Archive for July, 2013

Happy birthday, Aunt Katie!

Katie celebrated her 32nd birthday in Kansas, starting with a Friday night dinner downtown with me and Bryan, and ending with birthday (carrot!) cake at our house Sunday evening. In between, Tom took her to downtown Kansas City and the Country Club Plaza. I would have posted this photo earlier, but I’ve been too busy hanging out with my sister. WHO LIVES IN KANSAS. Surreal!



Ava the entrepreneur

Last weekend, under the watchful eyes of Aunt Katie and Uncle Tom, Ava opened a lemonade stand at the end of our driveway. She netted a respectable $27, but perhaps more notably, she secured a catering opportunity with a local running group.

I wasn’t on hand for the booking, so I was surprised to learn Thursday evening’s engagement would bring about 40 runners from the Hash House Harriers, a local chapter of the international running club, to our driveway for glasses of lemonade. (My enthusiasm was slightly damped when I learned the run was billed as a “trip through the suburbs,” warning participants not to return with mortgage and 2.3 children. THEY COULD BE SO LUCKY.)

Ava was really in her element, though. Along with Tom and Livie, she happily served up lemonade to the group, securing a $30 payday, $8 in tips and a growing thirst for entrepreneurship.

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Walk this way

A step and a half is all this baby will take, but that’s a bit more than last night. He’s getting SO CLOSE to walking.




Kansas bound

After a great week with the Smith family in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, we are heading east on I-70 today–only 350 miles left to reach home. I’m looking forward to sharing photos and stories from the reunion. More soon!


My guys


(Not exactly) a piece of cake

I offered to make Katie’s wedding cake, assuming somehow that years of cupcake baking had prepared me for what is actually a rather monumental task. After a few months of testing recipes, I decided to use this very moist yet airy vanilla iteration. In a dozen trial runs (including four for a practice cake), I found Madagascar vanilla played better than Mexican, and that bake-even strips are miraculous.

My main concern was icing, knowing that I lacked the truly professional skill needed to create a picture-perfect cake. Thankfully, though, Katie liked this very easy rose treatment, and the swiss meringue buttercream stood up beautifully in the warm air.

My step dad made the cake base, and my mom tailored the ribbon. I used pearl pins to adhere the tiny twine bows, then the groom and my father-in-law helped me transport the cake from the house to the tent via golf cart. I was more nervous during those five minutes than I was throughout my own wedding. The bride and groom cut the cake with Gramma’s cake knife, and there was just enough for the entire party.

Tom and Katie’s cake top is tucked away in my freezer, awaiting their first anniversary.

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Air Owen

We celebrated Owen’s first birthday with an airplane theme at our house on July 4th. Many, many thanks to our family and friends who joined us in Kansas, and those who sent wishes from afar. Here are a few shots of the party decorations, attendees and, of course, the birthday boy.

Boarding pass invitations set the date:


And a cockpit, bomber jacket and tiny aviators awaited our little pilot.


Karyl and I made clouds (and planes) to float throughout the dining room:


This little suitcase decoration was one of my favorites:


I made cloud cupcakes topped with candy planes, and lots of number one cookies:



We served Gramma’s strawberry lemonade and an Aviation gin cocktail from the “beverage cart.”



Favors included map stickers, colorful aviator sunglasses, pilot’s wing pins and a few other goodies.




I made a huge batch of honey roasted peanuts, and we served pretzels along with other appetizers.





Bryan manned the grill, and we served up a traditional July 4th barbecue menu. We thought that would be better than typical airline fare…


Our newly minted Uncle Tom:



Gramma and Grampa Great:


Grampa is a longtime pilot who provided the inspiration for the party, as well as many of the planes we used to decorate. To thank him, I made him a set of cookies in his Cessna ID number.



Owen seemed to have a great time (after he FINALLY woke up from his late afternoon nap):



My mom made Owen and angel food cake, and the girls politely helped him blow out his candle after we sang.




We sang to Aunt Laura, too, who was also celebrating her birthday. So sweet of her to do it in Kansas with us.

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Owen wasn’t all that interested in unwrapping his gifts, but he’s had a great time playing with them since!




Thanks, everyone, for making Owen’s first so memorable! We love you all!



Red, white and (KU) blue



And what a year it’s been…so very fortunate to have this sweet little guy in our lives!



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Wedding wrap-up

Somehow, nearly a month has passed since Katie and Tom were married in Nebraska. The weeks that have followed have proven to be nearly as hectic as those┬ápreceding┬áthe festivities—seems to be the theme of the summer. So, with apologies for the delay, I wanted to share a few shots of the bride, the groom and this Smith family, all taken by my father-in-law, Doug. (You can see the entire set here.)



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I understand wedding-day rain brings good luck to couples. If that’s the case, Tom and Katie are destined to have a long and happy marriage, because it rained, and rained, and RAINED. And while not much went according to plan as a result, the ceremony and reception ended up being perfect in their own way, as these shots by Laura so beautifully illustrate.



Katie and Tom, thank you so much for letting us be a part of this happy day. We love you so much!