Monday, August 31, 2009

West Texas Hurricane?

So I meant to post this on Friday, a day after this all happened.. but life gets busy and so do I! So here's the story:

Thursday evening, I was making dinner when Brandon got home. One of the first things he said to me was, "There's a pretty big storm coming!" I hadn't even paid any attention, which if you know my father, you'd be shocked. I looked out the window to the north and saw the huge black clouds coming and thought sweet! We need the rain!

We sat down to dinner and watched the sky around our house get darker and darker. The wind started to pick up and you could tell it was just about to get pretty bad. I mentioned to Brandon that I had always wondered where we would go in the case of a tornado. We are on the second floor and there are literally windows in every room of our house--including the closet. As we sat there finishing up dinner, the lights started to flicker. We looked out the window and saw the trees nearly bending in half from the wind while pulling and tugging on the power line that comes to our house from the alley (hence the lights flickering). Brandon said, "well, I guess we could go over to my parents' house..." So that's what we did.

I took a quick video of the trees right before we ran out the door, but unfortunately it wasn't during one of the BIG gusts of wind, and I'm talking up to 80 mph gusts!

video

Literally second after I cut off this video, we ran out into the storm. Trash and trash cans were blowing down the street, big tree limbs were down all over the place, it was a powerful storm!

It started to rain the minute we got in the car. So I pulled up the radar to see what we were up against.. and it showed me this from about 45 minutes before...


In the car I turned around to see how Bridger was doing back there amongst all of the random things Brandon had back there and this is what I saw


Poor thing! She was balancing around empty cardboard boxes! I was laughing so hard at her, and then I moved them for her! We got to his parents' house and ran in the door to watch it rain. The storm brought more wind, hard rain, and a little bit of hail, but after about 45 minutes it was over. We decided to head back home and we had a double rainbow!

Excuse the huge crack in Brandon's windshield...
I thought it was pretty cool!

We returned home to find that we didn't have any power. In fact, one of the street lights nearby had fallen from the wind. I was shocked to see what the wind had picked up and thrown around. There was a metal bench that was flipped over and the back snapped off of it, large tree limbs everywhere, and at the ACU game (I'll get to that next) an entire set of bleachers had flipped over the fence, and all the way into the endzone, tearing the fence down in its path!

Honestly we were a little nervous to come home for fear of what might have ended up on my car, but thankfully there was only a shingle from our roof!

Since we had no power we decided to go buy some cookie dough and go back to his parents' house to make some cookies. They had all gone up to the ACU game by the time we got there so we decided to watch it on TV. That's right, I said TV.

#5 ACU played #2 Northwest Missouri (the team they lost to last year in the playoffs) and Fox Sports Southwest chose it as their Division II game of the week. I guess we could have actually gone to the game seeing as it was less than a mile away, but we would rather watch it from the couch...

I decided to change Bridger's bow to purple just for the game and she was so good for letting me take pictures of her with it.


Then she got pretty annoyed at me so I stopped.. but congrats to ACU for the win! Tonight is Muck Fest for Young Life, so look forward to some pretty disgusting photos soon!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Thanks, Christy!

My sister Christy has gotten into sewing lately and she is making some really cute things! For my birthday she sent me an apron that she had made and it's adorable! Last night I wore it for the first time while cooking dinner.

Thanks, Christy! I love it!

Now, on to what I was cooking.. Chicken Fajitas! This is such a good recipe, especially if the only way you've been making fajitas has been buying the pre-marinated chicken.

First, make sure you put on a college T-shirt to celebrate the first day of school that you don't have to go back.. and because all of your t-shirts now consist of college activities. Excuse our old cabinets that don't shut right.. it's a rental so we don't care.


Now, grab some bell peppers. The color is completely up to you, I happen to think that the flavor of the red bell pepper compliments the taste of the chicken perfectly. I add some green in there for more flavor and color, so it's really up to you.

Then cut up an onion. Make sure you cut it into long pieces, because that's what the Mexican restaurants do..

Once you've cut up your onion, place it and the bell peppers into a Zip-Lock bag.

Am I allowed to show you a picture of an actual Zip-Lock bag without their permission? oh, well, consider it free advertising. I like this kind of Zip-Lock because it's bigger on the bottom than it is on the top and it stands up better.

When you have the bell peppers and onion in the bag, it looks like a little Mexican flag. Put on your sombrero and dance around for a minute, then place your cut up chicken in the bag. I used breast tenderloins cut up into inch and half slices.

Now time to add some more ingredients.

First, soy sauce.

That's right, I said it. Soy sauce. You weren't expecting that? I promise it's great!

Now some lime juice.


And some chili powder.. (I'm a wimp when it comes to spice, but this is more flavor than anything)

Now, zip up the bag and shake, rattle, and roll all the stuff around to mix it really well.

Then let it sit for a few minutes. Sometime I use this time to make Homemade Guacamole, thanks to the recipe passed along from my sister. The guacamole is good, but it makes a mess (without a dishwasher) and I didn't want to have a Mexican food themed week trying to finish it, so this time I made some Lemonade.

After a few minutes, flip the bag over.

I know seeing that makes you thirsty...

Now, back to the cooking. Pour a little oil in a skillet and get it really hot, and I mean really hot. If the skillet isn't hot enough, the chicken will not brown correctly.

Once your skillet is hot enough, open up your bag and fish out some of the strips of chicken. Make sure you have an extra plate ready to put them on when they've cooked thoroughly.

You may have to do two batches of chicken depending on the amount you're cooking and the size of your skillet. There are only two of us, so I'm half-ing the recipe and using a smaller skillet.

After about a minute, flip the chicken over to cook the other side. If you're doing it correctly, it will smoke just a tiny bit and you will not realize it until you go into the other room, traditional Mexican food style.

Doesn't that look good?

When you've finished the chicken, remove it and place it aside for a few minutes. Add the rest of the contents of the bag to the skillet and get cook them until the vegetables start to become soft.

Once the vegetables have become tender, add the chicken back to the skillet and stir it all up. Turn off the heat and serve immediately.

I like to take the skillet to the table because it's still sizzling like at the restaurants.

I didn't take any pictures of the finished product because I was feeding a hungry man, but they were good.

The best thing you can do is to buy fresh tortillas, they make all the difference in the world.

Now for the recipe:

2 lbs. Chicken (cut up)
1/2 Medium Onion
1 Bell Pepper
1/8 cup Soy Sauce
1/8 cup Lime Juice
1 tsp Chili Powder

1. Cut up the onion and bell pepper and place in Zip-Lock with Chicken.
2. Add Soy Sauce, lime juice, and chili powder.
3. Mix well and let sit for up to 30 minutes.
4. Heat oil in skillet.
5. Cook chicken and remove from skillet.
6. Cook remaining vegetables until softend.
7. Return chicken to skillet.
8. Serve immediately.


I hope you enjoy the recipe!

Monday, August 24, 2009

So Much LOVE..

I have noticed over the years that a dog, regardless of the breed will form a bond with one person that is stronger than any other bond that dog will have in its lifetime. Most of the time, that bond is formed within the first year of the dog's life, so timing is everything. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that if you don't get a dog as a puppy it will not love you because that is most definitely not the case, but if you had that dog from the time it was a puppy, how much more do you think it would love you?

Bridger was Brandon's dog, and to be honest with you, is the main reason I walked up to Brandon and talked to him at that College Drive Halloween Party--she was chasing a rat terrier dressed in a dinosaur costume all over the yard, tell me you wouldn't find that funny. When I met Bridger, she was about 5 months old, and I think that has everything to do with the bond she has with me too.

Brandon will always be number 1, especially during the few months of bird hunting every year. They are companions and she would do anything he told her to, but recently I have noticed how much Bridger has bonded to me as well.

Friday I took her to the vet to get all of her shots ready for hunting season, and we spent the day together. After the vet, I took her to Petsmart to get a bath, hence the bow (I love that I can do things like this to her and Brandon doesn't complain).


She was ready to be picked up at 11:00 and I still had an hour of work left, so I went and picked her up and she joined me at the office. I put down an old beach towel for her and she was in heaven.

I thought that was so funny.. the flash was a little bright for her.. excuse my wall covering samples and project files!


I began to realize how much she had bonded to me when she started following me around in the house while I got ready and when she would come lay in the kitchen while I was cooking or doing dishes or she would concoct her body to make sure she could see me while I cleaned and packed.

More than anything though, I realized that bond when I was leaving for work one morning, and every morning since. This is what I saw:

It may be hard for you to see because she's so small and the lighting isn't right, but look in the bottom right corner of the window. You will see the curtains are moved, then continue along the window sill to the middle of the window and you will see a small brown circle with a little white spot on it.. Bridger watches me leave EVERY morning! It's the most precious thing ever!

Sometimes she may be a little odd..

...but that is just what makes her so much fun!

All she wants is someone to talk sweet to her, scratch her favorite spot,


..or snuggle with her!


As much as she loves me, I will be quickly replaced in a matter of days. Hunting season starts next week, and I'm not even going to try to compete..


In other news: excuse the sticker Brandon had to put on the refrigerator, and look what I got! No more random scrap pieces of paper! My grocery shopping days have never been so lucky!

Have a wonderful rest of your day!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Are you ready for some Football?

Thursday was the Eagle Extravaganza for Abilene High and the official kick-off of the 2009 football season. Eagle Extravaganza is where the Abilene High varsity team gets officially introduced and every other year there is a scrimmage. This year was not one of those years, so they just practiced in the stadium. It was the preview to the community, parents and die hard fans of what the year will hold.

This year is Brandon's little brother Kirk's first year to be on varsity and we are thrilled to watch him play, because let's be real, we'd probably be at all of the games even if he wasn't playing, but this way we get to watch him too! Living in a small town, especially in West Texas, Friday night football is the thing to do. Everyone in town knows who all the players on the team are and how they did in the previous game, it's just a fact of life.

Here's the 2009 A-High Varisity football team

And there's Kirk.. since I knew you couldn't find him..

Some chit-chatting on the sidelines.. do you know which one he is?

There you go!

About to go on the field

Just in case you hadn't figured it out yet!

How's that water taste, Kirk?

I love football and I love friends, so combining the two into one night of fun every week sounds spectacular to me!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Back to School Blues

This summer has really flown by quick with all the weddings and trips we've taken, I can't believe it's already time for school to start up again. Thankfully, I'm done and don't have to go back, but it's weird that it's already this time of year again! Brandon and I are singing the "back to school blues" for other reasons than us having to go back to school, we're singing it for all the people going back to school. I think if we lived in a larger city, or even in a different part of town we may not notice it as much. Living "on the hill," as some native Abilenians say, opens your eyes to when school is in session and when it's not.

Abilene has three universities that welcome new and old students every fall. Living in a town with a population of about 115,000, you tend to notice the rapid increase of nearly 12,000 people in a matter of a week.

Last Saturday was move-in day for all incoming ACU freshmen. Somewhere around 1,000 people (I'm guessing) around the age of 18 are branching out and taking that giant leap into adulthood. It's weird to think I wont be walking around that campus and meeting all the new faces. In a matter of a couple of years, I will hardly even be able to recognize faces, much less know people's names. But enough thinking about college, really I'm just tired of the long lines at wal-mart and the hundreds of people walking around the track every night... and we aren't even half-way there in terms of the number of people that will be here this weekend!

With the back to school season comes the start up of YoungLife again from a 3 month hiatus due to the summer, and for that, I'm thrilled! I love the football/volleyball games, club, and most importantly, seeing all my lovlies' faces on a regular basis! To fight off the blues they were singing, I got a group of my girls (who are all juniors and DRIVING!!) to meet at Olive Garden on Tuesday night. It was such fun being together and hanging out before we all headed to the volleyball game to watch some of the others who couldn't come!


They are all bummed out that school is starting next week, but I'm SO excited for what this year holds! Tonight is the Eagle Extravaganza and Kirk is playing on varsity! Don't worry, there will be pictures!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Boomhauer

I have lived in Abilene for 4 years now, and before then I was every bit a "city girl," wait, who am I kidding, I still am.. so anyways, there is this show that you've probably heard of before, King of the Hill. It's pretty dumb, but when there is nothing else on tv (i.e. Family Guy) Brandon enjoys watching it.

On that show, there is a guy named Boomhauer (or Boomhower, I don't know) but he is one of the main character's best friends. I googled Boomhoauer and he came up on Urban Dictionary which led me to believe that whoeve wrote this either has a sick obsession with King of the Hill, or needs to get some friends.. maybe both. This is the definition I got:

Hank Hill's back-woods talking neighbor and one of his best friends, from the show, King of the Hill. From what I have pieced together. His full name is Jeff Boomhower, he is an electrical engineer, has a deceased father but mother is still alive. He has a brother name Patch. He has never been married but came close with at lest one girl. He is a ladies man and has a '76 Dodge. He was a quarter-back on his high school's varsity football team and, according to the odometer on Hank Hill's F-150, lives exactly 1/10th of a mile from Hank's house.

Basically, Boomhauer is that guy that no one can understand through his accent and mumbling, and honestly, I have always thought he was just mumbling giberish to be funny.

Here's an example of what I'm talking about:



I was wrong.. he is speaking full sentences (well, Texas style sentences), no joke. You can imagine the shock on my face when I came to this revelation. We were watching it on tv last week and I wasn't really paying attention when Boomhauer came on and started talking. I understood every. last. word.

Is this a result of me living in Abilene? maybe. Is it a result of my capability to understand and translate the mumbling Brandon does when he's bored or tired (even to people like his mother)? Absolutely.

There you have it, the official transition from "city girl" to "country wife" has begun. This is going to be a very interesting ride!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Metrocon and Deja Vu

Last week I went to Dallas for an interior design convention at the market hall. I was so excited that Rebecca was going to come with me, even though she works for a different firm. We had a blast catching up and walking around the convention as well as shopping at the best Dillard's in the WORLD!

We got to stay on the 24th floor of the Renaissance right there at Market and just had a blast! Sorry, no pictures.. I forgot to charge my camera battery.

Friday, I drove back to Abilene to come home and get ready for Minor and Lexi's rehearsal dinner. Brandon came and picked me up after the rehearsal and we were on our way! I think he really enjoyed me all dressed up in his favorite dress after not seeing me for two days!

On the way to the dinner, Brandon was telling me all about the rehearsal. I didn't know this, but Lexi grew up in the Episcopal church like I did, and her parents still attend there, so it was an Episcopal wedding. I almost lost it laughing at Brandon's stories about what they "had to do" in the rehearsal/wedding. He and all of the guys had never been in a wedding like that, so you can imagine how different that might have been for them!

The Episcopal church uses The Book of Common Prayer as the foundation and order for its services, and there are many different prayer such as the Nicene Creed and The Lord's Prayer that are said every week. Once you have gone to the Episcopal church for some time, you begin to memorize these different prayers and don't need to open the Book of Common Prayer when it comes time for them in the service. Brandon said at the rehearsal, when things like the Nicene Creed would come up, all of the girls in the wedding party (most of whom grew up in the Episcopal church) would be saying every word, and all of the guys would be standing there silently looking around at each other with weird looks on their faces. I was laughing so hard thinking that this was the first wedding, administered by a Priest, that Brandon had ever been to, and up until about 3 years ago, I had never been to one that wasn't.

The dinner was sweet, fun, and filled with all kinds of people! And even better, Perini's catered. YUM!

Saturday morning, Brandon and I woke up and the first thing Brandon said to me in the morning was, "what's with the peace thing?" I had no clue what he was talking about and then he said, "the Priest says something and then we were all like, (insert mocking voice here) peace, peace, peace, peace" He continued, "we had no idea what the heck we were supposed to be doing and so we started shaking each other's hand and saying peace!" I laughed and told him that was the Episcopal way of saying hi and introducing yourself to someone around you.

After going to watch some of my YL girls play volleyball, I ran around picking up all of the things Brandon needed for the night, including his tux. Poor thing, I go out of town for two days and he can't go get it himself..

When he had left and everything was fine with his tux, I called my parent's to tell them all about the stories he had said concerning the wedding at the Episcopal church, and we had a good laugh! I finished getting myself ready and headed to Abilene's social event of 2009. The interesting thing about where the wedding was is that it was the church my Grandparents were married in (not the same building) and it was the church where my grandfather's funeral was when I was in second grade (and the place I got the chicken pox). I hadn't been in there since then, so I was curious to see how much of it I remembered.

The Church of Heavenly Rest
*obviously, not my picture, once again.. the camera battery*

The minute we walked in and sat down, I could remember it. I even remembered where I had sat for the funeral. It's a beautiful church with Gothic architecture that makes it look as if it we hundreds of years old.

I only got one picture of Brandon and I (because of my camera battery) and it isn't even very good.. we're on the trolly headed over to the reception.


The wedding was beautiful and the Bride and Groom were nothing but glowing all evening! Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Alexander! We're so happy for you!

*and yes.. I stole this from facebook.. still the whole camera thing

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A little bit of Randomness

I have been incredibly busy at work lately, so my free time has mainly been spent relaxing, not blogging! So, sorry for that, but I'm back! I'm finishing up some plans and specifications for a new school, and I'm about to start up the first big project that is just mine! woo hoo! I'm renovating a big board/conference room for a non profit organization here in Abilene. I'm very excited about it because I'll get to show off my skills as a designer!

Enough talk about work though, what I want to know is...
Does anyone else do this?

When I go grocery shopping, it seems I just grab whatever paper is closest that I can write on... Sometimes it's envelopes, sometimes its a wedding card, you never know what it's going to be!

I wish I could say I was one of those people with a cute little paper pad with a magnet on it stuck to my refrigerator, because let's be honest, that makes much more sense. But I'm not. I have thought numerous times that I should invest in one of those things (is is an investment?) so that as we run out of things, we can write them on the little note pad and I wont have to try and remember everything before I make the trek to the grocery store. But oh well, at least I keep myself on edge and have to cook with what I've remembered! You could stretch it and say that I'm "going green" by recycling old paper.. but don't say too loud, I live in West Texas and I'm a designer. I know that most of that stuff (not all, to you eco-friendly people) is just a hype to get you to spend more money for a "green" product.

So I'll stick with my envelopes, cards, and miscellaneous papers to write my grocery lists on, it makes me a better person.

On another note, I have been on the mission to recover two chairs that I have had for some time now. They were originally my Grandmother's and then passed down to my mom, and then put in storage only to be taken out and cleaned up for their debut in my college house. When I got them, I bought some inexpensive fabric and did the cheap and easy way of "recovering" them, but it looked more like a slip cover. I wanted to bring the true character of these chairs back, because nothing is more fun than updating old furniture!

The original fabric reminded me of a toile but it had historic buildings from the colonial days on it. I was searching and searching for something different fom what I had. Something bright and fun. I looked for weeks and weeks.. even in Dallas, with no luck. Then one day I saw a sign that said "half price sale" infront of Hancock's fabrics here in Abilene, so I decided to go in.

I didn't want to spend all that much because the point of re-doing them myself was so I could have something unique and not have to spend very much. I could probably just buy two new chairs for a couple of hundred dollars, so anything above $20 a yard was out of the question, but I also wanted something that was uphoulstery grade and would last for a while, because I wasn't going to be re-doing them again.

I found it! The perfect fabric that was what I was looking for! And guess what! it was on sale for $10 a yard! I bought up enough for both of the chairs and some throw pillows for our couch.

We have two of these chairs and a big chocolate leather couch! I can't wait until they're done!

This one obviously isn't finished, you can tell by the bottom, but I can't wait until it is done and I start on the other! Don't you just love the fabric?

I guess that is all for now! I hope you have a spectacular Tuesday!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Oh, What a Wonderful Weekend!

This past weekend was so fun and so filled with tons of activities!

The weekend started on Thursday morning when we loaded up the car and piled in to head to Houston. We got there and checked in to the hotel around 3:00 where we had about 2 hours until we needed to leave again. In those 2 hours, Brandon and I found a Sports Clips (because he wont go anywhere else) and got his hair cut so he would look clean cut for the festivities that awaited.

By 5:00, everyone was dressed in their pastel colors and met at the photographer's studio to have family portraits made, all 29 of us! The studio was really cool, it was an old craftsman style house with all kinds of cool furniture around to use as props. I can't wait to see how all the pictures turned out.

Immediately after the photography session, we all headed back to the hotel to change clothes and get ready for Mimi and Papa's 50th Wedding Anniversary party. Thankfully, most of the events of the weekend were spent in the same town center as our hotel so we were able to walk.

The Anniversary party was so fun and such a good time for Mimi and Papa, filled with all kinds of surprises. Their wedding cake had been recreated just like in their pictures and the actual topper had been used. All of the grand kids and great grand kids were given a letter to come up with a word that made them think of Mimi and Papa. They all stood in order and told their stories that went with their letter and at the end of the line, the letters spelled out "LEGACY FULL OF LOVE." It was such a sweet representation of how special this couple is and has been to each of their grand children.


Mimi and Papa loved every bit of it. Afterwards, all the letters were put into a scrapbook for them to have and all of their stories were written in the form of a letter on the back.


Here's Brandon and I at the party

Thursday night, we went and stayed with my parents so that we would at least be able to see them. There wasn't much to do since we didn't get there until about 11:00, but Friday morning we woke up early to go have breakfast with them before they flew out to California to visit Christy and Mike.

Friday night was the rehearsal and the rehearsal dinner. The theme was Fiesta so I went with it! Ha! it was fun, everyone was dressed up in their bright colors for some good fajitas!

Saturday (Mimi and Papa's actual 50th anniversary) was the wedding day. Breanna was such a beautiful bride and both her and Tyler were glowing! The wedding was gorgeous, and I got the pleasure of sitting neat Mattie Claire (Breanna's 2 year old niece), who was one of the flower girls. I had a blast watching her throw all of her rose petals out of her basket after she sat down!

I love the song that Breanna walked down the aisle to. I had neevr even thought of something like it, but it really incorporated worship into their wedding like their faith is in their relationship. They had a mixture of a string trio and a worship and praise band. She walked down to the song "Before the Throne of God Above" in the end part of the song during the "hallelujahs." It was just as beautiful as she was!

Here's some of the pictures from the photographer and from other people there.


The wedding reception was so much fun with probably one of the best live bands I've ever heard at something like this. We all danced and partied until late in the evening.

Everything was so much fun and I can't believe we get to do it all over again in a month for Brandon's other cousin's (Breanna's sister's) wedding! (well everything except the family photos and the anniversary party, but it's so much fun to see everyone!)