Thursday, December 17, 2009

In case you were wondering...

It's been a few weeks. Time for a big, fat, photo-laden update! A slew of stuff has been happening in the Weaver house lately, and a whole new train of events is rolling in soon, so let's bring this blog up to the present, shall we?

First up, our fun trip to St. Louis mid-November. Aaron helped coach the high school soccer team this year, and they made it all the way to state! (As the only public school to make the final four, they garnered an impressive second-place finish.) His gift to me to compensate for all the soccer nights on the road was to extend the weekend at state to include a few days for ourselves. So after the guys got their trophy and boarded the bus home, we made our way to a fancy-schmancy hotel and even got free parking--a weekend perk!
After gorging ourselves on gourmet crepes at a little place within walking distance of our hotel, we set out to enjoy the sights of Forest Park. Forest Park includes an art museum, outdoor walking paths, and a zoo, all of which are free. First stop, the art museum. We perused the European rooms (I love me some Renaissance), peeked at Asian art, and spent a good deal of time in the special Egyptian mummy display, where Aaron hovered over the glass cases trying to decipher the hyroglyphics. I never knew, but apparently he's been fascinated with mummies since he was a kid.

The zoo was next. We tried to buy some vendor food since the crepes were quickly wearing off, but discovered we only had a dollar. The zoo may have been free, but the hot dogs were not. Probably the last time a zoo hot dog cost $1.00 was 1956. Good thing the animals were so neat, and we were so distracted. We barely even noticed that it was 3:00 and we hadn't had lunch. Barely.

Aaron's favorite of the zoo was the penguins. I didn't have a favorite, although I'm always a sucker for the big game, and the chimpanzees were a blast to watch too.

Eventually, the hunger got the best of us, and we hit the road and rolled through a fast-food joint on the interstate home. It was a great weekend!

For Thanksgiving, we went to Aaron's home in the KC area. Before we left, we celebrated with a little Thanksgiving feast of our own. I scaled Tom the Turkey down to Cornelia the Cornish Hen. She's cute, eh? And just the right size for the two of us. I think there were a few pieces of meat left, but then my brother stopped by and finished 'er off.

Our time with Aaron's family was restful. When we go home to his family's, it's usually pretty low-maintenence. Read that as sleeping in, not answering cell phones or even keeping them charged, and barely checking our email. It's nice. Sherri (Aaron's mom) and I did venture out into the Black Friday madness, but not until 10:30, so things were pretty calm by then.

One of Aaron's family traditions is to go to a local tree farm the weekend after Thanksgiving. I grew up with a fake tree and had no idea how important the real deal was to some folks. Here is the Weaver clan at the farm, in front of the tree that finally made the cut. (Haha, no pun intended.)
Back at the ranch, aka my parent's house, we helped assemble the fake tree. My mom loves Christmas--loves it--and her fake tree is somewhere in the vicinity of 9 feet tall. My niece and nephew thought the box was sweet, and ok, let's be honest, so did I. Look at those little goobers. Aren't they fantastic? Pretty much the global poster children for cuteness.

And then there's our tree. Yup. I bet you're wondering if we had a wrestling match to settle the debate between real and fake. I mean, it is our first Christmas in the same house, and we grew up in different camps. East side vs. west side. Capulets vs. Montagues. You get the picture.
Nooo, ok, that's not us. Nor was the tree debate much of a debate. Aaron made his preference for a real tree known, and I said, "Okie Dokie." I'm telling you, the fake tree people are like limp fish.
Getting the real tree was a little harder than deciding on a real tree. Aaron wanted to chop one down (remember the family tradition), but the closest tree farm to us is a good hour away. Enter our friends Wes and Marla, who live on some land outside of town. They agreed to let us come and have a looksie. The looksie turned into 2 hours of traipsing about in knee high grass, only to find a few scraggly cedar trees. We almost ended up with this, folks:
Woods Supermarket came to our rescue, though, and instead of Charlie Brown Christmas, we have pretty pine Christmas:


There you have it. The latest scoop on everyday life. Oh, and the other night we ran out of propane and slept in front of the fireplace. On that black and tan rug. With lots of blankets. Aaron woke up like a trooper to keep the fire roaring, and we were toasty until the propane guy came in the morning. A little reminder to be so thankful for the things we forget we're blessed to have. We have heat and food and loving family and a God who came in flesh to be near us. We are blessed!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Giving thanks (two days early)

I am thankful for the way the sun breaks open gray clouds and creeps through clear spaces of sky. Light and dark, simultaneously existing. I am thankful for the brown bony finger branches of naked trees.

I am thankful for my husband who kisses me extra long and cannot help but boyishly revel in his latest Boggle victory. I am thankful for guitar jam sessions on the couch with him by my side. Forever.

I am thankful for my mom. A cup of evening tea in my living room, she shares her wisdom, stored and stowed over the span of decades. She is an anchor to me.

I am thankful for a job that is sometimes quiet, allowing me to blog or look at beautiful design pictures or read.

I am thankful for the thin places where God appears. I realize I have been running, but He has not, and to my amazement, His grace is wrapping me up once more.

I am thankful for mountains. Just knowing that they are, and if I were to drive across Kansas, I would see them striding forewards into my windshield.

I am thankful for Abby and Drew. Abby who already uses words like "impressive" at two and Drew who smiles and then bashfully turns his face away.

I am thankful for my brother who gives me a big hug when tears roll down my face. He sits by me at important soccer games and explains (again) what "offsides" is.

I am thankful for my dad, a hard worker and a tender Poppa. Strength and love are never a fanfare for him, but a daily, faithful reality.

I am thankful for my sister. We both get so excited to tell the other one what has happened, but there is always enough time, and I never feel as if I am jockeying for speaking rights. We talk (sometimes spurt), we listen. It is sweet.

I am thankful for little creperies and coffee houses and cafes, sandwiched into a business district and just the right amount of busy to make you feel that you are about to discover something wonderful. Finding joy in little mounds of whipped cream peaked just right and conversation with a dearly loved.

A few of the things I've noticed lately that make my heart jump. In no particular order.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Honest bits and pieces

Susan and Crystal nominated me to post 10 honest things about my life. They can be completely random things. So, thanks girls for the fun idea; I love your blogs; here goes!

1. When I was a kid, I LOVED to hog the video camera. My dad whipped it out from time to time (usually to video my little brother, who was toddling around and doing cute baby things), and I made sure I was front and center. It's now become the family joke when we watch those videos that you don't have to wait very long before you hear, "Lara, get out of the way." Bummer. No, I don't have a complex. At all.

2. Another along the childhood vein: I used to collect ceramic thimbles from every state my family vacationed to. I don't know where they are now. At your house, Mom?

3. I didn't own a cell phone until a year after I graduated from college. I don't understand texting, and I don't want really want to.

4. I am somewhat of a hypochondriac. This is the first time I've publicly confessed to it. My family might argue the word "somewhat." I tend to think headaches are aneurysms, body aches are bad diseases, and so on. I am working on it, with the help of Jesus. :)

5. I have wiped my bottom with my hand. Please don't judge. You wouldn't buy toilet paper either if it cost $1.00 a roll.

6. Aaron and I play Boggle together a lot. Sometimes we play at breakfast. A little mind exercise and spousal bonding are great ways to start the day. He is currently beating me. (We keep a running total.)

7. One of my favorite authors is Elizabeth Elliot. I think her writings on the sovereignty of God, femininity, and trust are impeccable, and I appreciate her straightforward, no-nonsense approach.

8. I am currently in a moderate drinking stage. Of coffee. In college, I averaged 6-10 cups a day. Now, I drink one cup in the morning, and I am done. I'm a little ashamed to admit that, because coffee is such a part of my image. :) But, it is true. I could probably quit if I wanted to.

9. I think I am a punctuation snob. I hope that doesn't keep any of you from writing me. I can't help it. Billboards, emails, books, signs. Anything I read, I can't help but edit. On that note, I am a HUGE advocate of the Oxford comma, which is the comma before the word "and" in a list.

I love to eat carrots, scones, and broccoli.

See the red comma? That is the Oxford comma. And while some think it is optional, I don't.

10. I adore my niece and nephew. They make me want to have children far before my time. And they are, hands down, the cutest little goobers I have every met. I have asked Aaron before, "What will we do if our kids aren't as cute as Abby and Drew?" This is a real worry, folks. Aaron just laughs and kisses me. He's so good for my melodrama.

There you have it! Now I am supposed to nominate seven other people to do this. I hope I can think of seven. Most of the blogs I read are written by people I don't know. Which makes me sound very creeperish. Uhh...I just like to read.

1. Rachel
2. Megan F
3. Josh and Hannah
4. Beth W
5. Emily P
6. Sheila
7. Billy

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

add a little this, add a little that (and a lot of flour)

Well. It looks like it has been a while since we've last spoken. An update around Bolivar:
1. There is already a 24/7 Christmas radio station
2. Bolivar guys soccer are in the state quarterfinals. Go Liberators!
3. We have big news that doesn't include a baby!
4. I, Aaron, have been rockin out on my 2008 Cannondale CAAD 9. Perfect fall weather = perfect time to ride!

Since the amazing trip Lara took to Ohio to see the great Sheila of Dover, Lara has since traveled to Dallas and back! Here are some pics from the adventure...


After a cancelled flight in Branson, a night at the Grimmers house with Rachel Custard, and many irritating developments, Lara arrived in Dallas at the sight of her friend Kristen Raikes (a woman that any guy would be privilaged to even have a discussion with. You'll have to go through the Weavers before you even considering courting her!!!) Then proceeded to meet up with the remaining member of the Tri-fecta, Kyndel Liggett.
However... (dun dun dunnnnnn) chills filled the air as Kyndel's car had a flat. They returned and began to fix the tire. Look at the muscles!
At a moment of helping a Tri-fecta member, a disasterous thing occurred. The wallet of Lara E. Weaver was misplaced and lost in the midst of the Dallas-Fort Worth area. But all would not be lost that weekend. The Lord was gracious as she was allowed to still fly back to Branson and was still with one of her best friends for a weekend and a weekend at Pine Cove.





Since returning, Abby has become a small woman who can bake banana bread and tell everyone that they are silly.


video
Abby thinks eating flour by itself is gross... but she keeps eating it. Sorry you have to tilt your head sideways for the video, but we think it's worth it.


And here are a few pics from our date to Firehouse Pottery




Disclaimer: This has been Aaron posting. Copying, taping, or recording of this program is strictly prohibited. Any sale or distribution of this article is punishable by making us a cake with peanut butter or singing us a song in falsetto.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Visiting Sheila

I got back from Ohio yesterday. I went to visit Sheila, who was a main character of this blog when it began. That is because I lived with her, ate lunch with her, and talked to her before I went to bed with her each night. We were Kolkata roomies, and I miss living day to day life with her now. I tried to convince her to move to Bolivar instead of back to India, but I dunno, there wasn't the same draw.

Sheila is moving to India in January. Although she would firmly negate this, I believe she is one of the most capable, strong, brave, and humble women I have ever met. I am so glad she is moving back to offer her nursing skills and her beautiful heart to the women of the Gach.

We had some lovely times in Dover.

This is an old barn we saw while we were hiking. Ohio has spectacular fall colors.

Of course we had to make some Indian cuisine together. This is dal bhat. Lentils over rice. I'm not sure what I'm doing. I think I was trying to make sure I got in the picture since we were doing self-timer, but obviously, we had plenty of room.
Then we tried our hand at authentic Bengali cha. Thanks, Beth, for the recipe!
I am testing to see if the tea smells authentic. Do you see that the milk in Ohio comes in yellow cartons? It makes the shelf life longer. I feel cheated that Missouri only has white cartons.


Chubs the puppy. I have to admit, he was quite endearing, although I don't usually like small dogs.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

the sun will come out tomorrow

Rainy day. In a long line of the same. I got a new job last week, and I work at a counseling center as a receptionist. Sad people come in. Rainy day plus sad people equals low spirits.

Aaron was in Springfield tonight for a soccer game. He helps coach the high school guy's team, and he does an incredible job. He pours out his heart to show them what integrity is, and he has some fancy footwork to share too.

I got to leave work early. 5:15. The phones were dead, and my supervisor said I could leave. Lonely night ahead. My husband gone, the rain drizzling, my heart heavy for all the hurting people. I'd almost rather stay at work under the artificial lights and the constant hum of elevator music. But my sister came to get me so I wouldn't have to walk home in the rain. She insisted I eat dinner with them. Creamy vegetable soup in thick ceramic bowls. I was comforted, by the food, by playing dollhouse with Abby, by the way Drew gurgles at me when I make ridiculous baby talk.

When I came home, an orange post-it note met me at the door. Stuck to the laminate floor, an arrow beginning a trail. I followed the trail. Aaron had set up a bubble bath for me before he left for Springfield. A row of hazelnut tealights on the tub's edge with matches nearby. An iPod set to soft piano music. And a favorite book propped open to this:

"Dwell in me...Dwell in my love," Christ gave these commands to the despairing disciples before He went to die. Settle down, He was saying. Just stay where you are--in ME. I am staying with you and in you. Make your home in my love. Rest here. Take my peace. To go on from one day to the next, leaving the unsettling things with God, being free and whole and serene because we are secure in our home--this is what dwelling in Christ and His love means. The people and the things about which we simply do not know what to do, we can commit to His love as well, asking Him to find a room for them." -Elizabeth Elliot

It was a beautiful, content night after all. Rest. Peace. Finding home. Things I forget very quickly. And oh yeah, my husband rocks. :)

Joy ahead.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Birthdays Galore

Well, can you believe it?! Lara and I have been married just over 3 months. Yes. It's Aaron. The non-English major. So, whether the Oxford comma is kosher is not up my alley (however, I have been convinced that it is necessary). So thanks to my most lovely wife for allowing me to say hello.


Yesterday was the best mother-in-law's birthday, Deanna. Lara made some amazing fettucine alfredo while Rachel brought the cheesecake.



There was dancing...






And reading...






And baby holding competitions...

Sit-up competitions...





Hide-and-seek...




And fun times held by all!!!!


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

shards

When I was 13, I traveled with a charter bus full of teenage girls to Nashville. We went for a Baptist conference. I don't remember much about the conference. What I do remember, though, is the ride back when they handed out "superlative" awards. You know, like "Most Funny", "Most Thoughtful", etc. Mind that I had only known these girls for a week. You know what award I got? "Most Clumsy."

I wish that at 25, I could say I'd outgrown that award. I don't think I have.

I shattered the 9x13 version of this Pyrex dish when I brushed it off the counter and it hit our tile floor.

A few weeks later, deja vu. This pot lid (thankfully I have two) met the same fate. We have hard floors.

Then, today, as in five minutes ago, another glass-breaking happened. My dismay soon turned to laughter because this accident is so me. I can't believe I did this. But then again, I can.

I have this lovely letter from Aaron framed in our bedroom. When I was first trying to hang it, the glass broke in the corner. See?
I headed to the thrift store this morning to find a replacement. Sure enough, I found a cheap brass frame with a perfect piece of 8x10 glass for 25 cents! I bought it, brought it home, and plopped down on the bed to pop the broken piece out of my frame. That's when I heard a terrific crunch. I stood up, startled.
I sat on the new piece of glass and shattered it! I was wearing jeans, so my bottom is okay, but I am wondering if glass is ever safe for long around me. I just can't get out from the shadow of "Most Clumsy."

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Making bread

I am about to reveal to you how to make the best bread in the world. I cannot take any credit for it. The summer of 2007, I lived with an amazing family in Colorado while I worked at their ice-cream shop. Carol, the mom, taught me how to make this bread, and I don't even want to look at another bread recipe in my life. I will even claim this bread is fool-proof. Although if you make it and it doesn't turn out, I don't know...maybe you need to go live with Carol.

Yesterday, Aaron asked if I was going to make bread. The birthday boy glow was still halo-ing out from him, and I do love him a lot. Bread it was.
A little picture to get your appetite whetted:
This bread is not hard to make. I make the dough in my KitchenAid mixer, which takes the difficulty level down a few more notches, but it's still totally possible without the KA. (Which, as a side note, I use practically every day. It is incredible. I think I could become a spokewoman for the KitchenAid mixer. Since I'm on the subject, look at this cute thing from an Etsy artist. )
Here is the recipe:
Carol's Homemade Bread

2 T. yeast
1 c. lukewarm water
2 t. sugar

Mix yeast, water, and sugar together. Let sponge for five minutes. It will look something like this:

(The reflection gives me away...I am wearing socks and granny houseshoes.)

Add 1 c. flour and let sit for 20 minutes.

Add 3 T. oil, 1 c. sugar, 1 T. salt, 3 c. lukewarm water, and 7-8 c. flour. Sometimes I use less sugar. I have found that I usually need upside of 8 c. flour to make the dough not sticky. This recipe is so versatile, because you can substitute in a lot of things for some of the flour. For instance, yesterday I used 4 c. whole wheat flour, a little bit of oat bran (1/2 c. maybe?), and some wheat gluten. Mix all this together (either using the dough hook on the KA or a strong hand and a wooden spoon). If you are using the dough hook, you can let it do the kneading, or you can also knead by hand. I usually knead some by hand, because it is cathartic.

After kneading 8-10 minutes, cover the dough and let rise in a warm place 1 hour. Do not think that it is a good idea to set it on the stove and turn on a nearby burner to create a warm atmosphere. I once did that heard a story about a college girl who did that with roll dough and the towel caught on fire, sending the whole bowl up in flames. The fire extinguisher had to be used, campus safey had to be called...it was not pretty.

After 1 hour or so, punch dough down in the middle. Then shape into loaves. This recipe makes approximately 3 medium sized loaves. Let the loaves rise again until double.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Carol always brushed butter over the top of the warm loaves, and I do this too.


One more thing: eat.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

here's to 24


Happy Birthday, Aaron!
Aaron turned 24 yesterday. Now we will be the same age for 10 days, until I will once again become the older woman. :)

It was a lovely day...
  • sleeping in
  • biscuits and gravy
  • puttering around the house, each doing our own job (a = k-life stuff, l = sweeping and dishwashing and baking)
  • quick spinach fetticuine lunch
  • a trip to the grocery store and my favorite thrift
  • walking to dinner at the famous El Rodeo where we had some fabulous year-in-review talk (the silly Olympic date, the night he proposed, the honeymoon!)
  • birthday party with some friends (I was the only girl...getting used to this...)

And p.s. I bought a piano! For $20 at a garage sale. Upside: it is beautiful and antique-y. Downside: it took 7 men to move it up the front stairs and into our dining room. Aaron says when we move from this house, the next owners will inherit the piano. Lucky them. I might be able to convince a different seven men to move it for us...whadda you think? It does need a good tuning, but until there is enough money in the budget for that, I will pound out the old hymns and my own improv.

Friday, August 28, 2009

bon appetit

I have made some pretty tasty meals in my lifetime. But last night was not so tasty. Bless Aaron, America's new Husband of the Year. Seriously. We are using the envelope system as our form of budgeting, which means that at the beginning of the month, we put a set amount of money in different categorized envelopes. It's nearing the end of August, and you know what that means. The money is nearing the end too. I had this can of tuna. And a recipe from a Rachael Ray cookbook that sounded interesting. Something with a title longer than I can remember. Try "Salmon and Poached Eggs on a Potato Bed with Caper Dressing." We obviously did not have salmon. We did have capers. Strange, I know. Enter tuna. Enter the creation of a really, really bad meal. Oh y'all. I won't even go into details. When I wryly asked Aaron if it was a "make-again" meal, he said, "Um...well...probably not."

Food is an interesting thing to explore as a married couple. We are both Missouri kids, raised in similar middle class homes, but our food tastes are a little different. (Obviously, we do agree that the Rachael Ray experiment was a tank.) Aaron has no qualms about eating ramen every day for lunch; I get excited when I discover an Amish store that sells things like this:
Yum. Flaxseed and oat bran and wheat gluten and sesame seeds. Wait. It gets better. The little bag on top is cracked wheat.

So when health-food hopeful weds hot-dog lover, what's a house to do? Balance. The other night, Aaron made dinner. He pulled out some leftover boxed foods from his single days that I was storing in the waaaay back of the cupboard. I can't bear to throw food away...but was I really going to cook those flaky garlic mashed potatoes? I guess I prefer my potatoes to start whole. I was in the other room working on something, and when he called me to dinner, this is what I found:
Look at this guy's presentation! Wow! I fell in love with him all over again. He even added fresh veggies.

We're finding a nice compromise here in the little tan house. He's switched to natural peanut butter and whole wheat tortillas, and sometimes, like today, I make Kraft mac-and-cheese and red Kool-aid for lunch.

We have some extra. Any takers?