Saturday, July 31, 2010

Dear Gavin...

Dear Gavin Jay,

My Gavvy Boy. You have transformed from a shy boy that kept to himself to a fun, energetic boy that loves to dig right in there and get in the middle of the action. You have turned into a little "roaring" machine. This is your favorite thing to do right before you chase before Uncle Logan, and he loves it every time. He loves that you will wrestle with him, and let him throw you around. I think that's how he tells you all he loves you, and he's really liking that you'll let him "love" you now.

You are such a sweet boy. You are the one that runs right to me to give me the biggest hug. Your face lights up every time you see Logan or me, and it makes me feel like I'm on top of the world. You are so loving, and not afraid to show it.

I love that you are talking more now. You say the cutest things that I would never expect to come out of you. I love that you are more adventurous now. You tackled that playground last night with vigor. You couldn't get enough of the slides and monkey bars (with us holding you up, but you totally held on all by yourself when I let you go for a few seconds at a time). You even wanted to get your little doggies in on the fun, and took them down the slides too.

You are so sweet with animals, in your own little way. You carry Emma around everywhere, making her play with you. You just love her so much. When we took you to my parents' house to see the baby bunnies, you kept petting them and whispering "Soft, soft soft." You got so excited when we actually put one on your lap for you to hold. The joy on your face was so incredible.

You make me so excited to have little boys. I'm still hesitant to how I'll be able to mother them after only having little sisters in my life, but you are so sweet and easy to love, you make me feel a little more confident in how I'll handle my own sons.

Thank you for being such a sweet, kind, funny, and lovable nephew. I love watching you learn and grow. I can't believe how big you are getting already, but it seems the bigger you get, the more surprises you have in you to keep me on my toes.

I love you Gavvy,

Aunt Camille

Monday, July 26, 2010

Dear Kylie...

Dear Kylie Mae,

My very first niece in the whole world. You are everything any girl would ever want to be: tall, blonde, thin, and spunky.

You are getting so fun to play with. You used to be so shy around me. I would bribe you with gum and lip gloss and lotion and nail polish to get you to be around me and not run and hide, and today you came right up to me and gave me an unsolicited hug. It made my day. You even asked me to play with you! I had a lot of fun playing with you and the rest of the cousins, thank you for inviting me.

You are so adorable in pink. So, so, so adorable! I love how girly you can be, while still trying to keep up with the boys. I love watching you with the baby cousins. You coo and goo over them and squeal with joy when they slobber on you, or giggle at you.

You have the most contagious laugh. When you laugh, I can't help but laugh with you. You're also so funny when you don't try to be. Like today when I was watching you play Rock, Paper, Scissors, or when I was babysitting you and you were sleep walking like a little girl zombie. The cutest zombie I've ever seen, of course!

I love watching you with Baby William. You just snuggle that boy to pieces, and he loves it. You are a big help to your mom with him. I love watching you play with Klinks. You baby talk to him and tell him how cute he is. I love it, it's so cute. You have such a big heart full of so much love.

I also love seeing your photographic works of art. Your pictures always have a different perspective than I would have thought of, because you see things in a different way. Partly because you are so little, but also because your mind is full of light and innocence that most have lost. Don't lose it, hold onto it and treasure it. (By the way, my two favorite pictures of yours are the one where you put a tiara on William, and the one where you have your hat on sideways and you're making a "pimp" face. So adorable, and so hilarious. I laugh every time I see them.)

You are such a happy little girl. You're so full of enthusiasm and joy. Your eyes have a special sparkle to them. You are such a special little girl, and I love you. I love being able to dote on you and be gal pals together.

Please keep your sparkle, your light, your sense of humor, and most of all, your sweet spirit. You can do so much in the world, and I'm so excited to watch you grow into a beautiful young woman.

I love you Kylie Mae,

Aunt Camille

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Dear Braxton...

Dear Braxton,

I credit you with the beginnings of me falling in love with Logan. You were the first nephew I got to meet, and seeing Logan play with you was so adorable, I knew he was a quality guy I should definitely get to know.

You were so cute that day. I could barely understand you when you spoke, but I do remember you wanted to drive in Grandpa's wooden truck out back to go to Disneyland and buy "candy" which was the gravel surrounding the truck. You let me sit up front while you drove, and made Logan sit in the back. You instantly became my friend. Later that night when I went to Brynn's house for the first time, you remembered me, and gave me the warmest hug.

You haven't changed a bit when it comes to being friends with everyone. You even tell everyone that they are your best friend. You aren't shy in the least bit, and will talk to anyone with ears. You are a definite charmer, which can be good and bad, because you sure are cute, but you definitely know how to put on that puppy dog face to get what you want. We think you will be the funny guy in high school that everyone likes because you are everyone's friend. We're so excited to see how you turn out!

I love that you tell me I'm a-gorgeous. It makes me smile every time. I love when you tell me I'm your best friend, or when you say I'm your favorite aunt, even if your only reason is because I'm married to Logan, but it's still good to hear. I love when you tell me you like my Power Rangers shirt, because I totally bought it thinking of you, and think of you every time I put it on. I love when you play Sorry with me, even if usually you and Logan gain up on me and I end up losing. I love when you "squeeze my guts out." It's something we've been doing to each other from the very beginning, and I love that you still remember that I said that one of the first days we met.

You are so sweet with your sister. You love her to bits and pieces, and are always wanting to squeeze and kiss her. It is so cute to see her smile when she hears your voice. She really loves you.

You make Logan feel like a total rockstar uncle. He loves that you will play with him for hours and hours and never get bored of him. He loves that you call him on the phone to ask him to come over and play. He loves that you will wrestle with him and chase him around. He always has the funniest stories to tell me when he gets home from playing with you.

Thank you for being the funniest, cutest nephew a girl could ask for. I love you to smithereens.


Aunt Camille

Dear Damon...

Dear Damon,

You are the smartest, most inventive, and competitive (almost) seven year old I know. You amaze me every time I see you. Logan and I talk about how fun it would be to take you out to play sports. He wants so much to teach you how to play tennis. He loves that you are always willing to try something new with him.

You have the sweetest spirit. I watch you with your baby brother and how you will play with him for hours on end. You will do anything to make him laugh. I am amazed at how well you get along with Kylie. I fought a lot with my sisters, but you are so patient with her, and I am so glad. She is very lucky to have you as an older brother.

You are so smart! I have watched you grow so much the past two years, and you are constantly learning new things. Whether it was in school, something you learned at home, or something you figured out on your own, you're always in the pursuit of knowledge. I love it when you play a song on the piano for me, it is so sweet. I love when you tell me something you learned in school, it is so awesome you're remembering these things. And I love when I see you turn around and teach it to you sister.

Logan and I love how willing you are to run around with us and play games. You are so courageous and willing to try new things. Tonight you ran and caught that old grumpy cat, and cradled it like you found a precious baby. You didn't care that the cat was cranky, you still were just loving on it. You also let me "crack the egg" with you on the trampoline. I haven't done that since I was really little, and it was fun to do it again with you. Playing with you makes me see the world with new eyes again.

I love you so much, and I know Logan does too. We know you are going to do great things with your life. We are so excited to watch you and be part of your future. Our kids are going to be very lucky to have you as their oldest cousin. I always admired my oldest cousin when I was little, and I know they will do the same with you.

Thank you for being such a fun, crazy, and energetic nephew. I love having you around (and so does Logan).


Aunt Camille

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

When I cook, My husband loves me more.

So it's been a good thing I've been on a major cooking spree the past few days. I love cooking, when I have ingredients and don't have to clean up the mess. But sometimes I just get in these kicks to try new recipes. Last night I was up pretty darn late and just couldn't fall asleep to save my life. I got up and made these muffins I found on my new favorite website. They're called "Muffins that Taste Like Doughnuts" and they are dee-vine. Seriously delish. There's only 1 left, and it's Logan's, and I want more, but I'm not sure if I'd like to bake another batch and heat my house up more, since it's already about 250 degrees in here. However, another hundred degrees and I could just set the muffins on the counter and let them bake themselves. That could be interesting to watch. But really, you must try these muffins. Super easy, SO AMAZINGLY DELICIOUS. And pretty too. Here's the recipe...

Muffins that Taste Like Doughnuts

1 3/4 C. Flour
1 1/2 t. Baking Powder
1/2 t. Salt
1/2 t. Nutmeg
1/2 t. Cinnamon
1/3 c. Oil
3/4 c. Sugar
1 Egg
3/4 c. Milk

1/4 c. Butter
1/3 c. Sugar
1 T. Cinnamon

Preparation Instructions

Combine flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon.

Combine oil, sugar, egg, and milk. Add dry ingredients and stir only to combine.

Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, melt butter in a bowl. Combine sugar and cinnamon in another bowl.

Shake out muffins while they're still hot. Dip muffins in butter, then sugar mixture. Let cool.

Then try not to eat 5 in one sitting. Deary me. They are delicious.

Also, because I am a champion wife (ha), I decided to make this next recipe for dinner tonight: Linguine with Spinach Pesto. Seriously so good. This tasted like something I would get in a fancy-schmancy italian restaurant and pay 12 dollars for. But I didn't pay 12 dollars for it...not even half. I think I spent maybe 5 on a ginormous pot of pasta, and that includes the grilled chicken I sliced up into it. Our ginormous pot serves about 4-6 depending on how big you're serving it. And if you live with my bean pole husband who eats twice (sometimes three times) as much as I do and still stays all cute and thin. You must make this recipe. Really, you must. It is so stinking good. I got this recipe from a recipe book a fabulous cook gave me for my wedding. I dated her son off and on all through high school and a little in college before Logan came home from Brazil. She didn't like me. I think that's why she gave me a fantastic wedding was a thank you for getting married before her son came home from his mission. Or maybe she gives this to everyone. Either way, it is seriously one of my favorite wedding presents. Haven't had a recipe in here I haven't liked. Anyway, enough blabber, onto this recipe of celestial glory....

Linguine with Spinach Pesto

1 oz. Parmesan cheese
1 lb. Linguine or spaghetti
1-10 oz. pkg. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
3 T. olive oil
2 large sprigs fresh parsley (can use parsley flakes...I did and it was still wonderful)
1/2 t. dried basil (okay, I used like 1 t. because my husband would have an affair with basil if it were a human. He loves basil. Almost as much as he loves me.)
2 cloves garlic (uh, except I used like 4. Because I love garlic almost as much as I love Logan)
1/2 t. salt
1 T. butter
1/3 c. water (I fished this out of my hot pasta water)
4 oz. Feta cheese (I didn't have this, so I just added more parm, but I think it would be yummy to have)

Cook pasta, keep warm. In blender, blend spinach, oil, parmesan cheese, parsley, basil, garlic, and salt. Blend until finely minced, scraping sides if necessary (I added a little pasta water here to get it going because I think I drained my spinach a little TOO well). In saucepan combine butter and water over medium heat and bring to a boil. With blender running, gradually add hot butter mixture to spinach mixture and blend thoroughly. return spinach mixture to saucepan and cook, stirring, over low heat, until heated through. Add pasta, toss to coat, and transfer to serving dish (or not, since we don't really have one of those). Sprinkle with feta and parmesan cheese.

I added broccoli florets to the last few minutes of cooking time for my pasta, and right after I tossed the pasta with the pesto, I mixed in some sliced grilled chicken I had marinated in italian dressing before grilling and it was splendid.

This dish is definitely on my top 10 list of things I've ever cooked. It was so easy, so delicious, and pretty darn healthy. And cheap. And delicious. And Logan loved it and thought I was a champion for making it for him. This boy likes pesto, I'm telling you. He really, really likes it. And he really likes it when I cook with it. I like it when my husband likes me, it makes for a good marriage, or so I'm told.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

European Adventure--Paris Pt. 3

The same day we went to Sacre Coeur we also went to the top of the Eiffel Tower. Interesting Facts: The tower was built in 1889 for the World's Fair by Gustave Eiffel. After the fair they put it in Paris and the people HATED IT!!! They were going to tear it down, but decided against it when the radio boom hit and they put a radio tower in it to receive broadcasts. It weighs 7000 tons, and is 1,040 feet high. It sways 4 inches in high winds and grows or shrinks up to 6 inches according to temperature.
This is the view from the second floor (There are 3)
And this is us kissing on the top of the Eiffel Tower! It was a joke that we were going to do this on our anniversary (well, we were 2 days late), so we had to document it.
After we came down. I sure love him.
Our last night we went to the Eiffel Tower, just like any other night. However, the World Cup was going on, and they had a HUMONGOID screen right below the tower that they showed all the soccer games on. People got so dressed up, painted their faces, carried flags, and shouted all these cheers all up and down the streets, on the metro, in our hotel, it was nuts. Our last night Brazil played, so Logan donned his Brazil sweatshirt, we went to a crepe stand and got our last crepes (I teared up a little), and watched the game. They won, so this is our victory picture!

Our trip was so fun, and we are so glad we went. It is definitely something we will remember for the rest of our lives. We got a bit of a travelling bug, and we're already wanting to go explore more of the world and take another adventure together. Next on our dream list is Greece, Italy, and Austria. Of course, we're now broke as a joke from this trip, so we'll have to wait until we're more established, but we can still dream, right?

European Adventure--Paris Pt. 2

Our friends Ben and Cassidy Bolick had just gotten married and happened to be in France at the same time as us on their honeymoon, so we met up with them and went to Versailles, Notre Dame, L' Arc d' Triumphe, the Moulin Rouge, and the Sacre Coeur.
This is in front of the Chateau de Versailles. It was so much fun to take the tour inside and around the gardens. King Louis XIV moved the royal courts from downtown Paris to this elaborate palace. Everything is just over the top spectacular. King Louis XIV loved to dance, party, and show off his wealth. I'm currently learning all about him in my dance history class, and it's fascinating to learn about him after having been to his house.
The Hall of Mirrors. One side is all windows, and the other is all mirrors. Louis wanted to "bring the nature indoors" so the mirrors reflect everything outside, making the hall feel like an enormous ballroom. It is decorated so incredibly, with chandeliers every few feet, and carvings all over the walls, along with the elaborately painted ceiling. However, although so much was put into decorating this area of the castle, it simply was only used as a HALLWAY.
The overview of the MASSIVE gardens. Where you see green, those are the gardens for Versailles. The day we were there they turned on all the fountains and played classical music throughout the gardens. It was so magical.
This would be all the boys in our group. Holding all the purses..ahem, sorry, man bags. The girls didn't have to carry a thing! What great gentlemen. Also, behind them...gorgeous gorgeous gardens. The water way in the back is called the Venice Petite and they have all these people in boats going around in it, and the boat guides sing to them. Kinda like the Venician in Vegas, only in France...and awesomer.
At L' Arc d' Triumphe. Napoleon had this made to be a memorial of French Army.
We found the Disney Store in Paris. I was a happy lady.
Notre Dame
Moulin Rouge. The (ahem) prostitute district where the Can-Can was invented. Hence our attempt at a Kickline.
The Sacre Coeur. Priests work in relays to keep prayers going 24 hours a day. They have been praying here for 125 years straight.
The church is up on a very high hill. We conquered the several hundred steps to get up to the church. We turned around, and this is what we saw. Breath taking.

European Adventure--Paris Pt. 1

After our trip to London, we got on the Chunnel, a train that goes under the water and takes you from the UK to France. The train in front of us broke down so we were stuck under water for a long time before we made it to Paris. Not a huge deal, just a slight annoyance. Especially when that was the specific day our bodies decided to have food poisoning from sandwiches we ate the day before. Train+5 Hours+Food Poisoning=Not a Barrel of Fun.

However, by June 12, our one year anniversary, we were feeling back to normal and were able to hit the town hard. We spent the day wandering the streets, going into little shops here and there, and trying on clothes that were WAY to expensive for us. We then met up with a group later that night and went on a river cruise on The River Sienne, which took us all around and showed us a lot of the famous monuments. We also got to see the Eiffel Tower for the first time, and from that night on, we went every night, got crepes, and watched the tower sparkle. At 10, 11, and 12 midnight, they have all these lights go off for 5 minutes and the Eiffel Tower looks like the most magical thing on earth. More magical than Disneyland...maybe.

We were able to go to The Louvre and Musee d' Orsay, which are two ginormous famous art museums. We went with our friend Dane, who is an art major, and he gave us a lot of background history about what everything meant. It was really cool to see the pyramid at The Louvre because that's been in a lot of movies, including The Da Vinci Code.
On the River Cruise
Our first night at the Eiffel Tower, on our one year anniversary

Behind me is the Musee d' Orsay, which used to be a train station before they turned it into the art gallery it is today.

The Pyramid at The Louvre. This is what is in The Da Vinci Code.
Another part of The Louvre. This thing is like 6 floors and takes up an entire city block. If you stopped to look at every piece in the gallery for 10 seconds it would take you about 2 weeks to see it all.
At our favorite Creperie. It was across the street from our hotel and was so delicious and inexpensive. For 5.50 Euro we could get a "formule" which is a combo with 1 panini, 1 crepe, and a "boisson" which is a drink. Our favorite was to get a "Poulet et Fromage" Panini which isChicken and Chesse all melted together on the grilled baguette, and a Banana et Nutella et Coco Crepe , which is a Banana, Nutella, and Coconut Crepe--Kind of like a melted mounds bar with bananas on a delicious crepe. And to drink we'd usually get a tropical fruit juice, or Orangina which is kind of like a carbonated orange juice.

The crepes there are HUGE!! We got crepes every day we were there and I never got sick of them. Some days we would get a savory crepe, my favorite was the Chicken and Cheese with Pepper, but ham and cheese, or tuna and cheese were also delicious. We also ate at the bakeries almost every day, Doug told us to get Pan Chocolate, which is a croissant with really really yummy european chocolate chips through it. So yummy!! We also tried a variety of tarts, breads, and anything else we thought might be tasty. We figured we were on vacation, and we didn't know when we'd be back and Paris, so we basically pigged out. And loved it. France has scrumptious food. I miss it. We were also nervous that the people would be really snobbish since we didn't speak French and couldn't communicate with them. We were surprised to find out that (yes there were some that were rude) most of the locals were very helpful. We tried to be as polite as possible and asked "Par le vous Anglais?" (Do you speak English), before trying to communicate with them. Usually they spoke enough English, and Logan spoke enough French that we got along just fine.

One of Logan's favorite memories about our language barrier was when some dude in a park started shouting over to us in French. We were confused and had no idea what he was saying so we asked if he spoke English so he know we didn't understand him. He came over to us and nudges Logan and asks (in English) "Uh, do you have a paper to roll a, uh, joint?" It took all Logan had in him to tell him no without bursting into hysterical laughter. Of all people to ask, he asks little innocent Logan to help him roll a doobie. Classic.

European Adventure--London Pt. 3

We also got to go see Abbey Road, where the Beatles' Recording Studio is located, Wimbledon (Logan about died and went to heaven), The Tower of London, and 3 broadway musicals (But only took pictures at 1 because we were dingdongs the other two nights and forgot)--Les Miserables, Wicked (favorite!!), and The Lion King.
So which Beatle would this make me?
At Wimbledon with my Tennis Boyfriend, Roger Federer.
In front of the court where the final game is played

Tower of London
Traitor's Gate. They took high profile prisoners through this gate by boat so others wouldn't know that they had them as prisoners.
Medieval Loo
King Henry VIII's armor. Gross, gross, gross man.
Soldier hats

European Adventure--London Pt. 2

We went and saw the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace. The surrounding areas were impressive, and it was fun to say we were there, but it wasn't necessarily a must on our trip. If you ever go to London, stop by Buckingham when it's not so crowded to take a picture of the grounds and the little red soldier dudes, but you don't have to stay at the actual change...just a tidbit of advice.

Buckingham Palace
(Yes, Logan really did take this picture, this is really what it looks like. Amazing, yeah?)

The Horsey Soldiers

Gorgeous Statue/Fountain in front of the Palace

Buckingham Palace, closer up.

European Adventure--London Pt. 1

London is now my favorite place in the world. It is just spectacular. We were there for only 5 days, and I could have tripled that and never have gotten bored. I could live in London and just be as happy as a clam. These are a few hodgepodge random pics we took around town.
The London Eye--the largest ferris wheel in the world. We didn't go on it because it was redunkulously expensive, but it was pretty cool to look at.
Tower Bridge. Way cooler than London Bridge. I thought if London Bridge had its own song, it would be pretty awesome...nope. Tower Bridge is bomb. This is the bridge Sherlock Holmes is on at the end of the movie with the bad guy.
Better view of Tower Bridge. And us kissing just because.

Trafalgar Square. The National Gallery is located here. They have all these amazing structures, fountains, and statues here. These lions mean something, there are four of them and their guarding the big column in the middle, but I can't remember what it all represents.
We're not sure why, but we found a statue of Abraham Lincoln in the middle of LONDON. If you can figure out why it is there, 20 gold stars for you.
Westminister Abbey. As you can see, it is ginormous.
Big Ben