A Birthday Party.



The four little ones below (of whom I take far too many pictures) are so precious to me. They are incredibly lucky.  Surrounded by adults, family and friends, who would do just about anything for them. I hope some day they will know how dearly they are loved. 

Not because they are beautiful, which they are.
Not because they are constantly amusing, which they also are.
And not because they smile and hold out their arms for an embrace whenever they see us coming.
But simply because they are. 
The love I have for them as an aunt is indescribable, I can't imagine the depth to which their parents adore them.
Emily, the darling and winsome 8 year old we celebrated on Saturday, was born when I was not even 15.  In many ways we've grown up together.  From deep knee lunges to bounce her to sleep as an infant, to seeing her radiant smiling face looking up at me on my wedding day. I can't wait to continue growing up together.
Emily girl, I love you. 

Emily turns 8.



Happy Birthday darling girl. 

Friday Pancakes.



Happy Friday ladies and gentlemen. 

I woke up with one goal today: make some pancakes. 

Our cupboards are lonely.  Our refrigerator is most likely feeling abandoned. 

Diet coke and tonic water.  Minus the condiments, that's the only thing keeping our refrigerator company.  And now left-over pancakes.  It was a miracle I had the one egg to make pancakes in the first place.  Boy I'm glad I did. 
Friday Pancakes (... perfectly acceptable any other day of the week). 
Adapted from All Recipes.

3/4 cup milk 
2 TBLS white vinegar

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 TBLS white sugar 
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda 
1/2 tsp. salt 
2 TBLS melted butter 
1 egg

Dash of cinnamon. 

1.  Combine milk and vinegar, let sit for 5 minutes (creating your very own buttermilk) 
2. In a medium bowl whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
3. Mix in melted butter, eggs, and milk/vinegar.  Stir until all is combined.

4. Spray non-stick skillet with cooking spray (such as Pam), wait until skillet is hot enough (my mom taught me to  wet your fingertips and sprinkle a little water over the pan to see if it sizzles...) - then turn down heat... we don't want burnt pancakes after all.

5. Spoon desired amount of batter onto skillet, flip when small bubbles start to appear.

Band of Brothers.



There's no shame in watching Band of Brothers with your eyes closed.  Unlike Brad, I am not squeamish.  I am not phased by a leg being amputated or the up close footage of the battle-wound aftermath.  It's watching the actual wound take place that causes me to cover my face with my hands.  I'm not a fan of violence and suspense.  I'm jumpy.  It's genetic.

So the minute guns start firing or mortars begin exploding, I pull my knees to my chest and shield my eyes with both of my hands - leaving only a slight crack between my fingers so I can still see what's happening... after all, I don't want to seem like a wimp. 

Jelly beans also make it better.  I know it's a strange juxtaposition. But somehow it works.

Deception Pass.



Commence Brad & Elisa's Day of Fun. 

We drove. After nearly two beautiful hours in the car we reached exit 226, and with it over a mile of traffic backed up along the shoulder of the freeway. These other sojourners were on their way to the Tulip Festival.  We just happened to be trapped in the onslaught.  We weren't going to the tulips (though for the hour we spent in the Skagit Valley, we probably should have).  No, we were going to a bridge.  Underneath which lies the hauntingly beautiful Deception Pass. 

Along the remaining stretch of road we encountered oddities one is only witness to in rural Washington.  The Pickle Barn Art Show for instance.  Or helicopter tours taking off roughly ten feet from the edge of the highway. Drive through ice cream stands. Or a combination wine tasting/pulled pork BBQ affair.  

Finally we reached our destination. 

We drove over the bridge.  We walked across the bridge.  We walked underneath the bridge. And then we walked back across the bridge, all the while I was deeply concentrating on not thinking about being on the middle of a bridge.  Brad was going to try to hold my hand, but I had it firmly hovering over the railing.  You know, in case disaster struck... though in which case I'm quite certain the railing would not have been of assistance (trust me, I have a great imagination for disasters of all kinds).  I'm really not scared of heights.  It's the endless possibilities of what could happen from them that makes my heart start to race. I wish I could say I'm not that neurotic... but that's just not true. 

Below you will find photos of the beautiful sights that surrounded us, the happy people playing in the water below, an adventurous couple who climbed down for a better view, and a bald eagle perched in his nest who, quite to our delight, decided to take flight. 

Fun fact to keep in your back pocket: Admission to Washington State Parks is free of charge during Earth Day weekend.  

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood.



Fewer things give me more joy than witnessing the quirky, the abnormal, the innocently strange.  A child riding a unicycle to the bus stop.  A plump middle aged man rollerblading down the sidewalk... elbow and wrist pads included.  And possibly the best: people who look like their dogs.  And there are a lot of dogs in our neighborhood. And sweet, elderly, Channel clad women who walk them. 

A brief tour of our neighborhood.  The swings, the scones, and the flower embellished sidewalks.  Though, I apologize, no pictures of said people and their dogs.  

P.S. The Madison Park Bakery is phenomenal.



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