Get Low Movie Trailer

Monday, February 28, 2011

Have any of you seen this movie? Tim and I watched it over the weekend ... I cried and cried and cried. Based on a true story it beautifully depicts grief, love, friendship, regret, and the importance of forgiveness. Check it.

Get Low

{MR340 Sponsorship Update!}

Monday, February 28, 2011

So far we have 98 miles sponsored and $1,470.00 raised for the McKeaigg Family Adoption! We still have 242 miles to go, so giddy up and donate!

NEW Mile Sponsors:
Clint Miller (2)
Danielle Crosman (1)
Maria McKenzie (1)
Michelle Lamey (1)
Ian & Audrey Daniels (4)
Maria McKenzie (1)
Michelle Lamey (1)
Shannon Thompson (2)
Kristen Myers (1)
Leigh & Adam Sandwick (6)
Amy Ingham (1)
Becky Duncan (6)
Adam & Jackie Tarnow (7)
Chi Anne Walling (1)

NEW Corporate Sponsors:

General / Gear / Travel Donations:
If you're interested in helping out with the cost of our gear please let us know!

Unfortunately, Em and I weren't able to get our yak on the water this weekend. Our steering needs to be moved and new seats installed, so we'll be heading down to Austin on March 19th so our buddy West can help us get our River Rocket all ready to go. Stay tuned for when you might catch us paddling on Town Lake!

Em & Em

{Today's Letters}

Monday, February 28, 2011

Today's Letters: Dear Mr. Loerke, Saturday's hot date night = one of my favorites of 2011. Thank you for being intentional to pursue me! Dear Hot Buttons, sometimes you make me say four letter words; a small price to pay for warm jeans straight out of the dryer. Dear Mel McKee, who knew terrycloth dorsal fins could be so cute? Can't wait for the Pony Express to deliver this little guy for your cutie bambino. Dear Husband, after leaving for Austin yesterday you called to say I could sleep in your scrubs, watch any of the combat shows you recorded on our DVR, and eat the leftover chocolate you had been saving in your lab coat. Reason #254 why boy roommates are AWESOME.


What's something you don't thank your best friend for enough? (This was one of our Date Night questions from Saturday).

{Be sure and check back later this afternoon for our Monday MR340 Race Update!}

{Florence and the Machine on SNL}

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Did any of you see Florence and the Machine on SNL last night? Even though it was a rerun it was still AWESOME. Pretty sure her back up dancers could give Sufjan's bedazzled space girls a run for their money. Enjoy.

You've Got the Love - Lungs

{Fist Pump Friday!}

Friday, February 25, 2011

To kick off this week's photos we have best buddies BellaRose and Will from Black Mountain, NC who recently threw fist pumps and leg kicks in front of America's largest home, the Biltmore Estates. Their mom's (Sunday and Annie) are best friends and grew up riding horses together in Atlanta. Now they share the same backyard and get to see their kids grow up together!

Next meet Kate and Carey's 8 day old cutie, Charlotte Reed. Pretty sure I'd be throwing double fist pumps if I was born with such rockin hair, too! PS, a fun fact is that Kate graduated from Twinner's alma mater, Anderson University. Her and Carey are also directors at SpringHill Camp in Seymour, IN.

Our next photo is of Mollie and Allison from Samford University who represented the Zeta's last week by performing a Wizard of Oz routine at Step Sing. Lots of jazz hands and bonus points for representing my home state. There's just no place like home ...

Next meet Brooke and three of her besties Joy, Amanda, and Karen who threw fist pumps and leg kicks at the Piazzale Michaelangelo, one of the most beautiful spots for a panoramic view of Florence, Italy. Could you girls get any cuter? I think not.

Next meet McCall's daughter Libby who proudly rocked one of her families fundraising shirts for an orphanage in Ghana. Libby, pretty sure your smile is nothing short of contagious!

Lastly, meet Dana's sweet niece Lila, from Arkansas whom she recently taught how to throw fist pumps and leg kicks. And the aunt of the year award goes to ...

Thanks to all of you who played along in this week's Fist Pump Friday post. We love getting to know our readers!

To participate, send a picture of you and your
Homies throwing fist pumps and leg kicks to em{at}todaysletters{dot}com ... it's just that simple.

{Date Night Done Right!}

Friday, February 25, 2011

Hey Dallas Homies! You guys know what huge fans Tim and I are of dating each other, so if you're looking for an opportunity to celebrate and pursue your spouse, we highly encourage you to attend Date Night!

Call a sitter, pick your favorite restaurant, and and drive through Watermark tomorrow night between 6-7:30pm to pick up your date night kit.

Your kit will include discussion questions designed to help you connect with your spouse, as well as coupons and discounts from some of our favorite places in Dallas (Society Bakery, The Pearl Cup, Hypnotic Donuts, Chick-Fil-A, Fish City Grill, Red Mango, Pokey O's, Rockfish, and Crooked Tree Coffee House).

Hope to see you there!
Em & Tim

{Husband's Letters}

Friday, February 25, 2011

Husband's Letters: Dear Mrs. Loerke, do you wanna go on a hot date with me tomorrow? I can't wait to spend time with you! Dear Brain, I don't know how much more medical information you can hold. Thankful for pocket-sized books that help me remember lab values and algorithms. Dear Scott Kedersha, thank you for pushing me to honor my wife. I value your honesty and encouragement more than you know. Dear Emo, sometimes I catch you wearing my clothes when you're cold. I think you are sexy when you walk around in my fleece and scrubs because they swallow you up like a Snuggie.


What are you most looking forward to this weekend? Don't forget to check back later today for our FIST PUMP FRIDAY photos!

BTW, every Monday we'll be posting an update of our newest race sponsors. Currently 87 miles are sponsored and $1,305.00 raised!
Way to go, Homies!

Today's Letters

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Today's Letters: Dear Mr. Loerke PA-S III, on Tuesday you got to assist in a pulmonary valve replacement. Then you came home, sat on the counter and told me all about the surgery while I cooked dinner. I loved this. Dear MR340, 4 weeks ago I had no idea what a wing blade paddle was. Now I can't stop dreaming about owning a pair of carbon Sydney's with a side of 70° feather on a 213-216 cm shaft. What have you done to my brain? Dear Ray LaMontagne & Brandi Carlile, when I noticed you didn't include Dallas on your summer tour I maybe might have crawled in the corner and rocked myself to sleep. Maybe ... Dear Husband, congratulations on finishing your pediatric cardiothoracic rotation! Next up: pediatric surgery at Cook's in Fort Worth. Survey says, YOU CAN DOOO IT.

What concerts are you looking forward to this year?

{Today's Letters}

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Today's Letters: Dear Mr. Loerke, sometimes you like to pull your undershirt over your head and walk around looking like Casper the ghost. One word: Sexxxxy. Dear Brook Farm General Store, everything about you makes me drool, esp. this, this, this, and this. Thanks for inspiring me with your simplicity. Dear May Books, pretty sure Mr. McFeely made my day when he delivered my new notebook yesterday. Sometimes President's Day makes mail worth the wait. Dear Husband, you've been in school for as long as I've known you (9 years). Planning your graduation party is almost as fun as spending a week with you in Mexico. Can't wait!

What's the next trip you're looking forward to and why?

{Brownies & Questions from North Carolina}

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Hey Homies! This weekend we received a letter and package from Rachel in North Carolina who asked us some great questions about marriage / dating that we thought we'd share with you. She also sent us brownie mix from Great Harvest Bread Co. which didn't take long for Tim and I to make and devour. (Insert chocolatey goodness rrrrigh hurrr!). Btw, if you live near Oakland, CA be sure and try Great Harvest's Rockridge Crunch . It's now our favorite bread thanks to Twinner!

Rachel asked ...

1) How does what you know about marriage affect how you view dating? Would this have changed anything about how you dated?

EM: I think realizing now how much work it takes to have a healthy and thriving marriage, I'd encourage people to avoid dating those who have had everything handed to them. If people don't know how to work hard they'll quit in your marriage as soon as things get tough. Knowing this makes me grateful to have a Husband who understands the importance of intentionality and pushing through seasons of difficulty.

TIM: Dating can easily dance on the boundary lines of "pretend marriage." Looking back I realize this is both dangerous and deceptive. Marriage is the place for total intimacy (spiritual, emotional, and physical). If a dating couple attempts to enter one of those three intimate realms too soon, they will either be deeply wounded or have marital angst down the road. Dating is the time to court one another. Learning about one another has its place but but must be done with utmost care. Dating is also a preliminary period where friends and family will either confirm or deny a compatible marriage. Overall, dating and marriage are two different ball games, and there is much that we don't learn about until we're actually in it. Some things have to be experienced head on. Understanding these ideas would have drastically improved my dating life with Em.

2) What do you think are the 4 most important qualities or values you share in your relationship?

EM: 1) Faith 2) Communication 3) Forgiveness 4) Playfulness / Creativity

1) Communication 2) Vulnerability 3) Loyalty 4) Selflessness

How would you have answered these questions? Thanks again Rachel, for the Pony Express delivery. Fist pumps to you and everyone else in Charlotte!

Happy Tuesday!
Em & Tim

{MR340 Fundraising Update!}

Monday, February 21, 2011

A special thanks to those of you who have donated money towards the McKeaigg Family Adoption! It's been one week and we've already raised $975.00 with our mileage sponsorships! We still have 275 miles to go, so if you haven't already donated please consider doing so today!

NEW Mile Sponsors:
Papa & Vic Richmond (2)
Rebecca Sheffield (1)
Ashley Simon (1)
Brooke Brewer (2)
Erin Donner (1)
Sarah Crosby (2)
Andrea Walker (1)
Vicky Nguyen (3)
Colby Childs (1)
Melissa Neely (2)
Tina Jett (2)
Bekah Pettijohn (2)
Hannah Johnson (1)
Tracey Weinmann (6)
Sarah Crosby
C. Willard (1)
Dawn Pigg (1)
Meghan Crosman (1)
Leah Mcgaughy (1)
David Hargrove (2)
Mackenzie Bain (1)
Josh & Jessica Nokes (2)
Megan Vochatzer (1)
Scott & Kristen Kedersha (4)
Melissa Lima (3)
Maribeth Gillis (1)
Julie Machuca (2)
Katrina Preston (6)
Brenna Nichols (7)
Jacey Howard (2)
Diane Schiefferly (4)

Corporate Sponsors:
Paige Dohoney, Woof Gang Bakery
Brenna Nichols

General / Gear / Travel Donations:
Michele Annibal
Brian Cates
Diane Schiefferly
Abby Unruh

McKeaigg T-Shirt Purchasers:
Kasa Hollingshead
Hannah Johnson
McCall Aldridge
Katrina Preston

In case you haven't already seen her, here's our 21 foot carbon Arrow racing kayak. She only weighs 46 lbs! This Saturday Em and I christen her with our first paddle at White Rock Lake.

We can't wait!

{Today's Letters}

Monday, February 21, 2011

Today's Letters: Dear Mr. Loerke, you like to refer to our ice cream bowls as "holders" and call the underground parking at Whole Paycheck "the Batcave." Your vocabulary for things just keeps getting better and better! Dear Shiner Dortmunder Spring Ale, the label on your bottle reads, "There's nothing finer than a springtime Shiner." Fist pumps and leg shimmies getting us excited about the upcoming season. Dear Gladiator Boot Camp, thanks for helping get me in shape for the Warrior Dash, McKinney Sprint Tri, and MR340. This morning's workout was well worth the 5am wake up call. Dear P-1 Husband, yesterday I got in my car and The Ticket was playing on the radio. Reason #253 why boy roommates are AWESOME. PS, what's an HSO?

What are you most looking forward to about Spring?


{Be sure and check back later this morning for an MR340 Race Update!}

{Last Call: March Sponsors!}

Saturday, February 19, 2011

{Enter Promo Code: LETTERS to receive 15% off your order!}

Our little blog receives 6,000 - 8,000 page views per day (over 180,000 per month) and would love to have you listed as one of our MARCH sponsors! Just send us an email if you're interested in receiving our rate sheet!

{Fist Pump Friday!}

Friday, February 18, 2011

To kick off this week's photos we have Anna and Anne, both sophomore roommates at Auburn University. Fist pumps and leg kicks for BEAUTIFUL sunsets and hiking in Huntsville!

Next we have Rachel and her fiance Seth who threw fist pumps during their engagement photo shoot taken by their dear friend Kasa. We kind of think you guys have much reason to celebrate, too. Marriage is AWESOME!

Remember Erynn, our suitcase full of awesomeness giveaway winner? Well, meet her 8 month old little man, Parke. He threw fist pumps yesterday when he saw that Em McKeaigg was coming over for lunch!

This photo is just a whole bag of win. Meet Laura and her Homies (all Ole Miss and Tennessee grads) who rocked neon wayfarers on their ski trip to Wintergreen Resort in Virginia. Pretty sure these guys have earned themselves extra jazz hands for being reigning kickball champs for 3 years in a row!

Next meet Wesley (Gamma Pi Beta sophomore) and Jess (Chi O junior) at Auburn University. In honor of embracing their singleness they decided to celebrate Valentine's Day by watching a movie and making homemade cookies. Way to get your Betty Crocker on, ladies!

Our next photo is of Kelly and Margaret, both seniors at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA. Here they are pictured in front "Trudy," the graffiti wall located across from their off campus house. Pretty sure these girls deserve bonus points for living with 9 other girls. SERENITY NOW!

Next meet Sally's kiddos Jay and Betsy threw fist pumps and leg kicks in excitement for their Valentine's Day party at school. I have just one question: Jay, will you be my Valentine?

Our next photo is of Jen, Chelcie, and Delaney who definitely remind me why I miss college so much. Last weekend they decided to ride the Megabus to Washington, DC with 9 other Homies from the University of Tennessee. Total round trip ticket: 8 dollhairs. EIGHT DOLLHAIRS!

Next meet Em & Megan, freshmen at UNT who are standing outside their environmental science building with a well dressed statue. Both are new YoungLife leaders and couldn't be more excited about hanging with their new middle school rowdies!

Next meet Maribeth's Kindergarten class at Vista Academy in Carrolton, TX who had much reason to celebrate last week. These cuties celebrated their 100th day of school!

And I can't think of a better way to end this week's submissions than with this photo. Meet Marci, Jenna, and Kristina who threw a Valentine's banquet for the senior citizens at their church. All I have to say is HOLYCUTINESSBATMAN!

Thanks to all of you who played along in this week's Fist Pump Friday post. We love getting to know our readers!

To participate, send a picture of you and your
Homies throwing fist pumps and leg kicks to em{at}todaysletters{dot}com ... it's just that simple.

{Husband's Letters}

Friday, February 18, 2011

Husband's Letters: Dear Mrs. Loerke, yesterday I noticed a Magic Shell trifecta sitting under our giving tree. It took me awhile to realize it wasn't a mirage but rather a sweet surprise from you! Dear Running Legs, please forgive me. I have neglected you this month. I thought a local surgical rotation would allow more margin to exercise. Nope. This weekend you and I will get reacquainted. Dear Cap & Gown, you are my latest purchase and the visual reminder that graduation is 84 days away! Dear Little, this morning you left me a message before 7am and prayed for my day while you were still in the biscuit. You bless me more than Magic Shell!


What would you like to see sitting under your giving tree?

HAPPY FREAKIN WEEKEND! Be sure and check back later today for our FIST PUMP FRIDAY photos!

PS, if you follow us on Twitter you've already seen photos of our 21 ft boat of AWESOMENESS that arrived at 2am last night. She's as yellow as a banana and only weighs 46 lbs. Currently we have 48 miles of our race sponsored, only 292 to go! You guys are AMAZING!

{A Letter From My Dad}

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Sweet Badasses,

Tonight you will obtain the vehicle that will transport you across the state of Missouri on the world's longest river race, 340 miles of beauty, friendship, hardship, endurance, courage, tears, blisters & duct tape, weeping husbands, and memories to last you the rest of your lives, all for a baby that you have not yet met. Now that is AMAZING! This adventure has given me more joy than you can ever imagine and will last me the rest of my life. Thank you for being who you are, for your husbands, and for being such role models. Just remember all those people that put their names on the river rocket will be paddling across the Mighty Missouri along there with you. They will all be there to keep you company and watch over you as the Gentlemen and women above.

Have an exciting day!

{Our 21 ft Arrow Racing Kayak}

PS, So far 29 miles of our race have been sponsored! Only 311 more to go! Let us know if you or your business would be interested in donating money towards the cost of our paddles and other items on the long list of gear we're trying to track down. We'd be happy to include your name and company logo on our boat when it gets professionally wrapped with all of our official race sponsors.

Paddling for Parenthood,
Em & Em

{Today's Letters}

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Today's Letters: Dear Mr. Loerke, with all of the suturing you've been doing lately you decided to make me a friendship bracelet out of surgical knots. Does this mean you have a crush on me or something? Dear Arrow K-2 Racing Kayak, tonight the Pony Express delivers you all the way from Kansas City. Pretty sure Em and I are more excited than Ralphie's dad and his major award stamped F-R-A-G-I-L-E. Dear Klein Tool Pouch, thank you for reminding me of my love for drill bits and compound miter saws. You'll be perfect for all my shiz. Dear Husband, to infinity and beyond! Over and out.

What's the best thing the Pony Express has delivered to you lately?

PS, check back later to read a sweet letter Em and I received this morning from my Papa. (You know how I feel about his letters ...)

{Float: A Documentary}

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Float [floht] --verb: to rest or move lightly, to hover before the eyes or in the mind. Do any of you find this documentary as fascinating as I do? I can't wait to see it.

{Today's Letters & Reason #986}

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Today's Letters: Dear Darth Loerke, last weekend I caught you trying to use the Force on our toaster. Reason #986 why I love Thee. Dear Funk Off!, we know you're in the business of keeping things fresh, not funky, however, the homemade vegan truffles you sent us were d-to-the-licious. Thanks for being our California Valentine. Dear Margin, I need more of you in my life. That's all. Dear Husband, last night you made homemade cookies for the understaffed nurse practitioners at the hospital. Your heart to celebrate others challenges me!

Smooth or crunchy peanut butter? Casa de Loerke is divided on this one.

PS, In the past 48 hours we've raised just over $450 for our race! We still have lots of miles that need to be sponsored so head on over to our donation page and help us bring this baby home!

{MR340: Let's Bring This Baby Home!}

Monday, February 14, 2011

As I mentioned here and here before, my friend Em McKeaigg and I will be participating
in this year's MR340 River Race in hopes of raising $5,000 for The McKeaigg Family Adoption.

Wanna know how you can help?

Each mile is now available for sponsorship!

$15 per mile x 340 mi = $5,100 raised

*Sponsor 1 MILE or more & get YOUR NAME featured on our kayak as one of our official race sponsors!
$100.00 or more & get your COMPANY NAME & LOGO featured on our kayak as one of our official race sponsors!
*McKeaigg T-Shirts are also available for purchase through our donation website.

PS, Our kayak will be arriving late Thursday night all the way from Kansas City thanks to
Karin Thomas
& West Hansen.
Let the training begin!

{Happy Valentine's Day!}

Monday, February 14, 2011

Mr. Loerke and I had a fun time celebrating Valentine's Day this weekend. I received a homemade Valentine, a vintage flash card with my favorite nickname on it, and a wooden envelope making template from We Are 1976. Looks like someone was taking notes on my recent tutorial!

I gave Tim a chocolate bar the size of his head, some Cardamom Guinness Beer Soap, and this book. Pretty sure he liked the chocolate the best.

After opening gifts we stuffed our bocas with wine & cheese, grilled shhhteaks, mascarpone mashed potatoes, and roasted green beans. Nom nom nom ...

Btw, does anyone else love Manchego and Cotswold cheese as much as we do? We can't get enough!

For dessert I made a Peanut Butter Cup Cookie Pie. It was melt in your mouth delicious even though it was so rich it made made our teeth hurt. I'll definitely be making this AWESOMENESS again soon!

Tonight we're hanging out with our dear friend's David & Julia. Perhaps their two year old Little will show us a thing or two about fort building. Whatever your plans are for Valentine's Day, we hope you feel known and loved!

** Be sure and check back later today for a special MR340 post! **

{Today's Letters}

Monday, February 14, 2011

Today's Letters: Dear Valentine, this weekend you taught me how to change a flat tire on the Fart Box. Thanks for making me feel like I could survive the concrete jungle like Bear Grylls. Dear Garden & Gun, you maybe might be my new favorite magazine. Who knew you'd be filled with southern eats, bluegrass music, impeccable style, and dreamy vacation spots? HOOKED. Dear 3 Mile Walk, you were the best part of yesterday afternoon. Looking forward to taking more of you this Spring. Dear Husband (who always gets two letters), love you more than burlap TOMS, Kavu hats, and t-shirts from Local123. Over and out.

What's your favorite way to stay active?
Walking? Running? Yoga?
Be sure and check back later today for two special posts you won't wanna miss!

{MR340 Update!}

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Only 157 more days until Em and I paddle 340 miles across the state of Missouri in hopes of raising 5grrr for the McKeaigg Family Adoption. We can't wait!

(photos by Vic Richmond & Dylan Lehrbaum)

The MR340 is currently the world's longest non-stop river race and was recently listed as one of National Geographic's Top 40 Adventures.

Em and I will have 88 hours to complete the race. We'll start in Kansas City and end in St. Charles, just 25 mi west of St. Louis. There will be 9 mandatory checkpoints along the way (Kaw Point, Lexington, Waverly, Miami, Glasgow, Katfish Katy's, Jeff city, Hermann, Klondike, and St. Charles). Let us know if you live close to any of these cities. We'd love to meet you and see you cheering on all of the paddlers!

Be sure and check back tomorrow for more information on how you can help bring the McKeaigg's baby home. You won't wanna miss it!

Happy Sunday, Homies!

{Papa's Famous Banana Bread}

Saturday, February 12, 2011

I've written about my Papa's famous banana bread here and here before, but I can't believe it's taken me this long to share his recipe with you! There's only one word to describe this banana bread: HIGHLYADDICTIVE. So don't say I didn't warn you ... Tim Tam and I eat two loves in two days.

1 1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cups shortening room temperature (we use Butter Flavored Crisco)
2 eggs, separated
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (we use 2 bananas that are spotted brown, so not too ripe)
4 Tbs of milk
1 tsp. vinegar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 Tbs warm water
1 1/2 cups sifted flour
1 tsp. vanilla
pinch of salt

1. Preheat oven to 325° and spray TWO 9 1/2" loaf pans with Baker's Joy. Set aside.
2. Combine milk and vinegar in a small dish and set aside.
3. Dissolve baking soda and warm water in a small dish and set aside.
4. Sift flour into a small bowl and set aside.
5. Using a Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer beat the sugar and shortening until thoroughly blended.
6. Next, beat in egg yolks and bananas. (Egg whites should be set aside in a small metal bowl).
7. Combine sour milk into banana bread mixture on LOW.
8. Combine dissolved baking soda and water on LOW.
9. Mix in sifted flower, vanilla, and salt on LOW. Then increase to MEDIUM until mixture is well combined.
10. Using a hand held mixer beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks and fold them into the batter.
11. Divide batter into greased loaf pans and bake for 55 minutes.
12. Let cool on a wire rack. As the loaves cool they should cave somewhat in the middle. This maybe might be the best part. Enjoy!

{March Sponsors}

Friday, February 11, 2011

Our little blog receives 6,000 - 8,000 page views per day (over 180,000 per month) and would love to have you listed as one of our MARCH sponsors! Just send us an email if you're interested in receiving our rate sheet!
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