Thursday, February 25, 2010

Darby's Blog

I linked her in my post about this past weekend's adventures, but now she has done her own post and it is much more detailed...and hilarious, than mine. And, if you've already read, it was Jeremiah's ex that we went on the trip with (hey Lindsey ;)!). I was really nervous about it (because we'd never met in real life, only in blog world), but she was awesome. When we managed to broach the subject of vasectomies within the first 10 minutes of meeting, I new we were going to be just fine :)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Who Is Your Best Friend?

One of the biggest gifts of our trip to the mountains this past weekend, was the 5 plus hours (there AND back) that Jeremiah and I got alone in the car together. You know travelling with babies in the car is a little bit like being locked in a jail cell with chattering monkeys, and I'd almost forgotten that there used to be a time when I actually looked forward to road trips :)

I'd gotten two different books on CD for us to listen to...but we never got farther than a chapter into either of them. Justin gave Jeremiah a CD of songs from some artist he thought we'd both love, but we never listened to more than one song. We talked and listened and talked and sang and talked some more. We got the harmony almost perfected on a song we've been meaning to learn for over a year now...we just needed some concentrated quiet time. It was a gift, an absolute gift.

I like to throw out big random questions, and then watch Jeremiah try to scrounge around for an answer. He always accuses me of getting my answer all prepared before I ask, making him seem slow...but I really don't do that. I just let my mind roam over random topics, until I hit one that seems fun, and then I blurt it out for us both to wrestle with. At least one of these random questions, Jeremiah had a quick, solid answer to, while I couldn't ever seem to settle with myself.

"Who is your best friend, not counting me of course? Because that would certainly be your answer, right? :)"

He answered quickly and then flipped it back to me... ... ...I stared at him blankly as face after face flashed through my mind. Each one conjuring a different feeling of love, or kinship, or thankfulness, or laughter. There were guys and girls. There were best friends from different stages of my life, and one in particular that's hung around through each stage. But that phrase BEST friend, left me speechless. How could I settle on one that was the. best.

"How would you define best?" I asked.

"I don't know...Who would you go to if you needed to talk about us. Like detailed stuff about us."

"That's not going to be a good way to define for me, because I would talk about that stuff to anybody who cared to listen," I said as his face dropped, and I laughed really hard.

"Nothing's sacred," he said as he half laughed and shook his head back and forth.

"Nope ;)"

How would you define your best friend? Is it the person you would call if you were in a jam and needed help? Is it the person that thinks and acts most like you--making it easier to be yourself? Is it the person who knows the most about you--your life, your thoughts, your dreams? Is it the person you talk to the most? Is it the person you would call first when you have exciting news? Or the person you would call first when you'd gotten bad news? Is it the person you spill all your dirty secrets to (which is apparently how Jeremiah defines it :))? Or the one who holds you accountable?

These kinds of questions raced through my mind and each question seemed to lead me to a different face. While some encompassed several of these questions, no one embodied them all...and that thought--that realization that there is not one person, but a host of people that I could reach out to for comfort, or help, or excitement, or accountability--was like a shower of blessings over my head. What kind of love has the Father showered down on me, that my life is filled with truly great friends??!!

"What, exactly, HAVE you said to people about us?" Jeremiah popped in, breaking my strain of joyful thought.

"Oh I don't know," I answered. "Nothing too embarrassing." ;)

Monday, February 22, 2010

How Old Are We Again?

This weekend, our friends Justin and Darby invited us to go with them (and no babies!) to the make some new friends and catch up with some old ones.We did a whole lot of this:But we also did our fair share of this: Behind Justin's parent's mountain house there was this large hill on a golf course just perfect for sledding: My first run down the hill, I rode with Jeremiah, and my protective husband...barrelled right over me and left me like this:
And as I began the treacherous ascent back to the top of our mountain, I almost ate it again: After getting the hang of things a little more, the boys got competitive:
And we girls showed them that we could compete as well (I hope you can all see how well this is going to end :)):Then, they got a little adventurous:And we answered that challenge:And upped 'em two more:However, at that point, they started flat out trying to kill themselves:
And we had the wisdom to head inside and eat after that :)

We laughed and ate and played and sang and shared our burdens and worshipped our God. It was truly magnificent.

Thanks for making it happen guys...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Breadmaking Revisited by Woe

I have gotten lots of questions about making the bread, and I thought I'd try to answer them all in one post.

What does "punch" the bread mean?
-It's just full of air from rising, and you kind of smash it down.

Can you go over 6 or 8 hours each time?
-Yes. Yesterday I let some rise for 10 hours (the first AND second rise) and it was just fine.

How long will the starter keep?
-If you stop the process. Stick it in the refrigerator, and it will keep for a couple of weeks, according to my MIL. Just add some REALLY warm water when you start it all back up. I took a break over the weekend, and it worked fine.

Does it need to stay in a warm place? How warm are we talking?
-I keep our house on 68 and it's done ok :)

What does it mean when you say "add to/remake" the starter?
-I have wrestled with it myself. The recipe says to take out 1 1/2 cups with each batch, and then you're adding TWO cups of warm water each time (plus the other ingredients). It doesn't take a lot of math to see that's not going to go well after a batch or two. I personally poured some out of my jar for the first few rounds and re-added exactly what the recipe calls for again (to be sure that my starter was plenty active). After a while, these are the amounts that I started adding to keep from overflow (and to keep the bread from tasting TOO yeasty--lovely word :)): 1 1/2 cups warm water, 1/2 c. sugar, 1 1/2 tsp yeast, 1 1/2 Tbl potato flakes

You know it's frustrating when great cooks (like my MIL) give you instructions like, "ohh, you know sometimes I just don't add any yeast" or "sometimes I just do 1/2 a cup of sugar and water"....VAGUE...IMPOSSIBLE for the novice!! :) Dang people with skill! I need hard numbers!

So, those are the numbers I used, but I will say that after 4 rounds or so, I could see that my bread wasn't rising enough, and I needed to go back to the original recipe. My basic advice is to dump out a little starter each time (or get a bigger mason jar might be even better) and experiment. Isn't that annoying :)

This bread dough seems really sticky. Is that ok?
-First of all, and everybody who is going to make this should read this: DON'T DO LEVEL SCOOPS OF FLOUR AND SUGAR. THEY NEED TO BE SLIGHTLY ROUNDED. The Maddox family doesn't like exacts. They like to laugh at me and my need for them. So throw ingredients in there like it's no big deal, and it turns out better. Who knew?! :)

Mrs. Linda also said that you could flour the table and knead it out to a more "normal" bread consistency if you wanted to. I, however, like the slightly more dense and moist texture that results from not kneading.

Hope that helps! If it's still clear as mud to you, then post another question and I'll add to this list :)
**Giveaway: The first person to post a comment and reveal the literary pun in my title, will get something hand-stitched for either you or your wee-un :)

Global Warming My Butt

Have you seen south Alabama lately??!!

Monday, February 15, 2010

V-Day 2010

Last night, Jeremiah and I went to see that new Valentine's Day movie, and Ashton Kutcher has a one-liner that really captures the spirit of why I love this holiday so much. (I've tried to find the exact quote, but I don't think the movie has been out long enough) It goes something like this:

Jennifer Garner: I just don't know.... You really think I should fly all the way to San Francisco just to surprise him [her boyfriend] on Valentine's Day?

Ashton: It's Valentine's Day! You don't think you just DO!

And that's it. It's the one day that it's totally socially acceptable to stand in the parking lot of your husband's workplace (even in the drenching rain) bearing a sign that tells just how much you love him. Or to wear various shades of pink and purple and red from head to toe, because it looks like love, and that makes you smile. Or to spend a whole bunch of money on a dinner you can't afford, because you want to shower down scrumptious love on somebody else.

Or you make a whole lot of bread: And honey cinnamon butter:And wrap it up: And come up with a little saying that you are ever-so-proud of :) :

And load up your little Valentine's Day goblins (and your obliging husband, poor guy) to help you deliver:
And drop them on the doorsteps (or in the hands, in this case) of some of the people who have brought love and happiness to your life over the past year:

Because it's Valentine's Day! and you don't think you just DO...and that makes me ever-so-happy.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

This and That

Just wanted to let y'all know that we're still here...just busy doing this:
And That:
And a little of This:
And a WHOLE lot of THAT (it's 27 loaves, but who's counting? :))
And gettin' ready for THISSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Oh yeah, and that:
Be back, when I have a moment to breathe, with some words and explanations. Until then, I hope all of your this's and thats aren't running you ragged.

Monday, February 8, 2010

It's Not Every Day...

...That a girl gets to be in ABryanPhoto :) You most likely know, if you've been around long at all, that our neighbor and dear friend across the street is a phenomenal and highly coveted photographer. We had a Christmas party in his studio this year, and when he casually asked if we all wanted him to snap a picture of each couple, we fell over each other to get in line :) The camera he used looked like it was from 1985, and I wondered what in the world he was going to do with that old thing. The pictures he took were still perfection. Surprise. Surprise. Which I guess goes to show you that a truly great photographer doesn't need a bunch of bells and whistles. I love these/am sharing them, because I feel like they show our relationship so well...mainly because he snapped away before we knew he was going to :) Thanks Bryan!

Jeremiah: Let's do something different for our shot.
Me: I don't know, Jeremiah. What do you mean different?
J: Like, jump up right here and I'll hold you.
Me: Maybe you haven't seen how tight my dress is...and are you sure you can catch me?

J: Are you seriously going to stand there and talk smack like I can't hold you up?? Have you seen me lately? Do you think your husband is weak? Just jump.

In all that talk, guess who forgot to take into account the length of her dress? And look who is totally oblivious and proud of himself :)

Our girls went to Dothan this weekend for some adventures on the farm, while I went away with a few friends, and Jeremiah...worked (bless his heart). However, I came home around lunch yesterday and we had the entire afternoon and night to just hang out together sans les enfants!

It's not like we don't ever get babysitters, but when we do, there is always something specific planned. Not yesterday. It's hard to explain how fun it was to just be in the house together, eat lunch and not dodge food being thrown by the Dapples, or answer Pace's questions about how the world works. We went to a movie, just because we could. And then, while the entire nation watched the Saints win the Super Bowl, we decided to skip the party we were supposed to attend and go somewhere for a quiet dinner...even dessert. When he left for work this morning, we were both sad. It felt just a little bit like when we were first married and I cried every time he walked out the door. Sometimes, it's good to be reminded that I don't just live with my husband, I live with my best friend. Who else can make me laugh like picture 2?? :)