Happy 50th birthday, Dad!

50 years ago today, my dad entered this world. Nanni and Papa-Pete were moving to St. Louis from Corpus Christi, but even then, my dad knew he wanted to be born in Texas. He arrived before they could fly to STL, and his first days were spent in a tiny motel, using a dresser drawer as a crib. When he arrived in STL, he must have felt like royalty sleeping in the Culver family crib. These fifty years have been full of adventure, wonder, trials, and triumphs.Β  In my 23 years in his life, I have learned many things from him. Dad, you have been a great role model and inspiration to me, and I wanted to share some fond memories I have with you!

1- You always know how to laugh and how to make others laugh.

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2- You took reading very seriously as a child, and read stories to us when we were little!

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3- You instilled faith and morals into our lives from the start.

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4- You gave Matt and I some good looking genes.

5-You taught me to be brave. This family photo was taken right after I wiped out on my bike when I tried to ride no handed like you were.

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6- You demonstrated that when you find a jacket you like, you should never get rid of it…

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7- You were always willing to go the extra mile for us, especially by driving us to sport events all across Texas and Illinois and driving to watch games when we were older.

8- You had tea parties with me and my stuffed animals.

9- You taught us how to play tennis!

10- You taught us how to drive… and demonstrated how not to drive πŸ˜‰

11- You gave us the Pelton sarcasm!

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12- You reminded me that I am beautiful, smart, and funny when I needed to hear it.

13-I remember the time you made me a frame for the mirror full of adjectives that describe me.

14- You showed me that hard work and dedication pay off.

15- You gave us the opportunity to travel and see the world from other perspectives.

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16- And… you taught us a plethora of choice words while trying to drive on the opposite side of the car and road. Thankfully, you raised us to know not to say those words!

17- I remember swimming in the Irish hotel with swim caps and eating duck and rabbit for the first time in a fancy restaurant.

18- You taught us how to play cards, Oh hell at reunions, Gin Rummy, etc.

19- You always cooked extravagant breakfasts and desserts. I remember the time you made bananas fosters, and I thought the house was going to burn down.

20- You always threw big celebrations for birthdays and accomplishments.

21- You taught us to be loyal sports fans.

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22- You passed on the gene for doing the dishes. I remember waking up early to empty the dishwasher for you and mom, and now, I am still the dishwashing queen.

23- We built the coolest igloo one Christmas in Bloomington.

24- When we went fishing, you would always unhook the fish for me because I thought they were so gross.

25- You took us skiing and camping many times.

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26- You and Joe set the example of food photography….now, I can barely eat without taking a picture of a delicious meal!

27- You gave us the opportunity to attend Culver and experience family tradition.

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28- I am so thankful for all the family reunions we went on together!

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29- You are the king of shaped pancakes!

30- Every Halloween, you carved pumpkins for us!

31- You have your unique sayings, like “As you wish my dish,” which I catch myself saying now and then.

32- I remember one night in high school you came home to “make coffee” because I was alone with a boy.

33- You allowed me to become an Aggie, after raising me as a Longhorn.

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34- You dropped me off at Fish Camp my freshman year, and I was so sad to see you leave.

35- You gave me the gift of education and encouraged me to follow my dreams!

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36- Thanks to Alex, you are never to old to wear wolf onesie footed pajamas…

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37- You are patient.

38- You are a great uncle.

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39- You introduced Bob and I to the St. Louis City Museum… it was so much fun!

40-Β  You accepted Bob’s request to marry me and gave me a wonderful wedding to mark the beginning of my future with Bob.

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41- You taught me to be myself and to love unconditionally.

42- You encouraged me to go to nursing school, and I am so glad I did!

43- You passed on your love for spicy foods.

44- We helped Matt organize and pack up for his move to Africa in St. Louis.

45– We celebrated Bob and I’s first married thanksgiving with you, Ann, and Nanni in College Station!

46- You cherish moments spent with our family.

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This year, we celebrated your birthday early… a Colorado vacation in July when Matt, Bob and I were free from school and work. We went to Crested Butte, courtesy of Ann, who won a condo for a week’s stay during a raffle!Β  I’m so glad we had the chance to celebrate this big occasion together in a beautiful city.

47- We went rafting!

rafting48- We went hiking!

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49- Our most extreme activity was mountain biking!

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50- Dad, I hope you have the best birthday ever. May these memories live on as we create more. Cheers to a happy and healthy future! Just remember, you are fifty years young. πŸ™‚

Love, Kerry ❀

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Dog Fever

Last week, Bob and I had the opportunity to dogsit my mom’s dog, Bleubelle. We had watched her before, but this time, it was especially fun. We did not have any Fourth of July plans because we wanted to stay at home and relax for the holiday weekend, plus I had an exam coming up.

Bleubelle went with me to get snowcones… and coffee… She’s such a great trip pal.

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I was busy studying for a complicated pregnancy and newborn exam, but she did not mind at all. She’s a great study buddy!

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Sometimes, she looks like a running reindeer.

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Every morning, she would wait patiently for me to wake up and take her on her walk. We have a low bed frame, so she placed her nose on the mattress and stared at me until I woke up. It was too cute to handle. She’s a nice alternative to an alarm clock.

Bob and I miss her, but we are glad we had the chance to spend time with her. My mom did a great job training her. We went to the park to play frisbee and didn’t have to worry about her bugging other people or running off. One day, we will have our own pup… I just hope we can train that dog well, too!

Congrats to Mr. and Mrs. Throop!

Bob and I had the pleasure to stand next to two of our very best friends as they said their wedding vows this weekend! Austin and Caitlin have been great friends to us throughout our college years. I met Caitlin at the beginning of my junior year of college when she transferred to A&M. Austin had talked up how much we would get along from the start, but at first, it was scary because we were both so shy! From then on, our friendships blossomed.

The wedding celebrations began on Thursday. The groom and his men went out for their bachelor festivities, and the girls had their bachelorette party.

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Then, on Friday, it was time to get our nails done before the rehearsal. The rehearsal dinner was an “I do BBQ”!

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Pictured above: Alissa (bride’s sister), Brooke, Sam, Tiff, Britt, Caitlin (the bride), Kristen (bride’s cousin), Jess, Sarah, Kerry, Jenna (other sister)

We even got to play on an amazing playground after the dinner!

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I had so much getting to know Caitlin’s friends from Buffalo. She has the sweetest friends, which makes sense since she is so sweet herself! Most of her bridesmaids she has known since childhood, and I am amazed by their strong friendships that have endured the distance between Texas and New York. The first night was the ice-breaker between all the girls, but by the end of the weekend, I did not want to say goodbye to the other bridesmaids.

Saturday came and went too quickly! I arrived at Caitlin’s house at 9 am. She was ready in her bride t-shirt, and her dog, Buddy, was wearing his wedding bow tie. First, we ate some of grandma’s amazing cinnamon roll casserole and fruit. Then, we had hair appointments at Wen Chic Image Bar– Katy, TX. This was a blow dry bar that offered hair styling and makeup services!

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After attempting to nap without ruining our hair, we headed to the wedding venue to put on our makeup and dresses. The chapel was freezing cold because it’s summer in Texas, so we spent the next two hours before the ceremony shivering and huddling to stay warm! Everyone looked stunning in their bridesmaid dresses, and Caitlin was more beautiful than usual! I was excited to see her in her finished wedding dress because I was with her the day she said yes to the dress! The ceremony was beautiful, and I tried not to cry! Here’s a picture as the minister announced them as Mr. and Mrs. Austin Throop (I found this on Facebook from a family friend of theirs!).

 

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Next, we took lots of pictures of the bride and groom with their families and the wedding party!

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I was so lucky to walk down the aisle with my husband! What a handsome groomsman to share the day with πŸ™‚

We arrived at the reception just in time for the wedding party and bride and groom to be announced. The table assignments were posted on this old window pane… so cute!

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The dinner was delicious, and we all had a blast dancing the night away. They looked adorable on the dance floor and cutting the cake!

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In addition to spending the night dancing with Bob, I was happy to be reunited with many college friends who we do not see very often, including Michael and Dana, Kevin and Chelsea, and Daniel and Eden! We tried to take some good pics….

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But…we couldn’t stop dancing, and the camera had a mind of its own!

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I can’t express how much fun it was to share this day with Caitlin and her bridesmaids! After Austin and Caitlin’s grand exit, Bob and I went to a bar with all of our friends. We still had much catching up to do, since most of our night was spent dancing! I am so thankful for the blessing of great friends, and I loved being a part of the Throop’s special day!

❀ Kerry

Here comes the bride!

The month of May is a popular time to get married in Texas. It’s common for couples to get married younger in the south. I can’t disagree with this statement as Bob and I approach 1.5 years of marriage! Woah, time certainly has flown and we’ve made many new memories together. This month, we attended two beautiful weddings, and we have two more coming up in June.Β I love weddings because of the chance to experience the couple’s style (or maybe just the brides..) and their happiness first hand. Every wedding I have attended has been so unique that it really highlights the bride and groom’s story. The sailing team has been known to foster lasting relationships, and there have been some notable sailing team couples who have tied the knot: Bob and Kerry (that’s me!), Matthew and Katie, Travis and Jenny, and others from before our time! Who’s next? Image Travis and Jenny’s wedding was held at Tuscan Courtyards in Texas City. The weekend was rainy, and thunder was heard during the ceremony, but we all stayed beautiful and dry. This was the first wedding where I was a bridesmaid. I had a lot of fun helping Jenny get ready for the big day. I especially enjoyed being in charge of fixing the train on her dress. I got really good a fluffing it. I even got over my fear of mispronouncing “lattices”, and I successfully read my bible passage in front of the crowd. I keep telling my friends I need some heart rate reduction (beta blockers) or anti-anxiety meds for public speaking! Jenny and I have been great friends for four years now. I met her my freshman year on the sailing team. We’ve been through a lot together: regattas all over the country, a road trip from New Orleans to San Diego, many themed parties, the Austin Marathon, my wedding & hers. I look forward to many more memories. Here’s the bridesmaids pictured at the rehearsal dinner: Image Another sweet deal about Trenny’s wedding was the after party in the Hampton Inn pool. Needless to say, they were very considerate of our need to continue celebrating. Image Also this weekend, Chris Thorp married Meagan Jackson. Although Meagan was not a member of the sailing team, she was quickly accepted as an honorary member because of her love for sailing and Texas A&M. She is especially cool to me because she went to Culver Girls Academy! Chris will always hold a special place in my heart because he introduced me to the A&M sailing team the summer before I began college. We had been campers together at Culver, and then, we worked together Summer 2009. I even went to a party at his house before the first day of school, which was the night I met Bob, Conner, and Jeff. Small world. Sailing team alumni pictured below: John, Chelsea, Katie, Matthew, Bob, Kerry, & Conner at Meagan and Chris’ wedding reception Image Shortly after this photo, I had to change into Katie’s cowboy boots because my wedges broke. Fortunately, the boots looked really cute at this adorable barn reception. Meagan did a great job with decorations! Image Image Stay tuned for more wedding posts in the future! I can’t wait for the next reunion of friends & family at the next union of a new Mr. & Mrs.!

Christmas Season Day

DECEMBER, already?!

Many of you may know the day after thanksgiving as Black Friday. Personally, this day is known to me and my best friends as Christmas Season Day. This holiday season, I have made a list of activities that Bob and I will complete before the winter break is over…from Christmas movies to gingerbread houses. The festivities began on Christmas Season Day.

Treat ourselves to Starbucks

On our way up to Dallas, Bob surprised me with a Christmas cold cup from Starbucks filled with a Salted Caramel Mocha Frappuccino. I was gone for one minute in the bathroom…and VOILA! It was magical and exactly what I wanted. This activity is a tricky one though because we have already treated ourselves to Starbucks several times in the past week. After having my awesome cold cup, all I want to do is drink Frappuccinos. Also, in order to diversify my coffee consumption, I bought a ceramic to-go mug from Starbucks so we can enjoy warm Peppermint Mochas!

Milkshakes at Midnight

Bob and I went to get “milkshakes at midnight” back in the day when we were were nothing more than two kids with huge crushes. Bob was trying so hard to tell me he liked me that night…so cute. Anyway, for our one year anniversary, Bob, his sister, Katherine, and I got Steak and Shake shakes at midnight before driving home to College Station over spring break. This season, we couldn’t pass up the peppermint chocolate chip shakes that had been calling our names.

Another batch of Chicago style pizza

Homemade Sugar Cookies

Bob’s younger sister, Erin, made the icing. I learned something this past weekend that made icing the millions of cookies much quicker. We decided to flood the cookies with royal icing. Since I didn’t make the icing, I will have to perfect this skill next time around. We bought the white icing in a dispenser to allow for easier outlining. The icing should harden to a smooth, matte finish. Visit, Joy of Baking (http://www.joyofbaking.com/RoyalIcing.html), to find a detailed explanation of this process.

The blue icing had to be a little bit runny to flood into the corners of the outlined white. We helped the icing fills the spaces with spoons. The cookies tasted amazing, and one of my snowflakes even looked professional too.

IT’S BEAUTIFUL! It wasn’t until yesterday that Eden and I decided it was time to eat this masterpiece.

Christmas movies to watch…

Home Alone

Elf

It’s a Wonderful Life

Santa Claus 1, 2, 3

Doctor Who Christmas Invasion

Doctor Who A Christmas Carol

Yesterday, I received a KitchenAid ice cream maker attachment. I do NOT have a KitchenAid. I didn’t have time to process this before taking my last anatomy lab practical, so I called my dad to say thank you for my gift. He told me the second half would arrive today and that I should do the math.

I am sitting here waiting for my package. I don’t want to jump to any conclusions, but it is looking like my Christmas gift from my dad is…..A KITCHENAID STAND MIXER!!!! Now, this is the only logical assumption, but I’m still waiting to find out.

MORAL OF THE STORY: This Christmas season will be full of delicious treats and sweets. My culinary adventures are about to get ten times MORE AWESOME.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Pumpkin Pecan Waffles with cream cheese frosting

A Taste of Texas recipe…..

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes

2 cups whole-wheat flour

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 eggs, seperated

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

6 tablespoons melted butter

Β 1 cup pumpkin puree, fresh or canned

2 cups buttermilk, room temperature

1/2 cup chopped pecans

Mix all dry ingredients in bowl. Add beaten egg yolks, melted butter, pumpkin puree, vanilla, and buttermilk. If batter thickens as wheat absorbs the liquids, add more buttermilk as needed. Add pecans. Beat egg whites until stiff, but not dry and fold into batter. Cook in a hot, oiled waffle iron.

Cream Cheese Frosting

3 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature

4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

3 to 4 Tbs. milk

To make the cream cheese frosting, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat together the cream cheese and butter on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the confectioners’ sugar, reduce the speed to low and beat until combined, 1 to 2 minutes, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add 3 Tbs. of the milk and beat until combined, about 1 minute. The frosting should be thick but still pourable; add more milk if needed to thin it. Transfer the frosting to a small bowl; set aside.

Happy thanksgiving to all of you! I decided that although we are tailgating today for last Texas A&M vs t.u. rivalry game, I needed to make my friends a delicious pumpkin breakfast. Some of us even topped our waffles with Butter Pecan ice cream… very DELICIOUS!

Today, I am thankful for all my family and friends…and a special thanks goes out to all of my followers for supporting me with my blog.

Hope you have a great thanksgiving!!! And eat up!

26 miles?

Marathon anyone?

I am training for the Austin Livestrong Marathon coming up this February, and every time I head out for my long runs I wonder what I got myself into. Don’t get me wrong, I love running. I was pretty decent in high school after my coaches and I realized I could not run short distances. Those 16 second 100 meter dashes were pretty horrible.

Today, I had to do my 14 mile run solo because all my sailing team members running the marathon with me were in New Orleans forΒ  Tulane’s Back to the Bayou Regatta where they BTHO SEISA, our sailing conference (Southeastern Intercollegiate Sailing Association). For now and future reference, at Texas A&M, we like to say BTHO (Beat the Hell Outta) insert your word of choice here. For instance, BTHO my anatomy exam, BTHO Texas, anything you can think of. Honestly, I know I can run 26 miles, but I just am not sure if my legs are on my same page. I’ll just say my run BTHO me, but good news is tomorrow is a rest day! Running alone was quite peaceful, but there’s something motivating about having teammates. Fortunately, there is time for improvement, and I know I will be motivated to cross that finish line alive!

Bob just got home from Boston today after touring MIT. We didn’t talk much while he was gone because he was busy touring MIT’s aerospace engineering graduate program, falling in love with the city, and visiting his old Aggie roommate who is currently in a graduate program at Harvard.Β  We both agreed it makes the memories that much sweeter when we can catch up in person. Believe me though, I’m all about talking and pretty sure my love language may be words of affirmation, even though I enjoy all the other stuff as well. Nothing is better than hearing I LOVE YOU and knowing the person means it. Now, I think I will search for nursing schools in the Boston area so I can keep my options open. I’m all for living the expensive-east coast life while I can!

Today, I cooked up some bacon and Jiffy corn muffin pancakes for Bob’s arrival.

Word of Advice: You don’t have to make the most expensive meals or even spend much time on them. Sometimes there’s more love than you can imagine in a $0.42 box of jiffy corn muffin mix. Believe me, it is a staple in my diet, and by diet, I mean menu because I can assure you it’s not the healthiest item in the grocery store!