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A 10-Year Anniversary Photographic Journey

Our Wedding Day_6.15.2002

Today marks the tenth anniver­sary of the day I said, “I will,” to my hus­band Shane Pey­ton Alexan­der. Since that moment, we have lived in five dif­fer­ent cities and eight dif­fer­ent homes. We have earned three advanced degrees, worked with four churches, and made many new friends. We have had three chil­dren and got­ten a dog. We have lost two grand­par­ents. Our par­ents have started new careers, or retired from old ones. We have been able to travel by our­selves almost every year, thanks to the grand­par­ents. We have had dif­fi­cult times. We have had won­der­ful times. We still love to talk about base­ball, take walks together, and laugh. We do not get to see near as many movies as we did or be by our­selves as much as we’d like, but we are happy. We are still stub­born, but we have learned to give in to each other. We are a good team (read Shane’s recent post about our mar­riage here). We are thank­ful for each other.

For today’s post, I decided to take a walk back through these 10 years by post­ing some pic­tures of us together (As the years have gone on, it was dif­fi­cult to find pic­tures of just the two of us!). I’ve included the year and the city we were liv­ing in at the time.

Wed­ding Day: June 15, 2002.
We were liv­ing in Abi­lene, Texas, when we got mar­ried, where I was fin­ish­ing up a Master’s degree in Eng­lish at ACU. Shane had just grad­u­ated with his Mas­ter of Divin­ity a few weeks prior. We got mar­ried in the Hous­ton church where I grew up. Five weeks after our wed­ding day, we were liv­ing in Louisville, Ken­tucky, and I was begin­ning my Ph.D.

Leaving the church

This was my first time to ride in a limo, which is sur­pris­ing con­sid­er­ing I used to want to own one when I was a young girl.

Year One (2002–2003). Louisville, KY.

Shane and Kara Poe Alexander in the snow 2012

Snow in Louisville…in November!

Shane and Kara Poe Alexander at UofL 2003

On UofL’s campus.We loved Louisville and the peo­ple we met while we were there.

Year Two (2004). Louisville, KY.

Shane and Kara Poe Alexander, 2004

This pic­ture was taken at my sis­ter Kellee’s rehearsal din­ner. We always loved excuses to come back to Texas!

Year Three (2005). Gatesville, TX.

Shane and Kara Poe Alexander, 2005

Here I am, six months preg­nant with our first child. We are on a “baby­moon” trip to San Diego with some friends from col­lege. I had fin­ished my com­pre­hen­sive exams and was writ­ing my dis­ser­ta­tion at the time.

Year Four (2006). Gatesville, TX.

Dr. Kara Poe Alexander and Family_2006

I grad­u­ated with my Ph.D in May 2006 and started work­ing at Bay­lor in August 2006. I couldn’t find a pic­ture of just me and Shane of that day, so here’s almost one-year-old Eliz­a­beth with us.

Shane and Kara Poe Alexander, 2006Before I started work­ing at Bay­lor, Shane and I took a trip to see my dad in Wash­ing­ton D.C. He gave us a tour of the U.S. Capi­tol, and here we are at the very top of the rotunda, after tak­ing hun­dreds and hun­dreds of steps to get to the top. We did not feel very safe stand­ing here, and the peo­ple looked like lit­tle bugs down below. I wrote this blog post about our trip. Whew. I’m feel­ing anx­ious just remem­ber­ing the height!

Year Five (2007). Gatesville, TX.

This pic­ture was taken dur­ing our 10-day trip to Italy, our gift to our­selves for me grad­u­at­ing with my Ph.D. in 2006 and him being so sup­port­ive, flex­i­ble, and encour­ag­ing dur­ing this time.

Year Six (2008). Waco, TX.

2008_Shane and Kara Poe Alexander

This pic­ture was taken on our actual anniver­sary. Pey­ton, our sec­ond baby, was born three months prior. We went out to din­ner at a nice restau­rant in town.

Year Seven (2009). Waco, TX.

Port Aransas 2009

We like going to the beach dur­ing the sum­mer, espe­cially with the kids. I grew up going to South Padre Island every year because my grand­mother only lived 30 min­utes away. This pic­ture was taken dur­ing our trip to Port Aransas with Shane’s family.

Year Eight (2010). Mexia, TX.

At Fenway Park

Here we are in Boston at Fen­way Park. The Texas Rangers were play­ing the Red Sox the night we were there. We’ve been to four other parks together where we’ve seen the Astros (my favorite team) play (Mil­wau­kee, Cincin­nati, Arling­ton, and Hous­ton). Hope­fully, we’ll get to go to many more base­ball parks together!

Year Nine (2011). Mexia, TX.

2011_Shane and Kara Poe Alexander

Here I am eight months preg­nant with Levi and at the beach with the fam­ily. This pic­ture was taken at Galveston.

Year Ten (2012). Mexia, TX.

Kara Poe Alexander and Shane Alexander_2012

Here is the most recent pic­ture taken of us together back in March.

Here’s to many more won­der­ful years together.


Vegetarian Experiment, Day 7

I returned home from my week away with more than I had bar­gained for…a sore throat, cough, runny nose, and fever. This meant one more day of “daddy duty” for a man who had spent all week with the kids and was ready for a break and who has very busy (and tir­ing) Sun­days as a min­is­ter. Though I was home, I was no help. I lit­er­ally slept from 9:00 am to 3:30 pm on Sunday…and then on and off for the rest of the day. I went to the doc­tor today and found out I have a sinus infec­tion. I got a steroid shot and a zpak. I hope I can get over this soon. One of my friends com­mented that my sick­ness was a result of not eat­ing meat for a week, which I thought was quite funny.

Below are the meals I ate on Sat­ur­day, 2 in the air­port and 1 at home. The one at home was made my a thought­ful hus­band. Almost all of it was veg­e­tar­ian, except for the bacon, which was wrapped around a stuffed fig (deli­cious!). I know. Tech­ni­cally, I didn’t go for the full 7 days; it was 6 and 2/3 days. But, it wasn’t that much meat, and I didn’t really have a choice since my sweet hus­band had made me such a sweet meal. (The kids even ate it too!).

I will reflect on this exper­i­ment later in the week when I am feel­ing better.

Break­fast

Bagel with Cream Cheese

Burned Bagel with Cream Cheese, burnt

Lunch

Cap­rese Baguette Sand­wich (Moz­zarella, Tomato, Basil, and Bal­samic Glaze on a Baguette)

Caprese Sandwich

Din­ner

Here’s the fab­u­lous din­ner that was wait­ing for me when I got home. I have a very sweet husband.

Cucum­ber, Tomato, and Onion Salad with Bal­samic Vine­gar Dress­ing (the cucum­bers and toma­toes came from our garden!)

Rolled Zuc­chini with Goat Cheese Filling

Bacon (the meat!)-Wrapped Figs Stuffed with Goat Cheese

Zucchini Wrapped, Bacon-Wrapped Figs, and a Salad

Din­ner

And here is my new friend, Karen from Rhode Island, who put up with me at every. sin­gle. meal. while I took all these pic­tures of my food and took so long to get started eat­ing! We were suit­e­m­ates attend­ing the same con­fer­ence and we shared a really gross bath­room (wel­come to dorm life!). I’m so glad to have got­ten to know her! It made the week much more pleas­ant Here’s to you, Karen!

My friend Karen


Vegetarian Experiment, Day 6

Today was the last day eat­ing in one of the cafeteria’s here on MSU’s cam­pus. I will def­i­nitely miss this place. The stu­dent work­ers were polite, kind, and help­ful. They even cooked the food right there while we waited. And we could see them make it. This is a dif­fer­ent kind of cafe­te­ria than I had in college…and even that I have at Bay­lor, even though the ones at Bay­lor are good, too.

Here is what I ate today:

Break­fast

Egg and Cheese Crois­sant Sandwich

Egg Sandwich

 

Lunch

Hum­mus and Tab­bouleh and a Side Salad

 

Veg­etable Lasagna with Cau­li­flower Gratin

I didn’t like the veg­etable lasagna. It had some sort of sweet sauce that I didn’t like, so I didn’t end up eat­ing very much of it.

Vegetable Lasagna2

In fact, because I didn’t eat much of the lasagna, I went back for sec­onds of the cau­li­flower gratin. It was cooked with golden raisins, capers, cheese, and bread crumbs and topped with finely diced pars­ley. It was very, very good. I never would have put these ingre­di­ents together into one dish.

Roasted Cauliflower

Tur­tle Brownie (yum!)

Turtle Brownie

 

Din­ner

Cap­rese Salad with Warmed Pita Bread

Caprese Salad

I’ve had cap­rese salad before, but only on top of a tomato (decon­structed, I think). This one with let­tuce was really good. And the warmed pita bread had a nice crunch to it. I will def­i­nitely make a salad like this at home. There’s noth­ing like basil, bal­samic vine­gar, moz­zarella, and tomatoes.

Veg­e­tar­ian Sloppy Joe with Steamed Green Beans

The sloppy joe was made with tofu and veg­eta­bles. It was pretty good. It was the clos­est thing to meat I had all week. It felt like I was eat­ing meat because of the tex­ture, but I cog­ni­tively knew it wasn’t meat. It was a weird expe­ri­ence. But it was good.

Vegetarian Sloppy Joes

Tur­tle Brownie (Take 2)

Turtle Brownie

I end my week at MSU by eat­ing dessert twice today, the same thing I had for lunch. Moist, choco­latey, crunchy, and gooey. What’s not to like?

One more day of eat­ing veg­e­tar­ian and my exper­i­ment will be over. It’s given me a lot to think about.


Vegetarian Experiment, Day 5

Five days is, by far, the longest I have gone with­out meat, yet I am not miss­ing it too much. I am enjoy­ing a vari­ety of foods, am tak­ing longer to eat the food I choose, and enjoy­ing try­ing and tast­ing new food items and fla­vors. I have never eaten so many vegan food items in one week. After this week is over, I will offer more a reflec­tion. Until then, here are the foods I enjoyed today.

Break­fast

Toasted Blue­berry Bagel, one side with Peanut But­ter and the other side with Cream Cheese

Toasted Whole Wheat Bagel

Lunch

Veg­etable Bul­gogi Let­tuce Wrap

Vegetable Bulgogi Lettuce Wrap

I had never heard of “bul­gogi” before. It’s a Korean dish that usu­ally has meat in it (they were serv­ing that dish, too). I’m still not too sure what it is, except it had a wide vari­ety of veg­eta­bles and seemed to be cooked in some sort of bar­be­cue sauce. It was pretty good, which says a lot com­ing from some­one who doesn’t like (or eat) Asian food too much.

Roasted Acorn Squash with But­ter and Brown Sugar and Sauteed carrots

Roasted Acorn Squash with Brown Sugar

Wow. This acorn squash was deli­cious. I ate the entire thing. (The car­rots were a bit hard.) I will def­i­nitely be mak­ing this acorn squash soon. I know that Levi and I will eat it up!

Din­ner

Phyllo and Zuc­chini Strudel with Zuc­chini and Sum­mer Squash Saute

Phyllo and Zucchini Strudel with Summer Squash Saute

The veg­eta­bles were ten­der and well sea­soned and the zuc­chini strudel was rich and orig­i­nal. In addi­tion to the zuc­chini, the phyllo crust was also filled with sauteed onions and feta cheese, as well as a varety of sea­son­ings. Delish.

Here’s a close-up pic­ture of the Phyllo and Zuc­chini Strudel.

Phyllo and Zucchini Strudel with Summer Squash Saute

Black Bean Burger

Black Bean Burger

I’ve been want­ing to try the veg­gie burger all week and when I was still hun­gry after eat­ing the first course, instead of going for a salad, hum­mus, or dessert, I opted for the burger. The burger itself was quite spicy, and I ended up eat­ing the meat all by itself–without buns or condi­ments. I’ve eaten veg­gie burg­ers before and this one was pretty sim­i­lar in terms of tex­ture and taste.

So that’s it for today. Only one more day at the MSU cafe­te­ria. I’m going to miss eat­ing there at Snyder-Phillips! Being able to choose from so many great options. Not hav­ing to cook. Being able to spend longer eat­ing and talk­ing than cook­ing or clean­ing up. In two days, it’s back to reality.


Vegetarian Experiment, Day 4

I have now com­pleted four days of eat­ing veg­e­tar­ian in this “going veg­e­tar­ian” exper­i­ment. Here is what I ate on Day Four.

Break­fast

Fruit: Water­melon, Grapes, and a Banana

Fruit for Breakfast

Whole Wheat Bagel with Straw­berry Cream Cheese (again)

Bagel with Cream Cheese

Lunch

Jalapeno and Ched­dar Veg­gie Wrap (with corn salad, tab­bouleh, and hum­mus added to it). (Sorry about the blur of this picture.)

Cheddar and Jalapeno Wrap Stock Full of Veggies

Here’s the Veg­gie Wrap up close.

Veggie Wrap

Key Lime Pie (yum!)

Key Lime Pie

Pre-Dinner Snack

I knew we would be eat­ing a late din­ner tonight, so when we were released at 5:00, Karen (my suit­e­m­ate who is also in the sem­i­nar) and I walked down to the cafe­te­ria and had a lit­tle “snack”.

Vegan Cal­zone with Mari­nara Sauce

This vegan cal­zone had sun­dried toma­toes, green pep­pers, red pep­pers, onions, mush­rooms, and car­rots. It was very, very good. I was even sur­prised to find that I didn’t miss the cheese at all. It was quite tasty with­out it.

Vegan Calzone with Marinara Sauce

Cut Vegan Calzone with Marinara Sauce

A bite of the vegan calzone

I think you can tell that I liked this vegan cal­zone. It was really, really good. I def­i­nitely think I will try mak­ing this dish when I get home.

Din­ner

Later this evening, every­one tak­ing the sem­i­nar and most of the pre­sen­ters went over to Nancy’s, the sem­i­nar host, house. She grilled out, and there were a lot of fin­ger foods, but here’s my main dish:

Vegan Hot Dog

Vegan Hot Dog and Side Salad

So what does a vegan hot dog taste like?

There was lit­tle resis­tance bit­ing into the hot dog, unlike in a beef hot dog where the bite is actu­ally a crunch that breaks the hot dog’s skin and sends a (yummy) spray of hot oil (grease?) into your mouth. I do like that sen­sa­tion, but I didn’t mind it not being there in this case, though. The tex­ture of the vegan hot dog was soft and a bit mushy. Unfor­tu­nately, I didn’t find there to be much fla­vor in the hot dog, even with the ketchup I added after I took my first bite. Next time, I would add mus­tard and per­haps some onions to enhance it’s taste. Or maybe I just wouldn’t eat it in the first place.


Vegetarian Experiment: Day 3

Day 3 of my week of going veg­e­tar­ian has gone really well. The cafe­te­ria here at MSU has a wide selec­tion of veg­e­tar­ian and vegan options at almost every sta­tion, and even more options at lunch and din­ner. I felt fuller today.

Break­fast

Veg­gie omelet with pep­pers, toma­toes, onions, mush­rooms, spinach, and cheese

Vegetable Omelet

This was all right, but not very good. I don’t blame the veg­eta­bles, though. I think it was the way they were cooked. And the egg omelet was very thin (and not too appe­tiz­ing). I would have liked black beans on the omelet, but they were not avail­able. I don’t think I’ll have an omelet again while I’m here.

Whole wheat bagel with cream cheese

Wheat Bagel with Strawberry Cream Cheese

Because the egg wasn’t very good, I decided to go get a bagel as well. It was really good.

Lunch

Veg­etable Lasagna, squash and zuc­chini saute, gar­lic bread, a small bite of the same veg­gie enchi­lada from yes­ter­day, and tab­bouleh, which I of course had to have again after how good it tasted yesterday.

Veggie Lunch

Other veg­gie options I didn’t choose included a veg­gie burger, a veg­etable wrap on spinach tor­tilla, and a tofu let­tuce wrap. So many options for peo­ple with spe­cial dietary needs. It makes eat­ing veg­e­tar­ian quite simple.

Din­ner

Israeli Cous­cous, Fried Chili Cab­bage, Spiced Lentils, Veg­etable Med­ley, and Naan Bread

Here is a pic­ture of the Spiced Lentils up close.

Spiced Lentils

The lentils were my favorite of this meal. The cous­cous was mediocre and the cab­bage was hard and over­cooked. The naan bread was good. What I really wanted to eat was the chicken tan­doori. It looked so good, but I bypassed it like a good girl.


Vegetarian Experiment: Day Two

In Day 2 of my adven­ture eat­ing veg­e­tar­ian, I ate all three meals at a cafe­te­ria on MSU’s cam­pus. I had no dif­fi­culty find­ing a vari­ety of veg­e­tar­ian and vegan options, and the food was really, really good. Not your typ­i­cal cafe­te­ria fare.

Break­fast

French Toast with Syrup, Eggs, a Pear, and Cran-Apple Juice

French Toast with Eggs and a Pear


Lunch

Green Salad with Lots of Veggies

Salad from Salad Bar


Veg­gie Enchi­lada and Asparagus

This dish was deli­cious! The veg­gie enchi­lada was made out of veg­etable beef. I’m not sure what that means exactly (do any of my read­ers know?). It had beef’s tex­ture, but wasn’t near as greasy. I wanted to go back and get sec­onds (and thirds). I didn’t, but it was THAT good.

Vegetarian Enchiladas

Din­ner

Tab­bouleh, Hum­mus, and Pita Bread

Tabbouleh, Hummus, and Pita Bread

The tab­bouleh was AMAZING, the best I had ever had. If you have never tried tab­bouleh, it’s a salad made of bul­gur, tomato, pars­ley, onion, gar­lic, and lemon. It was deli­cious, espe­cially with the pita bread.

Vegan Sweet and Sour Chicken with Steamed Broc­coli

Sweet and Sour Vegan Chicken

I would give the sweet and sour vegan chicken a 5 out of 10. It was aver­age. I’m still curi­ous what “vegan chicken” is made out of.

And for dessert, Toll­house Pie

Tollhouse Pie

The pie made me think of Phoebe Buf­fay and her grandmother’s famous cookie recipe. Here’s to you, Phoebe, and your grandmother’s Ness­lay Tollhausen.


Vegetarian Experiment: Day One

I just fin­ished Day One of my week-long exper­i­ment of being meat-free. It was a long day full of air travel and air­port food, but I man­aged all right.

Break­fast

I didn’t have time to eat break­fast at my par­ents’ house before head­ing to the air­port (it was very early in the morn­ing), so I decided to get some­thing at the air­port. How­ever, because of wrong turns get­ting to the air­port and long lines every­where at the air­port, I barely found some­thing before my plane took off.

I saw an Ein­stein Broth­ers Bagel and a Star­bucks, but the lines were too long, and I would miss my flight. I finally found a small food stand called Real Food with a short line and decided to stop there. They sold yogurt and sandwiches.

Because of the design of the place, I didn’t have a chance to decide what I wanted until I got to the front of the line. At that point, I was rushed and had to choose some­thing quickly so the peo­ple behind me wouldn’t get irritated.

The crois­sant sand­wich with bacon, egg, and cheese looked good. That’s an option.

The sausage bis­cuit also looked good, but it seemed a lit­tle heavy, so I bypassed that.

I finally decided on the bagel sand­wich with ham, cheese, and egg.

Ham, Egg, and Cheese Bagel Sandwich

But, no, that’s not right.

As I was pay­ing for the Ham, Cheese, and Egg Sand­wich that the lady nicely warmed up for me, I saw a sign for an “Egg and Cheese Bagel Sand­wich.” That’s when I remem­bered that I was not going to eat meat, and I had just ordered a sand­wich with meat.

Habits do not go away easily.

When I got on the air­plane, I took the meat off the sand­wich and ate the egg and cheese sand­wich sans ham.

My bagel sandwich without meat

 

Lunch

For lunch, I ate at Chicago O’Hare Air­port. I found this place that had a lot of veg­e­tar­ian and vegan options. The dish that stuck out to me first was the Pesto Chicken Sand­wich, but I didn’t for­get this time about my mis­sion and order the sand­wich. I don’t think a pesto sand­wich would have been very fill­ing with­out the meat. Instead, I ordered a Tomato Gar­den Veg­etable Teapot, which had toma­toes, gar­den veg­gies, and baby spinach over mate-infused brown rice. It was vegan and gluten-free. I also ordered a side of Cracked Pep­per Baked Lentil Chips. Both items were extremely good. And fill­ing, too.

Baked Lentil Chips

Here’s a close-up of the Tomato Gar­den Veg­etable Teapot.

Vegan and Gluten-Free Tomato Teapot

Din­ner

I went to the Open­ing Sem­i­nar Ses­sion and didn’t eat until after­wards (around 9:30). The only thing open was McDonald’s or Sub­way. I opted for Sub­way where I got a Veg­gie Sand­wich on Wheat.

Veggie Sandwich from Subway

At the end of the day, I still feel hun­gry. I don’t know the extent that travel and eat­ing at ran­dom hours impacted my stom­ach growls, but I do feel like I could eat more food. There’s just noth­ing around to eat.

I’ve also had a headache for about 5 hours. I hope it’s not related to the food, but I’m begin­ning to wonder.