Lobster Fest

by Cris Lubrick

How was your Labor Day weekend? Did you travel or stay close to home? We had a bit of a stay-cation in Indianapolis, which was much needed. I get a little frazzled from too much travel, and it helps me to feel more grounded if I can spend some time at home. It's even better if it's balanced with a healthy dose of quality time with friends. Luckily for us, Erin and Aaron Mooney agreed to pull the trigger on an at-home lobster fest. 

lobster before cooking

Erin is from Maine, and the only other time in my life that I had a whole lobster was 7 years ago at her parents' home in Manchester. The cookout 2 nights before Erin and Aaron's wedding wasn't filled with hot dogs, burgers, and mayonnaise-based salads as it would be here in the Midwest. Instead, we dined on lobster, oysters, new potatoes, bread, and beer. With our hands. Isn't that awesome? 

lobster cooked

The Mooneys had considered having the lobster shipped directly from Maine, but found that Kincaid's, a local butcher, was able to order them to save us on cost. Erin is a professional (really, for a summer she cooked lobster for pay), and we left her to her work. Being that we are in Indiana, we substituted new potatoes for grilled corn a la grill-master Aaron.  (the secret is in the pre-soak)

grilled corn

Zach and Nick had driven down to New Orleans and were on their way back up to Chicago. They made plans to join us because lobster.

cooked lobster
lobster and beer

We had a lot of reasons to celebrate-- Nick and Erin's birthdays were only a week or so before, Erin and Aaron's 7th wedding anniversary was only days away, my birthday is coming up, Zach just finished his fellowship, and Eric and I will have our first anniversary at the end of the month.  So we raised some glasses. Cheers to these four:

zach lobster
aaron portrait
nick portrait
erin portrait

Erin gave us a tutorial on proper lobster shucking, and we ate like kings. Melted butter included. She even taught us how to tell male from female (you don't want to know). The brilliance behind the lobster fest is that there are no utensils; you use your hands for everything and roll the trash right up in a disposable table cloth. Voila. 


What do you think? Have you eaten lobster off the shell before? And were you a bit of a mess afterwards?  

Images by Eric Lubrick


Bunk Bed Adventure 2013

by Cris Lubrick

We went for a couple of weeks without a post, and I have to be honest and say that we missed it. Because this blog is so new, we don't want to neglect it right off the bat. This new form of connecting has been fun! And a learning experience, for sure. For instance...under Eric's patient guidance and copious amounts of note-taking on my part, I've started taking photos with his old Canon 5d. It's hard and frustrating, and I'm not giving up. So, this post actually contains photographs that I took using both the 5d and an iPhone on my book club's yearly getaway to North Webster, Indiana. 

lake webster indiana

I could go on for days about my book club. I managed to stumble into a group of 13 women, and of those 13, I knew one. We celebrated our 4-year anniversary this spring, and we've been through everything that life tends to bring-- love, loss, children, job woes and joys, and big moves. We have read a range of fiction and non-fiction, poetry, and short stories. And every year, we carpool up to Lindsay's family's lake house.  

badass book club

Friday afternoon, all non-pregnant members (seriously) drove up to North Webster...we went out in the boat, made a ridiculous amount of jell-o shots, grilled out, and played a memorable game of Cards Against Humanity. At no other time in the year do I get so excited for jell-o.  

braids by Cris

In keeping with a girly theme, we're also big on nail polish and hair-braiding. Because sometimes you just need someone to braid your hair. I'm sure you get it. Erin is modeling a crown braid I have done for myself but hadn't yet had the chance to do for someone else. I love it...and I will happily braid anyone's hair who will sit before me. 

Lindsey party

Lindsay, our gracious hostess, happened to have a birthday that Friday. The pregnant members (there are 3) drove up on Saturday. After a day of swimming, boating, jet-skiing, and book discussing (more on that later), we managed to fool Lindsay into staying out of the house while we decorated to celebrate. Katie made cupcakes from scratch, we ate Pizza King pizza (yum), and celebrated into the night.

Lake Webster

See that island out there? Val and I swam out to it and back early on Sunday morning. Erin kept us safe by riding one of the jet-skis. I haven't swam that far since college, and while I was sore for days, it was totally worth it.

Goggles-on-the-forehead-shot for you next: 

swimming on lake webster

A few more things: 

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand is such a good read. It's an epic true story about the capacity of the human spirit to endure, and it reads like a movie.  It's focused around sports and war but manages to remain so much broader in scope for those that have no interest in either of those topics.

A few of us stayed up Saturday night for the Perseid meteor shower, and it was awesome. We should all head away from the city next year to get a good view. Let's camp.

Melissa has since had her baby--a beautiful girl named Elliette Louise. Congrats!! 

I had a moment where I was riding the jet ski (too fast) into the stream of light that the sunset was shining on the water. And I felt infinite. (name that book)


sunset lake webster

p.s. Lake house decor for the win.  

oar to oar

Fishing the Cumberland River and Green River Lake

by Eric Lubrick

There are two best ways to fish the Cumberland River from a boat-- trolling or floating. I usually choose floating: turn the engine off and let the river take you. My father’s 14-foot aluminum boat travels fast on the river. The water is so cold below that condensation builds on the inside of the boat. Being pushed by the river’s constant force is liberating. There are plenty of obstacles-- large rocks, fallen trees, shallow water. It's one of the things I like best in life...as soon as my mind begins to wander, something urgent brings me back to the present. 


cumberland river with text

When Cris told me she was going out of town for a weekend with her book club, I figured it was the perfect time for a fishing trip. Huck and I drove 4 hours south to the Kentucky-Tennessee border.

huck dog cumberland river

The last time I was able to make a trip to the Cumberland River below the Wolf Creek Dam was about 6 years ago. I am happy to report not much has changed. Here, the surrounding wilderness of the Appalachian foothills takes on the many forms of rocky cliffs, thick greenery and endless beauty. The cold water released makes this a perfect waterway for trout. The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife stock the river with roughly 200,000 trout (161,000 Rainbows and 38,000 Browns) a year.

cumberland river rocks

We woke up before the sun on Saturday and attempted to hit the river before the dam began releasing much water. After struggling with the shallow water and an almost nonexistent boat ramp, I got the boat in. Huck and I were off, greeted by some intense morning fog.

Cumberland River Fog
cumberland river boat fog
morning fog cumberland river
fog fishermen cumberland river

I ended the day with only 3 small rainbows (enough for dinner), but I met some great guys and saw some huge fish.  A word of advice if you're thinking about heading down this way: bring your beer with you. Most of the southern Kentucky counties are dry.

trout from cumberland river

The next morning we woke to rain. After looking at the radar, I skipped breakfast and decided to drive north 45 miles to another beautiful body of water called Green River Lake.

Green River Lake txt

I drove through Columbia, Kentucky, close to Lincoln’s birth place. Once I arrived I pulled out my stove and made coffee and breakfast. Within 3 hours I had 2 nice bass, the largest an 18-inch 3-pounder. Late in the afternoon, Huck and I swam in a secluded cove to cool down and then headed home.

green river lake boat motor
green river lake boat
green river lake bass

Trips like this one remind me to shift my focus to important things. I came away with a clear head, and I’m wondering why all weekends can’t be like this. I think the key is finding a way to be more present in the everyday.

Maybe the key, really, is for me to do some more fishing…in the meantime, I'll be on Craigslist looking at boats.


Summer Travels: Family Trip to New Buffalo, MI

by Cris Lubrick

This wasn't really meant to be a travel blog, but summers are for vacations, right?

new buffalo michigan people

Eric's parents, Tom and Teresa, rented a house in New Buffalo, Michigan for an extra long weekend in July, and despite lackluster weather reports, those of us that could make it piled in our cars and headed north. (we missed you Julie and Thad!)  Eric and I had spent a little bit of time in New Buffalo when he was living in Saint Joseph. It has some good eating spots, a perfect Lake Michigan beach, and close proximity to Warren Dunes. Saturday was spent on travel, cruising around the town on bikes and scooters (while wearing long pants and jackets...brrr), and dinner at the Stray Dog Cafe.

cherries new buffalo michigan

Sunday, we went out early for some fresh goods from Skip's Open Air Farmer's Market.  Michigan is known for its cherries, berries, and apples, and we hit right at the end of cherry season. 

If you're in the mood for a couple of lovely shots of produce, you're in luck... 

peaches new buffalo michigan
vegetables new buffalo michigan

We picked up pretzel buns (I hope everyone is as obsessed as I am), enough cherries to give us tummy aches, blueberry honey, and sweet corn then headed to Warren Dunes State Park for a family hike. 

Warren Dunes

Have you ever been to the dunes--Indiana or Michigan? I am always taken aback when I see them. I tend to forget the wonders that are so close to home when I'm driving through cornfields every day. Eric and I don't feel like pictures really did the size and scale of Warren Dunes justice, but here's an attempt...see Noah down there? 

Warren Dunes hike
Eric at Warren Dunes

Family fun: Uncle Eric and Levi above

The hike was beautiful but challenging for sure. It starts with a winding trail through the woods with sand beneath your feet. The trail leads to a steep climb up-hill that had us moaning and groaning and practically crawling on hands and feet. Once at the top, though, the view opens up to a valley with breath-taking views of Lake Michigan, and all of the hard work is quickly forgotten.

left to right: Star, Noah, Aaron, Cris, Teresa, Tom, Eric, and Levi

left to right: Star, Noah, Aaron, Cris, Teresa, Tom, Eric, and Levi

fishing New Buffalo Michigan

If there is one thing that can make for a perfect trip in Eric's book, it's fishing. Specifically, finding the perfect spot and catching fish. Sunday evening and Monday morning, the Lubrick men took Tom's boat out and caught enough for dinner to pair with that sweet corn. And that pretty much made them happy as clams.  I'll spare you all photos of dead fish. Here's a sea gull, though...

sea gull New Buffalo Michigan
beach New Buffalo Michigan

Our last day of the trip made for the most perfect beach day. We claimed our spot with that tan umbrella, and set out to make a sand castle. 

sand castle new buffalo michigan

Our little surfer guy nephew woke up from the best nap of his life to play in the waves. 

new buffalo michigan beach

Eric rented a paddle board for the afternoon, and everyone took it out for a try. My only experience with paddle boarding up to this point was looking at photos of celebrities on vacation in US Weekly. It was a pretty calm day, so it was mostly smooth sailing. One or two of us may have taken a dip in the chilly waters, though. I won't name names... 

no one sound an alarm about babies and life jackets: Levi was placed on the board in very shallow water as Aaron and Star were coming back in to shore

no one sound an alarm about babies and life jackets: Levi was placed on the board in very shallow water as Aaron and Star were coming back in to shore

Cris new buffalo michigan

Summer feels like it's winding down...but I'm looking forward to squeezing the last bits of it out. How shall we do it? Cocktails? State Fair? Evenings in hammocks? 

We're in Louisville today for Star's birthday, but we're coming back to Indy tomorrow to see The National at the Murat. Cheers to summer and good music.

Images by Eric Lubrick 

p.s. How do you keep a 9 year-old entertained when you're all hopped up on s'mores? You play in the dark with a long exposure and flash: