Saturday, December 31, 2011

How to Make A Legit Resolution... and Actually Keep It.

I'm baaaaaack! 

I intended to blog occasionally while we were vacationing in my little hometown but for some unexplainable reason my parent's internet has literally been non-existent until today. Out of nowhere, this morning it just came on (Although still at a speed that rivals molasses in February) and so I'm joyfully bringing you a little insight on how to make a real-life, legitimate New Year's resolution... that you might actually keep!! (Don't worry, I'll give you all the details on our last FIVE Christmases later next week! We have to get the New Year brought in appropriately right now.)

One of my favorite New Year's Eves... 2008
Hot tub party with my cousins - Callie, Haley and Maggie
I may not know much, but I definitely know how to make a decent New Year's resolution. I know that resolutions are typically taken lightly, but I consider them a promise to myself. I have no intention of making a serious statement and then going back on my word in less than a month... Surely you don't either. So, I'm going to give you the basic breakdown on how to make a REAL New Year's resolution, one that you can follow through with. (I'll list my dad's  resolution for 2011 as an example!)

Step 1: Think of what you'd like to change, improve, or do differently. 
Don't get carried away - you've got much better chances of following through with one or two resolutions than if you make ten and wear yourself out before you even start. Dad wanted to eat healthier... Good start but wayyy too broad to actually accomplish.

Step 2: Narrow down your subject to a few more specific options.
Identify different ways you can accomplish your goal. He could start exercising. He could eat healthier... Lots of options to choose from here!

Choose something that you can easily measure.
This step is crucial to actually accomplishing your goal and keeping your resolution. If you just say "eat healthier" does that mean you accomplished your goal if you stop after the first bag of M&M's or is your goal only met after 10 months of no candy at all? Dad debated a few options - slowing down his  barbeque intake, "stopping after the salad" like he always says he wishes he would have done, or cutting back on salt. Since he salted EVERYTHING and there was no reasonable chance of him laying off the barbeque, he decided that his 2011 New Year's Resolution would be that he wouldn't pick up a salt shaker for the entire year. Period. To my dad's credit, he has not added salt to anything since December 31, 2010!! Now, my mom didn't stop using salt in her recipes so he did get some salt intake, but he definitely made a huge improvement and cut back significantly!! 

So, there you go - three easy steps! Give it a try, I know you can do it!!

Here are my 2012 New Year's Resolutions... I'm sharing them so you can help hold me accountable (that should have been Step 4, pencil it in). 

Raegan's Resolutions for 2012
(1) Work out at least three times a week
(I know, I know - you should work out at least 4 times a week... but three seems much more feasible and if I get 4, good for me!)
(2) Cut out pop 
(I quit for about 6 years and this year decided I was thirsty for something other than water... Now, I'm trying to climb back up on the wagon!)
(3) Keep a daily prayer journal [at least M-F]
(This doesn't mean I won't pray on the weekends, I just am not required to write it all down... Keeping a prayer journal is AWESOME! Try it!)
(4) One random act of kindness each week*
(*This is a resolution Brandon and I are sharing... doesn't matter who actually does the act of kindness as long as one of us knocks it out each week)

I promise to be honest and 'fess up when I break one... So, now it's your turn!! I would LOVE to hear your resolutions! Please share them!! I promise, you'll be much more diligent about keeping them if you're worrying somebody will ask you how it's going! 

Hoping you have a very wonderful New Year!! And please be careful as you celebrate!

Be Blessed!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas From the Kings!

May you have the joy of friends, 
love of family and peace that comes only from the King! 
Have a very blessed Christmas!! 

Please remember that today we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, 
Jesus Christ... truly the greatest gift of all!

**Brandon and I will be spending the next few days with our family, so my blogging schedule will most likely be a little sporadic at best (Not that we will be super busy, but we usually end up so far out in the middle of nowhere that internet isn't an option.. Yes, I'm serious. Yes, that is possible. Yes, you should really get out of the city and experience a little small town life!!). Hope you enjoy every minute of this holiday season surrounded by people you love. 

Be Blessed,

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree!! (Part 2)

I showed off our $5 steal of a Christmas tree in an earlier post and now I'm back to share the pictures of the tree that lives in our bedroom and tell you one of my favorite Christmas decoration stories... so make sure and keep reading!

This was the tree that lived in all my (pre-married life) little, adorable, gingerbread style, doll houses that I lucked into year after year! (See, doesn't that totally look like a gingerbread house?! I loved living in a college town full of cute little old homes!) Since I bought it 75% off at the Hobby Lobby after Christmas sale it is a really nice tree with realistic looking pine cones and prelit lights that actually work. I picked it because it was skinny and therefore, didn't take up a ton of room because, quite frankly, I didn't have a lot of room to spare!

The bedding that matches our bedroom Christmas tree...
Clearly didn't think this one through!
Being OCD and always packing a plan, I had determined that it would go in our bedroom when we got married... so last year I started collecting red and gold ornaments of all shapes and sizes to decorate our tree with. It worked great - I have a lovely collection of beautiful ornaments that didn't cost a fortune since I wasn't in a rush to buy them at Christmas time... the only part I didn't consider was that we would get new bedding when we got married. Duh. So now we have a beautiful tree that matches our guest bedroom. Whomp whomp. 

Tada!!! Please ignore our rather boring bedroom decor,
we haven't hung anything because we are going to paint over Christmas break.
I choose to just put the tree in our room anyway because it would have been dreadfully under-appreciated in our guest room and I really liked how it turned out, despite the fact that it doesn't match our new bedding quite as well. So, of course, I'll be collecting gold and brown ornaments (and a few with a "touch of leopard" just because I love leopard) throughout 2012 for next year's Christmas! See, this is why I need three trees!! I don't want this one that matches our guest room perfectly to go to waste... it needs it's own tree. Don't you agree? I thought so.

So here are a few close ups... 

You'll notice the ornaments that were previously hung over my former bed are now finding a new home on the tree! 

Also, if you look closely, you'll see some glass balls that are more red than the wine color I was really going for... I found these ornaments at an estate sale and I couldn't pass them up. It was virtually an entire tree's worth of vintage glass red bulbs of different shapes and sizes for $1! Too good to be true!

So, there you go! Christmas tree #2. I thought it was a fun new addition and even though it doesn't perfectly match our bedroom like I'd like it to, it's brought me great joy every time I've turned the corner and saw lights sparkling down the hall! I hope each of you has a tree or decoration that brings you joy every time you see it... (Uh oh, small rabbit chase) I have to tell you one more quick story!! When my parents got married they, like most newly married couples, on a tight budget... my mother LOVES decorating for Christmas but didn't feel comfortable spending what little money they had on buying decorations that would only be used one month out of the year, so my dad sweetly bought her a new decorative Christmas piece every year for Christmas. *Fast forward to 2010. I'm helping mom with some Christmas decorations and I start giving her a hard time about never throwing any decorations away... I mean, I understand keeping the ornaments my brother and I made but there are some decorations that have faded with time... plus, now my mom has very beautiful Christmas decorations and I was encouraging her to chunk some of the old stuff so that it didn't get too Christmas cluttered. So I walk over to one of the cabinets and point out this straw mobile (like you hang over a baby bed but this one is relatively small)... the straw is shaped into little angels and they are all hanging by what looks like some not too great twine. I proceed to tell her how this piece should probably be the first to go, my mom very sweetly tells me that the Christmas mobile isn't going anywhere. I continue to push, (I know, imagine that!) until finally, she tells me the story of the mobile. Apparently, every year my dad not only bought my mom a Christmas decoration but he really splurged. He'd buy something she had seen in a catalog or store she had been browsing, but this particular year they were dead broke. So instead of the big wicker bells that are still beautiful hanging by our dining room entrance... instead of the pretty nativity that sits on our grand piano... instead of a grand gesture, he bought her this little straw mobile because that's all they could afford. So now, thirty-some odd years later, the little pitiful straw mobile hangs in our pretty kitchen amongst all the lovely Christmas decor... my mom sweetly said, that the mobile reminds her to be thankful. Guess what? That mobile isn't going anywhere. Ever. Someday (hopefully a very, very long time from now), I will proudly display the little straw mobile in my kitchen. It won't just remind me to be thankful... It'll also tell a story of my daddy loving my mom and wanting to spoil her. It'll tell me that even during hard times, my parents were happy because they had each other, their happiness doesn't come from the sparkly things that surround them. So regardless if you have a Charlie Brown tree or thirty trees that all rival the one sitting in the White House, be reminded that our joy doesn't come from the decorations it comes from the people we get to celebrate this wonderful holiday with! 

Thanks for reading about one of my favorite Christmas decorations and for looking at pictures of our cute little Christmas tree!! Only three more days until the birth of the KING!! 

Be Blessed!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Yummy Yummy Baked Potato Soup

Last night I made one of our favorite winter dinners - Baked Potato Soup! There is something very comforting about sitting beside the Christmas tree eating warm homemade soup while watching a movie... and that's exactly what we did! So without further ado, here's my favorite baked potato soup recipe!

Sour Cream not pictured because I forgot it and had to run to the store.
I HATE when that happens!

What you're going to need:
2/3 C Butter
2/3 C Flour
7 C Milk
4 Potatoes (baked, cooled, cubed)
*4 Green Onions (sliced)*I don't like onions so I just leave this one out!
12 Slices of Bacon or if you're smart you'll just buy Oscar Meyer real bacon bits... it'll change your life. Seriously.
1 1/4 C Shredded Cheddar
8 Oz Sour Cream
3/4 t Salt
1/2 t Pepper

*Makes 8-10 servings

What you're going to do... it's pretty easy, just requires a lot of stirring:

Butter and Flour mixture

(1) In your biggest pot melt the butter completely and then add the flour and stir until smooth... Probably want your heat on about 3.

(2) Stir in the 7 C of milk gradually. Cook until thickened, stirring constantly and making sure to not let the butter/flour stick to the bottom. You won't see significant thickening until you add the potatoes... this step should take a good 5 minutes. Heat at 6ish.

Oops, meant to take a picture of these cubed but somehow
 got a pic of them sliced... Cut each slice into 4 pieces.

(3) I leave the peel on the potato and cube it because the peel is where the actual nutritional value is... but you can peel it if you want. The benefits of leaving the peel are: you won't notice any difference in taste if you leave it, it gives your soup a little more color, it is the healthy choice and it saves you the time/pain of trying to peel that flippin' hot spud. Add your cubed potatoes (and nasty green onions) and bring to a boil, still stirring constantly. Heat around 8. Once it starts to boil, you'll notice that it thickens up quickly so reduce your heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

*If you want to prepare your soup in advance... this is where you'd stop and stick it in the frig until you were ready to eat it!

(4) Finally add bacon, cheese, sour cream and salt/pepper and stir it all up really good until the cheese melts which will take approximately 2 seconds. (I will confess that I don't even measure the cheese and bacon anymore, I just dump a LOT in and stir! No need to be too exact, I don't think you can ever add too much bacon or cheese.)

(5) Now, this is the top secret, very important step... Your soup is actually already done, but if you want to take it from good to great you should add Tony Chachere's Original Creole. Again, I don't do an exact measurement, I just shake a light coat on top of each individual bowl. I'm telling you this stuff is magic!

So there, you go! One very yummy recipe for Baked Potato Soup... and it wasn't too hard, but everyone will be all impressed that it didn't come out of a bag that reads, "just add milk." Hope you all enjoy this one during these freezing cold days!

Be Blessed!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

FIVE Christmases

Hey gang! Sorry I wasn't able to blog yesterday (I'm not apologizing because I live under the false belief that you are just dying to read my blog, I'm apologizing because I know you are sitting at work bored out of your mind right now and when your typical reading options don't come through for you, it's a little disappointing... I know because it happened to me today... three times), I was still recovering from our whirlwind weekend! If you haven't seen the movie Four Christmases, you should. It's awkwardly funny and a cute little story! It's about this couple who typically spend Christmas on the beach but, because of bad weather ends up having to celebrate with their families... and the uncomfortable moments that follow. Well, this weekend we "one-upped" the movie - we had FIVE Christmases and a slumber party. Take that Warner Brothers. So a little recap today seems only appropriate... tragically, I didn't take very many pictures but I'll share what I've got!

Since I don't have a picture from B's party,
I thought I'd share a picture of B's car that got punked by Santa's elf.
Christmas #1. Friday evening was spent at Brandon's work party. Sadly, not a single picture and we got all dressed up and looked cute. (Yes, that would be me pouting...) We had a lovely dinner and I enjoyed getting to catch up with Brandon's buddies. Santa and a few of his elves came to visit all the little kids and boy did they get excited. The adults thought it was equally fun since Santa/Elves were all provided by residents without children... pretty funny! As soon as the party came to an end, we dashed out the door to do a little last minute shopping. (I've done more dashing in the past week than I really care for)

L to R: Me, Brandon, Gramma, Caleb, Lauren & Alex
Christmas #2. Saturday morning we headed to Brandon's grandmother's house for Christmas with his mom's family. We enjoyed the afternoon with Brandon's mom and brother, uncle, aunt, two cousins (Aren't they stunningly beautiful?! Pretty on the inside and out!) and their cute little dog Rufus, and his grandma and her husband. We had some yummy taco salad and lots of laughs sitting around enjoying each other's company. Before B and I had even started dating I had heard so many wonderful stories about "Gramma." Brandon truly believes she is the sweetest woman on Earth and we both feel so very blessed to get to see her and Jerry often! I feel comfortable speaking for all of her grandchildren when I say that we find great comfort and feel very loved knowing that this Godly woman is covering each one of us in prayer daily. What better gift is there?

Your friendly Sooner Club staff looking very festive
Christmas #3. Saturday evening was my office party! As I've told you before, I am very blessed to work with really fun people... whom I consider friends, not just coworkers. Our office parties are always interesting because my boss loves to incorporate a costume into every holiday! So this year we were to dress as characters from a Christmas movie or play... hence our bizarre attire. We also participate in an annual "regift" dirty Santa. You are supposed to bring one regifted item. You NEVER know what you're going to get in this little exchange. A few of this year's hits were OSU items, a mistletoe package that included some interesting items (from breath mints to hand sanitizer and a few items that fit in between!), and the one I went home with... a Pujols Cardinals jersey. It's always a good time when this group gets together!  

Blythe and Sonya became new best friends!
Christmas #4. Sunday was Christmas with the Kings! We started off this fun day by picking up my sweet niece Blythe and heading to Brandon's dad's house. Brandon's stepmom, Sonya, had suggested we go visit the Pollard Theatre in Guthrie for a Christmas play. We were so impressed with the production of Scroog's story told as The Territorial Christmas Carol. We had so much fun and B and I are planning to go back for other shows... and to check out all their cute little antique stores!! Then we headed back to the house for dinner, games and presents. Larry and Sonya had very sweetly made sure that my little Blythe was included in every last detail - she even had a stocking hanging full of goodies! I was truly overwhelmed by their generosity to their little guest, they definitely went above and beyond. I have no doubt that this Christmas celebration will be the one I remember when thinking of Christmas 2011. It meant so very much to me that they were so kind and because Blythe was my family, she was treated as though she was their's as well. As I told them later that night, "Thank you" didn't seem the least bit sufficient for my amount of appreciation. What a joy to be a member of such an awesome family...

Blythe's present for her daddy:
"dont open this until Cristmes. this is your cristmams present.
to daddy love, Blythe."

(Christmas Intermission): Slumber Party. So B and I decided that we were having so much fun with Miss Blythe that she should stay for a slumber party! I took the day off of work so that we could play all day with no interruptions and Brandon even cancelled his morning appointments! Oh man did we have fun! We ate brownies smothered in whipped cream and hot chocolate for breakfast and then worked on a little craft project that is now proudly displayed on my refrigerator. Blythe took a big bubble bath, had her fingernails and toenails painted and got all dressed up for the day! She helped me wrap Christmas presents and she made some delicious chicken noodle soup and grilled cheese for lunch. She played dress up with (aka tortured) my poor dog. She built a road out of Brandon's k-cups and splenda packages that went from our kitchen, down the hall and turned all the way into our room. She lost, but eventually recovered, her new hair clip out of the garbage disposal! She made her daddy a wonderful Christmas present and we got it all wrapped up. She even wrote Larry and Sonya a very precious thank you card and then ran through the rain to put it in the mailbox... I told you busy, busy day! It was hands down the best sick day I've ever had! We laughed and laughed until our sides hurt really bad and when we dropped her off with her daddy, I got back in the car and cried! I love Miss Blythe so very, very much and I was so glad I got to spend the day playing with her. She's one of my absolute favorite girls!

Baby King's almost first Christmas!
Christmas #5. The last, but not least, Christmas of this weekend was with Brandon's mom and brother/sister-in-law... B's mom is flying to Florida to spend Christmas with his other brother and sister-in-law so we celebrated early! We started with some delicious Christmas sushi... not conventional, but way more fun than your typical ham! Next we headed to the house for some really fun presents - the first batch for our nephew who will arrive in April! It was so fun to see little tiny boy clothes get unwrapped... Next year is going to be even more exciting!! There will actually be a baby there! And he will be decked out, trust me!

So, five Christmases down... five more to go! We LOVE some Christmas!! Haha! See you guys tomorrow with a yummy new recipe, perfect for this cold weather!

Be Blessed!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Boomer Blessings

First off, a big thank you to everyone that sent me words of encouragement via the blog, facebook and text! An even bigger thank you to those who took time to say a little prayer for me! I am so blessed to be surrounded by such amazing friends! Thank you!

Now, on to the exciting thing happening today...

Boomer Blessings!

Boomer Blessings is a prime example of why I love my job. For the second year in a row the OU Athletic Department has decided to forgo a Christmas party and instead spend one morning "Spreading Sooner Magic" by doing community service projects in Norman and the surrounding areas. Literally, OU Athletics shuts down from 8am-2pm while the entire department heads out and helps bless the community that gives so much to us! How awesome is that?!

There are lots of different ways we help - demolition for Habitat for Humanity, prep boxes for Feed the Children, paint rooms for the local Ronald McDonald House, deliver food for Meals on Wheels, etc. Last year, I had the opportunity to help out at Oklahoma Feed the Children. For hours, my co-workers and I stuffed boxes with food, soap/shampoo, small toys and books to be distributed throughout the state to kids and families in need. This year, I traveled with a small group to a neighboring town's elementary school with Boomer (our mascot) and taught the importance of the five principles that make up our Sooner Junior program: Fitness fun, Academics, Nutrition and Sportsmanship (FANS). It was so great to watch the little kids get so excited to learn about fundamentals that will be important to know, understand and embrace throughout their lives! The program is available to all schools in Oklahoma and there is a really fun app for you to download and let your kids use as a fun learning tool - check it out here.

I am so happy to be a part of an organization that believes in giving back, that realizes there is more to Christmas than holiday parties and that does both of these things with joyful hearts! You can click on this link to see the video of OU Athletics blessing our community this year! Boomer Sooner!

Enjoy your last weekend to fit in Christmas shopping!!

Be Blessed!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

That Pull At My Heart That I Can No Longer Ignore

I have a confession...

I have been selfish with my time lately.

I have been blatantly ignoring God.

I have been argumentative with my husband as he tries to encourage me.

I have continued to put off what I know I need to actively pursue.

All of these things have been happening in my life because of two little things...



Let me chase a little rabbit and fill you guys in on a bit of the back story... My entire life I wanted to be a pediatrician.  In kindergarten I asked my teacher how to spell the word "pediatrician" and I practiced and practiced until I had it memorized.  There was never any other dream or thought or back up plan. I arrived at OU and signed myself up for a zoology major (This is the typical pre-med route at OU since they don't have a biology major). Classes were difficult and while my sorority sisters were out enjoying college life, I was stuck in "the nook" studying. I did fine, my grades were good and although it took a lot of hard work, I didn't resent it... I was doing what was necessary to fulfill my dreams. 

I'll never forget the night I was sitting in my bed talking to my dear friend/roommate and it dawned on me that maybe being a pediatrician wasn't my calling. I was a second semester junior and it had nothing to do with studying or organic chemistry, I had already made it three years... it had everything to do with my priorities. For the first time, I slowed down to do the math - I was 22, I would graduate college at 23. I would then go to medical school until I was 27. Next I'd have to do residency, which meant I'd be 30 before I really even got started. At the time I knew Brandon, but I definitely didn't know Brandon would be my husband... at the time there were no potential husbands even on the radar but I could see by doing the math that if I did get married during that medical training whirlwind there was no way I was going to be having babies until at least 30... and honestly once I FINALLY got out, I wasn't sure I would want to put my career on hold to go be the mother I would inevitably want to be. This left me with a really big dilemma, I could ditch my dream and someday have my own children or stick with the plan and spend the rest of my life taking care of everyone else's.

Well, as you know, I chose option one. This was not a decision I made lightly, nor was it one that I was very excited about telling my parents. My mom and dad (Well, entire family for that matter) have always been 110% supportive of my dreams and goals whether it was to be an elite gymnast when I was little (even though at 5'7" it was clear "gymnast" was not in my future for long) or to be a doctor, my parents have put in whatever it took (time, money, prayer or just constant words of encouragement) to help me accomplish my desires. This included multiple times of talking me off the ledge of bailing on the med school dream when a really scary test was approaching. And THAT was exactly what I was afraid of... I was afraid they were going to think I was a quitter. I was afraid they were going to think I was just making this decision because I didn't want to miss out on all the college fun. I was afraid they were going to think that I was just tired of all the pressure. Those were easy things to be afraid of because I knew they knew I didn't have a back up plan... this girl NEVER goes without a plan. The thought of not knowing what the next step was terrified me... I'd stayed right on track with the plan since KINDERGARTEN! So, I bit the bullet and called my parents. I swear to you, my parents should write a book. They are parenting geniuses. I've thrown some pretty stressful stuff at them over the years and they have always handled every situation with grace and love and wisdom. And they did this time too. They told me to sleep on it, pray about it and ask God to show me His perfect plan for my life, that His plan wouldn't be muddied by my agenda. So I did and even though they didn't say it, I'm positive they prayed the same things too.

Hang in there, I'm finally getting to the point. It wasn't two days later that I was sitting in our room watching the news and saw the tragic story of little Kelsey Smith-Briggs. She was a three year old child that died as a result of abuse by her mother and step-father after DHS recommended that she not be placed back in their home. I vividly remember seeing video of this precious little girl wearing TWO casts because both her legs had been broken. I clearly remember my thoughts were, "The best pediatrician in the world couldn't fix that little girl's problems... but an attorney could have." Shortly after, one of our family friends had problems getting pregnant. She and her husband tried every medical procedure out there. As much as they longed for a baby, modern day medicine couldn't give them one... but guess what? Their attorney did! He helped them adopt an adorable little boy that I guarantee has received more love and attention than most people can imagine.

In a week's time God had showed me the next step in HIS plan... a plan that was much better than mine. I was supposed to become an attorney. It was a job where I could fulfill my passion of helping children, but not sacrifice the joy of having my own someday. It was a perfect fit!

Now, fast forward to today. I put in my three years at law school (and guess what? God blessed me, law came much easier to me than chemistry!) and passed the dreaded Bar Examine. I am an attorney, but now I am facing a new hurdle, one of my toughest yet... MYSELF. I am being selfish with my time, blatantly ignoring God, being argumentative with my husband as he tries to encourage me and continuing to put off what I know I need to actively pursue.

I believe God has called me to help others through Adoption Law, yet my fear and self-doubt have prevented me from following His plan. Now, don't get me wrong... I also believe God has put me in my current job! This is a job where I've learned some very valuable skills and lessons, where I've been surrounded by amazing people, built wonderful relationships and where I've had a whole lot of fun. I have no plans of leaving OU anytime soon. But at the same time, God has placed people in my life to help me learn the skills of an adoption attorney with very little risks. Brandon's aunt, who happens to be an adoption/child protection attorney, has very generously invited me to sit in and observe some of her casework and learn the ropes. A friend from the law school, who happens to have done all the legal work when she and her husband made the decision to adopt, has sweetly sent me the form books so that I could have them without having to dig for them or pay for them. My wonderful husband, who happens to believe in me and support me just as much as my sweet parents, has tried diligently to encourage me to get my feet wet in this legal process. But because I have never been a "real lawyer" I have fear. Because I worry that I might mess something up and cause a hardship to a family that I want to help, I have self-doubt.

Oh, how small my faith can be sometimes.

So, today, I'm writing this post so that I can be held accountable.

{I have been selfish with my time lately.}
     I am sharing my fears and self-doubt so that I'll be motivated to face them and not just coast or waste my time with unimportant things.

{I have been blatantly ignoring God.}
     I have confessed my short comings so that you can know, and hopefully see first hand, that God is a patient God... One that gives second chances, that loves you even when you put Him aside and above all, is a God of forgiveness and mercy and grace. He has a perfect plan for each and every one of us and if we are faithful... if we will stop and listen... He will show us that perfect plan, and trust me, His plan has ALWAYS been far beyond my greatest expectations!  

{I have been argumentative with my husband as he tries to encourage me.}
     I have told on myself so that my husband will know that I am thankful for him - thankful for his support, thankful for his encouragement, thankful for his soft nudging when I need to be doing something differently and very sorry that I've reacted harshly when he pushed to make me better by doing something that I was fearful of facing. Thank you darling, you are doing your job of husband very, very well.

{I have continued to put off what I know I need to actively pursue.}
     And finally, I told you guys this to let you know that I'm starting a new chapter... I'm opening up that big ol' adoption form book and I'm going to start reading and researching and learning and pushing myself. Right now, I know a precious couple that needs a good attorney to help them bring home a baby to love and adore... that's me.

*My special request is that you all pray for me as I start this journey. Pray that God gives me wisdom and confidence. That I am able to learn the things that are most important to the adoption process and then be diligent in refining the smaller skills so that I leave no stone unturned. Thank you for your constant support and love.

Be Blessed!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree!!

At our house, putting up the Christmas tree is kind of a big deal! Not in a "Ugh, we have to put up the stupid tree and get all the decorations out of the attic and attempt to fix the lights. Whomp. Whomp." kind of way... more like:


Yeah, more like that. Brandon and I both love Christmas so we get pretty excited about putting up the tree. We have two trees - one in the living room and one in our bedroom (and I have a little tiny one on the dining room table but I don't count it because I want a third real size tree... and if the third real size tree was considered our fourth Christmas tree I think B would draw the line and say I was getting a little carried away. So I'm not risking it - we have 2 trees and a tiny. The End) and today I will be featuring our living room tree because, well, it's my favorite! (This is where there should be a fabulous picture of my tree BUT I don't want to give it away yet... Keep reading, the pictures are coming I promise!)

So the back story on this tree is super random. One afternoon I was going to meet Brandon for a quick little lunch date. B was very busy that day and was running behind (Miracle #1: The fact that I was early and Brandon was late... that NEVER happens) so I told him not to rush, I'd find something to entertain myself with. As I was pulling into the parking lot, I saw a garage sale sign across the street so I figured I could go browse until he arrived (Miracle #2: I love, love, love an estate sale, I never shop a garage sale). So I hopped out of my car and let's just say it was "sparse pickins" at this sale (Hence the reason I never shop a garage sale). They didn't have jack. So, in an attempt to be kind, I wandered through as slowly as I could and then out of nowhere I spotted a very large box... CHRISTMAS TREE! So I pulled the box out and examined it - prelit 7.5 ft Douglas Fir. Not too shabby. So I asked the dreaded question, "How much are you wanting for it?" She (being good at the game) asked me how much I wanted to give. I stalled... "Ummmm" (This was not me being good at the game, this was me trying to remember if I even had a check book in my car). She interrupted my thoughts with, "How's $5?" Typically, I am a hard sale, I LOVE to play the game (My dad is Randy Rogers and I've had three years worth of "how to argue" training - this girl isn't afraid of a little negotiation) but I was so flabbergasted all I could force out of my mouth was "Sold." (Miracle #3: I actually had $12 cash in my pocket. That NEVER happens. I dare you to mug me, you will be disappointed. I NEVER have real money.) So,  this is the grand debut of my $5 Christmas Tree...

Duh tuh duh da! Not bad for five bucks huh?!
Brandon attempting to fix the pre-lit lights because they didn't work...
Not that I'm complaining. You get what you pay for.
First, I lay all the ornaments out on the floor to see what I've got to work with. Then I start grouping them together based on color and style so I don't stick twenty round brown bulbs on the tree in the same place, they need to be evenly dispersed!! And in my personal opinion (I am by no means a tree decorating expert), it's best to put all the big ones on first and then fill in with the smaller ones. Typically, after the big ones go on then my favorites go next so that they get the prime branches!! (Brandon sweetly plays by all my rules, but let's me know if I start getting bossy... which inevitably happens every time. Bless his sweet little heart and thank God for his patience!)

Getting the ornaments ready to decorate!
My trees don't have a theme per se, I lean more towards color schemes. So on this tree I went with shades of greens, golds and browns to match our living room. I love incorporating different textures and styles; therefore, you'll see some ornaments that are covered in sparkles and others that are covered in woodsy moss. There are fancy ornaments and plain, simple and complex, traditional and original! And my personal theory on ornaments, is a lot like my theory on butter - the more the merrier!

With King as our last name, we had to have a few crowns!

So, after about three mugs of hot chocolate, two trips to the store and Christmas Vacation PLUS Home Alone 2... Our Christmas tree was complete!! I think it turned out pretty nice!

Hope everyone had as much fun preparing their homes for Christmas as we did! If you're a Christmas ornament lover like me, don't forget that Hobby Lobby is running 50% off all ornaments right now! It's always good to stock up for next year, then you feel like you have something new and you only paid half the price. Oh, how I love a good sale! (No, this post isn't sponsored by Hobby Lobby... but I sure wish it was!!)

I'll be sharing the tree in our bedroom next week and sometime I'll show off our tiny little not Christmas tree! So check back often!!

Be Blessed!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Blogging Hangover

I've never had a real life hangover, but I'm pretty sure that today I have a blogging hangover. I guess I poured out all my emotional, creative juices yesterday on Miss Blake and so today... I've got nothing. In addition to having nothing, I didn't quite get around to taking pictures of our Christmas trees last night because I had a headache, so today... I've got nothing to work with. AND, I asked B how his part of Meeting My Match was coming and the poor man has been swamped at work, we're rarely ever home and now he's having to start studying for boards, so guess what... He's got nothing! (Actually, he had more than I thought he had... on the back of one of his pages covered in medical jargon was the start of his very sweet version of our story. He read it to me. It's good. You're going to like it... Sorry to leave you a hanging a little longer... You'll live, I'm sure.) Soooo, today you are getting a very interesting 50 Q&A about yours truly! I secretly love to fill these things out although I never forward them on like the emails tell you to and so far none of the curses have happened to me - I did find love, I didn't die in 10 days and the majority of my wishes have come true! Lucky me I guess... So here goes! I promise to have something much more entertaining for you tomorrow!!

1. What time did you get up this morning? Err... I'm more than a little reluctant to tell this since some of my coworkers read my blog... and my mom... she's going to call me about this one I can already feel it. Well, B got up at 5 something and he talked to me but I can't remember any part of it... Then he called me to tell me good morning from the hospital at 6am (He gives the best wake up calls, except that usually I fall right back to sleep) but I do remember parts of the conversation today (I used my best "fake awake" voice)... Then the alarm went off at 6:30am but I have no recollection of that except that I'm pretty sure that's when I tossed Rylee up in bed with me because she started cuddling and the next thing I know it's 7:28am and I literally JUMPED out of bed. Oopsy. 

2. How do you like your steak? Medium rare please

3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema: I'm pretty sure it was The Help... I know everyone said that the movie was as good as the book, but everybody lied. The movie was cute but the book was so amazing!! I read it on our honeymoon and COULD NOT put it down... When it ended I so wanted a part two. You should read it. I PROMISE you won't regret it. (If my friend Sheridan tries to tell you otherwise, just ignore her... she's wrong.) 

4. What is your favorite TV show? Modern Family, duh. If you don't watch it, you should. It's funny stuff!

5. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be? Vian, America!! And if that wasn't a choice, probably Cinque Terra, Italy.

6. What did you have for breakfast? Cherry Andes Mints (Sorry hubs, we are out again)

7. What is your favorite food? Tough one. I have a mean sweet tooth... I like sushi a lot... It's hard to beat a steak... so, probably chocolate pie or crab legs!

8. Foods you dislike? Not a tough one. Lettuce, Onions, Spinach, Carrots, Licorice, blue skittles, jelly beans, most fish (except striper and catfish... they must be fried), meatballs, did I say lettuce? I really hate lettuce. That's about it.

9. Favorite place to eat? Aww Shucks in Dallas - best crab legs ever

10. Favorite dressing? My friend Andrea totally got me hooked on the Kraft Balsamic Vinaigrette with Extra Virgin Oil and Parmesan... or something close to that, I can't remember exactly but it's awesome.

11. What kind of vehicle do you drive? A black ML350 SUV

12. What are your favorite clothes? Sun dresses hands down

13. Where would you visit if you had the chance? I'm currently undecided... see this post. 

14. Cup 1/2 empty or 1/2 full? 1/2 full always, with a dash of realist

15. Where would you want to retire?  See #5

16. Favorite time of day?  Sunset - Oklahoma sunsets are the very best... especially if viewed from my parent's porch at the lake house

17. Where were you born?  Fort Smith, Arkansas

18. What is your favorite sport to watch?  I really like football... but I love some basketball!

19. What is your favorite fragrance?  I have two favorites that I wear often: Michael by Michael Kors and the original Juicy Couture.

20. What is your favorite face cream?  When I use face lotion which is very rarely I use MAC... but I don't even know what it's called... clearly not big on "face cream"

21. Favorite baby/kids products?  Not going to lie, I LOVE Johnson's Sleep Time Lotion AND Bubble Bath... and I use them often and I'm not ashamed. They smell awesome. 
22. People watcher?  Always.

23. Are you a morning or night person?  Definitely a night person, I'm not too good about getting up (See #1) but I kick into super productive mode right around 9:30pm.

24. Do you have any pets?   Yes, Miss Rylee, our adorable little shih tzu.

25. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share? I don't know ANY new news today... that rarely happens. Sorry for the let down.

26. What did you want to be when you were little?  A pediatrician

27. What is your favorite memory?  Oh man, I have lots of really wonderful memories... My all time favorite probably goes to the day I got to marry Brandon. That was a really, really good day.

28. Are you a cat or dog person?  Dog. Cats gross me out.

29. Are you married?  Yes! Yes! Yes! And happily...

30. Always wear your seat belt?  Pretty much.

31. Been in a car accident?  I was in a minor fender-bender when I was little and it absolutely terrified me

32. Any pet peeves?  I've got a few but the first one that comes to mind is when my brother says "ain't." Drives. Me. Crazy. 

33. Favorite pizza toppings?  Canadian Bacon, regular bacon and pineapple! Yum!

34. Favorite flower?  I'm a flower person - my favorite is probably peonies but I also love ranunculus, iris, hydrangea, tulips, etc. I kind of like them all!

35. Favorite ice cream?  Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia - cherry ice cream with cherries and fudge flakes.

36. Favorite fast food restaurant?  Taco Bell - 4 crunchy tacos with meat and cheese only... and mild sauce. Doesn't get better than that. 

37. How many times did you fail your driver's test? Unlike my mother, I passed my driver's test the first time. Love you mom!

38. From whom did you get your last email?  Miss Sheridan...

39. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card?  Oh SUPER tough one. I would probably choose Dillards because I could buy clothes and shoes and house stuff and pretty much everything in one place. But I also LOVE Anthropologie, MacKenzie Childs, Nordstroms, I could go on for days...

40. Favorite book?  Oh man, these are getting difficult... There's no way I can cut it down to just one so in honor of Christmas I'll choose one that my mom always reads to us and I'll read to my children some day, A Cup of Christmas Tea.

41. Like your job?  Yes! I work with some of the very best people in the world who make going to work fun

42. Broccoli?  Over. My. Dead. Body. 

43. What was your favorite vacation?  Italy!

44. Last person you went out to dinner with? Brandon, Caleb & Ashlee, Karen & Woody, Jim & Jennifer. We had a little Sushi Neko together!

45. What are you listening to right now?  Christmas carols blaring from my boss's office

46. What is your favorite color?  Changes daily

47. How many tattoos do you have?  Zero

48. Coffee drinker?  No thanks

49. Favorite drink?  Coke in a glass bottle. The bottle makes it better, I swear.
50. What word best describes you? Thankful

So, there you go. Fifty completely random (and pointless) questions and answers about me! Sorry guys, definitely not my best work but there will be much more promising things tomorrow! Off to knock out some much needed Christmas shopping!

Be Blessed!