Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Something to Celebrate

Do you have a friend who has been a part of your life for longer than she hasn't? I do. Her name is Elizabeth and today is her birthday. We've been friends since the days of braces and bangs. This is what we looked like when we were thirteen:

We met in middle school in the sixth grade. By seventh grade we were spending every single Friday night together. It was like growing up with two sets of parents, being us. We went to the same high school and spent enough time together that we were frequently asked if we were twins, despite the fact that we looked as alike then as we do now. We also fought like sisters when we were younger, as two people who are inseparable often do.

We went to separate colleges, but that didn't change anything except the frequency of our in-person conversations. She called me at 3 o'clock in the morning the night she met her husband.

I was there three-and-a-half years later when Lofton proposed:

And twelve months after that when they got married:

When I met Hugh, in the way that your truest friends do, Elizabeth knew there was something special about him. So when I brought him home to meet the family, she and Lofton drove home to meet him and make sure he was a keeper:

Three years later she was there, as the world's cutest mama-to-be, when I married Hugh:

She called me the morning she found out she was pregnant with Reese. In my excitement, I knocked everything off my bathroom counter and spilled my coffee. And when he was born, I loved Reese not just because he was completely lovable, but because he was hers:

So, all this to say Elizabeth is just part of who I am. Our phone calls over the years have changed from boys and clothes and lipstick and when we would next go to the mall to husbands and cooking advice and clothes and chatting with Reese, but they are still never more than a few days apart.

In the drawer in my bedside table, among the random assortment of pens and spare keys and extra watches, I have a letter from Elizabeth. It's the note she gave me the day we left for college. At the end of it is a quote, "Like soul sisters, they filled their days with easy conversation and comfortable silences." And that's what our friendship is like. Just easy, like being friends with someone you can't imagine your life without.

Today I am sending her the wish of a very happy birthday and a fabulous twenty-eighth year. And a thank you - my life is so much better because of you, E. If I were there, I'd make you a balloon bouquet. Love you forever.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

All was Merry and Bright.

Just like that, Christmas has come and gone. Ours was a lovely, albeit low-key, one. Can I tell you a little secret? This is the fifth Christmas Hugh and I have spent at home having a celebration of two. While we love our families and a big, noisy celebration, we really love having Christmas at home. We've spent the last six years taking the traditions we grew up with and making them our own, and adding some new ones to the mix.

Christmas Eve almost edges out Thanksgiving for my favorite day of the year. After a 7am trip to the grocery store (mission: beat the crowds, accomplished), this is what our day looked like:

Bagel Melts, a breakfast favorite around this place.

Skyping with Hugh's Dad, who currently resides in Dubai for work:

And then there was the baking. Pumpkin Cupcakes, Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars, and Cinnamon Rolls:

And, our favorite Christmas Eve tradition, lobster dinner!

Christmas morning was breakfast and champagne and delivering cinnamon rolls to our neighbors:

This year, Hugh and I didn't exchange gifts. Mainly because visits to veterinary specialists don't come cheap. And while in the scheme of things it wasn't a big deal, it was a bit of a bummer not to have a pile of presents to share. Instead, we just reminded ourselves how happy we are this little buddy is slowly (fingers crossed) on the mend:

Could there be a cuter Christmas present?

And, on Sunday it snowed! Snow just doesn't get old for these Florida kids:

A husband who always takes the dog out, even in the snow?! He's a keeper.

In the end, it was another lovely weekend spent with my very favorite person. As someone who spends a good deal of my time analyzing every decision and plan I make, I'm continuously surprised that in my life with Hugh I know I am right where I'm supposed to be. Gifts or no gifts, a full house or only the two of us, I'm just happy he's mine:

I hope your holiday weekend was a delight. Only a few more days left in 2010!

Friday, December 24, 2010

A Savannah Family Christmas

Brace yourself, I'm feeling chatty and sentimental:

How about some heartwarming Christmas cheer? Hugh and I graduated from undergrad five-and-a-half years ago. There were a lot of things I didn't know on that spring day. One of them is that it is hard to make friends when you're a grown up. It's even harder to make couple friends, because ideally all parties need to get along for maximum enjoyment of each others company. So, after graduation Hugh and I lived in Savannah for a year-and-a-half basically friendless.

Don't feel sorry for us, because we really love hanging out together so we were mostly content, but every now and then there was that twinge of wishing we had someone to invite over for dinner on Friday nights. We hosted a few people and a few couples, but nothing ever felt right. But, just like love, when you stop looking (and inviting everyone you meet to eat dinner at your house) that's when it happens:

circa 2008

It's kind of like the perfect storm of friends (except we don't cause mass destruction, we just eat and drink and laugh). Hugh taught with Mandy and Brian. Mandy is married to Matt and they are the parents of Mitch (you know, MCubed). Brian is married to Ann. In January of 2007, Brian and Ann invited us all over for a Superbowl party. By the time May rolled around, we three couples were having dinner together every Friday. And sometimes on Saturday. And then we started having impromptu weeknight dinners at our favorite Mexican restaurant. We were like a little family, a little Savannah Family.

In 2007, Brian and Ann had one daughter, Iris. Then they had Opal and our Savannah Family grew:

circa 2009

Mandy and Matt and Hugh and I love these girls. They are sassy and precocious and so smart and beautiful and hilarious. In short, they have set the bar pretty high for Savannah Family kiddos. And now Brian and Ann have added a third beauty to the fam, June. While it's still too early to say (she's only five weeks old), if she's anything like her sisters, I know we'll all be crazy about her.

This week, on Tuesday morning, Hugh and I realized we needed to get out of the house. And Hugh was seriously missing our friends, because he doesn't get to see them every week like I do. I called Mandy around 10am, and by 3pm we were on the road headed to Savannah for a couple of days.

And the visit was just what we needed. We were all just so darn happy to be hanging out. I may or may not have teared up a few times just sitting there talking to Mandy and Ann and playing with the girls and holding baby June and laughing and drinking champagne and watching the boys chat it up. When we moved away, none of us knew exactly what would happen to our little family, but I'm happy to say that we're doing just fine.

Since we met, it's been almost four years. We've had two weddings, lots and lots of dinners, two new and perfect girls, one new and perfect dog, way too many glasses of wine, more stories and jokes and laughing than you can imagine, and one two hour move. This is what we look like now:

circa two days ago

It's nice when things change but they stay the same, isn't it?

I hope this holiday season, you've gotten to spend it with people you love so much that sometimes you tear up just from seeing them all in the same room.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Oh, Marriage.

Scene: Realizing Hugh is about to be home and I have not showered and am still wearing my pajamas at 5pm, I decide to dry shampoo my hair, change my clothes, and put on some make-up really quickly. Hugh calls on his way home.

H: What are you doing?
C: Oh, I just got done freshening up.
H: You mean you dry shampooed your hair and changed out of your pajamas?

You don't even know me, Hugh.

Monday, December 20, 2010

'Tis the Season

Happy holidays from the White Hot family!

Now that I finally got it together and mailed our holiday cards, I thought I'd share:

We ordered them from Minted and I l-o-v-e them. The quality is just wonderful. And, in case my giant grin doesn't give it away, I adore my little family more than words can say.

I hope you are having very happy holiday season. Thanks for following along this year!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Cheers to That!

We made it, friends! As of eleven o'clock yesterday morning, the White Hot family is on vacation until 2011. We celebrated with a margarita, a dinner date, and twelve hours of sleep.

I am thrilled to have absolutely nothing planned for the next sixteen days besides snuggling up with these loves of my life:

A Christmas card outtake that I kind of love.

I hope you're on vacation, too!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Cold and Kind of Boring

Not a lot to report from the White Hot front. How about a little list of inconsequential thoughts and, let's be honest, cute photos of the boys? Okay!
  1. Made these Gingersnaps. They are amazing, if you like Gingersnaps. Which I do, apparently. Because I ate five of them. In five minutes. And I don't even like dessert.

  2. Hugh does not like Gingersnaps. So I made him these Oatmeal, Chocolate Chip, and Pecan Cookies (with less orange zest). And, you know how we love to talk about love languages around here? This is Hugh's love language:

    Why yes, that is a bowl of Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Ice Cream topped with Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies. And yes, it does have about 4,500 calories. And yes, Hugh does have superhuman metabolism, because he has eaten three similarly sized bowls of this craziness in the last one-and-a-half days.

  3. I know, I know. With the baking. And I keep telling you I don't even like to bake. I was trying to put myself in the Christmas spirit. I'd give it a fifty percent success rate. But I did get motivated to order another Christmas gift. So there's that.

  4. We've eaten dinner at home for four nights in a row! And that, my friends, is worthy of an exclamation, even if part of the reason is because it is so. cold. outside. that I am refusing to leave the house. The meals have been Sausage, Tomato, and Arugula Fettuccine; Chicken and Black Bean-Stuffed Burritos; Belgian Beef Stew; and Roasted Butternut Squash and Bacon Pasta. All have been fairly healthy and worthy of a repeat, so you should try them.

  5. Just like the rest of America, we are freezing in Georgia. So we're wearing our jackets:

    And sleeping on our favorite blankets in front of the heating vents:

  6. Oh, Christmas Tree:

  7. On Sunday, I found a lump on my head that I was certain was a tumor (not surprising). I freaked out (also not surprising) and made Hugh examine it. He said it was nothing. I demanded to know why he never freaked out over my medical ailments. He said, because then there would be two of us overreacting to your medical ailments. And, you know what? I woke up today and that lump was almost gone. Whatever, Hugh. That was just luck. You aren't even a real doctor yet.

  8. You know how I'm always blathering on about how Henry loves Hugh the best? Do you want to see why? Okay:

    No, that's not Hugh's 4,500 calorie bowl of cookies and ice cream under that jacket...

    It's spoiled, spoiled Henry Parker, who stayed zipped up in there for over an hour.

  9. And, for good measure:

    That face. I just die.
Stay warm, comrades. Hopefully something interesting will happen soon and I'll be back to report. And, by interesting, I do not in any way, shape, or form mean any member of this household getting sick. Got it, family?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

I Wait Five Days for It.

It's been simultaneously productive and low-key. This is what our White Hot weekend looked like:

List making. Type A control needs soothed? Check.

An inordinate amount of dog snuggling, even for us. I won't even tell you how we have set up a makeshift bed for Fletcher in every room. Or how he tried to climb into my lap while we were eating breakfast, so I finished eating in record time so I could hold him without a ticket from the hygiene police. With his zero percent body fat he is cold all the time right now, so we are focused on keeping him warm. We even pulled out his jacket. I both acknowledge and accept full responsibility for its hideousness. I bought it as a joke for him to wear during football-watching last year. It looks like a fleece version of a boxing robe. It is now coming in quite handy, all jokes aside.

Cooking! Thank goodness for all of us.

List-crossing-off! Not too bad for twenty-four hours of getting stuff done. I won't pretend like it's anything revolutionary that I write already-completed tasks on my list just so I can check them off. But, I do. P.S. Do you love this notepad? It's from Hugh. He is the best gift-giver ever. Reason number 743.

Brotherly bonding. Since Fletcher is sick, he has much less energy than usual. This means that Henry is tolerating him like never before. It's too much cuteness for me to handle.

Not pictured: nonstop studying. Five days to go until our two week break. You can do it, h!

Hope you're busy avoiding the Sunday blues.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Fletcher: An Update

We are home from the specialist in Athens and feeling about like this:

Impossibly, this whole ordeal has made me love that husband of mine even more. This picture's not hurting his case.

Fletcher was the belle of the ball at the vet's office yesterday. Since our vet and Hugh have talked to this specialist veterinarian so much, every single person in the office knew about him. When we opened the door the receptionist called out, "Fletcher's here," and everyone rushed out to see him. I mean, it doesn't hurt that he is out of control with cuteness and loves everyone he meets. Or that he spent the forty-five minute consultation trying to climb into the vet's lap. He was less happy when they shaved his stomach.

After an ultrasound, endoscopy, and colonoscopy, we know that Fletcher is having a malabsorbtion problem and is basically starving. As of yesterday morning, he has lost 15lbs in two months (this is significant considering he only weighed 55lbs to begin with). Right now, we're waiting to hear back later next week on all the lab work they are doing from yesterday's scopes to find out a cause. We feel hopeful that we will have some answers by the end of next week.

In the meantime, thank you to everyone for your sweet calls and messages and suggestions and happy dog thoughts. We are lucky to have the friends and family we do.

Postscript: I have bought exactly three Christmas presents. This is unlikely to change at this point. I have cooked zero meals in the last eight days. Zero. It's been cereal, frozen pizza, cheese-its, or take-out. I hope to remedy that this weekend, as Hugh and I would both like to keep our blood pressure in the normal range. My house is a mess. I will remedy that this weekend, as I am about to lose my mind and have taken to wearing socks so I can't feel how dirty the floors are.

Also, thanks for humoring me with the Fletcher posts. I have lost more sleep and shed more tears over this pup in the last two weeks than I care to admit. As soon as he is on the mend, I will cook something delicious for this little blog to celebrate. Promise. I will also probably drink a bottle of champagne and sleep for three days.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Because Sometimes You Just Need a Little Comfort

I was going to write a cheeky intro to this post that I started this weekend about my favorite meal - the ultimate comfort food. But the last seven days have been a doozy; the kind of week where you just need, well, some comfort. Among other work and personal stresses, Fletcher is a very sick puppy. He has more blood work today and tomorrow and then we are potentially headed off to UGA later this week for more testing. Needless to say, I don't feel very cheeky right now. Hugh, in the way that only he can, has assured me that everything is going to be just fine. So I'll be back soon. In the meantime, please send some happy little dog thoughts our way, sit tight, and enjoy:

When Hugh first made Spaghetti Carbonara about three years ago, I loved it. And then he kept making it, and it kept getting better. And better. Until I loved it so much that I started requesting it once a week. And then Hugh got sick of it. So sick of it that he actually won't eat it anymore. When he makes it for me he will usually scrounge up something else to eat. I, however, can still eat it three times a week. I don't, because I like being able to button my pants, but I could.

This recipe was initially from GQ, but Hugh has adapted it enough along the way that I feel confident in calling it our own. This is best eating from a bowl in your lap, on the couch, whilst wearing your pjs, and drinking a glass of wine. Note: this is not health food. It's why I eat salad for lunch.

Spaghetti Carbonara
Serves 2

8oz dried spaghetti
1 teaspoon olive oil
6oz bacon or pancetta, chopped into 1/2" pieces
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 eggs (the fresher the better)
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (depending on how spicy you like it)
1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, divided
fresh-cracked black pepper

This recipe is really simple, but the timing is important. You want to have your bacon and garlic mixture finished at or before the time the pasta is done.

Crack eggs in a medium metal bowl, beat lightly. Mix in 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes, a pinch of salt, and a few turns from the pepper grinder.

Cook spaghetti in salted water according to package directions until al dente.

In the meantime, heat olive oil in a small saucepan or skillet over medium heat. Add bacon/pancetta, cooking to render fat and crisp bacon/pancetta, stirring frequently, about 6 minutes. Add garlic, cook one minute, stirring frequently. If the garlic starts to brown, remove pan from heat. After one minute, remove pan from heat. Your pasta should be just about ready.

When pasta is finished, drain and immediately add pasta to the bowl with the egg and cheese mixture. Let sit for exactly one minute. Toss pasta and egg mixture very thoroughly using two forks. The idea here is that the eggs, while not really cooked, will mix with the hot pasta and make a silky sauce, and you want that coating every single strand. Once pasta is thoroughly combined with egg mixture, add bacon and garlic mixture and about half of the bacon drippings that have accumulated in the pan. Add about 1/2 cup additional Parmesan cheese. Mix thoroughly using two forks.

Taste for seasoning. I usually find a little more salt is necessary at this point, but that's just me and my super low blood pressure talking.

Transfer half of pasta mixture to another bowl. Give the metal bowl to the most deserving eater, as this bowl always tastes better for some reason.



A. This recipe contains raw egg. Hugh and I like living on the edge, so this is a non-issue for us. The egg gets cooked a little bit by the heat of the pasta, but if you are the kind of person who freaks out about things like this, you probably shouldn't eat it. Bummer for you. Also, if you are pregnant, nursing, or immuno-compromised, you might want to pass. Bummer for you. When we start discussing whether or not it's time to expand our family, not being able to eat Carbonara is a legitimate "con" in the procreation discussion for me. What can I say? I really love this recipe.

B. You might have noticed in the photo above that there is an extra yolk in the finished bowl of Carbonara. This is done for two reasons:
1. The best restaurant ever does this. When we went there for Hugh's birthday and I ordered this, I literally cried because it was so good. And then I did not share one single bite with the birthday boy.
2. Hugh was improvising to make this recipe for one and he added way too much pasta, so I needed some more sauciness.
If you want to add the extra yolk, separate two additional eggs and put the yolks in small bowls. After you finish the recipe, taste for seasoning, and separate meal into two bowls, dump one yolk onto each mound of pasta. Each person can then toss their yolk around with their pasta before they eat. It's a fun presentation and it makes the pasta even better. Seriously, you will die from sheer satisfaction. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

He Doesn't Understand...

...what people mean when they say he's too big to be a lap dog.

It starts with the his giant dog head on your knee when you sit down. And then his front paws slowly inch up until his upper body is resting comfortably in your lap. After a few seconds, when he realizes you aren't going to make him get down (because really, do you have no soul?), he quickly pulls his back legs up and snuggles in for a little dog sleep. Nevermind that weighs nearly sixty pounds.

At first, I thought it was because Mandy and Matt were here with Mitch and Riley for the holiday, and with all the hustle and bustle, he just wanted some extra attention:

But, no. Fletcher has just decided if needs to get some rest, the best place to do so is in someone's lap. Preferably mine. See Exhibit A: morning work time at the house. I'm not even going to pretend like this bothers me:

As you can see, I go all out with the professional attire when working from home.

I hope you are having a lovely week and snuggling up in this chilly weather. Check back later for a recipe that you will love - it's like the pasta version of everyone's favorite breakfast sandwich.