Five years ago today I celebrated New Years Eve in my apartment in Norman. My roomie was in Florida for OU's National Championship game at the Orange Bowl. I invited everyone I knew over, and they all came. It was a damn good party. But there was one guest in particular who held my attention all night- Shelton. For weeks we had been secretly crushing on each other and reporting this to all of our friends, who in turn told us what the other was saying. Shortly before midnight he and I were in my room building a play list of music on my computer. He grabbed my arm, pulled me in, and we had our first kiss. I couldn't believe it. "This is Shelton, the goob from Old Navy- what is going on here?!?!"- I'm thinking this and not quite sure what was going on. We shared the traditional kiss at midnight and I've been hooked ever since.

Althought Shelton says I'm not allowed to celebrate our "dating" anniversary anymore- since we have a wedding anniversary- I still find it significant, and being the sentimental sap that I am, I'm going to celebrate it!

There are people I can't spend more than 5 minutes in a room with, it just blows my mind that he's held my attention for 5 years. Granted, there are times when I can't spend 5 minutes with him- but those are few and far between.

We have shared a VERY crazy year. A lot of ups and and a lot of downs for us personally, professionally and with our families. I'm always sad to close out another year, but I'm beyond anxious to begin 2006. We had a blessed 2005 and I think only bigger and better things are in store for us in '06.

To all of you- I wish a prosperous, healthy and exciting new year!


Merry Christmas!

Originally uploaded by oubrandi.
This Christmas has to go down as one of the best. Shelton and I hosted in our new home. We had the whole crew over, it was really a lot of fun. This was the first Christmas we've spent in Wichita since I was 7 year old. I was so happy to spend the day w/ my grandma and aunts- something I can not recollect ever doing. It was a special treat for my mom to spend the afternoon w/ them and I was glad for that.

I think we all got what we wanted- if not wanted, something we will really enjoy. We drew names this year for the first time, instead of buying for everyone. that actually worked out nicely.

Shelton and I are giving each other a 3 or 4 day trip to KC's Plaza next month. But we weren't left empty handed yesterday- he got the fabulous nose warmer you'll see in the photos from yours truly. My down comforter is on its way here, via UPS.

It seems my Christmas dinner was a big hit. My first ham and it was pretty darn good if I do say so myself.

After everyone cleared out, we went to see "The Family Stone" with my aunts. That has got to be one of the best movies I've ever seen- totally unexpected, brilliant cast, an emotional rollercoaster. I'd go from side-splitting laughter and in the very same scene I'd be crying all over myself. A must-see and a new holiday favorite I think.

I hope each of you had a blessed Christmas with your families and friends- or whoever you spent Jesus' birthday with.


Better suck it up until Spring!

One of the perks and simultaneous downsides to this house is that it has gas. Ok- done giggling? We have gas heat, gas water heater, gas stove- I think that is it. The water is hotter than any I've ever had- hot the second you turn it on and stays that way, no running out! The gas stove is awesome, I don't see why anyone would live without it. Gas heat, keeps the house warm, nothing new there.

EXCEPT- that after almost 6 weeks, we received our first gas bill yesterday. We knew we weren't going to like what we saw, gas prices for your car should be an indication of that. But we opened it to a number just short of $300. Gulp!

Multiply that number by how many bills until May? That's quite a dent in the budget. So I think I'm going to go out and buy a few extra sweatshirts and slippers- that will certainly be cheaper than letting the gas hog churn and keep this place roasty toasty. Shelton will just have to deal with some additional snuggling!

In other news this week- I conquered a mountain that Shelton has been pushing for since the day we met. I ate at PF Changs. No, he hasn't been trying to get me to eat at that specific restaurant- but he has been trying to get me to eat the particular cuisine served there. That being Chinese food. I had a very mild meal- crunch honey chicken with rice. I also had the lettuce wraps and couldn't tell you what was in that- a bizarre event when I dont' ask "What the hell is that?". But I sniffed it and tasted it and it passed the test. So maybe this is a new chapter in my picky palette lifestyle.


Winter Wonder Weekend

Since Friday night it has snowed about 3 or 4 inches. It is beautiful. The snow is piled on, in and over everything. We've made the most of this cozy, snowy weekend. We've stayed inside for the most part, bundled up and cozy under blankets. We've made numerous cups of hot cocoa, hot tea and coffee. This morning I woke up and baked a fresh batch of muffins- only to return to bed with a bowl full of muffins and crawl back under the blankets. We watched Polar Express- which if you have not you need to do that, today! It was a wonderfully perfect Christmas movie.

We went out yesterday afternoon and bought the last few gifts. I put up some more Christmas lights in the house and put out all the Christmas cards. And, I finished wrapping all the gifts.

Last night we went to dinner w/ some neighbors/friends. They are probably two of the most wonderful people you could ever meet. They have two little boys and it was so fun to talk to them about all the Santa stuff they get to do this weekend. It reminded me how much different Christmas is without little kids around. There is an element of magic and wonder that is lost. But soon enough, all of that will return.

Tomorrow it is off to another work-filled week. I can't imagine it being to busy as everyone is counting the days to Christmas.


Tastes like crack

Ohhh, I'm in trouble. I've seen the promised land and I don't think I can turn back. I've tasted the sweet honey and felt the sting of having taken away- WHAT DO I DO???

As you may know, I love playing Scrabble. I play a version of the game on Yahoo quite often. Well, tonight I'm playing and I have the letters: E-S-L-I-T-O-N. I knew there was something in that mess I just could not pull it out. I wandered on to google and typed in the words- Scrabble Word Finder. Sure enough, www.scrabblewordfinder exists!

You punch in the letters in your tray, its little magical brain starts turning and a few seconds later it spits out the highest-scoring word. In the case above- it gave me ENTOILS. I scored 59 points.

I felt so dirty for playing it and blasting past my opponent. But when the new letters were deposited in my tray I think my fingers started twitching, trying to move the mouse to open that window again.

I felt like people probably feel the first time that snort that white powder, or have sex, or eat at the Cheesecake Factory- WHEN DO I GET TO DO IT AGAIN!?!?

It's taking all will power not to use that. Ok, I just caved, I went back. And while there I learned that you can also type in all the words on your board and it will show you exactly where on the board to play the word it finds.



Cricket, Cricket

Sorry I'm lame and haven't posted anything lately. Not that there is ever anything incredibly exciting to report, there's just been a drought lately. I've been busy getting ready for Christmas- lots of shopping and wrapping and mailing. This house is the perfect backdrop for Christmas- it's so cozy. I'm excited to have my family here to celebrate this year.

Last weekend Shelton's mom and brother Elliott came up for a couple days. We had a really enjoyable time doing nothing at all. It was nice to kick back with them and visit. There was an exciting evening of sugar cookie making that wrapped up with watching Madagascar.

Then Sunday we spent the day cleaning and getting the house ready for our first dinner guests. Some friends of ours, John and Sarah, came over and spent the evening. We ate like kings and had good conversaton all night long.

Then Monday the work week peeked its ugly head and we're off and running w/ the same-ole, same-ole.

Now for a fun fact- remember the movie Uncle Buck? A classic, if you haven't, waht the hell?! Remember the oldest daughter that dated the creepy guy that Uncle Buck tried to whack w/ the hatchet? Well, she is now the prim-and-proper wife on the TV show YES DEAR. In case you're interested.

See- nothing going on.


Eskimo Porkchops

When we moved to Wichita last year one of the many beloved things we had to leave behind in Oklahoma City was our grill. It is a fabulous grill- a big man-beast of a meat grillin' machine. We use our grill anywhere from 1-4 times a week. I cannot cook enough on it. The flavor is better, healthier and more fun AND it doesn't stink up your house.

We regained custody of our grill about 2 weeks ago, right after we moved in the new house. I've used a few times and Shelton keeps telling me that it's too cold to grill, we'll have to wait until spring.

Well, that is not entirely correct. Tonight, on the evening of our first snow in Wichita, I grilled porkchops. Big, fat, juicy, grilled to perfection porkchops. And they were deelish. I made approximately 6 trips in and out of the house into the snow to flip, turn, sauce the meat. The bowl I used to carry my little spices in filled with snow while they were cooking and my tongs froze shut after every use.

So, much like the postal service- come rain, snow or shine- we will grill on.


Don't hate me because I'm organized

Today is December 4th. There are 21 days until Christmas. And while the rest of the world is scrambling to find the perfect gifts, wrap those gifts, hang christmas lights, put up and decorate the tree, write their Christmas cards.... I'm relaxing. That's because I'm done with all of that. I finished buying gifts yesterday. They are all wrapped and under my tree- my completely decorated Christmas tree that sits inside my house that has lights on the outside. And tomorrow morning? I'm mailing my Christmas cards. It does feel so nice. So Merry Christmas everyone and good luck w/ the rest of your holiday chores.