize those dogs, then you must be new (welcome!). Seeing as how we're a little black-and-tan-long-haired-dachshund-obsessed around here, when my mom spied this beautiful, life-like graphic of two long-haired dachshunds in a vintage garden book (because dachshunds like gardens?!?), she snatched it up knowing I'd be all too happy to find it a home.

And it didn't take long... about 3.5 seconds after she presented it to us and I had quieted down from my ooohing and aahing (finding pictures of these wonderful creatures, especially of the long-haired variety, is much harder than you'd think), this space on our family room (yes, that same room that fills me with "eh") bookshelf was cleared, ever-so-slightly rearranged and then voila!

Who'd have thought that just a small piece of art could provide me so much happiness. It has since provided me countless moments of secret glances... not that the real thing is ever that far away.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Perfect For the Heavy-Handed

Recipe: Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream

Is it a dad thing to love ice cream or just a my dad thing? Either way, it's almost a given that anytime I have the slightest thought about ice cream, it's accompanied by any number of fond memories of my dad scooping what remains to be the largest serving you've ever seen into his bowl (hurriedly at that, lest someone should swat his hand away).

I'm not sure that I can do this image justice but picture if you will a half gallon (or whatever they are, these days) of insert-ice-cream-brand-name-here... you remove the top expecting ice cream resting just at or below the lip of the container. At this point, in my house, if my dad had gotten to the ice cream first, sure, there might be ice cream left, but the entire first inch or two would have been removed via a swift (precise and practiced) motion (see above comment about a hand being swatted).

So it's with those memories in mind that I can sincerely say... eat your heart out, Dad (literally)! It's finally your day to shine (on the blog, at least)... and although you unfortunately don't get to take your gratuitous scoop(s) of this particular ice cream, this recipe is dedicated to no one else but you.

As far as the rest of you... whether your dad has a heavy hand or not, I willing to bet this'd be a winner on your Father's Day table too.

Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream
from Cuisinart

1 1/8 c peanut butter (not natural)
3/4 c sugar
1 1/4 c whole milk
2 c heavy cream
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 c peanut butter cup candies, rough chopped

In a medium mixing bowl, use a hand mixer or whisk to combine the peanut butter and sugar until smooth. Add the milk and mix on low speed until the sugar is dissolved, about 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla.

Turn your ice cream machine on; pour the mixture into freezer bowl, and let mix until almost thickened, about 20 minutes. Five minutes before mixing is completed, add the chopped candy through the top and let mix in completely. The ice cream will have a soft, creamy texture. If a firmer consistency is desired, transfer the ice cream to an airtight container and place in freezer for about 2 hours.

Remove from freezer about 15 minutes before serving.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Fitting Right In

I'm finally back with show-and-tell spot #2 of our casa. And no, my silence regarding all things home and garden wasn't because I couldn't find something else that I loved about our house (though admittedly, I always see room for improvement, or er... overhaul) or for that matter, because we haven't been working around the house (primarily in the yard... it's summer, after all, indoor updates can kinda-sorta wait!). Instead, it was a bit because I couldn't decide if we've got anything really worth sharing (and dreaming that it might - dare I say - inspire you?) even if they do make us happy and another, a sadly bigger dose of sheer laziness.

Buuuut... we (humbly) think that this corner of our family room housing this gorgeous drafting table was worth the wait. Truth be told, this nook lives in the room that without a doubt frustrates me the most of any in our home... daily even. Thank goodness for this little, inconsequential corner... that which gives me hope.

As I mentioned, an outspoken majority of the rest of this room leaves quite a bit to be desired (and thus the only chance you have of seeing it is if I get desperate enough to ask for help); our family room and I have a distinct love-hate relationship... in that I love one or two very minor parts of it (duh... shown here), and strongly dislike what's left.

The story of the life of this beautiful (and don't tell us if you think otherwise) table is one of significance. It was almost (phew!) tragically cut short; as during the move-in process, with my limited "vision", I was sure there was no place for it. After all, it was taller and much larger in surface area than any typical desk so using it as a bedside table or a desk in a guest room was out. Add in the fact that it was too wide for many of our 1940s random-width doorways, and we were left in a bind.

Thankfully, just as we were about to give up and draft a Craigslist ad, my parents arrived in town. And as you might guess, my mom's good eye saved the day. At the time the decorating style of the house might have been best described as (with compliments to the then-current - and only - resident) "clean bachelor pad", complete with only a recliner, ottoman, coffee table, bookshelf, and of course a TV. But through it all, my mom saw this oddly angled corner and stopped the presses. A few minutes (and a door off its hinges) later, and our work/wrapping/crafting station was born.

With the table in place, accessories were in order. Little by little, we added a revived (you just can't kill the suckers) philodendron in a quiet, cream planter, two black and whites framed similarly drawing your eye up the back wall, a task light, a sculptural glass container holding spools of colorful ribbon, and a basket (on the floor) of various wrapping papers (my rather weak attempts at injecting color). Overtime, we've worked in some more personal touches including the cute wooden dog, dried flowers and a picture from our wedding, as well as a prominent place for our ultra useful address-stamper (that sees at least weekly use - thanks, Missy!).

If you can't tell (by my more-than-you-needed details), things about our house that I feel are "put-it-on-the-world-wide-web" worthy get me a little excited... so excited in fact, that I've already picked my next favorite spot (this one is indeed just a spot) to share with you. So while you're thinking of (and letting me know!) how we can continue to dress up our precious desk-in-the-corner, stop by sometime soon to see how we figured out one (simple) way to make another small piece of our family room more palatable. It turns out I have a thing with corners...

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Late to the Party

Recipe: Wheat Berry Salad with Chickpeas, Craisins, Feta and Mint

There are two things you can count on around here... that I'm always going to be the last to do or know about anything - which most certainly applies to new (or once they get to me, old) trends, and that I know nothing, and I mean literally zero, about anything related to pop culture, or that is cool or hip (for that matter, do "we" even say the word "hip" at this point?).

While I'm sure this surprises no one, not the least of which you all - after all, you've been privy to just a few of the recipes I throw around in our kitchen (frittatas? sausage soup? bar cookies? a fruit trifle? and sometimes, two chocolate recipes at once?), it did feel good to wipe yet another embarrassing admission off my chest.

Over two years ago, I read post after post of Susan's (among others) about bulgur, farro, quinoa, and a number of other whole grains that I'd never even heard of (truth be told, at the time, I was cooking whole wheat couscous, calling it a whole grain); and, they sounded not only delicious but each also boasted incredible health benefits. Thus it's fitting, albeit late as expected, that I've finally located (honestly, this was half the battle), cooked, and fallen hard for... wheat berries.

Since then, though, you can be sure that I've seen right through (past, and around) the hour-long cooking time required to transform these once dry and light-as-air pellets into tender little nuggets of chewy, wheaty, wholesomeness. In the very short time that we've been acquainted, our new pal has already met us in two delicious recipes (one of which got unfairly short-changed being served past the bewitching hour of decent photos), leaving us with over half a bag of the little gems waiting for their day to shine. And shine they will... as these low-maintenance guys certainly don't need much help.

How to cook wheat berries:

Add 1 cup dried wheat berries to a medium-to-large sized pot and fill pot with water, covering the wheat berries by at least an inch or more. Bring the water to a boil and then turn down to just simmering for about an hour, or until tender. Drain the wheat berries. From here you can either use them right away or store them in an airtight container in your refrigerator for several days.

Recipes with wheat berries that we've enjoyed:
Wheat Berry Salad with chickpeas, Craisins, feta, and mint
(chickpeas were my substitution)
Wheat Berry Salad with black beans, feta, onions, and red onion vinaigrette
(black beans were my addition; we loved this vinaigrette!)

Monday, May 31, 2010


If you will, please indulge me for a little while longer... pictures of my most adorable nieces and nephew, begging for recipes... and now this. Just one solitary picture... from this past weekend.

This group of extraordinary girls (and just trust me that the other ten of them are somethin' kinda special) just sadly parted ways after an annual gathering... this time in my (former) hometown, Atlanta. Nostalgic for a 9-year-later group picture repeat, we corralled all of us into one little spot near the pool where the rest of our weekend had been spent, and happily, I might add.

Dare I say time has been quite kind to my dear friends? Marriages, babies, and more babies, and an undeniable dose of reality, have made these girls even more amazing and beautiful than I could have imagined. And so it happens... the friendships that I've been so (undeservingly fortunate) to have throughout my life have (unbelievably, but officially) rendered this girl speechless.

Speechless... but soon to return with a tasty recipe that you'll want on your table all summer (one you might very well have put to good use today... there I go again with my impeccable timing).

Monday, May 24, 2010

Why I Smile

I may not have this life thing down just yet (or plans to really get it anytime soon) but one thing is for certain... these two and a half (for now, Sarah Taylor only gets half-billing) little creatures that I keep close by (though not close enough) are a sure antidote to anything that's got me down.

Lucky for you... as I'm of course happy to share them (read: force numerous pictures of them on you), we've got plenty to go around. And what I've got in store for you may or may not include one or more pictures of my adorable niece's perfectly chubby little legs stuffed in her just like my big brother's boots.

Even though ole' Michelin-legs McGee wasn't altogether thrilled with her usually hands-free (and able to toss her in the air at-will) Aunt Kiki, I'm quite confident that one day, she will thank me for these pictures... and the kind words said about them. Her sister, on the other hand, was more than happy to let me run around snapping pictures furiously - not that she was the wiser for it. But I've seen how fast these kids grow so I knew better than to let an opportunity with a quiet, still baby (or adorably pudgy legs, for that matter) pass me by.

In the world of Charlie, post-baby sister #2, he's stepped into the big-big brother role quite nicely. He's quick to tell momma when either of his sisters are crying or seem to need something (and especially if they are too little to be playing with any of his toys) and then head on his merry way to the closest John Deere-like piece of machinery or Playmobil set. And if a Sophie, or Nana or Grandad are close by, all the better.

If there's one person in all of this who does get it, well, that'd be our big-cheeked Sarah Taylor. Someone must have given her a heads-up that she was arriving as the third child in an already active (we'll call it) household. While Caroline chases after her big brother, leaving no stone unturned, the baby in residence ingeniously takes every chance she gets to catch some shut-eye - in the teeny tiny mind of a 4-week old, she's got it all figured out.

I imagine her time will come - and I can't wait to be there to (make a poor attempt to) capture yet another reason to make you smile.

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