Newest Adventure

Some days it doesn’t feel real and some days it’s all I think about, imagining the future and seeing, or feeling, the changes. I can’t believe we’re actually on this journey and yet, it’s something we have planned and prayed and hoped for for so long.

We’re expecting!

Bellybean is due April 7th and we’re over the moon excited for our spring chick to arrive! It’s been the toughest secret to keep and while I know we could have shared at any point, Janson and I have wanted to protect this time and keep optimistically hopeful while we waited to see how this process would unfold.

I’m 14 weeks this week and feeling good! First trimester has been kinder to me than I thought it would. Sure, a little morning sickness, but nothing too awful which is truly a gift! I felt exhausted the first few weeks but I’ve been managing that better with early bed times and restful naps when I can. Things are changing and moving and growing and it’s a little unbelievable no matter how much I think I’ve prepared myself. I’m trying my best to eat well and drink plenty of water while constantly reminding myself I’m no longer just taking care of one body but let me tell you, the desire for mac ‘n cheese and pizza is real and it is strong. Actually anything cheese. Give me all the cheese.

We’re taking everything slow, I’m reading books and keeping track with the apps, watching this little bump grow wondering all about what this baby will be like. In a few weeks we’ll know what Baby is, boy or girl, and we’re thrilled with either! I’m so happy to share our news with the world—it’s such a sweet time and I’ve never felt more ready for this next step than I do right now. Timing really is everything.

We’re having a baby, my baby and me!

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Happy Birthday to Me!

It’s my birthday today!

I don’t you about you, but I’m feeling…thirty two!

OK, so I stole a little T-Swift and changed it up a bit. I think that song had just hit it’s peak when Big Sister turned 32 and I called her up to sing my updated version. Now it’s my turn to hum it all day long. I might hum it all year long, we’ll see.

But yes, I’m 32 years old and I couldn’t be happier about it. I have enjoyed my thirties so much so far and I think they’re only going to keep getting better! I’ve got a full day of me things to do starting with cycle, a full body massage, dinner with my man and plans for a celebratory glass of wine. I can’t think of anything better.

Oh wait, yes I can!

A Saturday trip to Pawhuska to visit Pioneer Woman’s Mercantile store, a lunch date at her restaurant, a tour of the Lodge where all the magic happens, and final stop to eat at her newest business, Charlie’s Sweet Shop. It’s my Oklahoma version of Disney World and lucky duck me, it’s happening tomorrow. I. Can’t. Wait.

Happy birthday to me! It’s going to be a good day, y’all!

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6 Years Strong

Dear Pyro Man, 

Happy anniversary, Handsome! I could write so many things about the last six years, how wonderful they've been, the challenges we've already hurdled, and all the dreams we have for tomorrow. Instead I'll keep it short and sweet, tell you how much I love you, how happy I am you're my partner in life, and how I can't wait to see what else is in store for us. 

Love you like crazy, Janson. 

Apryl Ann Photography

Apryl Ann Photography

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What's In Blue Blazes: Shrimp Etouffee

My sister calls me up a couple weeks ago and says, "I've got it! I know a series you can start on your blog!" I'm thinking, okay, this could be interesting! Hit me!

She then tells me she's named her new Le Creuset Blue Blazes and she thinks it would be hilarious to post about all the dishes I make in my own blue Le Creuset calling it "What In Blue Blazes!" We laugh about it for a bit, but then she stops laughing and says, "No, I'm serious. It would be awesome."  A few days later she starts a shared photo album with the same title and uploads all her blue dishes so far. I mean, this lady really IS serious. 

So Big Sister, this is for you! The very first installment of...

What's In Blue Blazes! 

It's Mardi Gras tomorrow! Heeeyyy! Time to get our Cajun on and ladies and (maybe a few) gentlemen, I am proud to say I have real Cajun roots I'm tapping into for the day! My mom's side of the family is from South Louisiana and we can go generations back all the way to Acadia. I don't think we can get any more authentic than that, folks. 

So, in the spirit of this fat Tuesday celebration, I've got a simple shrimp etouffee to share! Mom passed this one to me, but the recipe was submitted to our '93 family reunion cookbook by her cousin, Lisa. Just to give you a little background, Lisa was a neat lady. She was a teacher--y'all, I come from a family of teachers so when I say it's in my blood, it really is. She taught English and art and of course, was an artist herself. She raised chickens and loved bird watching, but most of all she loved her family. 

Sadly Lisa passed away almost two years ago and while I did not get to know Lisa very well, I do remember her driving her parents, my great Aunt Lou and Uncle Jeff to my wedding. I remember seeing her cut up the floor and laugh and have a wonderful time with the family. Those memories mean so much. 

What's wonderful about food and recipes is that they can call to mind the people we knew, people we love, people we miss. So while I might not have many memories with Lisa, I have this recipe and it always calls her to mind. To me, it will always be Cousin Lisa's Shrimp Etouffee. Without further ado, here it is: 


Cousin Lisa's Shrimp Etouffee

  • 1 1/2 sticks of butter
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 can of Rotel 
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Parsley (1 cup)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 can of cream of mushroom soupt
  • Peeled, deveined shrimp

Sauté butter, onions, bell pepper, celery, Rotel and garlic. Let it all cook slowly for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Add lemon juice and parsley then stir and add the can of mushroom soup--mix all well! Add shrimp and cook until pink, just about 15 minutes. Or you can use cooked shrimp, just add and heat through at the end. 

Makes 6-8 servings. 


I serve it up over  rice and mais, yeah, you've got yourself a good meal! It's really easy, incredibly delicious and sure to be a hit with a crowd! 

Any Cajun food lovers out there?What are you favorite Mardi Gras meals?

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Happy Birthday, Dad!

Happy birthday to raddest Dad around! 

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He's bad to the bone, y'all. Just look at that hair. Don't think you get any cooler than that! 

Happy birthday, Dad! I hope you have a good one! 

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Happy Fifth Anniversary!

Has it already been five years? Just like that, time is passing faster than I can imagine and I know we missed out on some memories these last two years, but we're making up for it now. Crazy as it sounds, I'm actually grateful for our long distance challenge. We learned a lot about what marriage is and what it takes to make it not just work, but to make it great. We took the challenge head on and saw it through to this, finally being home together again. So yeah, in some ways I am glad we had to climb that mountain together. 

But really, we're not doing this long distance junk again. That chapter is closed. For reals. I mean it. Done. 

Handsome, you're a peach, a darling, a Dr.-Pepper-Lovin'-man that drives me crazy but I love you. There's no one else in the world who can love me like you do. Many times you say or do the right thing and it makes me realize how much you know my heart. I count my lucky stars to have you in my life. Then you also do something wacky that makes me want to throat-chop you. Really, that's just balance though, right? 

My sweet, I hope we always laugh and keep communicating. I hope we continue to grow together and lean on each other through all our future challenges. I hope we celebrate big for all the successes and excitements that come our way. I hope I keep you on your toes and I hope you do the same for me. I hope you continue to take me on adventures and I hope I continue to be your home.  Mostly, I hope we continue to love, honor, and cherish one another. Always. 

Happy fifth anniversary, Pyro Man! 

I love you like crazy. 

Three cheers for celebrating our anniversary ON our actual anniversary TOGETHER in the SAME. PLACE!  Miracles do happen! 

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See Ya Later, Spring Semester!

Y'all, it's FRIDAY!!

Whoop whoop! The students had finals all week and I've been grading like a mad woman, locked myself in my office and made a little nest for myself on the floor. I even have some ocean sounds playing in the background to keep me focused and sane. I wish I were kidding, but that stuff actually does work. Try it some time, let me know how it goes. 

It's the end of another term and even though there's still a half-page of to-do's to be done, I can step back enough to say this was a good year. Sure, there are always lessons to be learned, no year is ever the same and just when I think I have it figured out, there's something new around the corner. It will never stop, that's just life. Still, I got to teach some awesome kids, watched a lot of growth in them, stretched myself in fresh classes, and even choreographed more than I expected, including a dinosaur dance. For reals. 

Sometimes it's really easy to get caught up in thinking about next year. I've already got my summer list going of things to prep for August. I know. It's MAY and I'm already into fall. It's part of the job and it's hard to turn off the part of my brain that wants to improve everything, smooth out the kinks, try harder and fix what I knew I can do better. I really don't sit down and think about the good things that happened during the school year or even after. 

I think it's good to look back, otherwise you're rushing through everything and you've forgotten to soak up the important stuff. So, I think as a little treat to myself, as a way to stop and smell the roses before the craziness begins again, I'm taking a few minutes to jot down the good things from this school year. I already know what needs to be edited and fixed. No brainer on that. But I want to remember all the wonderful moments that made this year a good one. And it was a very good year. 

My little Passion Planner let's me keep track of everything including the memories from the year. 

My little Passion Planner let's me keep track of everything including the memories from the year. 

If you're ending your semester as a teacher or student, what's something wonderful that stands out as a beautiful memory? 

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Happy Birthday, Dad!

To the guy who drove me to a million dance classes, carried my dance duffle bag, helped move props and took part in Dad/Daughter dances...

In true Texan form, Dad still wears his nice boots out of fancy occasions. 

In true Texan form, Dad still wears his nice boots out of fancy occasions. 

To the CPA who suffered with me through every math class and patiently listened while I re-created the entire accounting system in college (I still think I could make it SO much easier for folks)...

Here he is, patiently waiting for me to figure this accounting stuff out...the right way. 

Here he is, patiently waiting for me to figure this accounting stuff out...the right way. 

To the man who has helped paint closets, move furniture, mulch leaves, and love my pup...

Dad says, "There's no special bond here." 

Dad says, "There's no special bond here." 

I beg to differ! So would Penny. Just sayin'. (Poor quality picture--It was a sneaky photo documenting Dad's uber fondness for Penny.)

I beg to differ! So would Penny. Just sayin'. (Poor quality picture--It was a sneaky photo documenting Dad's uber fondness for Penny.)

To the dad who stands up for me, supports my dreams, answers every dumb tax question, and still comes to every show...

Dad cheesin' pretty hard. 

Dad cheesin' pretty hard. 

Happy Birthday! 

And awfully big thank you, too! I think you're pretty rad, Dad, and I hope you have an awesome day! I'm glad we get to celebrate another year of hot cups of coffee and you! 

Love you! 

Thanks, Dad, for doing all those Dad/Daughter dances and for relearning one for my wedding. It meant the world.   Photo by Apryl Ann Photography

Thanks, Dad, for doing all those Dad/Daughter dances and for relearning one for my wedding. It meant the world. 

Photo by Apryl Ann Photography

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New Year, New Word

Welcome 2017!!

It's a new year and a new opportunity for amazing things to happen!

Some do resolutions, some don't. A few others choose a word, something to be a guiding light to their year. I've tried both and to be truly honest, I don't always stick with them. I try to focus on them in those first few weeks of the new year but it falters after a while when life gets busy. 

BUT. This year I've got a short phrase that has come up time and again in my mind over this last year. 

Be Intentional...

Be Intentional...

Intentional (Adjective) - done on purpose; deliberate; meant; purposeful

I have had moments, so many of them, where I have thought, "What am I doing? Why am I doing this?" I'm not always doing work with a purpose. I'm not always spending my time with a purpose in mind. How many times have I said I'd do something to help a friend or co-worker and then not followed all the way through? Too many and it's what actually really got me thinking about being accountable. 

I realized that not everything has to have purpose. For heavens sake, I don't think I need to drink coffee with a purpose or strut to the bathroom like it's the most important moment of my day. But, I do believe that I can be better about some things in my life if I know I'm doing it for a reason. 

I want to be intentional with my time. When I'm having down time, I'm having down time. No more worrying about what's not being done while I relax. And when I relax, make an effort to do something I want to do, not surf the social media avenues. Set aside time to read and actually read a book, not Facebook. When it's time to work, it's time to work. When it's time to play, it's time to play. How much more simply can I put it, really? Time is precious. Use it well!  

I want to be intentional with my relationships. Having Pyro Man back up here means I want to devote some time to focusing on us, making memories, new traditions, and planning together for our future. When it comes to conversation and time together, be all in and present. Make sure I'm taking steps that strengthen us as couple. I want to make sure my friendships are also given time and attention they deserve. Make the call to long distance friends, don't just think about them. Make the dates with friends here, be present with them now. You never know how long you have before someone moves--this is always my case! 

I want to be intentional with my word. When I say I'm going to do something, follow through. Be accountable to the people I've promised to help. Too often I forget to do something and fortunately it hasn't cost me too much but it makes me look unreliable. In all my roles, I want to be better about that and try not to let things slip through the cracks. I also want to make sure that what I say counts, that it's meaningful, thoughtful and not flippant. Words stick around a lot longer than you think, so it's best to make sure what I'm saying it what I really think or feel.  

So that's my New Year's phrase for the year: Be Intentional. And I plan on starting off with spending time with my folks today! Happy New Year to you all! I hope this year brings you peace, love, and joy and an fresh opportunity to start a new! 

What's your New Year's resolution, phrase or word? 

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Happy Birthday to Me!

It's my birthday today! Happy birthday to me! I love celebrating my birthday, no matter my age. I think it's wonderful to have another year on this earth so there's no reason to not enjoy the day! 

Every year I take some time in the morning to pour myself some coffee--ok, I do that every day--and then I write down all the things I'm thankful for or hope to come in the future. The number of items? Well, duh. However many years I've been on this earth! This year that magic number is....29! So divine! 

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Since it's my last year in my twenties, I want to be intentional with how I spend it. That might sound funny but there's a lot of things I've always thought I'd do in my twenties that I didn't do. I might have made myself grow up a little quickly, tried to take the mature road and be more of grown up. Listen, I've actually been excited to turn thirty for a few years but that's something for another day! This year I'm making a list, a few goals to hit before the big 3 - 0. Maybe I'll post...maybe I won't. We'll see. I haven't decided. 

To help me with this project, I've decided I'm going to try something equally fun. Have you ever heard of the 1 Second Everyday app?  A few months ago I heard a podcast with the creator, Cesar Kruiyama, and started investigating this simple app. Basically what you do is take a short video every day and the app helps you cut it down to one second. It keeps track of each second you save for every date you use it and by the end of a year's time, you have a movie of your year over a short period of minutes. How awesome is that?!

There are so many ways to document so many exciting times in your life. I'm not nervous or afraid of turning thirty, I'm really thrilled with the idea! Still, I don't want to throw away this year in anticipation or worry. I want to enjoy this last time I get say I'm a twenty something! So with list of goals in hand, I'll probably have my phone, too, I'll be ready to capture the moments that make each day something special.

PS--TOTALLY anticipating that not every day is going to be thrilling, I'm going to try really hard not to forget and be fine with the fact that some days (read: most days) will be just a regular ol' day. That's life, baby. 

Time to cut the cake and let the party begin! Happy birthday to me! Happy birthday to me! Oh, you know the rest! Let's just eat!

 

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