Sunday, August 26, 2007

Wadell Visit

Last week we were graced with a visit from Jeremy's sister, Corinne and her beautiful family. They came all the way from Idaho and we were so glad to be able to spend some time with the whole family. The last time Corinne visited, her hubby Bryce was serving in the Air Force in Iraq, so we were excited to be able to show him around and if they play their cards right, they may be moving to the area in about a year. We are crossing our fingers! It would be great to have some Johnsons nearby! Cameron was elated to have his 3 1/2 year old cousin, Tyler here to visit, and the two of them got along like an old married couple. They had their loving and friendly moments, but there was a lot of competition going on and it ended in a lot of tears. But as a whole I think they bonded and became even better friends. Gavin could not contain his glee over having a "beebee" in the house and every morning he ran off searching for 1 year old Brooklyn to play with and pester. We did a lot of sight seeing in DC, we took the ever popular Tourmobile and visited all of the well known monuments and memorials, visited the Air and Space Museum and the Natural History Museum, witnessed the changing of the guard at Arlington National Cemetery (which never gets old), and even searched to find the brand new Air Force Memorial near the Pentagon which was amazing. I could not believe the mild weather we had during their visit, it was not hot or humid at all which made the running around even more pleasant. We also went to Burke Lake park which has a little train that Cameron has been begging to visit this summer, up to Skyline Drive, and to the other Air and Space Museum in Chantilly which is the one closer to our house. We had a great time and hope that the Wadells will visit again soon. We are always happy to have visitors and love showing them all that the DC area has to offer.

Last night we had my dear old friend Prateeksha over for dinner which was so incredible. I have not seen her in so many years with the exception of a few weeks ago at my reunion and I am just overjoyed to be reunited in our friendship. We spent the night catching up and reminiscing about old times. She and I were like two peas in a pod when we were in elementary school and did everything together. It was fun to be able to get out some old, (and scary) photos of us as kids and it was kinds weird to introduce her to my own kids. I can only hope that Cameron and Gavin find such a good friend to grow up with. Hopefully Prateeksha and I will not be such strangers any longer. Even though it had been so long, it seemed like it was just yesterday she was sleeping over at my house. Those were special times.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


When I was a kid, the highlight of every summer was our annual trip to Chincoteague and Assateague beach. I was facinated by the wild ponies that roamed free and the beaches that were not too crowded, and there was that awesome ice cream place with a line that led down the street, the Island Creamery. Last week we took a spur of the moment trip with my dad and two sisters, Kristin and Becky and their families to this oasis of my childhood. I was anxious to share with Cameron the magic of the place, and even though I haven't been there for 5 years, only a few things have changed. It seems like the secret of Chincoteague has gotten out, and there were so many people that our families had to stay in separate hotels because they were so full. We spent most of our time at the beach, getting sunburned and playing in the waves and sand, both of our kids had a ball, especailly since they were sharing the experience with their cousins a plenty.

We also went biking one morning, all 11 children and 7 adults. We were quite a sight! Jeremy and I were adventurous and chose this vehicle called a surry which was basically two bikes side by side with a bench in the front for the kids and a bright yellow canopy. It didn't take long for the snickering to start, and some of the members of our posse called us clowns and asked us to make them balloon animals. We were unphased and determined to leave everyone in our dust. This proved quite difficult since the maximun speed of our surry was about the same as that of the crabs that scurried by us. We peddled harder, and somehow, even with the two of us we could not keep up. For every one pedal of the regular bikes, we took three and very quickly we realized that we probably should have opted for a bike with a trailer instead of being intrigued by this colorful contraption. Thankfully, we were able to trade off driving responsiblities and made it to the beach and back. We later rewarded ourselves with a large sundae at the Island Creamery which was still as delicious as I'd remembered. Our three and a half day trip was the perfect end to our summer and beginning to the memories there for our kids. Thanks dad for making this family get together possible.
Last week was also our 8th anniversary. I know, that's really hard to believe, time sure flies! Jeremy and I went out to dinner and to see the Phantom of the Opera. This was Jeremy's first real broadway show and I think it met all of our expectations and left me in awe of the performers. It was a terrific show that left us wanting to see more. Maybe this was the start of adding a bit more culture in our lives.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Pick a Peck of Pickled Peppers

This year, we decided to try growing some vegetables along the side of our house. I am not very good with plants, and last year we attempted to grow some veggies in containers on our deck and failed miserably. This year I have enlisted Cameron's help and he reminds me to water them and has been just elated to see the fruits (or vegetables) of our labor. We planted cherry tomatoes, green peppers, cucumbers and basil. I have to admit, I have been pretty excited about it too, there is a sense of satisfaction when you cook a dinner with ingredients you grew yourself, it's really neat. Not that much is left for dinner when we pick the tomatoes and then just pop them in our mouths, they are unbelievably flavorful. And our cucumber plant has taken over and just today we picked 4 that are well over a foot long. It has been such a success that we are inspired to expand next year and try out some other varieties.
Cameron has never been much of an artist. He refuses to color in coloring books, and at school or church when he is asked to color something, he just scribbles all over it and says he's done. Well this week we tried some watercolor paints that Grandma Johnson had brought when she visited and he really enjoyed himself! His little friend Natalie is quite the artist and gave him some good pointers. Our house is now filled with his masterpieces and he is continually begging me to get the messy paints out.

Gavin's new favorite saying is "Oh man!" I'm not sure where he heard it, but you will hear him playing and babbling and then all of a sudden, "Oh, man!" He also LOVES doggies. My mom watched the kids last night for us and they have recently adopted a very rambunctious mutt. Gavin was so happy to see Maddie and even though we have seen her several other times, he never remembers that she charges and pummels him every time. But he is not phased for very long. The fear of being knocked over is quickly forgotten and he is right back to antagonizing her. He is either very forgiving or has very severe short term memory loss.
So my 10 year high school reunion was last night. I have to admit, it was better than I thought and I think Jeremy felt the same. Even though I really had to twist his arm to go, he ended up having some good conversations with the people there and he even won a great prize in the raffle. I was able to reconnect with the two people that meant the most in both my elementary school and high school days, my dear friends Prateeksha and Amelia. Neither one of them has changed very much and I feel committed to keeping in touch better with them both. I'm glad we decided to go, it's just one of those experiences you have to have.
I have a passion for food. I like to cook it, but even more, I love to eat it! And I often receive compliments on dishes that I make, however, the recipes are seldom mine. I woild love to be able to share a few of these "gems" with you. Here is my first.

Stolen Recipe of the Week: So Easy (and fattening) Crab Cakes

2 1/2 cups potato chips, crushed

1 pound lump crabmeat

1/3 cup tartar sauce

1/4 tsp black pepper

2 T butter, thinly sliced into 6 pieces

1 1/2 T Dijon mustard

1 lemon, cut into wedges

Heat broiler. Combine chips with crabmeat, tartar sauce, mustard, and pepper and stir to combine. Form into 6 patties and place on foil lined baking sheet. Top each with a pat of butter and broil until browned, 2-4 minutes. Serve with the lemon wedges.