peanuts and crackerjacks. ...and chili cheese fries.

We were "Kansas City or bust" this weekend with Aaron's parents, his sister Melody and her boyfriend, Brian. It was a little weekend getaway for the birthday girl, Melody, turning 19 on Monday. Going to a baseball game is probably one of Aaron's favorite things to do over pretty much anything else. It's a family thing, as his brother's the same way. Aaron's mom was recounting the family vacations over the years, and only recently discovered that trips to say... Chicago, Denver, Boston, L.A....were all planned in accordance with (or at least with some consideration) to a major league baseball game.

We caught the KC Royals [...a Chaloner favorite] with their in-state rival the St. Louis Cardinals while we were there. The plan had been to catch the Saturday night game... so, we spent the day visiting with Aaron's grandparents & spending some time at the outdoor Kansas City plaza. If you've been there [and have two X chromosomes], your heart probably skipped a beat...and maybe a little drool collected in the corner of your mouth. If you haven't, well... what are you waiting for? Even Dallas, a shopper's haven, doesn't have a paradise like this. Gosh, I'm such a woman... eh, who needs excuses, I'm a woman who delights in the things that make her oh-so happy. Like these two awesome stores - 1154lill and papersource - put those two together and you'd have the workings of the store I'd love to open one day.

[the plaza at christmas time]

Again, we were to be cheering for the Royals by 6 pm...but, on the way to the game that night, the birthday girl herself was looking at the tickets and said 'But, wait, these tickets say Sunday, June 29th at 1 o'clock!" We all thought she was kidding around...but, no we were indeed headed to a sold-out game with tickets for tomorrow. The biggest hiccup in that being that we're a 5 hour drive from home... but, it ended up giving us what felt like a whole extra eventful day in KC. We went back to the Plaza for a little while and then caught the late show of Wall-e. After a few rousing rounds of tabletop ping pong back at the hotel, we still had a whole afternoon of baseball ahead of us the next day! The game was a blast, of course... even though we lost. Our seats were so close! They have this amazing new ginormous HD scoreboard, the 'Crown Vision'...with more stats & information displayed than I even understand. We actually made it on there once! We all watched, sang, root-root-rooted for the home team, and stuffed our faces with Kauffman Stadium's classic game-day treats. A good time was had by all, I'll say.
But for now, I'm going to slap on some rubber gloves & get this place sparkling... well, acceptable, at least. We're expecting guests, lovely friends Hannah & Jonathan are coming to stay for about 4-5 days. I'm so thrilled that they're coming! We've got lots of plans for you guys. Everyone have a safe & happy fourth!



I will be using this for any additional time spent outdoors this summer. I first uploaded a picture of a deer tick, but it was just too creepy. For those of you who don't know yet, last week [not while white-water rafting or spending time at the lake] after visiting the pool at Paris Landing, I pulled a tick off of my shoulder. A couple of days later, some unusual spots appeared on my wrist on the same side. I'd remembered dad mentioning just in passing about Lyme disease and rocky mountain spotted fever... Now, since going through Aaron's 'toughness-training' [I'm only a level 2...no, really.]... I thought If I mention that I'm worried the tick may have given me something, they'll think im just being super-paranoid since we were just talking about it. So, I'd been feeling sick, but I think for other reasons. But, these spots were getting a worse and were hard to ignore. A day or so later, Mom said I was sweating bullets and thought I should get them checked out. When I finally showed them to my dad, he agreed that I should see the doctor just in case.

So, I made an appointment now that I'm back in Oklahoma and went in today - I just approached the doctor very passively... you know, this may be nothing, just wanting to rule out anything.... but, she confirmed that yes, the spots do look like rocky mountain spotted fever. [<--there's your wikipedia link with the signs and prognosis, and details on the little culprit carrying this disease...] Any confirmatory tests would take longer than just administering the recommended treatment, so they started me on the specific antibiotic for RMSF. They also took a CBC just to make sure there wasn't anything like abnormal platelets causing the spots. It'd been only a week since the tick bite, so obviously there's no cause for major concern - and I didn't even have a fever at yesterday's appointment. She started asking me about other symptoms and telling me what to look for...and how some cases can be really bad and even fatal. I must have had a horrified look on my face, because she jumped in very quickly - "Butyou'regoingtobefine!" I know often people become hospitalized, but I think that's usually before they identify it. Right? So, I'm just starting up my recommended doses and hoping not to get sick, sick. Anyway, just be cautious folks. use your repellant. like brad paisley suggests 'check each other for ticks' and when in doubt, I guess you really can't be too cautious.


it's true what they say....

you can never go home again.

I'm 24 years old, but the girl that is seen in my small town is apparently not a day over 17. [I think that's vaguely a title to a bad country song] Some people grow with you, some people just only remember who-you-were-then. It's strange to recognize that a random conversation is directed at a younger-version of yourself...the questions, the generalizations...seem to come way out of left field... gosh, i'm not like that at all anymore... mostly it's understandable, from an acquaintance, an old friend...but even from my own family, it's so unusual. Some of you know exactly what I mean, others I'm sure have no idea. I feel like that workaholic parent panged by guilt 'well, if only I'd been home more...' oh, well. we all have to leave the nest at some point. some just fly farther than others. I think it's a great illumination of the continued effort that's necessary in maintaining not only relationships...but being open about the person you have become. And striving to know others for who they are in the present, showing an interest... not assuming to know them intimately any longer, simply from the fond memories you have from the days gone by.

Hmm, I didn't sit down to write myself a little life lesson... you all know I really just have more pictures. I had a good visit, but it's probably the last of that kind for a long while...for a whole host of reasons. I'm excited to share that we had a fun little adventure over to East Tennessee... I'm prepared to out-do my last post pouring out my sentiments on the beauty of this state. Our timeline to fly back towards 'the nest' is about 4 years, in time for Aaron to finish his doctorate. We'd always talked about settling in Nashville...it just seemed the most likely candidate to have jobs for both of us, close to family, etc. But, it seems that our little drive to the mountains opened my eyes to the opportunities over in the eastern time zone. Chattanooga is adorable, steeped in southern hospitality and charm with a beautiful backdrop of the smoky mountains...with a whole host of 'outdoorsy' activities - caves, hiking, rapids, camping... Nearby is still Nashville, but also Atlanta, the east coast with beaches and mountains. I sound like a 'welcome center'. Now, that's about as far as I've thought, but I'll definitely keep that on our list of possibilities.
We suited up Friday morning - helmets, lifejackets, and oars - set out with our guide, Jake, to take on the Middle Ocoee River. My last trip a few years back with Hannah was extremely eventful, so I was just hoping to stay in the raft this time, that time we'd done the Upper Ocoee, the site for the 1996 Olympic kayaking competition - and it definitely put up a good fight. We looked like professionals out there, all rowing in sync - except, I guess, for this bright blue raft and gear with 'ocoee outdoors' stamped all over it. This is definitely one of my favorite things to do, I'd love to raft the canyons of the Colorado River someday.

here we are roped up to the side of the river - No, I'm not taking photos of frantic swimmers who've been thrown from their boat... Trae and Logan dove off of "Jump Rock" where you can go down a small rapid sans raft.

Here we go! I forget the name of this rapid... Broken Nose or Double Suck...or Slingshot...I can't remember. But, you get the point. Don't ask how I got these pictures.

Paddle High Five. No Men Overboard. But definitely not dry.

Our wet-and-wild adventures don't end here, though. I think I spent five of the 8 days at home in a swimsuit... we spent the last day back at the lake - trying our hand at wakeboarding. I never got up, but Trae & Logan did - what a workout! It is ridiculously tiring. I was, however, able to effortlessly master tubing - basically 'hang-on' is the only skill required. It was a lot of fun - I let go on one big 45 mph turn and they said I skidded across the water like it was a concrete surface. [Logan's up!]from the other boat, we were all surprised to see just how cool we look in a sailboat. :)

::cheers for visits home::


set an open course for the virgin sea.

Summer 'officially' doesn't even begin for 5 days, but we've officially rocked it already. There will be no vitamin D deficiency for this girl. [now July and onward will be lit by fluorescent clinic lights...but at least for June, I'm good.] I've definitely enjoyed my stay back home, but I wish I had my other half with me, hanging out & just spending quality time with the family. The first day we hit up the lake, brought a picnic, ran the sails...and with only a whopping 2 mph wind [oklahomans say what], we ended up getting creative pulling each other behind the sailboat with ropes. We probably looked ridiculous, but thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

We spent Sunday afternoon very traditionally with the whole family out in Holladay, TN. Church, Grilling out, playing with the kids...shooting a 22. you know, the usual. It's spending my first 17 years doing just this every Sunday of my life that still leaves a little empty spot on Sunday afternoons in Oklahoma...without a whole family around and a fresh plate of fried okra. I think it's time to start a new long-distance Sunday tradition to fill that niche and create new memories...

it took 40 pictures to capture this...muzzle flash, is that what it's called? The boys were quite proud.

With Emma's arrival, we now have a living 5-generation family...
Emma, Dad Trae, Grandma Gigi, Great-grandma Jackie, and Great-Great-grandma Mama Bowman.

I've really enjoyed my relaxing week hanging out with Mom - we've hit up the pool by day and enjoyed some girly time [i.e. sex and the city and nights in the hot tub]. I miss being here... not just 'home', but Tennessee in general. I probably should stay put with the horrendous gas prices, but I've enjoyed a few drives since I've been here...it's just so gorgeous. and you don't have to 'go looking for it' 60 miles away from the city or anything. Nature was good to Tennessee. They're playing my song, as that old commercial sang. I'm sorry, Oklahoma, you just can't compete. I'll try and find your strong suit, so I don't embarrass you here. I've still 2-3 more days, in the morning we're off to the smoky mountains to run the rapids!


time away.

Plenty of miles separate us this weekend. Aaron's spending time with the Chaloners and lots of extended family in Wichita, Kansas. And, although I'm sad to be flying solo this trip, I'm thrilled to be spending a week in Tennessee with my family. Definitely the last trip to visit home without hefty planning and taking vacation time. This 'kid'-summer is about to come to a close, I am so thankful for this highly recommended hiatus I've been able to take before starting my big-kid job & saying goodbye to summer breaks for good.
So far, I know we're headed for a full day of sailing out at the lake tomorrow. Let's hope I brought some of that Oklahoma wind with me... & Mom's taking us white-water rafting next week! I started out my trip in Memphis last night with Angela (a close friend from my hometown) with drinks on the rooftop of the Peabody hotel, dinner at Cafe51, and a stop at the Flying saucer for some great music & hundred's of different kinds of 'ale'. This was a 'low key' night for them. ha! I had an absolute blast, and loved getting to catch up with Angela, see her new art studio space, and get a glimpse into her new downtown lifestyle. I told her, hands down, she's my new rockstar friend.
I'd better ske-daddle. boy, can you tell I'm back in the sticks?



I cannot believe a year has already come and gone. Gosh, I feel so lucky. Short of salvation, there is nothing more fulfilling in life than waking up next to the love of my life each morning and walking through each day with him. I look forward to the life that lies ahead of us - the life we're planning together. I look forward, but at the same time I'm going to try not to do the 'cant wait' thing. I've spent the last 2 years in grad school maybe a little too focused on the light at the end of the tunnel - I need to slow down and re-remember that our life together has definitely already begun, a house or a handful of kids doesn't mark the starting line... I don't have to say I can't wait, because I know that if every day up until then can be just like these, just this wonderful, then I want to enjoy the journey... One of my greatest joys is simply sharing the day-to-day with you - sure, the vacations and the holidays are always full of smiles and fun, but the real bare bones of life are in the patterns of our everyday lives - the errands, the cooking, the just sitting on the couch...what would seemingly be unexciting and monotonous, is anything but that with you - it's peaceful, it's warm, it's shared. This is starting to be very incriminatingly Lifetime-movie-esque. But, thank you, babe, for being so incredibly generous. so hilarious. making me light up and bringing a permanent smile to everything...and I'll get all this, always. I'm definitely counting my blessings as I reminisce of the year gone by.
On our trip, we decided on 'our thing'. We're going to take a commemorative anniversary picture and each year spell out ' ___ years' in whatever we have at our disposal to 'celebrate' with. Now, on our honeymoon it was the sand...and for year 1 it was also a beachy-message. But, who knows, one year it could be river rocks...the next it could be a plate of our 3-year-old's corn kernels. In the spirit of this new tradition, we both ended up giving eachother the exact same anniversary card. I know, how obnoxiously cute, right?
The first anniversary is the 'paper' one...so, naturally, we exchanged books... and Aaron threw in some 'waste-not-paper' stationery. so fitting. To relive our excitement of 05.27.07, we're going to pull out the wedding DVD. :) We've yet to eat the top tier of our wedding cake - it's been in my grandma's freezer, and we haven't been able to get back home recently... but, I've been thinking about you mr. vanilla & jack daniels chocolate chip cake with fondant and buttercream icing and chocolate mousse and raspberry filling. I sure hope you preserved well.
I am challenging us both to reflect and compile a list of 25 things we've learned after being married for this first year. 25 may be an incredible understatement. I actually wish I'd kept more of a running-tab all along... Our life is certainly not perfect, but at times our life together just seems so very. I take no credit for this peace and this comfort, it's clearly divine design. I almost, almost, feel guilty for such a blessing....or at least baffled as to why we were chosen to experience love like this, something so unique and special, but like any great blessing - I simply have to guard and appreciated as the most valuable thing I have. I'm sorry, I've never had a way with words like you have, babe...I'm always at a loss when it comes to articulating my tangle of emotions. I'm going to have to write a love thesaurus and just invent all new words. My two readers are going to 'gag' if I don't stop it.



I'm still licking my fingers from a delicious evening meal... I decided to get all pioneerwoman or smittenkitchen [thanks, kaitlin, for the tip-off] and post our yummy recipe. Aaron and I played host to his parents, Michael & Teresa, this evening and made Shrimp Scampi with linguine, grilled squash + asparagus, and summer strawberry cobbler. The most memorable, I think, being the main squeeze. Try this, if you like shrimp. or even if you hate shrimp, but like garlic... (because after this, you'll wonder where shrimp's been all your life).

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 medium cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon dry vermouth
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
cayenne pepper
kosher salt and ground black pepper

1. Heat 12-inch skillet over high heat until hit, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon oil and swirl to coat bottom of pan. Add 1 pound of shrimp and cook, stirring occasionally, until just opaque, about 1 minute; transfer to medium bowl. Return pan to heat and repeat process with remaining oil and shrimp.

2. Return empty skillet to medium-low heat; melt 1 tablespoon butter. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant (about 30 seconds). Off heat, add lemon juice and vermouth. Whisk in remaining 2 tablespoons butter; add parsley and cayenne, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Return shrimp and accumulated juices to skillet. Toss to combine; serve immediately - individually or over a bed of linguine.

Just a friendly tip from the chef, pay the extra $ to buy the shrimp peeled and deveined. I could have spent that hour elsewhere, not to mention was it disgusting.
I will give credit and great appreciation to my Uncle Jim for introducing us to this dish...it was our well-received contribution to 'seafood night' on vacation. Like the aforementioned ladies, I apologize that I don't have the artistic pictures to slideshow each step of preparation.

Don't forget to kiss the cook.

real simple.

unexpectedly, this weekend we added five things to our spend-less summer list:
  • crashing a little league game. boy, does that bring on the sentiments of summer. hey, #7 could be our nephew, cousin,...complete stranger that could use a cheering section.
  • sunday's open houses. I find it so much fun...not sure if Aaron's all the way up there with me, but it's an enjoyable afternoon. On the flip side, it may end up contributing to a spend-more autumn.
  • poolside. no explanation needed.
  • reading 'vintage' scary stories by candlelight. Cheers to Kara for the yardsale find & the awesome blast from the past.
  • sunset picnicking at the lake. Thanks, mom, for the adorable picnic set that we intend to adequately break-in. [ok, corey, you were right. it made it.]

As for other news, to those tuned in - today's interview for the genetic counseling job at Childrens was postponed, again. I've been assured that there are 'no concerns' and have been given several optimistic winks-and-smiles from the staff I trained under... but, until I formally receive an offer, naturally I can't help but feel a little unsettled. Feel free to send an extra prayer this way.



sic 'em.

This post is a little overdue...but a few weeks ago, we had the privilege of celebrating Melody's high-school graduation. This little jet-tsetter is currently in London, but, we just wanted to send our sincerest congratulations to the valedictorian of Hinton High School's class of 2008. She gave a beautiful speech that made us laugh & brought tears to our eyes. We are so proud of you! And, so unbelievably excited that you chose to spend your next four years at Baylor. Not only are we thrilled about all that you are about to take on and what promise your future holds, we're (somewhat selfishly) pumped about coming to visit you at our alma mater. We know you are going to love it, and I couldn't even begin to tell you how much you're going to learn, grow, and experience. We look forward to hearing about your friends, your dorm, your football games, your road trips...and watching you shape your own Baylor story.

As melody prepares to 'fly from the nest', I'm reminded of my own transition that began with that emotional trek - the 12 hour drive from my little two-stop light town to that new independent life. Looking back now, it hardly seems like I'm looking at myself there in that car. We change so much, it's almost like there's some threshold of memories that we can hold on to and still feel like ourselves, and anything behind that point is just some fuzzy imagination. It's incredibly surreal. It's been seven years - never in my wildest dreams would I have ever imagined that that trek would have led me where I am today. Change is constant, but I can't help but be so surprised by it every time. I suppose this isn't a unique feeling, most everyone feels this way...that's our unpredictable, uncontrollable (even though we oh-so-try) life. Looking back seven years ago, so much is different (good different...and well, better-get-used-to it different) ...but to me, the magnitude of change in my life seems statistically significant (as my science-mind would say), meaning moreso than would be expected from chance alone.
I'd read somewhere that every single cell in the human body replaces itself over a period of seven years. Seven years?! There's not a single cell, not even the smallest part, of me now that was a part of me back then. And, yes, I suppose it feels that way. Instead of some rolling maintenance schedule, I can't help but feel like some of those cells got together and decided to just change all at once.


part deux: family style.

well, as you know, we decided to spend the second leg of our florida vacation with some family in pensacola, florida...with my dad, my brothers, and 17 beach bums of Dedmon-origin/association. We rented a 6 bedroom/6 bathroom beach home right on the sand... it had beautiful back porches with front-row seats to the shore...it was the perfect place for everyone to spread out, for people to just come and go to the beach...just to relax, catch up, & hang out. We had a maaah-velous time, of course, but I think should just make the disclaimer that it was definitely different, and difficult to digest at times...I have shyed away from using the word 'family vacation'...it's more of a 'vacation with family'... symantically, they aren't that different. but, while our 5-person nuclear family has expanded to include eight now with Aaron, Coi, & Emma (and I loved sharing this trip with them), I can't see it ever feeling like a true family vacation without all the 'family' that the name implies, you know? When I first started blogging, I shared (...maybe unfortunately) about not diving in too 'personally' with respect to those involved...but, I think this small tidbit is fair, & on my mind. For what it's worth.
But still, we did have a really great time hanging out with my brothers, catching up with family I hadn't seen since the wedding, and of course meeting my adorable brand-spanking-new niece Emma. Being a three-week old baby, I don't have to tell you that she's adorable, do I? I do have to tell you that her aunt J and uncle A are crazy about her and think she's the cutest little thing with the most precious personality ever...and already miss her. She got so used to being 'held' at nearly all times by all of us so much that her mommy and daddy are going to have their hands full next week without all those arms. Before leaving for this trip, I actually googled "baby + camera flash" to make sure I wasn't going to damage little Emma's new eyes with all the pictures I planned to take of her. And, because there are way too many (and because I'm ridiculously proud of this new little one)...the link at the end of this has lots more.

A general theme that emerged from this vacation was definitely all the animals! Let's see, in addition to my kiss-and-tell with the sea lion... we were sitting on the porch at the beach house and spotted dolphins swimming close to shore. We went for a walk on the beach, and they swam along for about half a mile. Aaron and Logan even tried getting close, but it scared them off. They also spotted sting rays and baby sea turtles in the wild. Aaron and Lo caught over 15 hermit crabs (one which was kept as a pet - 'George the Monkey' the hermit crab). We spotted a baracuda in the water from the pier. and Aaron had a lizard climb up his arm. And perhaps the most shocking tale of all - Aaron spotted a shark and it got within 3-4 feet of him, and pretty close to my uncle Lynn too. You could see the dark figure in the water when the waves crested, he was about 4 feet long. He didn't seem to 'bother' anyone...by bother, I guess I mean - eat. My aunt and uncle who are regular scuba-divers suggested it was possibly a Florida reef shark and typically fairly harmless to humans. Good thing, since later Aaron shared that when he first saw it he actually swam closer to it because he was 'curious'.

So, we sunned, we beached, went for long walks, played tons of games, went to the waterpark, tried to fish off the pier, and aunt liz even taught us yoga there by the beach...all the classic ingredients for a fine florida vacation. (I heard 'vacay' in my head, but I've learned that I absolutely hate that word.) ...and let me just tell you that we ATE so well. This is a family of gourmet cooks. Each night had a theme - Mexican night, Italian night, Seafood night, Grill night...you get the picture. Everyone made a dish each night (and again, we're not talking anything made with velveeta...) - we're talking entrees like Grilled Curry spiced tuna steaks With Black bean salad, braised short ribs with polenta...even Aaron and I's contributions were big hits with twice baked wasabi potatoes, shrimp scampi, and the ol' classic homemade lasagna. It was just a fun time of 'fellowship' all gathered around the big kitchen...we learned so much and brought back so many new recipes (enter: excited Aaron).
first night, all the chefs juggling to get a piece of the in-demand real-estate: the stovetop.
game time.
the mentionable sandlot baseball.
my cousin Alex made us all matching shirts for the vacation: FIDEM SERVO.
even one in size newborn.
Aunt Liz and Aaron coming down the waterslide.
Adorable 'family photo'.
and the aunts & uncles who plan to spoil you rotten. and maybe uncle Lo to blow things up. I feel like I have so many stories, and I'm already tiring you and myself out. I guess they'll just be left in my head to dry up and be forgotten. This is truly why I believe I am so picture-happy. Cue the photos link for part two. I'm so thankful now for my wonderful companion who'll always be there to jog, or rapidly defibrillate, my terrible memory.
Cheers to all for a wonderful vacation -