Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Home, Sweet Home

We got to go home to the States a couple of weeks ago.  Spencer's sister was getting married, so that gave us an excuse (thanks, Katie!) to make the trip across the pond and spend some time with family and friends. (And stock up on all the items we can't get over here in Australia. Hauling one empty suitcase home to fill with goodies is just SOP these days.)

First stop was Salt Lake City for the wedding. Our first night in town we went into the city for dinner and, while there, took an obligatory picture on the wedding pedestal and wondered if we'd made a mistake getting married in Dallas. (I think I'll always be torn on that one.)

How could I not feel a little bit that way when we see this as we're coming up the sidewalk?  Really.

Before leaving Utah, we took a day and drove down to BYU. I haven't been back since I graduated and wanted to see what had changed. The "Y" is still up there on the side of the mountain. (Whew.)

While the new Joseph Smith Building is beautiful...I'm not gonna lie, I was pretty sad to see so much concrete between the SWKT and what was once the SFLC, where there used to be a nice grassy quad.  So many sunny afternoons spent lounging on that green with friends, then heading to class (on those rare occasions when we actually chose to go to class) only to come back to find a whole new group of friends spread out on the grass with books open and notes out.  (Who were they kidding?  None of us ever got any studying done like that.)

We hit up the BYU Bookstore. I think we spent almost as much at the candy counter as we did on books.

On to Dallas, where it was ridiculously hot and humid.  I think they were on day 26 of over-100-degree-temps when we got there, and we didn't have a day with a high below that our whole trip. (Last time I was in Dallas they had the ice storm that threatened to shut down the Super Bowl.  I seem to always be there for the extremes in weather.)

We got to attend the baby blessing of my newest niece, Reese.  We got our Tex-Mex fix at Chuy's.  Two words: shrimp taquitos.  Oh, man.  

 We also hit Wild About Harry's for some hot dogs and our favorite banana pudding shake...

...and some wedding day deja vu.

And speaking of wedding day deja vu...seeing as how we're almost at our one-year mark, and how we will be far away from home when we actually hit it, and how there was wedding cake waiting in the freezer for the traditional first anniversary commemoration, we dug in a little early.

I'm pretty sure this bite never made it into Spencer's mouth...but some icing may or may not have made it onto his chin. 

Take 2.  Success! Mmmm, tasty. Freezer-burned cake! It actually survived pretty well, considering.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Birthday Boy

Once upon a time (a month and a half ago, to be exact), there was boy who had a birthday to celebrate.  The boy whose birthday it was had to be in Singapore for the week leading up to the big day, of course, arriving back in Sydney the very morning of the birthday bash. (And when I say "bash" I mean a quiet day spent just the two of us.) So the night before, I stayed up late decorating the apartment and making a big fat cake and writing sappy cards and other such birthday-related silliness which silliness is exactly what make birthdays so much fun. 

When Spencer arrived home, he found that our apartment number had been changed to 35 in honor of his new age.

He received a series of less-than-life-altering, but very thoughtful (if I do say so myself) gifts. You know it's a good birthday when you get the all-about-China issue of"The Economist." 

We took a ferry to Watsons Bay to hike to the two lighthouses there--something we've been meaning to do for a while now. (I had hiked to the red and white one before, but he never had.) The weather was crisp and cool and windy, but sunny and beautiful. 

 After a yummy seafood dinner, we headed back home for birthday cake. Quite the inferno, no?

I had whipped up a Chocolate Peanut Butter Layer Cake that was waiting in the fridge. (Although, since I'm not a coffee drinker, I actually only used this recipe for the peanut butter mousse and the frosting.  For the cake, I used a recipe for Velvet Chocolate Cake that I pulled out of one of my mom's "Southern Living" magazines a million years ago.) It was a huge hit, as the birthday boy is a chocolate/peanut butter lover. Seriously. LUV-er.

Happy birthday to the Hubs.