Monday, December 21, 2009

It's December 21st...

...and I am outside raking leaves, wearing a t-shirt and sunglasses. And I'm warm! In fact, I went outside just to get warm! It is warmer outside than inside my house today. On the winter solstice! Something is wrong with the fact that I am raking leaves instead of shoveling snow. This is just not right. It's crazy. But I'm not sayin' it's global warming... so don't you put those words in my mouth (or on my blog.)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Born a child yet a King

This advent season has been a very rich one for me. I've learned a lot from my husband's teaching in the small group we attend, the advent program he was in charge of a couple weeks ago, and during his sermons on sunday morning. He has been filling in for our senior pastor the last two weeks and once more this coming sunday. We also have been singing some great advent songs. Two of my favorites are: Who Is This, So Weak and Helpless? and Come Thou Long Expected Jesus. (I provided the links there to the Indelible Grace website for you so you can read the lyrics.)

I have been also reading the daily advent devotional provided by Park Cities PCA in Dallas. You can find it here.

Finally, another really great advent resource is a book also titled, Come Thou Long Expected Jesus. Here is the link to it. The book is a collection of 22 readings for advent, and includes writings from Martin Luther, John Piper, Tim Keller, Jonathan Edwards, Charles Spurgeon, John Calvin, Francis Schaeffer, and many more! And, the book is dedicated to two of my favorite people in the world, Dr. Wilson & Pam Benton, so that makes it extra special.

I hope you all have a very blessed advent season.

Come thou long-awaited Emmanuel!

Monday, December 07, 2009

my first bedlam

the biggest highlight of my parent's visit, other than thanksgiving and black friday, was attending the ou vs osu football game on november 28th, otherwise known simply as bedlam. yes, that is a link to the official wikipedia entry for bedlam. this is serious stuff. I even baked cookies for it.

the bad part about its seriousness is that tickets were not easy to come by. so far this year, bobby and I have been able to acquire tickets just prior to kickoff outside the stadium for a fraction of their face value. our first game was free (thanks josh! who doesn't read this blog...), second game we got two club level seats for $50, and the third game we got two tickets for $20. we knew this game was a big deal, but c'mon, the sooners have had a rough year, we lost our heisman winner (poor sammy!) and most of our starting line-up, the students were on break, AND osu has had a better than usual year. I'm thinking, no one's gonna go. HA!

we got there over two hours early because we wanted to beat the rush and get a good parking space, and my parents wanted to see all the tail-gaters and all the hoopla. so we did all that and then started asking around for tickets. well... fortunately there were not a shortage of sellers. the problem was that no one was willing to negotiate. everyone wanted face value for their tickets. and you KNOW my mom & I never pay full price for ANYTHING! so we waited, and asked, and waited, and asked again, walked around a lot, waited some more, asked even more. and finally, pre-game began and thought SURELY they would drop their prices now! nope. so we waited for kickoff. and STILL no luck. we just about gave up. (fortunately the weather was beautiful so we didn't mind standing outside for hours.) we started to watch the game outside the stadium on the jumbo-tron named sooner vision, of course. then we decided to make one more passing attempt. we saw a guy who actually congratulated us for sticking with it so long and not giving in to the sleezy ticket brokers. ugh, they gave me the creeps. and we finally found one guy who gave us four tickets for $150. much more than I wanted to pay, but yes, we were desperate.

the worst part of our deal was that the four tickets were not together. we had to split up into pairs. bobby and I were on the east side and my parents on the west side. but with the help of our zoom lens on our camera, we could see them.

they are standing at the top of the stairs, just above the handrail.

my parents took this picture trying to get us, but they missed us by a few sections. we were to the left of this photo. in the top section.

we thought we were being generous by giving them the good seats, but it turns out we were the ones that lucked out because we were in the sun and they were in the chilly shade. we all had wind-burned faces by the end though. it was so windy up way up there in our super high seats, I really was scared of blowing off the edge, even though we were in the middle of the section.

in fact, we were so high that I could see our neighborhood!

if you look on the horizon, in the dead center, that's where we live.

only in oklahoma...

oh, and did I mention it was windy?

this happened in about 6 or 7 pictures we took. ugh, I hate wind.

since we were at a football game, I should show at least one picture of the field and the players.

there were a lot of orange-clad folks there.

and they cheered their little cowboy hearts out.

but the sooners prevailed and won bedlam once again! in fact, they won it for the 80th time, thank you very much. and they did it convincingly with a score of 27-0.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Backtracking to Thanksgiving

we had another wonderful visit with my parents last week. people at church are surprised that my parents have traveled all the way out here to see us, not once, but twice, since we moved. but those who have known my parents for longer, are probably thinking, they've only been there twice in three months?!?! haha

we are very blessed every time they come because not only are they helpful and generous, they are fun!

they arrived thanksgiving morning and I picked them up at the airport alone because bobby was putting the finishing touches on his turkey and watching my sweet potato casserole bake in the oven. this year bobby cooked one of our turkeys in our ronco showtime rotisserie oven.

it was yummy!

we ate dinner at bobby's parents' house. his mom wanted him to carve the turkey before arriving for convenience, but we just couldn't forgo the norman rockwell carving-the-turkey-right-before-eating-it tradition.

it was really great to be with both sets of parents at the same time. and everyone got along! haha. I joke about that, but we know we are really fortunate to have these good relationships with our parents, and we do not take it for granted.

back to the food:

I think it's funny that we were asked to bring a turkey and potatoes, and we brought turkey, sweet potato casserole, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and cookies.

after dinner we scoured the black friday ads. here are two very serious shoppers. my mom & bobby's cousin, ashley.

the cats also got a little bit of turkey & stuffing

you didn't think we would leave them out, did you?

it was good that we ate early on thursday because we had the rest of the day to recover and rest up for friday morning, which came very early for me... I only get up at 5 am on black friday! we live very close to lots of shopping places, so the decision of where to go was very difficult. we decided to split up, so my & mom and started at kohl's and the men went to home depot & lowe's. I can't tell you all we got because most, ok SOME, of it are christmas presents. we got some really good bargains at kohl's. waiting in line for over an hour was totally worth it!

bobby and my dad could not believe we waited in that line. but they got some things too so they didn't really complain. my dad was a big help saving our spot in line while the rest of us went out into the store finding more stuff!

next stop was academy, then target. bobby really wanted to go to walmart to see the fuss there, but when he got there, he said it wasn't that great. maybe because all the excitement was between 3 and 5 am, and he didn't get there until after 9.

later that day we all went to the OU campus to walk around and take a christmas card photo. the weather was beautiful. we took a bunch of pics, but this one is pretty funny. everyone was freaking out that I touched that phone because it might have the swine flu.

that is not our official christmas card picture.

we went out to dinner at - guess where ........ cheddar's! and then stopped & brought some braum's ice cream/fro-yo home for dessert.

do people still say "fro-yo?"

to start working off some of those thanksgiving calories, my mom and I played mario & sonic go to the summer olympics on wii.

see, I told you my parents were fun!

I'll close with this picture taken on sunday after church.

yes, paisley is trying to jump out of my arms and into the tree... ugh

since this post was a mile & a half long, I will have to have a part 2 of my parent's visit - the bedlam experience.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Our First Christmas in Norman - the tree

(I have much to show & tell from my parents visit over thanksgiving, but I wanted to join the tour over at kelly's korner, so I am skipping ahead to show you our tree.)

We upgraded this year from the 6 foot pre-lit tree that comes in 3 simple sections to an 8 foot unlit tree that comes in 898027 sections. Fortunately my parents gave us this tree and since they are experienced in putting it together, we brought it down from the attic and assembled it while they were here last week. But don't worry, it was not up before thanksgiving. I think that should be illegal. (if I thought creating more laws were the best way to fix society... but I don't.) The tree was assembled and lights were hung mostly by my dad, and then tuesday night bobby and I added the personal touches of ribbon garland, ornaments and the star topper.

Here it is!

I wish I had a picture of it at night because it's much prettier then.

These are a few of my favorite ornaments...

This is one of a set of three given to me by my aunt as a memory of my trip to south africa a few years ago. this elephant looks a little different than the ones we saw in the bush, but it's much more festive! the other two in the set are a rhino and hippo that are equally festive.

The santa in the background of the above photo was given to us by our korean neighbors in st louis. it is santa holding an owl over his head. we never did quite understand the significance of that... is it a korean tradition? does anyone know??

this is a good picture because it encapsulates many of my favorite ornaments.

well, actually, these aren't my favorite ornaments per se, but they are symbols of places we've been... from left to right: Grove City College (my alma mater). the little minnesota vikings ornament was given to me many years ago by my former pastor's family. they are huge vikings fans (most of them) and while I never really was, it is appropriate to hang now because former OU player and superstar Adrian Peterson plays for them now, so everyone in norman is a vikings fan all of a sudden. the flying WV from west virginia university. one of bobby's guitar ornaments. and then the OU ornament in the upper right of the picture. we were worried that we didn't already have one and didn't know where we would be able to buy one here!! haha.

And then of course, I have a Pittsburgh Steelers ornament!

I have many other very special ornaments, these were just a few. Our baby's first christmas balls from 1977 are dear to me (especially since we were both born that year), our first christmas together ornaments from 2003, and now our first home ornaments. we have a bunch of bunny ornaments, wendell august forge ornaments, star wars, batman, & simpsons ornaments (those are bobby's!), and many more.

here's another shot of the entire tree

I know I cut off the top of the tree in that picture, but I wanted to get the cats. Oh, that reminds me... did you know that cats like to climb trees? even christmas trees???

this is after I pulled her (paisley) out... she's looking over at it and wanting to jump back in. bad girl!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

things I like about living in oklahoma (specifically norman)

haha, I love pretending to be a norman-snob. it's fun.

I have been observing life here in god's country. ha, that is a total joke. I actually HATE the whole "god's country" thing. and the "...on the 8th day" thing too. I don't know why I typed that.

anyway... as a citizen of norman for almost 3 months, these are the things I like about living here:

  • people are really stinkin' friendly. a couple weeks ago, I was in Lowe's and no joke, FOUR different people asked me if I needed assistance. and not in a, "oh, there's a girl in lowe's, I'm sure she needs help" way. actually in a nice, friendly, "how are you? can I help you with anything?" way. and it's like that everywhere.
  • the weather has been awesome. yes, fall was definately the time of year for me to move to oklahoma. I was terribly sad about missing western PA's fall with all the beautiful foliage (and I am!) but the weather we have had these past two months has been absolutely divine - mostly sunny with mild temps.
  • football!!! we have gone to THREE sooners football games this year. can you believe it?! but can you blame us? we live 4 miles from the stadium. we found a place to park for free. we tailgate with our friends from OU RUF. we buy cheap tickets from people selling them at the last minute. we go in, watch some (pretty) good football, and are home within 30 minutes of the end of the game.
  • shopping! have I mentioned that I can see super target from my driveway? 'nuf said.
  • lake thunderbird
  • our church. we are really enjoying the quirky, intelligent, and super interesting folks of christ the king pca.
  • happy hour at sonic
  • walking around the OU campus. earlier this week, I texted bobby and said that I saw there was a freshen's yogurt place on campus. he wrote back, let's go! so within 20 minutes he was home and we were out the door. we put our quarter in a meter which was good for one hour and walked all around campus, including the student union (where freshen's no longer exists. ugh), inside gaylord memorial stadium, the south oval, and even past the practice fields where we could see & hear 100+ players wearing crimson & cream. twenty five cents sure can buy you a lot here in norman.
  • campus corner. restaurants, cafes, clothing stores, salons, a theater, churches, and antique shops - it's pretty much "the bomb."
  • this place is hopping. everywhere I go, I see lots of people doing lots of things - shopping, driving, eating out, golfing, going to movies, sporting events, tailgating - you name it, the people of norman are doing it. ain't no sign of a recession here.
  • celebrities' houses.

This is just what I came up with off the top of my head. I'm sure there are more. And there are definately things I don't like so much. And for sure there are a bazillion things I miss about western pennsylvania that are better than norman (gasp!) but since it's thanksgiving week and all, I'll just keep this post positive.

I just realized, norman needs a slogan. Because if they had one, I would end this post with it.

Monday, November 16, 2009

the Visit, reVamping, and Vegas - part 3: REVAMPING PICTURES

ok, so I know I was stretching it when I chose the word revamping for the title instead of saying "projects" or "home improvements," but I was going with a "v" theme and that was all I could think of! In case you missed them, I recommend reading Part 1 and Part 2 first.

So anyway... as you read in part one (see? i'm testing you) my parents offered to help us with a lot of projects that bobby and I do not know how to do while they were in town for a few days.

Without further ado, the befores and afters.

First up - master bedroom closet doors. BEFORE:


I still need to paint the trim and the doors white, but they are such a huge improvement over the mirror doors. Not only were they ugly and dated, but the rollers & track were broken and so to open/close them, I had to pick them up and slide them. They were very heavy. I love my new 6 panel white doors!

Bobby installed a bunch of door hinge stopper things.

We all worked on replacing the glass section of the back door. The trim was cracked in several places (no before pictures, sorry) and I thought we could just replace that, but what I didn't know was that the glass & trim are all one unit. We thought about just buying a whole new door, but then we went to the habitat restore here in norman and found the section we needed for just $20. the old glass was removed and the new one installed.

Here is the after picture with the exterior side showing.

I will be painting the door & trim this week.

Oh, and bobby installed also two new dead bolts. One can be seen in the previous picture.

The most visible "makeover" was probably the door going into our office (aka BR3). This is the room that we replaced the flooring in several weeks ago. But the door HAD to go. It was a plastic accordion door that was basically taped on. Yes, with scotch tape. Ugh. So my dad installed the brackets, the door knob, and everything else (my mom helped.) And now we have a real (6 panel white) door that looks awesome. I cannot find our before picture of that hideous door, but here is the after...

Last week I painted the trim white. This is the view from inside the room. Door still needs a coat of white paint, but a major improvement over the accordion door.

Bobby had already replaced one kitchen ceiling light, but I really wanted a pendant light for over the kitchen sink. I've been looking for one I liked for weeks now and we finally found one. It was silver, so I painted it black and now it looks fabulous!



And finally... remember this hole in the attic floor/garage ceiling?

Well, it now looks like this:

Actually, it looks even better than that now because bobby has covered it with spakling and texture to match the rest of the ceiling.

There you go. Hope you enjoyed the tour!

Thursday, November 12, 2009


was my birthday! my day started at about 6:11 when bobby had to get up to go to a men's bible study. sometimes I don't even hear him get up, but yesterday I was wide awake, but that didn't last long... he said, happy birthday, I said, thanks, and went back to sleep until he got back from the bible study. he woke me up with a card from paisley & shadow that said, thanks for feeding us! and their present to me was hotcakes from mcd's - which I have always loved. thanks kitties!!

bobby left for the office shortly after breakfast and I had a nice, relaxing morning in which I did some reading, went for a nice long walk, and watched a little tv. the weather was delightful - sunny and about 73. definately the warmest birthday I've ever had. throughout the day I received a bunch of calls from family, emails, and a gazillion birthday wishes on facebook! (that's the real reason I've racked up 434 friends on there. just kidding.) I feel very loved, which I'm thankful for, because otherwise I would have felt very lonely yesterday. Because once again, my birthday arrived just a couple months after moving to a new place, where I "know" very few people. Yes, I've met a ton of people here, but none well enough to say, hey, come over and see me on my birthday! ha! well, actually I probably could have done that, but I am just not bold enough. I just assume everyone is always busy and wouldn't be able to/want to. Eventually I'll get over that... maybe.

So my day was spent mostly just with Bobby and it was fun. When he got home from work, I was ready and waiting for to go out on my surprise dinner.

I should have cleaned up the clutter a little bit behind me. I took this picture in our GIANT mirror in the "dining room" as sort of a joke, but then decided to post it because of the cute cat in the background.

Our first stop was Coach's in Norman. Bobby's been there quite a few times for meetings and such, but I had never been. Then we got in the car and drove to downtown OKC (Bricktown) for dinner. He had not yet told me where we were eating, but when we couldn't find it, he told me the name so I could be looking for it... Deep Deuce Grill. He said he had been to their website and it looked like a really cool place. (and he had a coupon!) We drove up and down the street that it was on and we just couldn't find it. Then on our third pass, I finally saw the sign. But it was not lit up. And the door was open, but there were no tables inside. But I did see a ladder. THEY WERE CLOSED FOR REMODELING! we called to double-check and sure enough, they were closed until Dec 1. UGH! would be nice if they could put that on their website. This is 2009! (I have contacted them to complain.)

Ok, what do we do now?!? First up, we need a restroom, so we go to bass pro shops of course!

oh so funny, isn't it?!?

back to the car now, deciding where to eat, I suggest driving all the way back to norman to try the place that I suggested a couple days ago, Victoria's Pasta Shop. I had seen it recommended a few places recently and it sounded awesome.

And that's where we ate. I had chicken parmesan. It was very good! Chicken was lightly-breaded and the sauce was light and yummy.

Bobby had a sampler of their signature lasagna rolls, whole wheat linguine, and pesto. He loved & devoured every bite. (I helped a little...)

Then we walked around campus corner a little while. It is so nice there, I just love it. For some reason they have these phone booths so we took a picture.

We grabbed a little dessert at Cafe Plaid - peanut butter & chocolate chip granola bar. Yum! when we got home I heated it up and ate it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. :-) we watched some dvr'd shows and went to bed. unfortunately I had a mild migraine for most of the evening, but overall it was a pretty nice day!

(P.S. part 3 of the visit, vegas, and revamping should appear within the next 36 hours)

Friday, November 06, 2009

the Visit, reVamping, and Vegas - part 2: VEGAS PICTURES

In case you missed it, be sure to check out Part 1: INTRO. I will not offer much explanation in this post, mostly just pictures.

And if you made it all through the intro, congrats! you are now being rewarded with lots of pictures! (fyi, captions are above the pictures)

Freezing in the lazy river

Watching the fountain show at Bellagio our first night.

Headed to the strip on day two, we stop first to take a group photo.

One of my new favorite places on Las Vegas Blvd, the m&m store. The four of us bought nearly $50 worth of m&ms and ate them all in 3 days!

after bobby finally dragged me out of the m&m store, we went to the mgm grand, home of the lion habitat. this is way better than those white tigers. I took a lot of pictures, but I picked these two to show you.

that trainer is as brave as that lion I suppose.

what has become my favorite hotel & casino, Paris Las Vegas... I don't know what it is about that place, but I love it the most. Don't bobby and I look like we are sitting in a cafe on the streets of paris sharing a gelato?

dad & daughter in paris

mom & dad standing in front of a replica of the Fontaines de la Concorde

bobby really enjoyed his meal at pampas! we all got just the meat entree, but convinced him to get the surf & turf. yeah, we really had to twist his arm really hard...

it's kind of strange that I have never been to the real new york, new york, but I've been to this fake one twice.

bobby is standing in "times square"

loving our burgers at in-n-out!

It took about 12 takes to get this photo, but it's a good one. Here we are, going out on our last night in vegas.

Close-up of the giant sphinx in front of the Luxor hotel & casino.

and finally, we had to get a picture in front of the famous sign!

two final pictures... here is what the ground in denver looked like when we landed there thursday afternoon on our layover.

I thought we were still in the clouds, but no, that is snow!

denver got hit with a horrible snowstorm that week, and even that day that we flew in, there were 4 hour delays and canceled flights. but not for us, southwest got us in and out with only a 15 minute delay. we love southwest. and even when we got to OKC and realized that two of our suitcases were missing, we didn't start hating SW, because they got it the next day, called us, we went and got them, and got two $50 travel vouchers!

Coming soon...

Part 3: the reVamping pictures