it's beginning to look a lot like...

…Thanksgiving? Have we forgotten? Has anyone noticed how when you look around at the shops and businesses, they barely even acknowledge that there’s a wonderful holiday still to come before we get to the busy, bustling Christmas season. With the struggling economy, I imagine they're trying to encourage sales by getting ‘shoppers’ thinking {and stressed} about their never-ending gift list even earlier this year. I don’t know what you guys have going, but I know I don’t want to pass over any of the warm, wonderful Thanksgiving traditions! Whether you’re enjoying the spiced pumpkin pie, the golden baked turkey, grandma’s homemade stuffing…or going around the table saying what everyone’s thankful for…or sitting around napping in the recliner while the family watches football - I have a new flavor to add to the mix this year… a challenge, if you will.

About five years ago, the surgeon general launched a public health campaign called the Family History Initiative, to encourage all American families to learn more about their family health history. The surgeon general (along with the CDC, NIH, NHGRI and others) declared Thanksgiving day “National Family History Day”. Two days in one! Now, as a genetic counselor, you can only imagine my ties to this plan.

Health care professionals have known for a long time that common diseases - heart disease, cancer, and diabetes - and even rarer diseases - like hemophilia, cystic fibrosis, and sickle cell anemia - can run in families. If one generation of a family has high blood pressure, it is not unusual for the next generation to have similarly high blood pressure. Tracing the illnesses suffered by your parents, grandparents, and other blood relatives can help your doctor predict the disorders to which you may be at risk and take action to keep you and your family healthy. Over the holiday or at other times when families gather, the Surgeon General encourages Americans to talk about, and to write down, the health problems that seem to run in their family. Learning about their family's health history may help ensure a longer, healthier future together.

Americans know that family history is important to health. A recent survey found that 96 percent of Americans believe that knowing their family history is important. Yet, the same survey found that only one-third of Americans have ever tried to gather and write down their family's health history. I realized, myself, when I really thought about it, I wasn’t exactly the historian I thought I was about my relatives. So…what are you waiting for??

Because family health history is such a powerful screening tool, the Surgeon General has created a new computerized tool to help make it fun and easy for anyone to create a sophisticated portrait of their family's health. This new, revised version of the tool, called “My Family Health Portrait” is a web-enabled program that runs on any computer. The web-based tool helps users organize family history information, and then print it out for presentation to the family doctor. In addition, the tool helps users save their family history information to their own computer and even share family history information with other family members. The tool can be accessed at:

[Data from: United States Health & Human Services, 2008]

Clearly, I’m a believer. & the importance of knowing your family history cannot be understated. And anything is fair game…it doesn’t have to be something that you think is “genetic” per se. It can get pretty personal, and some privacy is definitely expected. Some people may be more reserved…and some may give you all the details about their last trip to the restroom. You know which family you are. So, depending on your own situation, approach with consideration, k?
Up to the challenge?

well, we're off to Tennessee in the morning, & just want to wish everyone a safe and happy Thanksgiving weekend!


deep in the heart of texas.

take four girls, add in a roadtrip to texas and what-we-do-best {shop} and you have an eventful, fun-filled weekend with the Chaloner ladies. with no hotels that nearly caught on fire. no sir, not one.
Salado is an adorable little town that hasn't ever heard the word 'commercialism'. Local boutiques and cafes line the streets. It's an ideal main street america, I imagine their friendly folk just strolling down the sidewalks knowing every face, every name. ...
{it's like I could see Luke's diner right there on the corner...}
It was neat to consider that all four of us chicas were born into families full of brothers. We had such a blast having some 'girl time'. It's awesome to have this new sister-ly bond together.
a light lunch at a fancy-pants Tea Room, two X chromosomes required.
Could never get away with this if we had our guys in tow...

- a cute little town where scenes like this exist along our walk -
wait a minute, there was a boy on this trip after all...

...& the next day, we woke up and surprise - shopped some more. I should have counted the number of times we said "...that's cute!" over the weekend. with just SPICE alone, we probably met our quota. By the way, I'm so ready to start my own store. No really, we can discuss my business plan in a later post.
This is where I give my shout out to Terry & Jo. you did it right guys. Our dogs were pretty tired by the end of the trip...
Thanks for a fun time, sistas.
Mark your calendars for the 2nd annual girls trip, next year southlake town square!


happy birthday karlee.

a brand new beautiful baby girl was born into this world on November 17, 2008!
Corey & Kara welcomed the third member of the Fuller family, Karlee Ann, around 3:30 Monday afternoon. Weighing in at 7 lbs. 13 oz, 20.5", she'll just melt your little heart. We had the chance to go visit this fresh new face tonight, and you just can't stop looking at her.

photo credit: Corey "Dad" Fuller
I'm always surprised at how tiny they are. I guess because they just grow so fast, our little niece Emma is already up to new tricks, and nowhere near this size any longer. I'm gonna be honest, it terrifies me to hold anything under 3 months old. Yes, I know, I'm going to have to get over that...clearly. They seem so precious, so fragile. It's beautiful and scary all at the same time.

Isn't she just a little doll? Just three days ago she wasn't even here! it is truly such a miracle. You can see more of this precious face over on their baby blog. She's quite loved, this little one. And her mommy & daddy are just beaming with pride, wonder, excitement...Congratulations you three!


leaving time again.

Now, this is my favorite season. I think that's a popular sentiment... it's pretty hard not to favor the 13-perfect-weather-Saturdays in a row. The unbelievable colors of the changing leaves. [If I'm in love with the fall flavor of Oklahoma, I try not to even think about how beautiful it must be driving along the roads of Tennessee right now.] That crisp scent in the air of leaves burning. The pumpkin patches and pies. The football games. & If you know me, you know the suitcase of scarves is being unpacked. While the weather is turning cooler, somehow everything seems so warm. just an excuse to share scenes around our cozy little 'home'.
...and an opportunity to share a new fall favorite from our kitchen table to yours:

-Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes-

{would you believe I have never made cupcakes before?...ok, don't answer that. We all know I'm no Martha Stewart in the kitchen. But, hey, I'm trying to learn slowly... I wasn't even sure how the little paper wrappers got onto the cake. see? cupcake-virgin. So, if I can do it, clearly there's hope for wannabe-bakers anywhere.}

I stumbled upon this recipe book, and even with my lack of experience, just had to have it... So far, i've just made these cupcakes from the book...but pumped to try out the rest of these cute little things! Turning each page we were like "oooh...ummm...oh!...yumm...yeah...that one!..." so, the inaugural run was definitely a hit! Aaron's requested another batch - as he licks his fingers - even before this one's out. Someone snuck one before I could even snap a picture....

1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour. 3/4 teaspoon baking powder. 1/4 teaspoon salt. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon. 1 teaspoon ground ginger. 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly. 1 cup sugar. 1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling). 3 lg. eggs. 1/4 cup crystalized ginger (cut into 1/8- to 1/4-inch pieces).

Preheat oven to 325F. Line 12 muffin tin cups with paper cupcake liners [see, it's a good thing they're thorough with cooks like me.]

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and ginger into a medium bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on low-medium speed, beat melted butter, sugar, and pumpkin until smoothly blended. Mix in the eggs and crystallized ginger [<--le piece de la resistance, in my opinion]. On low speed, mix in the flour mixture until it is incorporated. The batter will be thick.

Fill each paper liner with a generous 1/4 cup of batter. Bake just until the tops feel firm and a toothpick in the center comes out clean, abou 25 minutes [It took me 30]. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan on a wire rack. Then, invert on the wire rack and cool completely top side up.

And for the icing on the cake...

1/2 cup unsalted butter (room temp). 6 oz cream cheese (room temp). 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. 3 cups powdered sugar.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on low speed, beat the butter, cream cheese, and vanilla until smooth, and thoroughly blended, about 1 minute. Add the powdered sugar slowly, mixing until smooth, about 1 minute. Then beat on medium speed for 1 minute to lighten the frosting further. Then, put it all together and your mouth will wonder how he'll ever return the favor.

"Autumn. the year's last, loveliest smile." - wm. cullen bryan


a B.B.B.B. weekend.

let me explain...
Up at the top of Aaron's playlist this man will always be.
Dad surpised Aaron with two tickets to his show for his birthday. Mr. "Blues Boy" King came through town this weekend at the Riverwind. ...and were we ever excited! Ladies and gentlemen.... MR. B... B... KING!

BB & Lucille playing "Rock me Baby"
It's such an unconventional show. He tells stories, jokes around, weaves in and out of songs...old and new. like they are just a bunch of buddies up there kickin' around. he has the most animated expressions. It was entertaining to say the least. and pretty amazing to be able to hear such a legend.It was a pretty small venue, which was nice. But, it was a little difficult to see at times maybe because of that. (Also thanks to my parents) we saw them play in Dallas a couple years ago, it'd be hard to top our 6th row seats to that show. But in no way did we feel like we were hearing the same songs...they have so many, and so many different styles...with the blues, it kind of launches off of such feeling that you never know what you're going to get at that moment. they don't follow a 'set list', just whatever crosses the fingertips... We flooded up to the stage afterwards - and I even got to shake his hand! Yesterday morning, I even dragged out the record player & some of his albums of Aaron's originally recorded back in the 1950s. We need some robes and some cigars & we'll be all set.

...and a couple other B's for the weekend go to checking out the new Bond movie, finding an adorable new Boutique here by us, + i'll be heading out on the last warm weekend day of the year for what has become a sunday tradition Bike ride, and lastly...Saturday morning on Saturday night. Come Thanksgiving break, Aaron will have been working everyday for a month straight. weekends + weekdays with no relief. He's on a pretty tight schedule to get some data by the 1st of December, and as you know - his little subjects don't adhere to the normal 8 to 5 weekday we all prefer. So, unfortuntately, my man's been pretty pre-occupied and overworked lately with that on top of classes and such. We've missed our usual Saturday mornings [who am I kidding, it goes well past noon when we can...] ...waking up together...the leisurely, relaxed one-on-one hang out & veg-time that just doesn't compare to any other time in the week. Instead of pouting and complaining about what we were missing, we just decided to make it happen. So when we got home, we put on our comfiest pj's, snuggled up, made a huge, hearty Breakfast spread by 8 o'clock p.m. and hung out watching Tv & movies like we were just starting our day...
try it, it comes highly recommended.


design challenge.

inspired by fabulous-k's fancy makeover to this lil' page, I thought I'd dip my pen in a little blog project of my own for our online photo album:
Do you know how long this stuff takes? & I even used a template! ...is there a how-to somewhere? or is it an endless road of trial, click-submit, and error? I think I'd like to try this 'digital scrapbooking' thing I've seen so much of too - just not sure where to begin & not sure about the kind of commitment it takes...? I have a whole new understanding of the patience required for any type of graphic design or any work involving the letters h-t-m-l.


a few honorable mentions from days gone by...

[just so you don't think I only post good pictures of myself...]
Longhorn Steakhouse – [my all-time favorite place back in TN for a salad] – just opened up a few miles away from us here in the city. We even waited for its grand opening to celebrate my birthday dinner with here the Chaloners. Well, they hit three ‘strikes’ that evening with getting our food wrong, overcooked, or just plain forgotten. When it was time for dessert, we thought the waitress was bringing over a tray for us to select from…but, no, they wanted to right their wrongs by bringing us our own birthday buffet! We had slices and samples from everything on their ‘treat’ menu, with a birthday message iced onto the plate. We were all stuffed from dinner, but between the six of us, somehow managed to vacuum up every crumb. A grand slam to definitely redeem themselves.
Happy Halloween!
So, they might look like we made these with a couple of four year olds, but hey, they still taste just as good. My favorite is Aaron’s cat with the little sprinkles whiskers. Sadly, I think I ate one or two, and then had to leave the rest for him to finish when I took off last week. I’m sure he was heartbroken…and pre-diabetic.
{Program note: Aaron ‘invested’ in a gorilla suit about say, 5 years ago, and hasn’t let it go…}
So, girls, when your husband wants you to dress up as a ‘couple’ for Halloween and asks that you go as a glamorous, pretty girl with a long flowy white dress – as the Ann Darrow to his King Kong…you say yes. what you don’t say is “I want to be a banana instead!”

…”I look stuuupid.” was my exact whine. Kind of like the movie Mean Girls, where Lindsay Lohan’s character shows up to a party all gross and gory and monster-ed out only to realize that all the other girls use Halloween as their excuse to “glam it up” and get away with the most ‘scandalous’ (for a less derogatory term) outfits ever.

We had a little fun before returning it immediately for my full refund. it's peanut butter jelly time....for everyone who thinks their neighbors are lunatics.an evolutionary miracle. i found the missing link.

On Halloween night, we trotted over to Corey & Kara’s…unfortunately, I missed their annual Halloween bash & pumpkin carving while I was in California, it’s always a lot of fun, so I’m saving my non-banana costume for next year! We just had a nice, low key evening, they made us a delicious-o dinner and we passed out lots of candy to the adorable little trick-or-treaters. It’s exciting to think that they’ll have a little “pumpkin” of their own teetering around next fall!

It’s shake-and-ba….an apricot-and-cranberry pie…and I helped!

The Birthday-trifecta!

Celebrating last week at P.F. Chang’s. It’s like that class party with 24 cupcakes for ‘october birthdays’… umm, but better. :)

We hit up the free concert at OC with some friends over the weekend - it was a benefit for the wishing well project, to bring clean water to those in unreached areas of Africa. Derek Webb was the headliner, his wife Sandra McCraken and singer/songwriter Allie Rogers also played...but I was pleasantly surprised by the sound of waterdeep. I have to admit, while lyrically it can be moving, musically, a lot of Christian artists all sound the same to me...and I've never gotten into it much. I know many people that really enjoy it, and that's great. Only a handful have resonated with me personally. Well that said - if you're like me, I encourage you to check out the indie-folky waterdeep.
a shot of the Girlie Show @ the old farmers market building. so impressed. so inspiring... I walked away with a cute little handmade birdie bag...and with lots of new ideas. and plans to check out collected-thread, a new oklahoma city boutique for all things handmade or vintage, maintained by local artists. put it on your calendar for next year, ladies and gentlemen too. And pray that God would give us all an ounce of the creativity that these people have.

& last but not least of the randomness. Aaron had to go in to work today, so I took my bike [and my point-and-shoot] out to the lake hefner trails. ...a beautiful, leisurely afternoon ride in the painted landscape of autumn.

now, go enjoy the season.


no boys allowed.

on deck for this weekend - The Girlie Show. A 'craft fair' for the 20somethings. not a doily in sight, just lots of creative chicas. ...come to think of it, we should have set up a booth with our magnets! Think of it as your local, neighborhood etsy. I know, awesome, right?
I'm checking it out Saturday 12 to 5 with a nearly-due Kara and any of you ladies that want to come along for all the cool stuff. Sorry boys, you go watch the OSU/Tech game.


red state.

little girl in clinic today: "Mommy, do you have to vote...?"
our physician: "No, we get to vote."
what an exciting day.


livin' it up at the hotel california.

I have to say, I'm missing the LA sunshine. But, the beautiful colors of fall have warmly welcomed me back home. Except for Aaron, I haven't had a chance to really share stories from the trip yet. We had such a great week- not only did we have a blast, we learned a lot at the same time - I returned inspired! But, also worn out. Us genetic counselors are little busy-bees, potentially conferencing can go from 7 am to 10 pm at night. There's a personality-type in this profession that on one hand, gets-things-done, but also unfortunately doesn't ever slow down. I like to think I'm learning to teeter there at the fulcrum between accomplishment and down time. a balanced life. LA was a fun place to visit, I couldn't imagine living there though. It really is as different as you think it would be. Many of the people we encountered were very unfriendly and unaccomodating, not to mention blatantly superficial. They don't 'smile-back' and give you a strange look when you 'make casual conversation'. Could have been our locale, I'll admit, we were pretty much around Beverly Hills. That said, I would still really like to go back just to sight see - there was a lot we didn't get a chance to visit. & it was such a fun city to visit with three lovely friends. We did manage to sneak away with little breaks during the conference to see some of the sights...
During our first break, we taxied over to Hollywood and checked out Mann's Chinese Theatre, a classic spot for old-hollywood movie premiere's - still in use today.

We also saw the Kodak Theatre, where they host the Oscars.
I spotted my first 'celebrity' within 2 minutes, imagine my excitement! {those who didn't know me in 2003 will need some schooling in my now tamed obsession}.
These look-alikes saunter around on Hollywood Boulevard. I assume they have more than this day-job?
What would a trip to sunny CA be without a trip to In-and-Out burger?
Quite yummy. and the most affordable thing about our trip.
We strolled down the Hollywood Walk of Fame... finally finding the one I was hoping to see.
{Johnny Depp - in case you can't tell...}
You have to have the classic Hollywood sign photo, right? Who decided to put those up there? ...I think I remember that it originally said Hollywoodland. I wonder how large they are... I bet wikipedia has all of my answers.
We're standing on the crosswalk by the Kodak Theatre where you always see the E! reporters {facing the other direction} reporting "from the red carpet". It was here that we saw our first celebrity. And we definitely hit the "A"-list, let me tell you. :) We spotted Hulk Hogan here, Judge Judy on Rodeo Drive, Danny and Christopher Masterson {Hyde, from that 70s show and his brother from Malcom and the Middle} in front of us at airport security, and T.R. Knight {George from Grey's Anatomy} running to catch his plane.
...and, yes, we drove by 'The Ivy", but didn't spot anyone dining outside by the little white picket fences. We spotted several of the little hangouts and other places they frequent on the Hills. I really shouldn't know that. Oh well, it was kinda neat.
We managed to eat very well in LA. Here's the scene from my favorite meal at Rock Sugar, a pan-Asian fusion restaurant. I loved how everything was really ‘lounge-y’ when we went out at night, there were fire-pits and banquettes and low lighting...instead of a loud, smoky bar. I could definitely do more of this.
Another lounge-y scene - we definiely enjoyed the outside space of our hotel. so cute & cozy. When we have a backyard, firepit is going on the list right under charcoal grill.
View from our hotel room...
Oh yes, remember - we went for a conference?
We did actually work while we were there.
I presented a poster on some research some colleagues and I have been working on. Excitingly, I managed to meet another genetic counselor with a similar case in her practice, and we may be looking to collaborate on a paper.
Just to prove it. here's where we spent many a' hours.
Ok, let's get back to the fun pictures now.
We taxied over Sunday to check out festivities at the Santa Monica Pier. checking out the Pacific Ocean - grabbing some lunch - and windows shopping down the Third Street Promenade.
Paying hommage to our NSGC photo-on-the-bed tradition.
We ran around like it was a girls dormitory, getting all spiffy for our reunion night with fellow OK'ans.
view from our 'dorm'.
Some awesome GCs from the Class of 2007, 2008, 2009, and our director.
One night we ended up going out to a new hotspot called the “pink taco’’. The euphemism was lost on me, but when I told Aaron – he was like “You ate where?!” It didn't stop us from going back again for delicious fresh squeezed lime-pineapple margaritas.
Us chicas on a stroll down Rodeo Drive...
After stashing our BVLGARI, Harry Winston, and Chanel shopping bags, we could only afford the Beverly Hills Diner.
Yet another perk of traveling on business... happening upon the cities of your ol' pals! Candice came and took me out on my last night in L.A. Always great to catch up and hang out with a dear friend! Done.
Wiped out.
...and killing time poolside before our flights home.
Flyin' out of the pacific time zone. ...a few (term used loosely) more photos here.
...To my roomies, you were an absolute blast to travel with. You are some of the sweetest, sincerest, crack-me-up bunch of ladies I know. I do hope this tradition continues.
Pittsburg, PA '09!