clark's first birthday

12:49 AM


today clark turned one. i can hardly believe a year has passed, nor that i now have a three year old and a one year old. it honestly feels like yesterday we were walking into this same house as a new family of four, infant swing placed in the kitchen, newborn swinging to and fro, new found big brother peering in. these days the hum of the swing no longer fills the kitchen, rather replaced with the pitter patter of sticky feet circling the table, laughter following close behind.

here we are, you're one. to celebrate we grabbed a couple close friends and nearby family and invited them over for cake and ice cream. early in the day we decorated and i finished up baking your cake as you snoozed away. holland was my assistant and in charge of balloon placement and handing me the paper streamers. we said goodbye to grandpa come afternoon, who'd spent the last week with us, and headed to the toy store for h to pick out a special gift for you, a doctor kit, because, "clarky is always stealing my doctor kit so now he can have one of his own". come evening you blew out your first candle, we dished up cake and ice cream and helped you open a few presents. all of it was really simple and really nice. we told our guests goodbye, you played with your new loot, and off to bed you and holland went, happy as clams. 

now i sit, with only the sound of running fans and the crackle of the baby monitor and sift through these photos. i feel such gratitude. gratitude for our beautiful family, gratitude for the two small boys that have been brought into our lives, gratitude for a strong marriage, family that loves us, friends that feel like family, and this little old house that holds so many of our memories. in a few months we will likely move and i know there is so much i will miss about this place. but for now, i am doing my best to cherish where we are right this minute; savoring our boys, the last days of summer, the bright light that fills each room.

clark cooper, we are so glad you joined our family, that your laughter fills the space inside these walls and fills our hearts to the absolute brim, for your sweet, tender, sometimes overly sensitive spirit, and your mischievous little grin that i am certain will get you into trouble in the years to come, for your silly little games, and the way you spin in the kitchen and stomp your feet over the entrance of the basement because it's really loud and you like it. happy first birthday baby bird. we love you.




brown sugar balsamic pork tenderloin (crockpot)

10:00 PM

my husband is from hawaii, raised there until his eighteenth birthday, which basically translates to, was raised on pork, loves pork, especially pork that is sweet and saucy. i grew up in northern california, in a family who eats and serves meat, but personally i do not eat it. pork tenderloin in our house meant pre-marinated pork shaped logs, sliced, with maybe some gravy. unimpressive. then i learned you could crock pot it and shred it and still have it sweet and saucy. we're never going back to pre-marinated logs again.

this pork is sweet and tangy from reduced balsamic vinegar. brown sugar caramelizes in the final step lending a nice crust and a juicy roast. one try and i am almost certain you'll kiss those per-marinated tenderloins goodbye too. keeping in true island fashion, we serve this with a giant heap of sticky white rice, but a grilled veggie would lend a nice addition as well.

brown sugar balsamic pork tenderloin
yield: serves 6

2 pounds pork tenderloin
1 teaspoon rubbed sage
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup water

for the glaze:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup cold water
2 tablespoons soy sauce 

in a small bowl, combine sage, salt, pepper, and garlic. place pork tenderloin in the slow cooker, rub seasoning over pork. pour 1/2 cup water in the slow cooker, taking care not to wash rub off the pork. cover and cook on low 6-8 hours.

while roast finishes, preheat your broiler. line baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray. set aside.

combine ingredients for glaze in a small sauce pot; brown sugar, cornstarch, balsamic vinegar, water, and soy sauce. heat over medium heat and stir until mixture thickens, about 4 minutes or until sauce coats the back of a metal spoon. remove from heat.

carefully remove pork from slow cooker and place on prepared pan. brush a generous amount of glaze over roast. broil on top rack 1-2 minutes, or until bubbly and caramelized. you get a huge depth lot of flavor from this step. repeat 1-2 more times until you have desired "crust", taking care not to overcook. drizzle with any remaining glaze or serve alongside.


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