Bird and Belle's Adventures in Marriage

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Santa in Training

Noah Hines

I think the best thing about babies is getting to dress them up in outfits and costumes. Seriously, such a tiny little person to dress up as say, I don’t know… a hot dog, or maybe a Santa or elf. I also find babies in little blue jeans to be adorable. Add a plaid flannel shirt and you have created my kind of baby (extra points if the flannel is brown!) I think it takes a special kind of parent to dress their baby up in something other than Onesies®. These parents are commiting themselves to the arduous task of cleaning this fancy getup when said baby spits up, or worse, experiences a poo explosion. Yet these parents persevere and continue to arrive at functions with a baby on their hip that is dressed to the nines.

Clinton and Katie, well, maybe just Katie, are these kind of parents. When Katie was pregnant I brought her tiny Chuck Taylor All-Star socks for her little boy, Noah. Her face lit up – the beginnings of an outfit! Since then she has never failed to surprise me. The first time I photographed little Noah he was a newborn and dressed in the tiniest blue jeans. Then last weekend he showed up to my Christmas party in a Santa suit. All I need now is Noah in a hot dog outfit and my baby fantasy is complete!

Unfortunately only a few of these photos came out since I was still partially blind and not able to see that my camera was set on manual – which is hard enough with perfect sight, and damned impossible when one is half-blind! With a little Photoshop I have tried to save three deliciously adorable images for your holiday viewing pleasure! Now, someone buy baby Noah a hot dog outfit!


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We collected our final CSA load this week. While peddling our veggie-laden bikes home I lamented on the CSA leaving us before the growing season had taken its final bow. This morning Mother Nature proved me wrong, yet again. While taking a chilly early morning walk through the arboretum we stumbled upon brilliantly colored roses encrusted in frost.

I quickly walked the three miles home, grabbed my camera and hastily drove back. Sadly, most of the crystals had melted leaving only frost burned petals behind. I did manage a few photos in the shady parts of the rose garden and I think it makes an appropriate post for this cold Sunday. Tomorrow exciting recipes and food photos will return. Until then, sleep sweet and stay warm.


Worst Father’s Day Gift Ever – Buyer BEWARE

Every year I glance at a calendar at the beginning of June and am shocked to see that Father’s Day is printed somewhere around the middle of the month. Really? When did they start putting Father’s Day in June? The truth of the matter is that it has always been there, just as Mother’s Day is always in May, my brother’s birthday is always in April and Memorial Day is always in, um, I think May…. I am no good at keeping dates straight, and it is not for lack of effort. I have started numerous books and calendars to try to keep dates on my radar. And numerous times I have either lost it, or forgot to consult them. It is a tragic curse that has left more than a handful of loved ones feeling sad and neglected.

So this year for Father’s Day I was totally stoked when I remembered the event three days before hand. Excellent! Although a gift would not make it by Sunday, it would make it in the seven days following which, I’m ashamed to say, is REALLY good for me. And so I logged onto the trusty internet during lunch to seek out a gift – something interesting, quirky, funny, useful…

I poked around on several of my usual gift sites and found nothing. Frustrated, I decided to take a shopping break to catch up on the Regretsy blog. Regretsy is one of my favorite blogs that makes fun of bad merchandise on and beyond. And what do I see? This. Smears and Robuck. Tears welled up in my eyes as I read the description and attempted to stifle my laughter.

Leave the “Brief Safe” in plain view in your laundry basket or washing machine at home, or in your suitcase in a hotel room – even the most curious snoop will “skid” to a screeching halt as soon as they see them. (Wouldn’t you?) Made in USA. One size. Color: white (and brown).

This was the funniest thing the Internet had bestowed upon me in AGES. COLOR: WHITE (AND BROWN) My mind immediately shifted to my dad, who has a great sense of humor and has been known to send things like a fart machine and “Unfortunate Cookies” to people. Come to think of it, I think he also brought a “Roo Pouch” back from Australia years ago. In our family, “Poo Humor” and the like abound and this Underwear Safe would fit right in. I quickly visited the Sears web site and ordered the gift.

Father’s Day was Sunday, and according to online tracking it was set to arrive Monday. I waited, with bated breath, for the amused phone call. Tragically I missed the call and instead received a message:

Sarah Beth, this is your dad….. (long pause)…. I got what I guess is my Father’s Day gift today…. and I wanted to talk to you about it…. (really long pause followed by “faux” laughter). Give me a call back.

I was concerned. How could he not have found this funny? With a description like that? I could only imaging what the packaging must have looked like.

Now here is the catch – when I viewed this online I did not see any packaging. I assumed it would come in a box that used a ridiculous font like Comic Sans and bold colors with speech bubbles and such. I expected a “Made for TV” type logo on it. I expected a description of what this pair of dirty undies actually was. As I listened to the message the wise words of my geometry teacher ran through my mind, “To assume is to make an ASS out of U and Me.”

Several days later I phoned home. My dad was at work still but mom picked up and I inquired on the gift.

Yeah… what were you thinking? Dirty underwear in a Ziploc bag? You dad was a little, um, …. perplexed?

Her “perplexed” came out questioning and I suddenly felt uncomfortable. “You mean it came in a Ziploc bag? Did it not have a funny box? Or at the least, a humorous description?”

Mom then explained that this poopy underwear safe came in an unmarked clear Ziploc bag in a brown padded envelope with a receipt  for $20 bucks. I was horrified. My dad received nothing but dirty undies for Father’s Day. This was NOT good. I tried to explain to my mom, but only got a half-hearted giggle from her. The joke had been missed, monumentally, and my poor dad, well, who knows what my poor dad thought!

And so the moral of this, dear readers, is to research your “gag gift” carefully and never ASSUME anything when it comes to the Internet, especially if it has to do with poop. And, to be safe, maybe avoid gag Father’s Day gifts altogether. Now, I must go commence birthday shopping for the poor guy with whom I share a gene pool and attempt to make amends.

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Wedding Photos!

At long last! Wedding photos galore. There were too many images to upload them all to the shared BirdandBelle Picasa account, so I have posted them to my personal account at a resolution that should print well at about 4×6, maybe 5×7. If there are certain images you would like high res files for, please let me know and I will transfer them to you using a Drop.IO site.

A brief warning about this particular Picasa site: it is my photo archive. There are TONS of albums documenting adventures Jay and I have had together over the years. There are at least a dozen more albums I need to post, too. Feel free to prowl around the other albums if you have hours of free time, or want to ignore that stack of paperwork or the pile of dirty laundry, and do check back periodically to see what is new!

Some of Jay’s and my initial thoughts while looking at these images were that:
A. We make a lot of ridiculous faces

B. My dad’s special mustache was the absolute best

C. I’m embarrassed at the disproportionate number of Belle vs. Bird photos. I had explained that I wanted equal photographing, but I guess it did not happen. I promise a professional photographer that is focused 100% on Bird and his friends and family at our next big event!

D. We have an amazingly fun and photogenic group of family and friends!

The last observation is the best, by far. I have to thank you all again for helping to make this the best day of my life. There were not words to describe the love and support we felt on May 29, and the many weeks leading up to it. Each time I saw someone else “warming” our rings, I would get a little choked up. I blame THIS on my crying during vows. It has nothing to do with me being a sappy chick. NOTHING I tell ya!

And now I must work, while you all waste copious amounts of time viewing hundreds of glorious hat and mustache laden photos!


Bird Food

This year Jay and I decided to take our culinary endeavors to a new level and joined a CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture project. With the CSA membership comes a weekly load of fresh organic produce for six months and a daily challenge of how to use, say, 8 cups of basil and 2 bunches of mustard greens before they go bad. Today marks our sixth week as CSA members and already we have discovered new foods and innovative uses for old standards – such as a broccoli pesto made to be allergy-friendly and breaded and baked kohlrabi topped with melted vegan Mozzarella “cheese.”

In the past Jay and I would cook by following a recipe.  Lately, however, I have taken to experimenting. I’ll consult one or two cookbooks for some generalized cooking tips and then I let my creativity take over: add a little of this, a little of that and toss in any produce that looks like it might pass it’s prime in the next 24 hours. I’m pleased to announce that the results thus far have been splendid.

Several weeks ago Jay was devouring another awesome meal of black bean enchiladas with grilled plantains and announced, “I sure have been eating well lately!”

“Well as in excellent quality ingredients or excellent preparation?” I asked.

“BOTH!” he exclaimed. Then continued to urge me to start writing down some of my experiments and then post them to the blog. I blew him off – no one wants to read that.

After more pestering, however, I have caved. In addition to reviewing fried fish plates and chronicling our other ridiculous adventures, I will begin posting occasional recipes that have been devised and tested by the Belle and Bird (well, mostly Belle, but that is another blog entry…)

Stay tuned for my first recipe –  Fresh Tomato Sauce with Caramelized Onions and Basil and Sinfully Easy Homemade French Bread.

Until then, go snack on a kohlrabi!

Made with our share this week!


We ate, drank and got married!

Our dramatic first dance!

What a wedding! Jay and I bid our final guests adieu this morning and are now recovering from what goes down as the single best weekend of my life! Not only did I pull off my largest and grandest event without a hitch (we even found corkscrew from a kind stranger thanks to Natalie Lockhart and Jason Ferguson), I also scored myself the world’s best husband. I could not be more pleased!

As promised, I have set up a new Google Picasa account so we can all share our photographs with one another. I am e-mailing everyone the login information since posting login information on a public blog is not the grandest plan . Let me know if you don’t receive info in the next day or two and I will resend.

I greatly enjoyed seeing everyone this weekend. It means so much to Jay and I that people came from so many miles to celebrate with us. Rings were warmed, hugs were received, tears were shed, hats were paraded and families were merged. I can’t think of anything in this world that I could wish for.

And now, I’m off to eat some more leftover Greek food as we have more left overs than I thought possible.  Jay and I promise frequent blog updates in the coming months as we attempt to continue chronicling our adventures, travels and mishaps. Much love to you all!

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You are invited to Nightcaps and Cookies!

Jay and I would like to invite our guests to join us for Nightcaps and Cookies on Friday, May 28th!

A quick survey has revealed that only half of our guests will be arriving on Friday, and only half of that half will be in before dinner hour. Rather than try and coordinate a haphazard meal with everyone, we have opted for a simple (and far less stressful) evening gathering at the Penguin Bar. The Penguin is a dueling piano bar that is conveniently located a couple blocks from all three downtown hotels. For those who have not experienced a piano bar, it is fun stuff – two pianists duel it out and play requested songs (hint: Journey). For an additional monetary bribe you can often coerce the musicians to call friends and family on stage for a bit of public heckling. I have been to several shows in other states and they are fantastically entertaining!

Doors open at 8 on Friday, and the show starts at 9.  Tell the doorman you are with us and your entry fee will be waved. Jay and I will have an array of cookies (regular and dairy-free) for our guests. This is a casual affair so no need to get gussied up – we be plenty gussied on Saturday night.

The map on the previous post notes the Penguin’s location. Any additional directions you need can be found at the front desk of your hotel, or by calling Jay (again, I’m not great with directions). We are excited to see you all!

Sarah, Jay and Cats