Thursday, February 23, 2012

A Completely Unemotional Post...

Lately it's been feeling like an on-going birthday bonanza around here... I feel like at the end of typing out every post my mascara is ruined, I'm sniffling and I'm just over all emotionally drained. Sorry, not quite sure when I became such a sap. (Whiny voice: I just love my family, okay?!) So, today I'm lightening it up a bit. My head is spinning with crazy plans right now, so I decided I would share... I feel like I can't form a complete sentence before one thought is interrupted by another, so please, bear with me! Let the randomness begin...

This week's agenda...
Sorry, don't know why it's blurry. Whomp whomp.
Tonight we are heading to Guthrie, America to the Pollard Theater to watch the local production of Tuesdays With Morrie! We are meeting my in-laws and I am so excited... I feel like I haven't seen them in for-e-ver. Plus, I have fallen in LOOOOOVE with the little old Pollard Theater. I'll give you a full review tomorrow, promise!  

Birthday Boy Lane!
Is he not the cutest little guy you've ever seen?
Friday we are going to another birthday party! Brandon's buddy's little boy, Lane, is a year older so we are going to celebrate and eat lots of pizza... We adore Lane, he was one of the ring bearers in our wedding and he is so stinking cute. THEN after the birthday party, my cousins Callie, Levi and BABY BLAKE are coming to spend the night!! I.Can't.Wait!

Look how big she's gotten!!
Saturday, my entire little hometown will be traveling to "the City" to cheer on our high school's wrestlers as they compete in the State Competition. I know nothing about wrestling, but I'm about to learn! An article was written recently about how quickly my hometown has become a wrestling powerhouse (the program was only started a few years ago). The paper said we had the "loudest, proudest, and dumbest fans..." I asked my parents about this - why in the world would someone write that? My dad beamed with pride as he told me the comment was completely accurate, he and half the other fans, didn't know a thing about wrestling but they cheered as loud as they could the whole time! My hometown supports their kids 110% regardless of what they are competing in... I can't wait to go root our boys on too! Brandon is on call Saturday night so I'll be hanging out with the family until the last possible minute.

Sunday we will go to church in the morning... Our pastor is doing an a-mazing series right now on the story of Samson and how it applies to men today. Oh boy, it has been so good! You can check it out at! Even if you don't live in the OKC Metro, the experiences are live on the website... It's good stuff, you don't want to miss it! After church, I'm going to head to a shower for our soon-to-be nephew, Brooks! I've been doing a ton little shopping to get ready for his arrival and I can hardly wait for his mommy to open all the presents... Eek!!

NEXT WEEK I'm going to take a short blogging hiatus while Brandon and I head to the mountains!! We will be in Keystone, Colorado allllll week catchin' some sun while we blaze down the slopes! (Please don't rob us now that you know this information... We have an alarm, it will be set.) Neither one of us have been skiing in a couple of years, so we cannot wait! I'm sure I'll return with lots and lots and LOTS of pictures... Plus, we are going with B's aunt and uncle and their three adorable kiddos! We are crazy about their little family and always have so much fun when we are with them.

So, I've got a TON to do between now and then - pick up my new ski pants (yay!), clean the house, locate some purple to wear to cheer on my team, learn all the rules of wrestling, pack, pass our puppy to my parents, bake lots and lots of cookies for the road trip and did I mention pack because I'm the slowest packer in the entire world, I am sure of it!

Plus, if you read nothing else on this entire blog READ THIS: Dillards "Take an Additional 40% Off Sale" begins TODAY!!! Don't miss out... Bargains everywhere people!

And I hear that my FAVVVVVORITE grocery store,
Crest, is having their Anniversary Sale.
I have never been before but I've heard that it is a-mazing!

Have I told you guys that Brandon and I are becoming ridiculous television watchers? I've never had DVR until we got married and I finally get it! TV is an absolute joy when you can press fast forward!! Who knew?! We've become old people over night... We have "shows!" We watch Modern Family because it's hilarious and my fave. We like to believe Brandon is studying by watching Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice. And now, for the first time ever, we are hooked, absolutely positively would not miss, American Idol! I know, I know, I'm like six years behind. Sue me. AAAAANNND we don't really understand The Voice but we love it! I mean we get it right now but we have no clue what happens after each celebrity artist has their team... I guess we will just have to keep watching. Then this week we started watching Amazing Race which I love! I want to go on that show so bad!! (And I watch the trash television show of the century - The Bachelor. I despise Butt-Cut Ben so I want him to pick Crazy Courtney because I think the other girls are nice and they deserve better.) See, I think we may have a problem. We've become couch potatoes. How did this happen to us? I am one of those people that adamantly opposes tv... DVR you've ruined me!!!

Oh and how about a BEDLAM upset last night from my Sooner Men's Basketball!? Woohoo! And the THUNDER dominated the Celtics... Great night, last night!

Well, that's all I have time for now... Thanks for reading all the randomness that has been swirling through my head all day! Talk to you tomorrow!

Be Blessed!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Dearest Baby Brother...

Twenty-two years ago today life as I knew it changed forever. For the first five years of my little life, I was it. I was the only child, the center of attention, the belle of the ball, the apple of everyone's eye... and then my Baby Brother entered the world... and never, not one single time, not even for an instant, have I ever wanted to go back to the time before Zac.

Zac was a Cowboy Texas Ranger... He always wore a badge, always carried a pop gun and never went anywhere without that raggady cowboy hat or his scuffed up boots.

Zac was a thumb sucker... We put everything imaginable on that little thumb trying to make him stop, but he was not deterred. Finally, one day my mom told him that she had read a study that kids that sucked their thumbs were more prone to become smokers. He never sucked his thumb again.

Zac has always been patient... Poor little guy spent his first five years of life riding in his carseat. At the time, I was going to gymnastics five days a week and it was a forty-five minute commute one way. Never one single time do I remember hearing him complain about always being strapped in or having to sit through hours of practices.

Zac went everywhere I went... If I had a bunch of girls over for a slumber party, we all knew that he would be right in the middle of everything. He was never that annoying little brother, he was just always happy to be included. I always wanted him to be with me too, so it worked out well.

Zac has always been a home-body. I have never been a home-body. I swear he would have never gone on a vacation except that he knew I really wanted to go and he wanted me to be happy. Sometimes, it worked the other way... like that snow skiing trip, half way through he decided he was ready to go home, so we packed up and headed out.

Zac has always been a natural athlete and I have always been his biggest fan. I was already gone to college by the time he got to high school, but we'd talk after almost every game and I would come home as often as I could. Even now, he'll call on the bus trip back from wherever his team has been and he'll be talking a hundred words a second and I love, love, love that he calls me to talk basketball.

Zac can make me feel special in a crowd. Whether he was on the gym floor or warming up in the high jump pit, the second he heard me cheer for him his head would snap up and he'd find me and then flash me a big smile... Sometimes locating me was pretty easy, I tend to be rather vocal at his basketball games.

Zac's nervous habit is to rub something silky between his thumb, index and  middle finger. It was a habit he started when he was little because his crib bedding had a little silk ribbon in it and he'd play with it until he fell asleep. When he got older, he'd ask to borrow my hair ribbon and rub it between his fingers in the car on the way to his games at the Boy's Club. Now, whenever the game is about to tip off or the score gets close, he'll start rubbing the silky material of his gym shorts... Knowing he's nervous, makes me nervous.

Zac and I trash talk a lot, but never to each other. Most people think the competition is who can stay on the tube the longest, so they try to knock each other off... Not us. We think the competition is who will wear out first - us or dad driving the boat. I can't tell you how many times Zac has pulled me back on the tube when I thought I couldn't hold on any longer. I always want him on my team.

Zac takes care of the people he cares about. The first picture was taken the morning of my wedding, he had been running around like a crazy man loading tables and moving things. The weeks leading up to my wedding, he dug ditches to lay the power lines, he helped hang lights in the trees and pretty much anything else I needed done. The second picture was taken after the ice storm, Zac was helping my grandparents feed and break the ice on the ponds for the horses. He always enjoys helping them. The final picture was taken before Callie's wedding. Zac kept moving the truck and hanging lanterns from the trees, he's a pretty good wedding slave.

Zac, as much as I love him, can be a bit redneck... although he would call it resourceful or efficient. This picture is one of my favorites. When he moved home after his first year of college he found an old couch on the side of the road so he loaded it up and duct taped it in. He drove 8 hours like this. Then he decided having a couch in the back of his truck came in very handy - when he and his friends were playing pick up basketball, the people who were sitting out each game had a comfortable place to sit - so he drove around all summer with that hideous thing hanging out of the bed of his truck.

Zac is loved by EVERYONE... He and Blythe have always had a secret handshake. The twins adore him and look up to him, even when he's de-pantsing them. Young or old, Zac captures all hearts.

Zac has never been embarrassed to tell me that he loved me. I worried about this when he went to college... What if all of the sudden he was too cool for his sister? I called him a few weeks ago and he was lifting weights with the team... I told him he could just call me back, but he stopped what he was doing and talked. When we started to hang up, he didn't hesitate, "I love you sister." Best. Feeling. Ever.

Zac's visits at college are some of my favorite memories. My roommate and I snuck him in the girls dorms where he stayed up late talking with us and then slept on the tile floor. He took lots and lots of pictures with me and my friends while I lived at Pi Phi... so many that he could do the "sorority pose" perfectly. Any time he came to visit we would order Pizza Shuttle regardless of the hour. My freshman year, I took him to his first OU football game and we stayed up the night before making signs for College Game Day. It was always good for him to come visit.

Zac and I both still get a little homesick... not for our house, but for each other. It's like we just need a little time together to reenergize ourselves. I was really missing him a few weeks ago so he came and stayed with us. We didn't do anything special, but it was so nice just to know he was on the other end of the couch.

Zac cracks me up constantly. He is so random and witty... Tweets this week: (1) The Thunder just made me happier than that time I made that 36 on my ACT... (2) Jeremy Lin might be the most famous person in the world right not but... if he was in the mall... wouldn't have a clue. THEY ALL LOOK THE SAME. (3) Nothin gets my competitive juices flowin quite like fightin for a good parking spot at Walmart. 

 Zac has always been fiercely loyal. He has defended me, protected me, stood up for me and always taken very good care of me. I'm not sure when our roles began to reverse but somewhere along the line it did. At some point, he stopped acting like a baby brother... Sometimes, I still struggle with that - I forget that he can order for himself at a restaurant now, but he never gets annoyed with my big sistering. I am so appreciative of that.

 Zac makes sure that the things that are important to me, are also important to him. He'll never know how much I appreciated him skipping that trip to Colorado so he could be there the day Brandon proposed. Having him home to share the joy with made it absolutely perfect.

Zac loves Monster. That's all I have to say about that.

Zac loves being outside. Whether we're fishing or rock climbing or swimming in the creek or shooting guns at the Ranch, he is definitely happiest being out somewhere that requires driving on a dirt road. I love this about him... He is the epitome of gool ol' boy.

Zac's opinion was the one I cared most about when it came to boys and, man, did he have opinions! Once he told me to dump a guy because his jump shot was so bad... and he was completely serious. But every time at the end of the day, his advice and wisdom were right on. My brother is a wonderful judge of character, probably because he has so much of it. Sometimes, when I considered lowering my standards, he was picky for me. Thank you bubba. I wanted to make sure I found a man who would be the brother you never had, who appreciated your hilarious sense of humor, who understood your passion for sports, who would watch stupid television shows like Finding BigFoot with you and who you could call, who you would want to call when you needed advice or wisdom or a friend... I'm so glad I found him for you brother. Thank you for insisting that I deserved only the very best... I didn't stop until I found a man I loved as much as I love you. Thank you for setting the bar so high brother.

Zac gave me the most precious gift at our wedding... a toast. Oh the amount of money I would give to have that on video! He started out cracking jokes - explaining that he had spent his entire life trying to defend his sister's honor... and then, he broke my heart - "So today is the day my best friend got a new best friend." Makes me cry every time. Brother, you will always be my very best friend... You always have been... 

The final picture is one of my most favorites... For as long as I can remember, Zac has slept in my room. He usually slept on the floor, but this particular night was the conclusion to a very hard day. I love this picture. It is the prime example of our relationship and how it's changed through the years while somehow remaining the same. Brother's frame looks so big and strong and I look so tiny next to him. He slept beside me because he was taking care of me - making sure I was okay. When did he become the "big" brother? When did he become the protector, the comforter, and the one I depended on? That had always been my role... I am the big sister. Yet somewhere, at sometime, I started looking up to him and he started taking care of me. He's only 22 and yet our relationship has already gone full circle. The thing is - no matter how big or how strong or how old he is, he will always be my baby brother.  That will never change. I am so thankful that twenty-two years ago today I was blessed with the most perfect brother in the whole wide world. 

Thank you Zac Rogers for being everything I ever wanted and needed, and yet still letting me pretend that I was the care giver, not the one being cared for. Thank you for always giving me the inside scoop on your life, for sharing everything with me - good and bad. Many years ago, mom and dad explained to me that I was supposed to be their spy... Thanks for never doing anything worthy of being told on. Thanks for making me laugh daily. Thanks for always loving me unconditionally, even when I acted more like your mom than your friend. Thanks for always answering my phone calls and for never being embarrassed by the words "I love you." Thank you for always listening to me and taking my advice even when it wasn't necessarily what you wanted to do. Thanks for being a wonderful role model of what a Christian man is supposed to look like and act like and really truly be... always, without fail. Thank you for hiding notes or cds in my suitcase whenever I had to go back to college, I still treasure those today. Thank you for always making me feel like the most important person in your life... You have been the perfect little brother. I love you so much more than pictures or words in a silly blog could ever do justice. Thank you bubba for a wonderful 22 years of friendship. You are absolutely loved and adored.


Monday, February 20, 2012

Recipe Monday: Homemade Cheeseburger Macaroni

Hey gang! Happy President's Day! I assumed, since I was named after a President, I would be given the day off to reflect on President Reagan's time in office. I assumed wrong. Bummer. IF I believed in karma, I'd blame my lack of a free day on the bad karma I received for lying. So in order to change my karma around... just in case there is such thing as karma... I must confess: I'm not named after President Reagan, I'm named after my mom's favorite store... that's why my name is "a" before "e" instead of like the Pres. Which actually makes much more sense, since I love to shop and I'm not that crazy about politics... ANYWAY, hope you were luckier than me and got to spend the day relaxing in the comfort of your own home!

Now, moving onto Recipe Monday! Today I'm bringing you one of Brandon's favorites from my most loved cooking blog, Iowa Girl Eats! This one, I must admit, I was rather skeptical about. It's basically a healthier version of Hamburger Helper... I'm not a huge fan of Hamburger Helper to start with, so making it healthier sounded even less appealing but I'd already made the fatal mistake of mentioning to Brandon that there was a new HH recipe floating around out there... So we HAD to try it, or so he said. Being the wonderful wife that I am, I gave it a whirl and as much as I hate to admit - Brandon was right, I was wrong. It was delicious. Go figure! Not only was it super yummy, but it was also a breeze to make! And it even reheated well when I took it to lunch the next day! Soooo, definitely give this one a try, you won't regret it! Unless, of course, you tell your husband you don't like Hamburger Helper and then you go eat five bowls of it... That part you might regret.


What you need:
1 lb Lean Ground Beef
1 T Cornstarch
2 tsp Paprika
1 tsp Onion Powder*
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Sugar
1/4 tsp Pepper
1 C Hot Water
2 C Skim Milk
1 1/2 C Twirls or Small Pasta of Your Choice
1 C Shredded Sharp Chedder Cheese**

*You know how I feel about onions... I left this out and it was still delicious!

**I forgot to pick up sharp chedder so I used Colby Jack and Chedder... It was still great, but I think the sharp chedder would have been best!

What you do:

(1) Brown ground meat in a skillet and drain grease. Add cornstarch, seasonings, hot water and skim milk. Stir to combine.

(2) Add pasta, stir until combined and bring to a boil.

(3) Reduce the heat, place a lid on top and simmer for 10 minutes, or until pasta is soft. Stir occasionally.

(4) Turn off the heat and stir in cheese until melted. Let stand for about 5 minutes.

Tada! All done! See so easy and super duper yummy! It was perfect for the one cold day we had last week!

Be Blessed!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Meet Rylee

Well, I feel as though I've been accidentally depriving you all of a little joy... I somehow forgot to introduce you to Rylee! Worst dog owner of the year award goes to... drum roll... me. Shucks! So let me share a few fast facts and catch you up on Little Miss Priss.

#1. She was a complete surprise! My senior year of college I had decided to live by myself in an adorable little cottage close to campus. My mom was worried that I would be lonely, so the day before I left for school a tiny fluffy shih tzu puppy wearing a giant red bow woke me up! She literally looked like a stuffed animal, she was so stinkin' cute!

#2. From day one, Rylee stole my heart. You know how everyone always says they wished their dog didn't grow out of the cute puppy stage... Mine didn't!! People always ask me how old my puppy is and they are floored when I tell them she's six! She weighs right at 7 pounds and looks just the same as the day I got her!

#3. She was officially the best study buddy ever. This was a picture I took during my first set of law school finals. As you can see based on the number of M&M wrappers, I was stressed. Ol' Ryles never left my side. She would sit in my lap for hours and hours on end.

#4. Miss Rylee is a little flirt. She stand like this all the time and it cracks me up! She loves to meet new people and if you don't give her an appropriate amount of attention, she will prance back and forth in front of you until you can't help but smile at her. She also has very good manners and will never jump up on your legs or climb in your lap unless you tell her to.

#5. She never wears dog clothes. She HATES them and I just think it's a little weird (Plus, call me selfish, but if I'm going to spend money on clothes they are going to be for me, not my dog). But occasionally, when it's really cold outside, I break my own rule and make her wear this cute little hounds tooth number. I mean, seriously, how could I say no to a little hounds tooth?!

#6. The sweet dog makes a pretty good pillow if you aren't feeling well. She's the perfect little cuddle buddy.

#7. Don't judge her by her size, she is a killer watch dog! She doesn't bark unless she needs something or sees something. Sometimes I may not see whatever she's barking at immediately, but if I wait a couple of seconds the mail man will come around the corner or I'll catch the cat darting off. Once when I had a small "mishap" with a roast, she woke me up by barking when the fire alarm didn't go off.

#8. Gurl has some seriously bad hair days.

#9. She is probably the most low maintenance dog ever. I leave for work at 7:30am and sometimes don't get home until 6:30pm... She is ready to go outside the second I get there, but she hasn't had any accidents! She has completely spoiled me... I never have to plan my schedule around her. You can take her anywhere, she is always very well behaved. Once, I even left her with my mother-in-law... The ultimate test of my faith in her!

#10. Rylee LOVES to ride in the car. She doesn't care where you are going or how long the trip is, she just wants to go!!! When I drive back to my hometown, regardless of whether it's day or night, the second I turn off the exit she wakes up and starts getting so excited. I have no clue how she knows we are there but it's super adorable!

#11. My brother tortures her. He always holds the treat right out of reach or uses this really high voice so she thinks he is saying sweet things to her, but he isn't. She loves him nonetheless.

#12. Rylee appreciates sitting on the tube at the lake but...

#13. She is not a fan of getting wet. Not one single bit. And I think she's embarrassed that I make her wear a life jacket... but it has a handle on the back so it's easy to pick her up and carry her that way, so it's staying.

#14. She ALWAYS wears a hair bow. She loves them! When I get the bag out she jumps up in my laugh and sits perfectly still while I put it in. After I get it all fixed, she waltzes around the house for the rest of the afternoon!

#15. Rylee has had the same bed since I got her and although I'd really like to replace it with something prettier, I'm afraid she'd be really sad. It fits her perfectly.

#16. She's a great helper... She decorates Christmas trees, works on the grill... whatever you have to sit on the ground to do, she will sit in your lap for moral support.

#17. She does not love my little nieces... I wouldn't either if they carried me around by the throat, dressed me in a purple boa and insisted that I hang a stocking on my tail. Bless her.

#18. She is not afraid to pose for some pictures. The Christmas tree pics were probably my favorite of the year. Just sit a treat on the floor and say "Stay" and she'll pose for hours with the most serious face... hi-larious!

#19. No question, her favorite thing to do is go on a walk. No need to hold the leash, she'll walk right beside you without fail. If she meets a stranger, she expects their instant adoration and may linger until you brag on her, then the walk resumes. She also has zero fear of big dogs. She barks at them with her most ferocious bark, the one that results in all four of her feet simultaneously hopping off the ground just a little.

#20. As much as it pains me to say it, she likes Brandon the best. She's never been more doted on in her life. He talks to her, pets her, loves on her. She was never allowed up on the furniture until we got married, now she curls up next to him on the couch and just looks at me like "Look what he let me do!" I never let her get up near my face because I didn't want her to do it to anyone else either... B lets her snuggle on his shoulder. Spoiled. Rotten. But I'm happy they like each other.

BONUS: She is wayyyy cuter than Toto. Yes, I took Rylee to a date party in college as a prop (Please don't call PETA). She looked so cute peeking her little head out of my basket!

So, I hope you think my darling dog is adorable as I do! She definitely brings us great joy every single day! Do you have a dog you can't live without? Are you a big dog fan or a small dog? (I am both... I love having Rylee in the house but I love going back to my hometown and having a big ol' lab to hug on and play with outdoors!) What are your favorite dog names? **Expect a great dog name story next week... Probably around February 21st!!

Be Blessed!