Monday, April 27, 2009

He still has his hair!

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Bill takes Jack for a ride!

Jack loves Uncle Bill....
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Uncle Bill's 45th Birthday

On Saturday we celebrated Uncle Bill's 45th. He wanted Jack for a birthday gift, but had to settle for some rocking and cooing, dinner at Sorriso's, and the Barefoot Contessa's coconut cake. 

This is the BOMB of a coconut cake, so I have taken the liberty of recreating the recipe here for all of you who are feeling a little too healthy, a little too thin, a little in need of some lovin' that only 5 sticks of butter and 5 eggs can provide!  Happy Birthday Bill!

Coconut Cake:

3 sticks unsalted butter , room temperature
2 cups of sugar
5 extra-large eggs, room temp.
1.5 teaspns of vanilla extract
1.5 teaspn of almond extract
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspn baking poweder
0.5 teaspn baking soda
0.5 teaspn kosher salt
1 cup milk
4 oz sweetened shredded coconut

 Coconut Icing:

 1 lb cream cheese at room temp

2 sticks unsalted butter

¾ teaspn pure vanilla extract

¼ teaspn pure almond extract

1 lb confectioners sugar, sifted

6 oz sweetened shredded coconut

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease 2 9-inch round cake pans, line pans with parchment paper. Grease again and dust lightly with flour.

In electric mixer with a paddle, cream the butter and sugar on med-hi speed for 3-5 minutes until light yellow and fluffy.  Crack eggs into a small bowl.  With mixer on medium speed, add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl once during mixing.  Add the vanilla and almond and mix well.  The mixture might look curdled; don’t be concerned.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  With mixer on low speed, alternatively add the dry ingredients and the milk to the batter in three parts, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients  mix until just combined.  Fold in the coconut with a rubber spatula.

Pour the batter evenly into the 2 pans and smooth the top with a knife.  Bake in the center of the oven for 45-55 mins until the tops are browned and a cake tester comes out clean.  Cool on the baking rack for 30 mins.  Turn cakes out onto a backing rack to finish cooling.

For the frosting, use a mixer with a paddle to combine the cream cheese, butter vanilla and almond extract, on low speed.  Add the confectioners sugar and mix until just smooth.  (Don’t whip).

To assemble, place one layer on a flat serving plate, top side down, and spread with frosting.  Place the second layer on top, topside up, and fost the top and sides.  To decorate the cake, sprinkle the top with coconut and lightly press more coconut on to the sides.  Serve at room temperature.

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boys and their toys...

Last year, we noticed a few tiles coming up on the back patio. So we replaced, regrouted and got ready to seal the freshly done work....

Of course, because it's Washington, the rains came and the weather dropped by 30 degrees and we realized it would be six months before we could finish the project. When sealing surfaces like this, it needs to be dry and warm for several days in a row.

If you know Washington, you know how laughable that is.

Anyway, fast forward six months. The patio has been cleared of all the plants, the furniture, everything but the black plastic covering the back patio.

Yours truly (and Jack--based on my descriptions) were ready for some backyard bbq and entertaining. That meant that we needed to pull up the plastic, power wash the back patio and start the sealing process.

Being the dutiful husband who goes away every morning, I told Jeff I would rent a power washer so we could get the patio ready.

Saturday morning comes, I rent a gas-powered power washer from Fragers (founded in 1920) and headed back to the manse. I hooked up the hoses, powered up the machine, and started cleaning the back patio. 6 minutes later, Jeff shows up with a twinkle in his eye and says "Can I try?"

Knowing how this would end up, I laughed handed over the hose and headed into the house to take care of Jack. Several hours later, after Jeff had finished the patio, the patio furniture, the concrete sidewalk, and briefly considered power washing the fence, he returned. Covered in sweat and water and looking happier than a kid in a candy shop, Jeff told me he was done.
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Friday, April 24, 2009

Without Jen and Daniel, none of this would ever have happened

Jen and Daniel (or DJ) are Jack's birthparents.

Without them, none of this happiness that you all have been enjoying on this silly blog for the last three months would ever have happened.  Jen and DJ asked us to raise Jack, to love him, to protect him, to educate him.  They have given us a gift that cannot be measured.  It can, however, be honored.  Jack will always know his history.... How much Jen and DJ loved him. Enough to ask us to make sure that he was always happy.

Thank you Jen and thank you DJ.

Love, Mark, Jeff, and Jack

At 5:23 pm EST today April 24, 2009, it became official. Jack is ours now and forever...

Very exciting day ahead for us.....

Stay tuned!  More news around 7:30 pm EST

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Exhibits 1 through 3, Your Honor.




Someone is beginning to teethe.......

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Ok, so maybe hats aren't so bad....

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David and Michael come to DC. Jack is very happy

David and Mark have known each other since 1982, when they attended Birmingham-Southern together. David and his partner Michael came to town for the Victory Fund Brunch. Jack likes snuggling with Uncle Dave and thinks that Michael is one of the funniest people he's ever met. David spent the weekend trying to get everyone on board with Jack calling one of us "Pa." (Too many Little House on the Prairie reruns). Neither of us jumped at it.

David, however, is not so easily deterred.   His next iteration was that Mark should be called Daddy and Jeff should be called Father.  The jury is still out on that one too.

Stay tuned.

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Jack's First Fundraiser...and it couldn't be more important

We took Jack to the Victory Fund Spring Brunch this morning. Victory Fund is an organization that raises money for openly gay folks running for local, state and federal elected office. Jeff and I have long been fans and contributors to Victory Fund because of the important work that they do. VF also likes to win, which we find appealing.

Jack was decked out in a some clever patch madras pants and an orange and blue long sleeve polo (Thanks to our high end fashionista friend Mary Ann Pandolfo!) and his stylin' Converse High Tops (from Uncle Jon in London). Uncle Fred, who is the CFO for the Victory Fund, made sure that Jack had his own nametag.

We had a great time and saw many friends who completely ignored us and spent all their time googooing over Jack.

Not that we minded.

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Friday, April 17, 2009

More egg hunting with the Coopers!

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Jack's first Easter Egg hunt

The Coopers invited us up to hunt Easter Eggs. Dana organized the hiding of the eggs and then acted as Jack's Sherpa during the actual hunt.

We were very pleased when Jack found 3 eggs. Pretty good considering he can't walk or see 4 feet beyond his nose and was asleep the whole time. It pays to have good help.

Alex was tied with Jack until the inside portion of the search, where she pulled ahead at the last minute. Her dignity intact, she's recommitted to helping watch Jack on occasion!

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Yeah? Well you should see the other guy...

The night before last, Jeff and I were finishing up a dreadful movie. One of those situations where we were lulled into stupor by something that had to have gone straight to DVD. We headed up to bed and realized that Tucker was not to be found. So around midnight, I find myself outside on the second floor deck to see if he was in the backyard. I heard what has become over the years as a familiar sound: snarling, growling, grunting. I look down and realize that either (a) someone has left an extremely malevolent Russian-type of fur hat that is trying to eat my dog, or (b) Tucker is in round 3 of an Ultimate Fighter match with a racoon.

I flew down the stairs to try and separate them. Armed with a rake, but standing on a wooden chair in the backyard, I am hollering "Jeff! Tucker! Jeff! Tucker! JEFF! TUCKER!" Lord knows what the next door neighbors thought.

Tucker finally relented and the vanquished racoon scampered off.

A quick trip to the vet and I was fast asleep by 1:30 am.

All the while, Mr. Jack made not a peep.

Post Mortem: Tucker has some scratches and looks roughed up but is recovering nicely. We've not seen a racoon in these parts since!
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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Elmo knows his babies....

Uncle Steve looks right at home. Jack is checking to make sure that Steve has filed the appropriate forms with OMB before he smiles at Steve.
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Ah oui, monsieur, le souffle au chocolat est divine!

Apologies to my Francophonic friends.

This is Jack's first chocolate souffle.

He was not allowed to taste it, but the aromas definitely caught his attention.

He's ready for some of his own. We told him to get some teeth first.

He has an awfully handsome daddy..... I'm just sayin'.....
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