Saturday, July 31, 2010

On Traveling.

This is what I made myself for dinner. Fresh basil, heirloom tomatoes, garlic, mushrooms and mozzarella. It was pretty awesome. We'll get back to why it matters in a bit - stay with me.

When I moved to Virginia in July 2009, I planned to stay exactly two years. I told the world that I would be out of here and headed back to Kansas in June 2011, and I meant it. Since then I have learned the power of changing your mind, especially when God recommends you let Him make the plans. So I'll probably be here for a bit. That's about as much as I know, and I'm okay with it.

I think this short term plan affected how I lived my first year in Virginia. I felt a need to travel - a lot. So much to see and do on the East Coast, and I needed to do it ALL before I was back in Kansas. Plane tickets are a lot more expensive in Kansas! The travel bug is also genetic. My maternal grandparents would get an itch to dance and drive over a 100 miles for a good polka band. It's no secret that my dad loves to travel so much that he can fly airplanes.

Since last July, I have been to Alabama, South Carolina, North Carolina, New York, Illinois, Delaware, Indiana, Nebraska, New Jersey, Maryland (obvi - but also for the weekend), West Virginia and Kansas. That's a lot of states for someone who doesn't travel for business. It's been glorious - each trip was filled with people I love and great, great food. I think probably all those trips are why a few of you read the blog!

But I'm sitting here looking at all of my grad school due dates, and I think that the 2010-2011 school year might have to be a little different. I'm going to fight the urge to travel and try to stay here and rock out grad school. Can you imagine how much better my papers might be if I wasn't writing them on a bus coming back from NYC? I really love my program at George Mason, and I want to be very invested for the second and last year.

Another great reason to cut back on domestic travel? London. Thanksgiving. 2010. Yeah, it's happening.

So look for me a little more around the neighborhood. Doing more of things like eating out in DC. I'd like to try all the pizza and burger places on my pizza/burger list (there are 3 of each!). I could help Rachel take RV Designs to the big time. We'd really like to have a waiting list for our designs! I might be at the farmers market buying tomatoes to use in Friday night dinner (see above). Or I might be just reading a book for fun. As an added bonus, with less traveling I won't be jet lagged myself, so I might be an even better hostess for all the people coming to visit - can't wait for them to get here!

This week of five days without a lot of concrete plans were so refreshing. I need to balance a little more of that relaxing time in with teaching and grad school - something that is hard to do when you're always on the road!

Also something that is tricky to do when you watch too much TV. I'll tackle that problem next.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Dog Days of Summer.

Because it's Friday and because my new camera has a video feature, I made a video.

It is one second longer than one minute and features the doggies doing tricks.

Or at least, they thought about doing the tricks. They mostly look at my pocket where I'm keeping the dog treats and ignore my gestures.

Notice in the video that Copper eats each treat (bribe) daintily and Belle snarfs. That's the norm.

And finally, I'm still an amateur film maker. There is a lot of background noise because the refrigerator is noisy. Sometimes the camera moves. But I did my best!


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Lunch and a Movie with Em.

Emily's schedule as a veterinarian gives her some flexibility for midweek fun. On Wednesday, we met up in Bethesda to check out their restaurant week and see a movie.

Lunch at grapeseed was really great. For $12 a person, we each chose a first course and a main dish. I had gazpacho while Emily had fresh tomatoes with mozzarella. Both SO good. I think my gazpacho had a touch of watermelon in it. We chose the same main dish - a small grilled salmon over spinach and mushrooms.

Our plates were empty at the end. I resisted the temptation to lick the last of the balsamic glaze off after the salmon was gone. We got to sit right by the window and drink a ton of iced tea.

We went to the art theater in downtown Bethesda to see "The Kids Are All Right" with Annette Benning, Julianne Moore, and Mark Ruffalo. We both really liked it.

Source
You should know that it is rated R for a reason, and it is a little heavier than the previews portray it. But we both laughed a lot, and it feels like a story. I told Em when it was over that I was glad it was a smaller market film because it allowed for the writers and actors to be real and not too commercialized. Ah, families.

This week is really unusual in that I'm here for five days of summer with no travel plans and no Rachel. Here are some other things I've been up to this week.
  • I've been busy with lots of graphic design, the gym, Truman world, and reading! I finished The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (I'm like the last person on earth to read it), and I even watched the movie today. They're both graphic, but now that I'm done with all 600 pages, I can say I liked it from page 370 on. I may read the sequel. Probably not next, but I probably will. Thanks Abbey for loaning it to me!
  • I've tried to watch a movie each day this week and little to no TV. Weird, right? Monday, I watched Grey Gardens about Jackie Kennedy's crazy first cousin and aunt. Tuesday, The Invention of Lying. It was a little long in parts, but the ending was redemptive. I've also avoided TV with NPR, and I have heard some great programming this week.
  • I had dinner with Sheldon and my DC Andrea on Monday. Thai food - YUM! This was Sheldon's THIRD visit from KC for work, and I have yet to photograph a single one. He'll have to come back.
  • Getting ready to travel again. Philadelphia for Jill and Scott's wedding this weekend and then a short overnight to Ted and Kathi's on Sunday.
  • Eating vegetables. A few even from my garden.
  • Convincing Copper to not be a baby while he waits for his parents to come home from the Cayman Islands. Poor Copper. He is afraid of the dark. And thunderstorms.
Now to bed! I've been staying up past 1 am reading for several nights in a row which makes me extremely happy. Seriously. I lay there reading and think, WOW. I'm so happy. True story.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Mortar Board Conference - Year Seven.

Sometimes people give me a hard time about going to Mortar Board conference every July. And you know what? I really don't care. Call it nerd camp. Tell me it's dorky. Make fun of how I spend my vacation.

Because really, you are jealous. I know this and you know it too.

In my job as section coordinator, I get to work with great chapter presidents and officers from Kansas and Missouri. Here's this year's crew - aren't they smart looking? I feel SO lucky to work with them during their final year on campus. It's so cool seeing the things that they do!

Officers from Washburn, UMKC, KSU, KU, Wichita State, NWMS, Wash U, MU, Stephens College and William Jewell. I've convinced them we need a Mortar Board Section 17 blog. Seriously! I was home less than 24 hours when I received an email from one of the presidents who was really excited to get started.

It said, "BBBBBBBBBBBBBBBLLLLLLLLLLLLLLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOGGGGGGGGG!!!!!"

Mortar Boarders have extra enthusiasm for life.

K-State represents at the National Conference! We've got Jessica on the National Council, Marti on the board of the Foundation, Katie & I as section coordinators, plus two delegates and our awesome advisor, Candi. We won a Golden Torch this year, but I think these two boys might take the chapter up, up and away in 2010-2011.

Jessica was a great addition to conference this year - she was one of my youth group kids when I worked at First Pres in Manhattan during my senior year. I had two regular attendees at youth group - and Jess was one of them! (Incidentally, the other works with my sister at Payless.)

You know my Mortar Board bestie, Sarra. Vishal is our buddy. There were a few sad years when Vishal wasn't at conference, so Sarra and I would take pictures looking sad to send to him. We were all reunited this year. It felt right.

These photos are no exaggeration. The smiles are real - I love me some Mortar Board Conference. I can't wait till July 2011 - whohoo!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

This Smile Looks Familiar.

I have every intention of telling you about the Mortar Board conference. But as I was preparing the photos, I found this one I thought I should share.

If you are my dad, my stepmom or my sister, you know that this smile looks familiar. It's the exact same smile that my four-year-old brother rocks.

Ah! We're totally related!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Love Letter to Cannoli.

We haven't known each long, so forgive me if this seems too forward. Do you remember when we met? I do. Like so many other torrid love affairs, ours started on a spring break vacation in 2006. I was in Boston innocently visiting Rachel and Sol, eating at Giacomo's, loving the North End. Then Rachel suggested that we go to Mike's for dessert.

Honestly, I had no idea you would be there. If I had known, I would have insisted we go there earlier. You were perfect for me from the beginning. Fresh filled with ricotta cheese and chocolate chips. It was love.

Four years later, our paths only cross occasionally. However, each interaction is just as sweet. In fact, I think I appreciate you more now because I know how truly rare a good cannoli is to find. Good proportions of ricotta to chocolate, freshly filled, and not soggy.

Thanks for the memories. I am hoping we have many more happy years together.

(Photo taken at Nonna Pino's in Chicago.)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Raven and the Marbles.

Jennie and I have been friends for a while, and over the years I have eaten many dinners at the Marble house. They're a family of three, so it feels right to be the fourth seat at their table. I remember sitting at that table right after we graduated from high school, and Mr. and Mrs. Marble told me that I should start calling them Dick and Jane. We were grownups!

Jennie's parents moved to Connecticut after we graduated and then to outside Chicago. With the extra time in Chicago, Jennie and I planned a day out to Geneva to visit her parents.

And their new doggy, Raven.

She's a mixed breed, like all good dogs are, with the coloring of a German Shepard and some of the build of a sheep dog. And she's a really great dog. Playful like a puppy but eager to please and be loved. And she looks at the camera better than Belle.

Jennie's mom made a great dinner with a Japanese noodle dish, herbed green salad, and a plum skillet cake. I have no idea how many people that cake should serve, but the four of us finished it off without a problem. Thank you Jane and Martha Stewart, August 2010.

Most times when I go to see Jennie it is after a Mortar Board meeting or conference in Chicago. And I'm often really tired and not always a lot of fun. But this year, I went to Jennie first. We had a great time exploring her new neighborhood, buying jeans (no, seriously. it was awesome.) and visiting her parents. I love Chicago so so much. And the people that live there.

Go Cubs Go!

I like baseball. Not enough that I'm willing to check the score box every day. I don't know the players for any teams besides Strasburg for the Nats. He's sort of a big deal. I sure don't watch it on TV, but I won't pass up an opportunity to get out and see a game.

Tuesday night I went to my fifth Major League ballpark. Jennie and I took in a game at Wrigley Field, and it was awesome. We sat out in the general admission bleachers in the outfield. The clouds were ominous, but we just barely got wet during the game.

We were discouraged at first because the Cubs quickly fell behind, 6 to 1. I really wanted to see the Cubs win because apparently if the Cubs win, you get to sing a song.

Halfway through the 4th inning, we needed hot dogs. It was important to stick to Chicago style and eat them without ketchup. Instead we loaded them up with onions, tomatoes, mustard, and relish in a poppy seed bun.

Colorful, right? I want another hot dog. Right now.

It was also important for us to drink "Old Style" beer. It's very authentic and Wrigleyish.

And with time, the game began to change. The Cubs began to score. A lot. Before we knew it, the game was tied. And then the Cubs went ahead. Final score - 14 to 7. Cubs win! We got to sing the song! You can listen to it below, and you'll learn the words quickly, just like I did.



This is what it looks like at Wrigley - people singing and holding up the trademark "W" flags.

After the game, everyone floods into the streets around Wrigley headed for home or the bars. Jennie and I went to grab pizza at Ian's. Yes, we needed more food.

Ian's is New York style - big thin pieces with a crazy number of options for toppings. We split a piece of taco pizza and chicken bbq, and they were both good. It reminded me of getting pizza with Andrea in NYC! I sort of regret not eating the macaroni and cheese pizza.

Do you have "Go Cubs Go!" stuck in your head yet? You don't? Go back and listen to it again. You'll be singing it for days. Trust me.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Jennie, Joe and Bucktown.

If you lost your copy of my travel schedule, I'm in Chicago. HELLO from Chicago!

I arrived on Tuesday and spent the first two and half days with my best friend Jennie and her boyfriend. They just moved into a beautiful place in Bucktown, and the balcony has a view of the city. See the John Hancock Building and the Sears Tower? That was our view at lunch time!

Joe is studying for the bar, so he is super busy these days. But he really wanted to make us lunch the day I arrived, and I'm so glad he did. It was so so good. He grilled up some pork for tacos al pastor, and it was a beautiful spread.

With the pork, Joe served grilled onions and pineapple. He made his own tortillas and guacamole.

We each assembled our own tacos. Pork, tomatoes, queso fresco, onions, jalapenos, pineapple, guacamole. I was in heaven - I had seconds. And thirds.

When we finished, I was officially satisfied. Besides the good food, I was so happy just spending time with Jennie and Joe. I really like when my besties find the right match, and Joe is a good match for Jennie. Their new place is comfortable and welcoming, but I think it has a lot to do with their easy-going, lovely personalities filling the space and making it a home.

Like I said, I really like it when my best friends find the right guys. It makes me very happy.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Matchbox Review and Mysteries Revealed.

Sunday night, we headed into DC for dinner at Matchbox. Rachel and Sol had been before, but it was on my list of three pizza places I really wanted to try. Surprisingly, Matchbox takes reservations for parties of 6 or 10-12 on Sunday through Thursday nights, so we didn't have to wait forever. It's located right in Chinatown, and the atmosphere is clean, breathable, and modern.

Here's the Northern Virginia crew. I'm not sure why Finley's shoe is on the table. He was a great sport all weekend and dined out three times with our house guests. That's a lot of action for a 15-month-old. Also, we sort of all match. Not planned.

Pretty visitors who like to drink martinis and white wine - Tara, Kate and Kat.

The salads were so fresh and full of good greens. I ordered a beet salad - I apparently have lost my mind and choose beets on a regular basis. If only the ones in my garden had grown better...

A short while later, the pizzas came out of the 800 degree oven. I am not exaggerating, that's what they said! We had three pizzas for our table, and we cleaned up each one. Tara and I had sausage, roasted red peppers and goat cheese with a balsamic reduction sauce. Kate's had anchovies. Seriously. Rachel and Kat chose one with mushrooms and something I can't remember. Sol helped on all three pizzas.

We had no complaints. All three pizzas were incredible. There were a half dozen other combinations I would still like to try.

After dinner, Rachel thought it was time we start testing the strength of the video on my new camera. If you've been wondering what I sound like in real life, here I am. I hope it doesn't take too much of the mystery out of my blog, and you keep coming back.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Backyard Tiki Party.

I had a birthday party under the pretext it was just a backyard get-together, but everyone knew it was my birthday party. I thought maybe 2-7 was too old to throw yourself a birthday party, but no one seemed to mind. We had 30 lovely people filling our house on Saturday night to celebrate summer, friends, and I guess, my 27th birthday.

Let me take you step-by-step through this crazy adventure.

First, I designed these invitations. If you love them, I'll design them for you here. Rach & I expanded our design skills to include invitations. I mailed them out to friends because I'm old school and because everyone LOVES mail. Plus they gave me an excuse to use one of Paper Sources newest colors, Peacock.

Once the invites were in the mail, I started planning decorations. We were going to be inside and outside, so I wanted to use bold, bright colors.

With some help from my mom who picked out the fabric, the internet, and Rachel, I made this tablecloth for the backyard. Sometimes my sewing can be atrocious, but I did prepare the hem perfectly for Rachel to sew.

With grad school and friends coming from out-of-town, I had to plan smart to get all the details finished. I bought a few new supplies at Ikea, including these great jars. They were filled with summer Starburst, coconut candy bars, and Swedish fish, and guests snacked on them throughout the night.

We also served mini burgers on Hawaiian buns, peach & cucumber salsa, honey lime fruit salad, Goldfish crackers, hummus, and Sun Chips. I love a good theme.

I found a few spare minutes to make the tags to label the food with some witty comments. My friends were so helpful in getting all the final details assembled, and pulling it all together.

They even helped decorate the water bottles - a necessity because of how warm it was. I made the stickers myself and got the paper on clearance at Michaels. I think it matches perfectly! Thanks to Rachel for making sure these little details got photographed.

Meet Adrienne. She's in my grad school program and on my teaching team, and she was a lifesaver with the cake I'm holding. I couldn't decide on what dessert I wanted, and Adrienne volunteered to bring the perfect cake for a tropical tiki party - chocolate & cherry. It served everyone generously and tasted so so good! I'm lucky to have her with me at George Mason, and so thankful she made this pretty cake.

And last but certainly not least, my dear friends and Elvis. Tara and Kate came from KC for my birthday weekend, and Katherine flew in from Buffalo. We stayed up so late each night talking and laughing. They were extremely helpful in getting everything done and keeping me sane. Like when I fell on the steps with a container full of Mai Tai punch. And they were there to celebrate. I loved that they got to meet all my Virginia friends! I've always been a fan of friend mixing.

In the background, you can see Elvis starring in Blue Hawaii. I played it on repeat during the party. Sol said it might have been the weirdest party of the party, but we did catch him watching it later in the night because he wanted to know what happened.

I think my first big Virginia party was a success - it was so fun too! Mahalo to everyone who helped!

How Finn Feels About Elvis.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Happy Birthday Victoria!

Hi again. It's me, Rachel. Lucky for you, Victoria never removed me as an author from her blog from when this happened. She is currently driving our friends to the airport, so I took a minute to commandeer her blog to wish her a happy, happy 27th year. We've been busy entertaining friends, so the blog has been eerily silent, but do NOT worry. Vic took tons of pictures of food and friends, so there will be lots happening at some point on the blog.

But anyways. It's Vic's birthday! Hooray!

I've known Vic for almost 10 years. We're planning a romantic getaway to NYC in a few weeks to celebrate (more on that later). Vic is a special friend--I can barely keep her social life straight because the girl collects BFFs like I collected Beanie Babies in the 90s. Seriously, girlfriend needs to trademark BFF for her use of it. Vic is completely loveable and always entertaining to be around. She has a story for every occasion and--if our blog business falls through--has a serious chance at making it BIG as a stand up comedian.

So if you know and love Victoria, or if you don't know her but stalk her and are strangely fascinated with her hip life, leave a comment below telling Vic why she is so special. She may be above shamelessly begging for comments, but I'm not. I know Vic has gotten many emails, calls, texts, facebook messages and the like today, but her favie (as you all know) is her blog. So please, right below here, leave her a little love.

Here, I'll start. Vic, I love you because you can reach things in tall cabinets and you love my kid and you are the best business partner a girl could ask for. Even if you routinely shoot down my ideas.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Can You Tell Me How to Get...

It has been a super busy week with grad school and frantic preparation for house guests, Tiki party and my trip to Chicago next Tuesday through Sunday. But it's also been a very good week at grad school. The upcoming year looks really challenging, and we'll be really busy with many projects, plus our team research. The flow of the program is continuous with all the same teachers and students together for two years, so they have given us all of the syllabub for the 2010-2011 school year.

Yeah, year 2 will be work.

On Monday, our teaching team went to the National Mall and did some comparitive work at two of the Smithsonians. Our entire class as assigned to start at the American Indian museum, and we could choose our second stop. My team went to a great exhibit at the National Gallery showing the work of Allen Ginsberg and his photographs of the Beat counterculture in the 1950s and 60s. Believe it or not, we found some great comparisons and had good conversation around power and privilege at these two sites.

Tuesday's focus was international education, and our professors kicked it off with the movie The World According to Sesame Street. It was fascinating! I loved Sesame Street as a kid. I think that was the only tv show we watched for many years because we were too busy reading and going to area historical sites. Seriously. But I love Sesame Street a lot more now after watching how they've taken the fundamental principles and translated them for worldwide audiences.

This is not about exporting Big Bird but about working with local directors and creative people to create characters and places that will resonate in Bangladesh, Mexico, South Africa, wherever! The focus is on literacy and friendship, and it was so neat to see how the cultures work together. The film has some general information about Sesame Street, and it also follows how new Sesame Street families are developed in new countries.

I really recommend the movie - it's a very interesting film for people who grew up with Sesame Street, have kids, or work with little kiddos. It's available on Netflix, so go ahead and watch it yourself.

And because the blog title got the song stuck in your head, here are the rest of they lyrics!

Sunny day
Sweepin' the clouds away
On my way to where the air is sweet

Can you tell me how to get
How to get to Sesame Street

Come and play
Everything's A-OK
Friendly neighbors there
That's where we meet

Can you tell me how to get
How to get to Sesame Street

It's a magic carpet ride
Every door will open wide
To happy people like you -
Happy people like
What a beautiful

Sunny day
Sweepin' the clouds away
On my way to where the air is sweet

Can you tell me how to get
How to get to Sesame Street
How to get to Sesame Street
How to get to Sesame Street...

And really, I'm almost done now. But you need this.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I Don't Like Everything.

I like to eat out. DC is a never ending source of great food and fantastic places to meet friends. I read restaurant reviews for fun, and I keep adding to my list of places I would like to eat!

But I don't like everything. Some restaurants I wouldn't recommend to a friend, and I probably wouldn't go back myself. I just wanted you to know that so you didn't worry that my reviews were always positive and never discerning.

For example, I didn't like Mio. It was a beautiful space, but the food was too self-important.

We went on a Wednesday evening at 8 pm, so it was pretty quiet. However, we were celebrating summer, life and the Midwest. So we had a bottle of bubbly and made plenty of noise.

Carrie, a fellow Truman buddy, was visiting from Madison and giving some very important speech. We thought about it, and Carrie and I have had dinner in DC, Boston, KC and NYC. That's kind of impressive, right?

We were with Anthony and Thomas. Even though I didn't love Mio, I did love talking to the two of them. I was so jazzed after talking to all of them all night that I came home WIRED. My former roommates, Kenneth and Erica, can attest to the amount of energy I have after a good night of friends and conversation. Good people more than made up for the only okay food.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Victoria, How Does Your Garden Grow?

June was the hottest June on record in the DC area. It's been over 100 degrees several days in the past week. So asking about my garden is a very good question. Thankfully, we've escaped the blistering heat without too much damage to the garden, and it's actually still thriving. Here's an update on some of the vegetables including lessons I've learned and a few mysteries.

  • Bush Beans: Our first two bush beans were our best. Two different varieties, they grew really quickly and produced a lot of beans. I was really worried we would have too many beans. Turns out that Sol and I are willing to eat them straight off the plant and don't bother cooking them, let alone freeze them. I think we maybe cooked them only once. There are a few more smaller bushes still growing some beans, but I thinned them a lot more so it's a pretty small quantity.
  • Pole Beans: Grew really really fast. And no beans yet. A few flowers. I have no idea what's going on here.
  • Cucumbers: According to our friend Amy's mom, I probably have a bug that wiggled into the roots. Some leaves are not holding up well and look wilted even though they are getting plenty of water. I am sad, but I know that we have already had over ten great cucumbers, and even with the wilted leaves, cucumbers keep growing. These could be my favorite - I love 'em.
  • Eggplant: Success! Ate the first one last weekend after grilling it, and it was yummy! I would like to make eggplant Parmesan with the next couple.
  • Yellow Squash: These plants are huge. Got the first one last week, also grilled. There will be a lot of yellow squash this season.
  • Broccoli: Too much work for little sprouts. Won't grow again - not worth it.
  • Lettuce: Okay. We've had a few salads. The ones I planted earliest have fared the best. I've been amazed at how well the full grown plants have stayed during this heat wave.
  • Jalapenos: Made jalapeno hamburgers, so yummy. Also used in homemade salsa.
  • Peppers: No red ones yet. Hope these hurry up. Banana peppers were planted late so they'll be a while.
  • Radishes: Ruined. All of them. I left them in the ground too long. Whoops.
  • Beets: Popped up out of the ground last week but they are very small. Hoping they get bigger.
  • Onions: Yeah, no idea on these either. I do NOT like things that grow underground.
  • Tomatoes: Looking great! Starting to have little green fruits show up, and Belle is keeping the squirrels away.
  • Herbs: All a success (basil - two varieties, oregano, chives, rosemary) except for the oregano. Which is fine because I don't like oregano, but it would come in handy for salsa.
That was longer than I meant for it to be, but now I have a record for myself. I'll appreciate my notes last summer when I try all this again. And maybe you can relate a little bit to my garden adventures and misadventures.

It's finally raining this morning!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Fifteen Minutes with Finley.

As I mentioned yesterday, I'm at grad school this week. Next week too. Nine days of discussion, presentations, my grad friends and driving back and forth to the George Mason campus in Prince William County. After I stop at the gym or run a couple errands on the way home, I'm pretty tired. I have just enough steam to throw together a little dinner, shower and go to bed.

So I've been missing my Finley time. And as you can see on Rachel's blog, this boy is growing up fast and does cool new things every day. So tonight, Rach went to pick up Copper at the groomer, and Finley and I hung out for 15 minutes.

I was eating yogurt, so Finley wanted to eat yogurt. And I let him use my spoon even though it was way too big for his mouth. That's why he has got extra yogurt everywhere. We put raspberries on his fingers, and then he ate them off. Chomp chomp chomp.

My personal favorite new Finley trick is something we do together - water the garden! Rach was busy in the kitchen today and he was fussing, dramatically putting his head against the chair and whining. So I said, "Finn, do you want to water the garden with Victoria?" And he turned around, looked at me and waddled on over! He helps hold the hose and then sticks his hand in the water. These are very important jobs.

Thank you for sharing my 15 minutes with Finley. Come visit and have your own fifteen.

Also, happy 5th wedding anniversary to Finley's mom and dad. Love ya both dearly.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A New Look at Founding Farmers.

When Mom was in town, a group of us ate at Founding Farmers. You may remember that I have been there before with Abbey, Em, Anne and Rach. I felt bad taking pictures of all the food again and then sharing the photos with you. I mean, we ordered some of the same things and a few new things, but it still would have been mostly the same. So we're mixin it up a little - this time I'm going to show you the food AND the person.

Note: Rachel and I decided this should be the photo taking strategy without consulting Em and Steph. Whoops. Good thing they are happy, smiley people.

Following Rachel's greatest inner struggle since deciding to cut her hair, Rach chose the lobster mac and cheese over the ahi tuna salad. She liked the tuna dish better, but now she knows. I ordered a selection of rolls - 1 jalapeno hot dog, 1 crab roll, and 1 chicken salad roll. I LOVED my choice. You can see Mom's hamburger in the background. We also had some wings and Old Bay popcorn.

Stephanie also had a hamburger, and Emily had chicken pot pie. They both loved their dishes. It was nice having Stephanie join us from KC.

And Rachel's infamous mac and cheese. It was very pretty.

I still can't decide if I like pictures that are just food or people and food. Just the dishes may be more convincing in getting you to come visit because it appeals to your stomach. But my friends are pretty and should be celebrated on the blog too. Ah! Decisions! Dilemmas.

PS. I'm in grad school this week. It's making me tired, but I'm glad to be back with my Mason friends.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Babies on the Fourth of July.

Rachel took this photo of me and Finn on the Fourth. And it reminded me of this gem of my brother, Spencer, when he was visiting me in DC in 2006. Babies! Sweet little boys! Crazy to think that Finley will grow up big like Spencer all to soon. Spence will be FIVE in November!

Ah, young Victoria. I turned 23 that summer I lived in DC in the dorms at George Washington.

Then I was in a relationship, now I am single and speaking at church about relationships. (It was two weeks ago at my young adult group, and it was awesome! So fun and good to share what God has taught me about life and love.)

Then I was getting ready to teach in KCK for the first time, now I am getting ready to start my fifth year in the classroom.

Then I loved my family and my friends terribly much and loved to have them visit, now I feel the exact same way and can't wait for more to come for the first, second or third time.

Then I was getting ready to move in with one of my best friends, Erica, now I get to share a roof with another BFF, Rachel.

Then I believed in the power of teachers and people working together to be good for students, now I get to see how that really does work.

Then I laughed at myself in self-defense, now I laugh at myself with appreciation.

Growing up isn't so bad.