Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Spring Break

Last Spring Break my family came to visit me. I spent my vacation falling in love with the city I would adore to someday call home (Charleston, South Carolina), paddling through alligator-infested waters, and devouring all you can eat crab legs at Captain George's in Myrtle Beach. This year, my family was 2,236 miles away, and I was here with no vacation plans and a rapidly growing belly. This was slightly depressing. I got most sad when I found out my aunt, uncle, and cousins were going to be in Salt Lake visiting my family at the end of my Spring Break. In fact, I think they're still there. This is how I feel about that:

(Photo taken today, at 24 weeks)

I even checked airline tickets in a state of desperation, thinking just maybe there was some $100 round trip deal from Raleigh to Salt Lake that could soar me out to the loving arms of my family.
About that . . . Didn't happen.

I wallowed for a few days but managed to have a relaxing vacation, and I even snuck in a little bit of near-home fun.

Chad and I shot a small wedding in Raleigh to kick off Spring Break. The bride is a coworker of mine whom I adore. She is a sweetheart and a half. The ceremony was very intimate, and the entire affair very casual. I think it definitely should go down in history as the wedding with the least amount of stress. It made photographing the event feel easy, and we had a great time.

We also started some projects around the house. I have been wanting to do something about my front door situation. If you don't know what a front door "situation" is, let me enlighten you. We live on a corner lot, and our house faces the corner. It does not face our driveway. You cannot see the front door from the driveway, and the "brilliant" landscape architects who owned the home before us chose to lay the brick path that leads to our front door not beginning at the driveway, but at the street. The busy street where no one would EVER possibly park. It was a brick path to nowhere, my friends. This means that everyone who ever comes to my house (the pest control man, the grandmother of the teenager who rear-ended us and wanted to check up on me, the person who I expect any day to come and tell me I've inherited a million big ones from some dead relative I've never met) comes not to my front door, which opens into my always-straight-and-tidy-living-room, but instead to my BACK door, which opens into my not-always-so-straight-and-tidy breakfast room and kitchen. There is nothing worse than having an unexpected guest show up at your kitchen door. Nothing like greeting someone with a sink full of dirty dishes. And let's face it, no one unexpectedly shows up when your kitchen looks great. It just doesn't happen. It's like an unwritten law.

So. Now that you understand the front door "situation," you understand why I wanted to move the brick path that leads to nowhere and have it lead to somewhere. People will probably still come to the back door, but at least we can try.

Enter my amazing father-in-law. Seriously. Have you MET the man? He is fabulous. He is like every daughter-in-law in the world's dream. I have complained about this path a lot, and he knew that we were getting ready to start landscaping our yard. I told him I wanted to move the path, but I needed someone to come help me map out what it should look like. He came to our house EARLY on a Saturday morning, and while we were slumbering in our beds, moved cement pavers from our flower beds (that we were going to move anyway, because they were stacked in an atrociously ugly manner--another of the "brilliant" moves of the previous owners) into a cute little outline for a brick path FOR me. I know, you probably think I am kidding. I am not. He didn't even wake us up, he just did it. It was like a little landscape fairy (a very masculine type of fairy, mind you) stepped in to save the day.

Then, he helped us move the bricks from the previous path, start digging the new path, and replace the grass with the sod we dug up (by me, I mean they. I have done no digging, but I did help move bricks.)

THEN, when Chad and I went to Raleigh to spend a fun day together at the Museum of Natural Science, he came to our house while we were GONE and dug some more. WHO IS THIS MAN? Seriously, I love my father-in-law. He is like a super hero. He is one of the most unselfish people I have ever met. He does nice stuff like this for us all the time. This is the progress we have made on the path thus far:

(Also, notice our beautiful, shiny black shutters. Chad and I repainted those a few weeks ago.)

There are going to be flower beds that will curve out around the house and meet the path. It's going to be really beautiful when it's all said and done.

In the spirit of home improvement, I went shopping with my mother-in-law (who is also amazing, like her husband, and treated me to lunch) and I bought these adorable plates to coordinate with our kitchen:

How fun, right?!?! Don't you just want to EAT something at my house, so you can use them? Come on over (just use the front door). I found them at TJ Maxs, which if you didn't know is a code word for the most amazing store ever.

I spray painted another free piece of wicker furniture, and put this baby in our breakfast room:

And I spray painted an old floor lamp (also free) and found a lampshade for $2.99 so we can have a floor lamp next to our recliner.

Perhaps it is because of my pregnant state that a lot of my vacation also involved food and feeling sentimental.

I was thinking about my Grandma Joy the other day, and I instantly wanted to make club sandwiches, so I did:

I know it's really silly, but I always remember my Grandma having amazing sandwich stuff at her house. If she made you a sandwich it was no bologna and processed cheese. It was a full-on cafe-style sandwich. When I was probably somewhere between 12 and 14 I worked for my Grandma helping her clean house. My great-grandfather lived with my grandparents and I remember eating sandwiches like this while I visited with him during my "lunch break." I love my Grandma and I miss her very much. She lives in Seattle, so I don't get to see her very often.

Then, in keeping with the spirit of Grandma memories, I baked bread over vacation, too. My Grandma Jensen always baked her own bread. I don't think I ever remember seeing store-bought bread at her house. I have always been really intimidated by yeast recipes, and it hasn't been until recently that I've really started to try to get better at baking things like bread and rolls. Whenever I have a successful encounter with yeast, I feel just a tiny bit closer to my Grandma. She died when I was a senior in high school, but I have a lot of special memories with her.

This bread is not one of my Grandma's recipes. It is actually one of my mom's, that I think she stole from Brenda Goodrich (that means it is good, people.) My mom used to make it when I was little. It's cracked wheat bread. I have been craving this forever, but I had no idea where to buy cracked wheat. Then, when Chad and I were in Raleigh, we went to Whole Foods and they had some. We bought a pound of it, and I came home raving about the bread and how I couldn't wait to make it.

About half way through the first rise, I started wondering if time had affected my memory about the bread. Maybe it was good, but not really amazing.

Time had done no such thing, my friends.

Even Chad had to admit that it REALLY was amazing. Bread is one of my weaknesses, so Chad is used to me raving about bread when he only finds it mediocre. This time, he said I was right. It was delicious. Man, looking at these pictures makes me want to go make two more loaves right now!

Then I made this little baby for Chad's Papa's 75th birthday party (which was a fabulous night filled with North Carolina-style barbeque--something I have craved incessantly during my pregnancy, which is weird, because I usually don't like it--and hush puppies):

There was no sentimental reasoning behind the cake choice, she just looked good. She tasted as good as she looked.

All in all, it was a good Spring Break. Although I think it would have been better if my family had flown out to visit me.


  1. You've convinced me i should come visit. Now I just need convincing on buying the plane tickets and leaving the children. :) Okay I guess I don't need too much convincing on leaving the children. . . . You are a cute preggo lady!!
    I think Brenda should make a cookbook. I'd totally buy it.

  2. Never has a post made me so hungry. Or wish I was pregnant so I could excuse the binge on baby nutrition. I made the same cake, only mine was for no reason and didn't look nearly as pretty as yours.
    Love the plates, love the path, LOVE the itty-bitty baby belly.

  3. I must agree with you Katie...You do have some good in-laws. Mrs. Joy and Mr. Bruce are great!!

  4. What a sweet father and mother in-law. I want to come and see you cute home. Also I was just thinking about baking some bread and about Grandma Jensen-I think she would be proud of the bread you made!

  5. 1. I will take a garden fairy anyday...well and maybe a laundry one, and a dishes one, and a babysitting one...you get the idea.

    2. I hope the path works and people use your front door. that would really annoy me!


    4. that bread looks divine! I loved going to your grandma's and making pressed flower bookmarks!

    5. that cake is making my mouth water!

    6. I second Cassidy, BRENDA MAKE A COOKBOOK we will ALL buy it!!

    I think that pretty much sums it up!oh wait, cute cute prego lady!! You are still TINY!!!

  6. Totally saw that cake on your blog recommendation and have wanted desperately to make it ever since! My goodness that is a tasty looking dish!

    And your house is beyond fabulous. I love everything you are doing. It just looks like a little piece of heaven in a beautiful part of the world. I feel surrounded by the ugly we call vegas when I read your blog... Thanks for the moments of beauty!

  7. We really missed not seeing you! I even got to see Bryan for about 10 minutes, before he left. Your family was so much fun to be with!!

    It looks like you had plenty to do with your break. I have never done all that on a break!!! Wow!

    I would love to eat something at your house!! I love TJ Maxx!

    Your mom said we could come with them in Oct. when you bless your baby. We are thinking about it!

  8. We loved having Grandpa, Howard & Arianne and their family here, but sure missed seeing you! The bread looks amazing, just like I remember. I should make some...grandma would be proud! My mom is coming soon and I will be lucky enough to be eating her amazing sandwiches! Wow about your new pathway, Bruce is such a great guy. Can't wait to eat on your new plates, I miss you so much!


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