Thursday, July 28, 2011

John and Debby's visit

John and Debby came up last week for their annual summer visit. We met them in Lombard on Thursday evening and rode the train into Chicago on Friday morning.

Right after we got to the city, it started pouring, but, fortunately it cleared up in time for the afternoon Cubs game. It was our first time to go to Wrigley Field, and I really enjoyed it. We were a little torn about who to cheer for, since they were playing the Astros. I decided to go with the home team, and they won!

Darby and me at Wrigley. Please ignore my hideous hair. We got caught in the storm, and my ponytail didn't fare too well.

After the game, we went over to Navy Pier and took a boat ride around the lake.

Debby and John

Saturday morning, we hit up the Art Institute, which I absolutely love. After enjoying some delicious Cajun food at Heaven on Seven, we went to the Museum of Science and Industry. Before we left Lombard on Sunday morning, we had breakfast at a very cute little crepe cafe. It was delicious and evidently pretty authentic. The chef was a very enthusiastic French man.

John and Debby went up to Madison for a couple of days and then came back to our house on Tuesday. It was great to have them at our house, and not just because Debby stocked my freezer with several dozen of her famous crescent rolls. :) I broke out my ice cream maker for the first time this summer (where has the summer gone?) and made Heath Bar Crunch ice cream from the Ben & Jerry's cookbook. Yum!

John and Debby headed south this morning, and we'll meet up with them in Memphis tomorrow for Darby's cousin's wedding. Phew. It's been a crazy summer, but it's been wonderful to get to spend so much time with friends and family.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Proud wife

Guess who's married to a published author? That's right! Darby's first article was published online in Applied Physics Letters this week and it will be coming out in print soon. Now, I will admit I haven't read the article. (Shocking right? The title just reaches out and grabs you. How have I been able to resist?) But that does not diminish my pride in Darby's accomplishment one bit. He's worked very hard for the past few years, and it's great to see the product of that work. I'm sure this is only the first of many publications for J. D. Hewitt. :)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Facing my fears

Last week, some friends of ours called us, frantically looking for someone to feed their pets while they were out of town. Evidently, the people they normally ask were out of town, as well. Darby said that he was going to be out of town, but that I could do it. (Now, I don't blame Darby for this incident; I doubt I would have been able to say no either.) We knew what their pets were: a giant lizard and two frogs. What we didn't know (and probably should have suspected) is what they eat: live crickets. So, this whole week, while Darby was in Ohio, I had to scoop up crickets from a tank and feed them to these animals. At first, I didn't know if I could do it. But, Darby was able to go with me the first time, and I saw that there was no way the animals could escape from their tanks, so that made me feel a little better. And I was able to use a cup to catch the crickets, so I didn't have to touch them. So, I did it. By. my. self. This was a big accomplishment for me, especially with my irrational fear of lizards and lizard-like creatures. And actually, I grew a little fond of Sandy the lizard. Now, I still would never touch her, but I did talk to her sweetly. That's progress, I guess.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Meet Me in St. Louis

This weekend, Darby and I met Carolyn and Josh in St. Louis. Carolyn and Josh live in Kansas City, so St. Louis is roughly halfway between us. We've been planning to get together ever since they moved, and I'm so glad it finally worked out.

We got there on Friday afternoon and went to the City Museum, which is more like a giant playground than an actual museum. It has all sorts of tunnels and slides. Carolyn and I had a little bit of trouble in our flip-flops (and Carolyn in a dress!), but Darby was in heaven.

My head looks so giant compared to Darby's. :)

Carolyn and Josh in the fake caves

Me at the bottom of the 10-story slide. It was a little scary but very fun.

Darby near the top of the giant jungle gym. The rest of us were too chicken to go quite that high.

Josh and Darby, being awesome

On Saturday, after a wonderful crepe breakfast, we went to the zoo. The zoo is free, and it is awesome! Even though it was crazy hot and humid, we enjoyed seeing all the animals.

Darby petting the sting rays (and a couple of sharks). We all paid $3 to enter the special exhibit, but I think Darby's the only one who got his money's worth.

The giraffes. See the little baby in the background? So cute!

Penguins! The best thing about the exhibit was that it was 45 degrees in there.

After thoroughly exploring the zoo, we went to fortify ourselves (and cool down) at Pi Pizzeria, which was recommended by none other than President Obama. It was delicious. Then, we went back downtown to take a few obligatory pictures in front of the Arch.

It was such a fun little getaway. Of course, it was wonderful to see Carolyn again. And Darby and I both really enjoyed getting to know Josh a little better. They are such a fun couple. Hopefully someday we'll be able to visit them in Kansas City.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

4 years

I thought and thought today about what I should say to commemorate our fourth anniversary. But, anything I thought of, I felt like I'd already shared before. I've said how much I love Darby and how much I love being married to him here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here, for example.

Then, I tried to think about what made our fourth year of marriage distinctive. And, honestly, I couldn't really think of anything. Like every other year, we've laughed, we've cried; we've fought, we've made up; we've enjoyed trips and special dates and we've also enjoyed the daily routine; we've been reminded of how much we love each other, and, yes, we've occasionally been reminded of why we annoy each other. :)

And then I realized that this consistency is what I love about our marriage. Our fourth year hasn't been dramatically different from our first, second, or third year. They've all been wonderful. And the more years we put under our belt, the more faith I have that they will continue to be wonderful. Our life circumstances change, but our marriage is a foundation for us during those changes.

A few weeks ago, on the Today show, they were talking with an author of a book on marriage, who was saying that a majority of couples in America have mediocre marriages. She defined this by using her own marriage as an example. She said something like, "Sure, my marriage is doing okay at this moment, but I always know in the back of my mind that this might be our last year together." She said this as if most married couples think this way. Darby and I could not believe that. How sad. One of the most wonderful things about marriage is the security of knowing the other person is always going to be there for you. I can't imagine living in a marriage without that.

So, today, on our 4th anniversary, I'm thankful that all I can say is what I've said a hundred times before: I'm so blessed to have Darby as my husband and I'm looking forward to many years to come.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

4th of July

Our long weekend was wonderful and filled with great:

  • Friday night, we went to a new restaurant in town, called DeStihl, to celebrate Darby's birthday. We actually went there for my birthday a couple of weeks ago and liked it so much we had to go back. The food, service, and ambience are all great.
  • Per Darby's request, I made a lemon-blueberry cake that I had made before. The frosting is very involved; you can read about the first time I made it here. I completely failed on my first attempt at the frosting this time, but I recovered on my second try, and I think it turned out pretty well.
  • I made these bars for a pool party and really enjoyed them. They're very rich.
  • At the aforementioned pool party, I got to hang out with several of the girls from my program, most of whom I hadn't seen since school got out in May. It was a lot of fun, despite the less-than-ideal water temperature.
  • Saturday night, we went over to the Oelzes' house to play Pandemic, a new game they just got. Their daughter, Eden, made the cutest birthday card for Darby, and we enjoyed a really good conversation after the game-playing.
  • On Monday, Darby and Daniel got together to brew some beer and "jam." So, Liz and I had a little girl time. We went shopping and watched the seventh Harry Potter movie in preparation for the final movie coming out next week.
and Fireworks!
  • Sunday night, we went with Daniel and Liz to see the fireworks in Monticello. It's a small town, but they put on a huge show. It was a lot of fun, and we enjoyed playing games while waiting for the show to start.
  • Then, on Monday, we met Mica and Harrison at the fireworks here in Champaign. They weren't quite as impressive as the ones in Monticello, but they were still really good. Mica is in my program, and Harrison is getting his Ph.D. in Physics. They've also been dating since high school, so I think they are like our couple twin. :) It was fun to hang out with them, and not just because they let us eat their french fries.
I've always loved the 4th of July, and this one did not disappoint. I love fireworks, so getting to see two shows was incredible. And we're still being treated to random fireworks going off in our neighborhood at midnight. Awesome! ;)