Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

This has been a busy week! Most short weeks (where we have Monday off) seem to drag on forever, but for some reason not this one. Oh right, because we have been going non-stop with work and other commitments.

Tomorrow night is the season finale of LOST, and if you've been around us at all the past 2 years, you know where will we be at 7 PM tomorrow night. (For those of you who haven't been around us--we'll be in front of the tv. We are major fans.)

After that, my dad and brother are coming into town because the Heavy D is registering for his first semester at UNT on Friday. Go Big Green! I am looking forward to him being closer (although he may not share my sentiments.)

Friday evening, my cousin Tyler is graduating from Thorndale High School. Something you may or may not know is that Thorndale was featured in the movie "The Rookie." Yes friends, Thorndale (population 1500) has been under the bright lights. It's kinda cool because parts of their high school and downtown got spiffed up by Disney through the whole process. Anyway, go Bulldogs and congrats Tyler!

Other than that, it's a typical family weekend. We haven't gotten together in, say, a week, so it's time for a visit.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Welcome Home Wren Family

(not the actual birds on my porch)

Apparently, we have taken in some tenants. They have nested in the wreath on my front door and hatched up some kiddos.

We're waiting for their babies to fly away, and then we will "encourage" them to relocate. But for now, they're not hurting anything, and it's entertaining to watch the mama fly back and forth to bring them food. At least, it will be entertaining until she divebombs me. At that point, Brad will serve her with an eviction notice.

We have had a wonderful and relaxing weekend right here where the west begins. Yesterday, I just fluffed my house all day. Laundry, dusting, framing pics, and organizing. The boys went golfing and the girls headed to the mall for a while.

And today the guys went to the Colonial. They stayed until the final moments when Phil (Brad's favorite golfer) was presented with another plaid jacket.

After a minor mishap at Pancho's (an entirely different story), we ordered pizza and played horseshoes in the backyard. I would say who won, but he was an obnoxious winner so he shall not be named here. His name rhymes with BOO. It's been a good day though altogether.

I hope you have a fun and restful Memorial Day tomorrow! I am so thankful for all of the men and women, both past and present, who have served our great country so well. May we all take a moment to consider their personal sacrifices to ensure the freedom we enjoy here in America, and thank our wonderful God for that privilege.

Friday, May 23, 2008

You Should Try the Biscuits

Holy moly. I think I just tasted the best chicken fried steak in Fort Worth, Texas. I know some of you may think that statement is blasphemy, but you will just have to try it for yourself.

We ate at Chicken Ranch tonight down in the Stockyards. It opened about 6 weeks ago. To be honest, they didn't have a lot of business tonight, but that's why I'm posting this here. You should go.

My parents are in town for the weekend, and we were celebrating Brad's birthday. He picked Chicken Ranch. They don't have an official website but their menu can be found here. All of their food is homemade, including but not limited to handbreaded chicken fried steak, kobe beef hamburgers, melt-your-mouth (we asked for a second round) biscuits with homemade honey butter and blackberry jam. I had the chicken tacos. Muy bueno! Brad and Dad had CFS, and Mom had grilled chicken. De-lish.

Now, it's not a fancy building, and the A/C was having some trouble while we were there, but they raised the doors (garage doors alongside the building), and we were able to hear the live music even better. Oh yes, there is live music on Friday and Saturday nights. The guy even sang HBD to Brad. They have great picnic tables out front to sit in that looked like they would be perfect as the sun goes down.

So if you're in Cowtown and looking for something new, different, and full of personality, go to Chicken Ranch!

Also, they give 10% off to police and firemen and Cook Children's Employees. You'll have to read on the menu WHY they give the discount to Cook Employees. It's a great story. Check it out and tell me about your experience. Or better yet, bring me some biscuits. Or even better, call us and we'll go with you.

Down on Bended Knee

I'm finally getting around to consolidating my music from my old PC and cd's to my MacBook, to then sync it to my iPhone, so that wherever I go I have my entire collection. It's like a DJ in my pocket, really, except no turntables or a microphone.

Last weekend on our hill country road trip, we had quite a playlist going mostly of things like Boyz II Men, KC & JoJo, and other songs that generally reminded me of either 8th grade or the 1998 senior prom--good songs that are made better when you sing REAL LOUD.

So, I've decided to put together the "ultimate" 1990s playlist. Some songs that have definitely made the cut are "Down on Bended Knee" (B2M) and "LoveFool" (the Cardigans.) And definitely "All My Life" (KC&JJ.)

And I can't forget about "Gotta Be" (Desiree), Carnival (Natalie Merchant), and I'm sure Brad won't let me forget "Everybody Dance Now."

What '90s songs were you singing loud in the '90s? What else should I add to my list?

Monday, May 19, 2008

One More Reason to Love the Internet

We bought a new car recently. I have loved everything about it (especially the AC) with one exception--the maker decided to put in a seatbelt alarm for both the driver and passenger side seat belts. I am a huge fan of safety, so under normal circumstances this is no big deal. The only problem is that it goes off within seconds of the car being in drive. (Imagine that!) And sometimes if I have something sitting in the passenger seat, it will "ding ding ding" away until I clear the seat off. So annoying! It finally put me over the edge on the way to church on Sunday. We decided something must be done OR ELSE.

So I pulled out the trusty iPhone and googled "turn off seatbelt alarm toyota." You're not going to believe what happened next. Or maybe you will because you know more about seatbelt alarms than I do.

I was directed to this discussion forum where someone posted how to turn it off.

Check out these steps:

1. Turn the ignition switch on (without starting car)
2. Press the ODO/TRIP switch until the odometer displays "ODO"
3. Turn the ignition switch off
4. Turn the ignition switch on
5. Press ODO/TRIP switch immediately (within 6 seconds after turning the power switch ON) and hold it down for 10 seconds or more.
6. Continue holding the ODO/TRIP switch and fasten the front drivers's side seat belt.
7. Check that the odometer displays either "b-on" or "b-off" (it will be "b-on")
8. Press the ODO/TRIP button to change the display to "b-off".
9. Turn the ignition switch off.
10. Turn the ignition switch on while depressing the brake pedal.
11. Check that no buzzer sounds when setting on the front passenger seat.

My friends on the internet, I am here to testify that these steps actually worked. I am ding ding ding free. This could only come from a generation of people who use video game cheats. Seriously. I wonder what other features I can turn on and off? I now know how to find the 3rd whistle in Mario 3 and turn off the seatbelt chime in my car too.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Heard and Overheard this Weekend

"Get out of my dreams, get into my car."

"I can't believe I still remember every single word to that song."

"Do you remember that time..."

"Haven't we circled this block already?"

"I'm not paying the parking ticket for this."

"We should start a 90s cover band."

This weekend I traveled south to Fredricksburg via Austin for some shopping and fun times with my friends that I have known for as long as I have memory. I'm pretty sure I met both of them in the church nursery. Here we are circa 1984 singing in the church Christmas program. My mom says that the red bows around our necks were made out of crepe paper--I know you were all wondering.

Here we are shopping on Main in Fredricksburg, courtesy of a random gentleman. Good times, Ladies!

We had a wonderful drive through the Hill Country Saturday morning. The views are so pretty. I love living in Texas where you can drive and drive and see any kind of terrain you want (except polar ice caps.) I picked up some fun stuff at Trade Days there, and on my way home stopped into IKEA in Round Rock for some odds and ends. Now, it's time for a nap!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

This and That: Hair and Home

Like most girls, I am a huge fan of trying out new beauty products. I am in the middle of a hair product experiment right now. Once I have completed my testing I will give full disclosure on the blog about a product that (if preliminary results are any indication), quite frankly, may change my hair life forever. I'm only on Day 2 though, so we'll just have to see how it plays out.

I am sure you are on the edge of your seats right now. I've probably oversold it just a little.

Anyway, I am really excited because this weekend I'm headed to Fredricksburg to meet up with some of my HS girlfriends. Four things I love rolled into 2 days: road trips, friends, shopping, and the Texas Hill Country. A quadruple threat!

In other news, today marks 12 days until someone special has a birthday, as he so not-discretely pointed out to me in an e-mail today.

This week I am making a decision regarding window treatments on my kitchen windows. I've been putting it off because for some reason (probably the expense), window treatments seem so permanent. I didn't have as much trouble picking out brick on the house, but windows--yikes! We decided against shutters on these windows because we like the unfettered view of the backyard. I'll post a pic once they are all dressed up!

Hope you are having a great week!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Weekend Recap

We had a busy weekend, celebrating mothers and Aggie graduates!

Friday we drove to College Station with the family to watch my cousin graduate. We are so proud! Here he is, holding his celebratory cake.

We don't have a lot of pictures of the two of us in Aggieland since we didn't meet until we had both moved on from there, so it's always fun to capture one of a place we love so much.

Saturday we picked up Biscuit. Let's get another picture of him on here because he's really cute.

Sunday, we went to church and brunch with my family to celebrate Mother's Day before heading north to meet up with Brad's family, but unfortunately, I don't have any pics. We celebrated His cousin's graduation from vet school at A&M. We are so proud and excited for her! What an incredible amount of hard work. The school gave her a plaque that said "If love can't heal it, an Aggie vet can." How cute is that?

Hope you had a fantastic Mother's Day weekend!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Meet Cindy

This is Cindy.

Cindy is a mother. She has two kids. They love her a lot.

Drew, the youngest.

And Emily, the oldest.

Cindy is excited because she got an iPod for Mother's Day. She is high tech.

Cindy is also a good citizen. She rescued a dog from the animal shelter today.

Meet Biscuit.

He is two months old and has a microchip.

He is high tech like Cindy.

Cindy is having a good mother's day weekend.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Friday Night

We're in the big city tonight at my parents'. A&M graduation was long as usual, but so fun and of course, it always fills me with Aggie pride to get to sing The Spirit. The keynote speaker was the US Ambassador to South Africa (maybe a little random), but he kept it light and pretty short so they could get on with the show. And by on with the show, I mean so that we could get to Shakes on the way home. I definitely had a chocolate covered strawberry concrete.

Right now we're in the middle of 'No Country For Old Men' where Woody Harrelson shows up. About 2 minutes in, I knew I would not be a fan. Shoot 'em up movies (or any other movies where the suspense is more than "does the guy get the girl," for that matter) are not for me. Brad will attest to my 'The Departed' experience sometime or Hils and "Air Force One."

I'm officially no longer interested, so I'm surfing the net.

Not at Work

Today we are here!
Celebrating a new Former Student in the family. Congrats Josh!

Monday, May 5, 2008


Not all technology at a camp out is a bad thing. As you can see, an iPod cord can be used for more than transferring music.

Sunday, May 4, 2008


This past Friday night we went camping with the McElroys. They are very experienced campers, so I spent most of my time downplaying my lack of outdoor adventure prowess.

I did not complain about the spiders. I did not complain about the smoke from the fire (much). And I sure did not complain that I got cold (mostly because Brad let me have his warm sleeping bag, and he took the thin one. I think that's true love right there.)

But I did complain when a cold front came in during the night, and the trees overhead started swaying, and then I started thinking about one of them falling on top of us while we didn't have a roof over our heads, just a tent. And then I thought I heard a wild animal or maybe worse, some weird person breathing. So then Brad got up to check and see what was out there, and the breathing stopped, so then I thought maybe, just maybe, it was just him breathing. It remains a mystery to this day.

But we survived, and I had fun! Here we are on the fancy overlook overlooking a bunch of trees during a Saturday morning wilderness excursion.

(We will not speak of the fact that this particular state park had a WiFi hotspot, and my phone had a full signal, and I carried my Mac since I was on call and checked in the middle of the night because I was scared of a little bit hurricane force wind. Let us not mention it. But I will go on record as saying that my preferred camping setup includes s'mores and WiFi.)

Hope you had a great weekend!
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