The super adventures of the Dexter family… aren't you excited?

My super adorable bros

So, obviously, it’s been a while. I’ll tell you about our crazy month is a bit. First, I need to gush on my little brothers for a second.

Before moving here, I really didn’t know Ethan’s brothers that well. I always wanted brothers, and they were exciting additions to my life, but I didn’t know them that well. Clayton (the oldest of the 3 and just finished his 2nd year of college) was the most enigmatic to me. When Ethan and I first started dating, he was in his early teens and was firmly in the “too cool for school” phase. Leland (the middle one who just graduated high school) I met at just the right age. He was old enough that he talked with me very easily but not so old that he felt like he had to look cool. He also adored Ethan so by default that made me cool. We, therefore, hit it off really well and he actually liked to spend time with me. Spenser (who will be a Junior in high school this fall) was so little that it was hard to get to know him. Also, his gameboy was glued to his hand. We couldn’t even eat with him without his gameboy being whipped out!

As they got older, I got to know them a bit better, but really it kicked into high gear this winter. They drive over all the time to “help” Ethan with things, have movie nights and just hang out. They really hadn’t been able to spend any substantial time with him for at least 10 years- so they’ve been catching up. All visits, however, have been when Ethan was around. We hang out, and have a blast together, but visits were not to explicitly see me.

That is, until this week. You may or may not know that my birthday was this week. Sadly Ethan has been out of town all week so he was not here to celebrate my birthday. One set of friends were out of town and the other set was busy, so that left potential birthday celebrators to Ethan’s family. Well, Ethan’s parents decided to go out of town that day, so duh duh da duh…. that left the bros. Side note: I was pretty bummed on my bday. Elijah was a beast, Ethan was gone and I felt lonely. But, that all changed when, at 7:15pm, my bros called to inform me that they were picking up pizza and a movie and coming over to party! They bought me a cake and everything! It was so sweet. It was so much fun. They stayed till after midnight, and I really think the ice has been broken! Next week Ethan will be gone again and so will his parents, so I think I might get visitors again! Squeal! I can’t tell you how excited I am.

So, now then. This last month, Ethan and I celebrated our 5 year anniversary a bit early. It is, in fact, on Saturday, but Ethan was a groomsman in a wedding in Washington DC and we decided to make a trip of it! Let me just say that it was definitely needed. After all the life changes that have happened in the last 8 months, we needed some time to ourselves. We had a blast at the wedding, seeing some amazing friends, going to museums, walking, seeing the monuments and eating Indian food at the end of the trip with  Amanda and Matt (the bride and groom). We had been craving Indian food for a while, because the Indian place in Casper closed, so we demanded it. Although, instead of satisfying my cravings, it just made it worse. sad face.

us after the wedding

my favorite Murillo! Sadly, the baroque section was roped off so I couldn’t see my favorite period, but it was still amazing. There is nothing like being surrounded by so many friends. 🙂

us on our evening monuments date. It was amazing!

WW2 memorial with the washington monument in the background

us with the ever amazing Melissa Neuman…. in front of the White House! Not only did she sing for our first dance at our wedding, she just happens to work for the White House and gave us a personal tour! It was so cool. But it was even more amazing getting to catch up with her. It was one of my favorite things from the trip!

While we were party-ing it up, Elijah was chilling out with my family in Topeka. My parents were waist deep in crazy work schedules, but they still were kind enough to watch Elijah.

Also, we celebrated his 3rd birthday there. Mom made the most amazing Little Einstein’s cake.

this picture with my grandparents was just too cute not to share!

When we got back to Casper, it was Mother’s Day, and Ethan built me a fire pit! IT’S AMAZING! I love it. Then the next week, we celebrated Elijah’s birthday again. This time, we had an Octonauts theme. Octonauts is very favorite show. It’s from the UK and is on the Disney channel. It’s all about these characters who live in an underwater submarine/house called the octopod, and they take care of and help all different kinds of sea life. It’s super cute and I think he knows more about underwater stuff than we do! You can’t find toys though, unless you get them online. The downside is that they have to be shipped from the UK, so they are crazy expensive. I had a brain lapse and decided that I would make him the characters out of felt. Such an idiot. They turned out amazing, but they were a TON of work.

his cupcakes

the characters I made for him

Then, after that, I had to make 8 dozen cupcakes for Leland’s graduation/ Eagle Scout ceremony. Also, during this time, Ethan was building out fence in our back yard. He’s almost done, and I’m so excited for it!

Vanilla bean cupcake with a vanilla swiss meringue buttercream

devil’s food with a peanut butter filling and chocolate ganache with a chocolate boy scout emblem on top

double chocolate chip with a chocolate mousse filling and a swiss meringue buttercream

After Leland’s eagle scout ceremony. He’s the 3rd brother to become an eagle scout.

L-R: Clayton, Spenser, Uncle Jim (a former scout master), Leland and Ethan

Now that you are all caught up, it’ll be 2ish weeks before I post again- I’ll be crazy cleaning next week because next Friday…. Cheri, Kurtis and Kenny (and Cheri and Kurtis’ kids Sam and Penny) are coming to visit!!!!!!!!!!! We are so excited! We’re going on lots of adventures, so afterwords, I’ll share some pictures!

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So many things to say…

NOT!

Well, maybe that’s not exactly true, but I feel like most everything I would tell you would be quite mundane. So, I’m going to give you a couple prayer requests and you’d be pretty much filled in on life from the last post till now.

But first…. I promised Mount Rushmore pictures, so here’s a couple before I forget:

Yay! A family picture!

gettin’ all up in their grills

(FYI- Teddy is my favorite of the floating heads because his glasses blow my mind. No joke. As an Art/Art History major, I was expectedly giddy and could have stared at them all day.)

Hubster chillin out…. waiting for this fart to make it down the stairs:

For some reason, unbeknownst to us, Elijah decided  to go down all the stairs backwards. Thankfully there were maybe 50 other people at Mount Rushmore, so we weren’t holding people up. We only ran into 3 other people during the hike- it was like having the place all to ourselves. It was amazing! We were there for about 3 hours and left because the park was closing. Elijah probably would live there if we let him. If they ever made a “Visit Mount Rushmore” commercial, he would be the perfect kid. We figured he’d be bored to death, but he loved seeing “the giants”. He bawled for about 30 minutes after we left. It was a very fun first family adventure 🙂

Now, prayer requests.

1. We have been settling in wonderfully, which is kinda more like a praise… but that’s good! It is pretty sad not being around for birthdays and whatnot, but we are beginning to get involved. On that note, Ethan accepted a Board of Directors position at I-REACH, which is a non-profit organization for people with developmental disabilities and brain injuries. It’s similar to Topeka’s Sheltered Living- which as you know… we love! He’ll attend meetings once a month and help with Marketing the program. Sadly we’ll be out of town when the Special Olympics happens, so we won’t be able to participate in that, but he/we are really excited to help out in the future. (This is NOT a job change, it’s more of a community service/outreach thing for Ethan) Please pray for us as we get more involved in our church/local community. We really want to be useful and find niches we can dive into.

2. Similarly, I’ve started getting orders for cupcakes! YAY! Though I have had a couple of orders already, I will be launching an out-of-our-kitchen-demand-based business on May 18th. Why then, you ask? Because that is 6 months and 1 day after we signed the paperwork for our house, and as part of the WCDA agreement, I would not work for the 1st 6 months. So I’ll be selling cupcakes by the dozen. I’ll launch a website then as well. So when that happens, I’ll give you the link. I’m really excited, but kind of scared at the same time. Thankfully, there’s not really any overhead, so there’s not a ton of success pressure… unless you count all the test flavor cupcakes lying around- there’s a lot of pressure not to eat every single one! But, because I don’t expect it to explode overnight, I’m considering taking a part time job. I’m quite intimidated and nervous at the idea. Daycare will need to be found, because Ethan’s schedule is too crazy, and I feel like I’ll be found wanting. I’m paranoid that they will look at me and see that I am of childbearing age, ask if we want to have more kids (to which I’ll say yes) and then they’ll cross me off the list. I’m sure it’s all in my head, but I feel like every place is going to do that to me. I have lots of concerns and questions about how it would all work out…. so please pray that we’ll make the right decision and that if I am to get a job, I’ll find just the right one.

3. Jesus and I have been spotty at best lately. I’d like to blame it on the fact that I cannot make a schedule for myself/the household, but I’m really good at making excuses and it’s just that I am super lazy. Also, I’ve been struggling with Him about some issues and that makes me kind of apathetic too. But mainly it’s that I’m lazy. I need a schedule in order to be productive, otherwise I wait around all day till one is decided upon by everyone in the house. Not having a schedule also means I don’t purposefully make time during the day to read or pray, so then it never happens. Every time I try to make a schedule, though, something throws a wrench in the plan. Lately it’s been that Elijah will wake up in the middle of the night, then get up super early in the morning, so then I’m so tired that I really don’t get ready for the day till super late. Then, all of a sudden, it’s 3 in the afternoon and I’m like, “Where did the day go? I’ve got to get dinner going soon, then put it away, then hangout time, then Elijah goes to bed and the day is over!” So then I’ll either scramble around trying to get things done (like a crazy person) or I won’t even try. I really need help to get out of this routine. 😦

4. I need patience with Elijah and potty training. He decided Wednesday evening that he was going to do it and do it now. It was like 0 to 100 in less than a day. So now he refuses to wear a diaper… or pants, for that matter, and has taken to running around with his nether-regions exposed to the world. We haven’t had any pee accidents since the first night, but today Elijah decided he can’t poop in the potty. He pooped on the floor and didn’t tell me. I discovered the poop when Daisy walked by me and left poopy paw prints in her wake. Daisy found it first, laid on top of it for a while then got up and ran on half the carpet before I made the discovery. It took me about an hour to find and clean all the poop stained carpet. I’ve been at my wit’s end ever since. I’m really proud of him, but I’m also feeling overwhelmed. *Sorry if this was too much information for you*

5. Finally, we’ll be going to Topeka next week. Elijah is staying with my parents for about 5 days while Ethan and I go on a mini vacation. He’s a groomsman in a wedding in DC, so we decided to make an extended weekend of it, and celebrate our 5 year wedding anniversary a month early! We’re really excited, but kind of nervous because Elijah has not been apart from us for this long before. I’m sure he’ll be fine, but it’s not like we’d be able to come back early if it’s not going well. Maybe I’m freaking out about it more than Ethan is… because he’s the level-headed one in the relationship…. but I feel as though it’s a genuine concern.

I think that’s all I have for you right now… so here’s a goodbye cupcake I made for an order last week:

It’s a Double Chocolate Chip Frappuccino cupcake. It’s a double chocolate chip cake with a chocolate mousse filling and a Swiss Meringue Buttercream frosting on top. It doesn’t actually have any coffee in it, but it tastes like the drink at Starbucks with the same name. I think the batter may be my new most favorite. It was so liked by Ethan’s brothers that Leland, who is graduating in May, decided he didn’t want a cake, he wanted these cupcakes and refused to change his mind. So sweet 🙂 It seriously made my day.

Happy Easter!

So this week, we went on an adventure! Ethan made his first trip into South Dakota and Elijah and I tagged along for the ride. We partied at Mount Rushmore and went to the Black Hills and stopped at Devils Tower on the way back. We had a blast! Elijah LOVED Mount Rushmore and sobbed for about 40 minutes after we left because he wanted to see “the Giants” again. He still asks for them at least once a day. With the next post, I’ll post pictures and give you a better description of our trip. Today I decided, in honor of Easter tomorrow, to give you my very favorite Easter Hymn. Well, that’s not true. I’m going to give you my favorite plus the one that has been my song of the week for about 2 weeks now….. and maybe a bonus video! Yay!

I must say that it feels weird not going to Topeka FMC tomorrow. I have not worshipped at any other church on Easter before, so I’ve been feeling nervous. Silly, I know, but things like, “What will we sing?” or “Oh no! What if they hate my favorite Easter Hymn and I don’t get to sing it this year” or “Ack! What if we’re too new for Elijah to participate in the after church Easter egg hunt” have been running through my head. Superficial, right? But it does feel bizarre not knowing 100% how it’s all going to go down. Secret: I need plans. This anomaly is not working so hot for me right now. But, I’m also kind of excited to see how it goes and celebrate Easter outside the box.

Here’s your first song. This one we didn’t really sing that much at the Topeka FMC, but it’s been in my head since I sang it to Elijah a couple of weeks ago. I sing hymns to Elijah while he’s drinking his “calm down” milk before bed. Sometimes we read books instead, or if Ethan and I are feeling generous, we do both. Anyways, we go through the hymnal we have, or as Elijah calls it, “Mommy’s book”. Usually I open it to our bookmark and just sing the next couple of songs that are listed, but for Christmas/Easter, we’ll skip to the songs pertaining to the season, then after finishing those, we go back to our normal routine.

(If you’re wondering why we do this, here’s why. Being the church secretary, I would fold the bulletins every Friday evening. As that could get monotonous, I would sing to myself. Usually it would be the songs for Sunday or songs that would pop into my head. One Friday eve, while pregnant with Elijah, I was singing the hymn, “It Is Well With My Soul”. I made it through the first verse and began the chorus when I got this super weird feeling in my tummy. I stopped and was like, “WHAT WAS THAT?” Nothing happened, so I picked up where I left off. Within 3 notes, it happened again. It dawned on me that I just felt Elijah’s first kick! I started bawling and called Ethan. (I was a SUPER emotional pregnant lady) So then after I told Ethan, I started all over again so I could feel more kicks. It never failed. I would sing and he would always tumble across my tummy or kick. Towards the end, he would do it with select bands too. After his birth, I would sing/hum to him to calm him down. I also sang to keep myself awake on late nights and I would sing him to sleep in the rocker when all else failed. It was our special thing. So I just haven’t stopped. Hopefully I still have a couple more years before he hates it.)

If you’re following along in your hymnals, it’s no. 203

And can it be that I should gain an interest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain? For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be that Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
Amazing love! How can it be that Thou, my God, shouldst die for me!

He left His Father’s throne above, so free, so infinite His grace!
Emptied Himself of all but love, and bled for Adam’s helpless race!
Tis mercy all, immense and free, for, O my God, it found out me.
Amazing love! How can it be that Thou, my God, shouldst die for me!

Long my imprisoned spirit lay fast bound in sin and nature’s night.
Thine eye diffused a quick’ning ray: I woke- the dungeon flamed with light!
My chains fell off, my heart was free, I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

Amazing love! How can it be that Thou, my God, shouldst die for me!

No condemnation now I dread: Jesus, and all in Him, is mine!
Alive in Him, my living Head, and clothed in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach th’eternal throne, and claim the crown, thru Christ my own.
Amazing love! How can it be that Thou, my God, shouldst die for me!

How beautiful are those words? Such imagery… what a great reminder of what Easter is really about! He died for us so we could be free to follow Him.

Here’s my favorite Easter Hymn. Period. It is THE number one. That is a very hard thing for me to say, but it’s true!

Please feel free to sing this with gusto to yourself then have it in your head for the next week 🙂

Low in the grave He lay, Jesus my Savior!
Waiting the coming day, Jesus my Lord!

Up from the grave He arose, (He arose,)
With a mighty triumph o’er His foes; (He arose!)
He arose a Victor from the dark domain,
And He lives forever with His saints to reign,
He arose! (He arose!) He arose! (He arose!) Hallelujah! Christ Arose!

Vainly they watch His bed, Jesus my Savior!
Vainly they seal the dead, Jesus my Lord!

Up from the grave He arose, (He arose,)
With a mighty triumph o’er His foes; (He arose!)
He arose a Victor from the dark domain,
And He lives forever with His saints to reign,
He arose! (He arose!) He arose! (He arose!) Hallelujah! Christ Arose!

Death cannot keep his prey, Jesus my Savior!
He tore the bars away, Jesus my Lord!

Up from the grave He arose, (He arose,)
With a mighty triumph o’re His foes; (He arose!)
He arose a Victor from the dark domain,
And He lives forever with His saints to reign,
He arose! (He arose!) He arose! (He arose!) Hallelujah! Christ Arose!

By the third verse, I find myself hopping with excitement because this is just one of those songs that gets me PUMPED UP!!! It’s definitely one of my favorites!

If you are willing to be daring, Here’s a modern Easter song for you:

One thing that I have learned from listening to Christian rap (Thanks to Ethan!) is that you can use words in ways that other Christian genres can’t. It’s so much more rich and in some ways, it reminds me of hymns with its ability to be so deep. I hope that (1) you listened to it and (2) that you love this song as much as I do!

Have a blessed Easter, friends!

Pat, My Target Lady

I have, in previous posts, alluded to my love of Target. I am going to give you all the juicy details of my relationship with it in this post.
But first….

Adventures around Casper!

We took a family drive up the mountain on Sunday because it was such a gorgeous day! If you are not aware, Casper sits at the base of a mountain, called Casper Mountain. Casper Mountain is at the very edge of the Laramie Mountains which is the Northern part of the Rockies. For you history buffs/nerds (don’t worry, I’m included in the latter group), in between Casper Mountain and the next range of mountains, The Bighorn Mountains, that start in the northern central part of Wyoming, was a popular route for the Oregon Trail as well as the Pony Express. In fact, not far from Casper is Independence Rock, which is a GIANT rock in the middle of nowhere that travelers on the Oregon Trail would carve their names/initials into. It’s really awesome and if you ever come visit, you’ll have to check it out. Oh, and on your way to visiting us, you’ll be able to see the Laramie Mountains on the second half of your drive from Cheyenne to Casper. Unless your driving the whole trip in a day…. then it will be your kick off to the trip on your way home  because it would be too dark out to see anything on the way in. 🙂

So, we lovingly refer to Casper Mtn as “the butt mountain” because it reminds us of those signs that you would see back in the day in people’s yards of a man and a woman appearing to bend over doing yard work. It’s like a ton of those all lined up next to each other. But it is beautiful and where we live is much closer to the mountain, which means we get a much better view! (Pun intended)… (you’re welcome!) So here are some pics for you from our drive!

We were trying to get a family pic with everyone looking. This is why we don’t take a ton of pics- it’s ridiculous.

and we’re going up the mountain! AND IT’S GREEN!

here’s the city of Casper halfway up the mountain

and we are going up some more! Interestingly, it was in the 70s, as it had been all week, and there was still a ton of snow!

here’s a high point. I don’t think it’s one of the highest, but it was still exciting!

Sadly, because it’s March and there is still a ton of snow, most of the trails weren’t open, or we would get disgusting if we went on them. Also, the vast majority of the mountain is privately owned, so there are only certain areas that you can go. lame. We still had fun checking it out, and can’t wait to go on all the hiking trails in the summer. Also, at the end of July there is an annual bluegrass music festival at the Beartrap Meadow on the mountain. Earl Scruggs has been a staple at the Beartrap Music Festival, but alas, not anymore since he just died. Sorry. So…. that’s something to write down in your planners if you like that sort of stuff!

Now. For the REAL reason for this post. Target.

If you could have a relationship with a store, Target would be my supportive, understanding, surprise-giving best bud. I go to Target to relax if I’m stressed or had a tough day, I go to have fun if I’m feeling stir crazy. I go when I’m grumpy to un-grumpify myself. Basically, some people eat ice cream for tons of reasons to make them feel better… I go to Target. Now, I don’t buy a lot, because I am the master of waiting for sales and clearance. It’s a skill. Mainly because I live there, so I see when things slowly make their way to prices I will pay. Even at that, I don’t buy a ton. I’m responsible. 😉

Very early on in my relationship with the Topeka Target, I discovered that, while I may go there a lot, I went around the same time each time, because I almost always had the same checkout lady- Pat. She is the most awesome cashier ever! She’s a retiree who works part time at Target to keep herself busy. I’d like to think she’s like a future version of  me. The first time, I had complimented her on her hair- she had gorgeous silver hair that was long and in a wavy pony tail! I love seeing older women with long hair- it proves that I don’t have to chop off mine after a certain age! She said that made her day and it quickly got to the point that I would go into her line whenever possible so we could chat while she checked me out. She was ever so excited when we started buying baby things and was giddy the first time a purchased a boy item. She was so happy to meet Elijah and still knows him by name. In fact, when we visited Target in Topeka, Elijah was so excited and started yelling, “Yay Pat!” when we pulled into the parking lot.

Funny story- after having Elijah, and in the middle of going through the “everybody sees my kid, but nobody cares about me” phase… I did something drastic. I cut several inches off my hair and got bangs. SHOCKING! It happened to be when Ethan’s parents were visiting and we were going to my parents for a giant both sides of the family dinner the night of my haircut. I styled it all pretty-like, hoping to get compliments, but aside from Ethan (who knew about it beforehand and had to give the obligatory “It looks good, but I love your hair any way you do it” statement), NO ONE NOTICED. It was heartbreaking. So the next day, I drowned my sorrows in a Target visit. I got into Pat’s line and made it up to the register. She looked up and the first thing out of her mouth was, “I love your bangs! They look amazing on you! Did you just get them done? I don’t remember them from last time. So cute, Melissa!” I could have jumped over the counter and given her a hug. It immediately made me feel so much better. I, of course, thanked her and gave all the credit to the best stylist in the world, Kris Holland (at Salon Westboro- plug plug!), for giving me bangs that didn’t make my face look fat. We kept talking and then on my way out to the car, I thought to myself, ” Is it bad that my family didn’t notice my haircut, but my target lady did?”  I paused for a second…. “Naw.”

So it was super exciting, given the history, to see Pat several times at Target during our visit. One night… when I was by myself for a bit, I popped over right before closing. Partly to mourn the gorgeous remodel that I couldn’t enjoy on a regular basis. Pat was stocking the shelves and spotted me, so we  talked for a bit. Then halfway through our conversation, she got all excited and said, “Oh, I have to show you something! I saw these the other day and thought of you! I must say, one of the reasons I’m sad you don’t live here anymore is because I was hoping your next baby would be a girl and I could see all the cute things you would buy for her.” So, where did she take me to? The shoe section. To look at these:

Pat is my Target soulmate.

Happy Hunger Games!

So in the last few weeks I have gone from snow to 80 degrees and sundresses, then snow and 70 degrees with crazy winds upwards of 70-80 miles. The highest clocked in Casper was 76mph. Oh yeah. That was the day that I let my hair go naturally curly and it was pulled almost straight. Seriously, only the very ends of my hair still had a curl to them.

Anyways, Elijah and I had a blast visiting everyone in Topeka and took full advantage of the gorgeous weather! We made birthday cupcakes for my mom and my cousins Michelle and Lindsay. I went shopping with Cheri in KC. I was on a mission to find a dress for a wedding in May that Ethan and I are attending. After that we went to THE BEST concert I have ever been to- we saw NEEDTOBREATHE! YAY! It was super fun and a great afternoon/evening out that, I think, we both needed. We spent 3 afternoons with my grandparents and they made me my favorite cuban dish. As much as I try to duplicate it, it never tastes like my Abuela’s. 😦  Elijah got an ear infection, which probably explained why he was so well behaved for several days… then turned to a crazed maniac the last couple of days. 🙂 And we hung out with DOMINATE, and went to the zoo! I also visited my Target (insert low number here that I most definitely surpassed) and mourned the fact that it has turned into a Super Target and I am not there to support it. I also got to talk to Pat, my cashier, but that will be my next blog post. There’s too much history for a simple couple of lines. Then we drove back to Casper and the last 40 miles was driving in snow. It was so sucky. I had been in all my summer skirts and dresses for 10 days and my body had adjusted to summer, and I started quickly rebelling to the cold. But at least it’s more spring-like now, so that’s a bit better.

Once we got back to Casper, my allergies went CRAZY. That wasn’t the greatest. I was out for 2 days then had to get to work on my Hunger Games cupcakes. I was super excited to make these cupcakes because I LOVED the trilogy and was pumped to see the movie. I dropped off a ton of HG cupcakes to Spenser’s drama class on Friday and then went about snacking on the leftovers :). Oh, Spenser is Ethan’s youngest brother, FYI. After that I got ready for the opening night of Hunger Games! YAY! It was a great adaptation and I loved it. It kept the tone of the book and I think it explained things pretty well for you weirdos who haven’t read it. It’s an exciting thing when a book series becomes massively popular, but the excitement (for me) reaches a different level when a novel is able to spark conversation about the world we live in. So needless to say, Ethan and I had such a fun time talking about why some topics and overtones were emphasized in the movie and not others. Cuz we’re nerds like that. 😉
hmm, I appear to be using lots of smiley faces today….

Also, I have made some headway with my cupcake business that I will be starting this summer! I’m pretty excited and my stud hubby is super excited and supportive. Which is amazing, cuz, guess what? I’m super nervous and not the most confident at times, so I need lots of affirmation. Also, boys/teenagers/dexter boys (minus Ethan) are not the most enthusiastic and expressive. So I’m glad that he makes up for that 🙂 So here are my latest cupcakes:

“The Mickey” Cupcake- a vegan chocolate cake with vegan chocolate frosting and strawberry slices

a white cupcake with a guava filling and a cream cheese frosting. Sadly it was too warm in the house, to my frosting didn’t set up. I was not about to sit there forever and balance it out till it did.

Mass Hunger Games cupcakes

a close up of the cupcake. It’s basically the new and improved “Cheri” cupcake, which is a based off a cake that Cheri made that changed my life forever. It’s a devil’s food cupcake with a warm peanut butter filling (it halfway melts into the cake which is awesome!) with a chocolate ganache on top. Plus I made candy melt Hunger Games mockingjay pins to go on top. I wanted to give it the feel of the book cover. It you don’t know what that looks like, it’s black with the title and the pin.

Tada!

Oh, before I forget, my second cousin, Larissa, and her hubby, Clay, had a baby boy named Abram and he’s SUPER cute! The beginning is full of blessings, excitement, fear, nerves and exhaustion- so, please pray for them as they adjust to parenthood! I’m sure they’d appreciate it. Ethan and I were at K-State at the same time as them, and they went to Campus Crusade too! Yay for them!

Insides of things…

Hi Hi! So… my kid hit terrible 3s early. If he survives till 3, it will be a miracle. Because of his monstrousness, I was unable to post until now. After he went to bed the last couple of nights I was unable to string together sentences because I was so overwhelmed from the day. Sorry. But, without further ado……. INSIDE PICTURES!

Tada! You just walked into our house. Welcome.

In front of you is the living room, through the opening at the right is our bedroom, laundry closet and the door to the garage

Here is another picture of the living room. To the left front is the kitchen; the space between the couches is the dining room and the door to the barren back yard. Also daisy.

here’s the kitchen.

here’s Elijah and I making cookies in the dining room. Behind my giant head is the baby pantry.

if you turn left once you enter the house, there is a mini hallway with 3 doors. On your right is the bathroom, on the left is Ethan’s office, and in front of you is Elijah’s room. You are now stepping into Elijah’s room.

here is Elijah’s room in it’s rarest state- clean.

YAY! So there’s a mini tour. Some rooms are not on here just because they are still being unpacked. Whenever that happens, I’ll share them.

Would you like some cupcakes now? Ok!

These are Ethan’s birthday cupcakes! They are a lemon blueberry cake with a fresh blueberry frosting. It tasted like spring and it may be my new favorite. I also got to play around with making candymelt decorations. It was a super fast learning curve and I was quickly embarrassed by my Green lantern disks- they were the first ones I did.

These are my red velvet cupcakes. I made 4 dozen for Nadine (my MIL). Those are her favorite and consequently, I have been making a butt load of them- which is ok because they are amazing. Cream cheese frosting is my friend 🙂

These are a whipped cream cupcake with a mocha frosting. Never fear coffee haters, I have been informed that this frosting tastes like how coffee smells. Oh, they had chocolate swirls. It was my first chocolate work, so it wasn’t very smooth. No judging, k?

and lastly, the sugar coma- inducing cupcake. I was missing my bestie and thought to myself, “What would Cheri love?” So these are a chocolate cupcake with an oreo on the bottom, a reeses peanut butter cup on top of that and a peanut butter oreo frosting. Let’s just say that I could only eat a half, and barely that. I think you could get diabetes from just 2 cupcakes. But they were super awesome! I think I will try other pb/choc combos before coming up with her birthday cupcake.

Sorry I’m not the greatest with pictures, guys!

How do you like my soap box?

So I’m supposed to be showing you pictures of cupcakes and the inside of our house right now, but I’m not. I’ll do it for you tomorrow (don’t worry, Ethan is going to threaten me if I don’t ;)), but right now I need to vent. Seeing as Ethan is asleep and I don’t have the heart to wake him…. I’m going to vent to you! YAY!

Here’s the setup. I LOVE to read. I also must admit to you that I *might* have a bit of an obsession problem. Once I start something and get immersed in it, I become obsessed with it until it is complete. Ethan can be that way was well, which can make for a dangerous combination. For example, we did not watch Lost (the TV show) until it was completely over. A wise move if you ask me. But once we began, we consumed all 6 seasons faster than humanly possible. We were done in about a month and a half , when some people we know who had started watching the same time as us are STILL not finished. Over a year later! crazies. Anyway, I am like that with books. I cannot put them down. My thoughts are consumed with the written world at any given moment when I am not reading. I do not enter book series lightly, for that reason, especially ones that are not completed because I will be stuck in this world that has come to such vivid life in my mind. I am constantly plotting, making my predictions and aching for the ending until I can finally complete the story. Also, I read super fast. I boggles Ethan’s mind and he informs me that I do not read books- I devour them. Which makes it all the more painful of a wait since the timespan is even longer.
So with that being said, I started a new trilogy- one that was not completed ( A dangerous pastime, I know) and it won’t be completed till sometime in 2013. I finished the first book on Monday, then went to the library this afternoon and got the second one. I finished that about 2am my time. So are you ready? I am now approaching my soapbox….

I HATE LOVE TRIANGLES. There, I said it. I do. They make me soooooo livid. “What do you mean, Melissa?” you ask. Oh I’ll tell you. There is this horrible trend in fiction that has any sort of romance in it to create an “epic” love triangle. Where the girl can’t decide between two guys and and feels as though she’s “in love” with both of them at the same time. It drives me crazy.

Here’s why: I love Jane Austen novels. They are the best and nothing will ever be better than them, at least to me. In the books, the girl may love more than one man, or vice versa, but never with the same passion at the same time. Let’s take my favorite one for example- Sense and Sensibility. Marianne is a passionate girl full of strong feelings about everything. In the book she has two suitors. Col. Brandon, who falls head over heels for her upon seeing her, is strong and gentle. Above reproach and always has her best interests at heart. He is steady and wants her happiness above all else. While he has passion, it is a quiet one full of ardent admiration, unlike the blaggard Willoughby. (hmm I wonder which side I’m on) Willoughby expresses his passion similarly to Marianne and, of course, she is swept off her feet. He is full of feelings, and does in deed love(ish) her, but he is selfish and acts without concern for her well-being. He is implusive and charming and has Marianne dropping her guard in like 2 seconds. But, his selfishness and self-presservation win out and he breaks her heart. Col. Brandon takes care of her, regardless of her affections towards another, and she finally realizes what love is- Love is not selfish. BOOM. It hits her and she realizes CB has been there all along. She falls in love with him, and though their not crazy passionate like her and W, they are passionate in their own way. In a sweetness that only comes from truly knowing each other and being content. *happy sigh*

Here’s my rub. There is a fixed line that Marianne crosses when her affections turn from one to the other. There is no confusion on her part as to where here affections lie. Now, there is no line! To quote the book I just finished, the girl feels as though her heart is “broken into 2 equal parts” because she “is in love with them equally”. ACK! While I could go on about that, I will tell you the reason why she feels that way. They have broken the singular guy she should be in love with in half! It’s so prevalent: There’s the boy she’s romanced by, and then there is her best friend. It tends to be that the romancer one is emotionally manipulative while the best friend is steady and full of care and patience. This isn’t always the case, in Twilight the romancer and the best friend’s characteristics are reversed.

Now you may be saying to yourself, “Melissa it sounds just like S&S”, which in some ways it does. My issue is that instead of the clean break, where the girl’s affections switch to the other guy, the timeline is smooshed together and the girl ends up confused and unable to separate her feelings to see the different levels of love that she has for these guys. There should be no separation because the man who romances her should ALSO be her best friend.
I think that once Marianne “saw” Col Brandon for the first time, he became the romancer and the best friend all rolled up into one. That’s how it’s supposed to be.

The best romances (in literature and in real life) are when there is both a deep passion, but also a deep friendship- deeper than any other one they have with people outside of each other. That ultimate passion and friendship with the same person is severely underdeveloped now. The lines of “the guy I’m crazy for and my best friend” are so drawn, it’s as if the girls never really consider a different setup- even after one guy wins her heart for good. The other is gone, or severely less active in her life, but it seems like so many times that the winner never fully assumes both places in her life. At least not enough for me anyways.

Maybe I feel so strongly about it because my personal romance has both the passion and deep friendship together. It is so equally balanced in my life, that I get frustrated for my characters. After all, don’t we all want to see the people we are rooting for in our books have a completed love? I know I do. And I get so frustrated when they begin with a drawn line between passion and friendship, get confused, then don’t seem to fully resolve the issue. Arg.

I realize you probably don’t feel the same way I do, and might even completely disagree. I defy you, but it’s cool. I think that romance is equal parts passion and deep friendship. Don’t sell yourself short, thinking it has to be separated. Is it really the deep romance God desires for you if the person you are in love with and your best friend is not one and the same? Food for thought.

phew… do I feel better. Hopefully I’ll be able to sleep now. Especially since my kiddo will probably be awake within the next 4 hours. HA! Woops. This wasn’t supposed to take this long 🙂 I’ll give you all your pictures tomorrow after I get some sleep. To end, I give you my favorite sonnet:

Sonnet 116

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

William Shakespeare

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