Sunday, October 31, 2010

Day Twenty One: A Picture of ME!

Yuck. I had to stay home from work today because I wasn't feeling well. I figured my allergies were just a little out of hand and that I'd be feeling better in no time, but I started feeling a little feverish, so I made a doctor's appointment.

Turns out I have strep throat, which makes me feel like a little kid again. I swear I used to get strep at least twice a year when I was a little girl. The doctor finally said that if I got it ONE more time that I'd have to have my tonsils taken out. Thankfully, I haven't gotten it again until now.

Needless to say, I'm feeling pretty horribly, but since I'm holed up on the couch anyway, I might as well catch up with the 30-Day Blog Challenge!

Today's post should be simple - I have to share a picture of myself. Now, I could show a little restraint and post one recent picture of myself. Or I could be a little self-involved and post several of my favorites. Wow, that was a ridiculously easy choice.

(Yeah, I'm taking you WAY back. That's me and Bubba.)

(I think I'm at the zoo here...)

(Go ahead... make my day.)

(Chicken pox + calomine lotion + a strange princess costume = camera gold)

(Man, I loved that blankie.)

(A senior picture from high school)

(I'm sure I had just done something embarrassing. Like fall flat on my face.)

(I'm in NYC, and that's a squirrel on my lap.)

(I had gone to a bar with my brother while he was on leave from the Navy, and someone got out the red lipstick. It was all downhill from there.)

(It's a bridal picture, duh. :))

Day Twenty: My Nicknames

My name is Ryan, so there isn't a lot to work with as far as nicknames go. But my parents and friends do occasionally give it a go, and here's what they've come up with.

RyRy. (This is the most obvious and common variation of my name. Little kids tend to gravitate towards this one.)
Ryno. (I haven't heard this one since high school, and I'm honestly not sad about that. It wasn't intended as an insult in any way, but I still always pictured a giant animal with a horn coming out of its head every time I heard it. So, no, I really wasn't upset to see it go.)

And here are some other random names I get from time to time.

Elle Woods. (I'm ditsy, and I'm a lawyer. It just makes sense.)
Sweet pea.
Sweetie. (This is Daddy's favorite.)
Hey you. (This is Micah's favorite.)
Abbott... oops, I mean Hargrave. (I got this one a lot when I first got married. A lot of the guys at school called me by my last name, and it took them awhile to get Hargrave down.)
Mommy. (What? Lilly would totally call me Mommy if she had the capacity for speech. I'm just giving a voice to her thoughts.)

Day Nineteen: Something I miss...

This one is hard because there are so many directions I could take this post. I could tell you about how I miss Micah's GranMargie or my best friend's mom, Danna. Or I could tell you about how much I miss my cat, Fluffers, who I had since I was five years old and how I had to put her to sleep just a few months ago.

But I think I'll tell you something that you might be surprised to hear, given how much I love being home near my friends and family again.

So I'm just going to say it.

Are you ready?

Are you sure?

Okay. Here goes.

There's a tiny, little part of me that really misses living in Houston.

Now before you start asking me whether I've lost my mind, let me explain.

First of all, it's definitely not the city I miss. I don't for one second miss the humidity or the traffic or the crazy drivers. I don't miss missing my family and best friends. I don't miss missing every significant moment in my loved ones' lives.

But I do miss my friends there. For one thing, my Houston bestie, Kristen JUST GOT ENGAGED!!! And while I am so, so happy for her, I hate that I'm not there to celebrate with her in person. I hate that I can't be there to meet her for lunch and chat about her wedding plans. And I hate that I can't seem to catch up with Amanda. We keep missing each other, and I desperately want to know how she's doing. I also have several other friends that I met in law school that I haven't really caught up with, and it makes me sad that I probably won't catch up with them. We'll probably all get too busy to remember to keep up with one another, and I just hate that.

And even apart from my friends, I just miss our life there. I miss our church. I miss our favorite Chinese restaurant. I miss how connected Micah and I were because it was just us there. We had a quiet little routine in our comfy little house, and I loved it. I hated being away from our family, but we really had to rely on one another, and we built a strong foundation in our marriage.

I know most of this has to do with the fact that I'm easily contented, and I found a way to be joyful in our life in Houston, even though all I really wanted to do was move home. Apparently I just adjusted to the distance a little too well, and I dug our roots just a little too deeply.

Like I said before, I really do love being back in Dallas. I'm glad to be near our families and friends, and I love our new home. I just need a little while to miss our old life. I just need a little time to get used to being home. :)

Day Eighteen: Something I Regret...

Apparently I've been busy this weekend, and I've got four days to catch up on, but I'm up to the challenge. :)

Today's post may seem a bit silly in light of the blog title. But, honestly, there aren't a lot of big things that I regret. I'm just not the kind of person who looks back and wishes that I had done things differently... especially when I think about happy my life is and how God uses even the bad times to bless me abundantly. So I'll tell you about something I said when I was a little girl that still hurts my heart to this day.

When I was growing up I loved to sing. I definitely wasn't very good, but my parents (especially my mom) always told me that I could do anything, so I just ignored the fact that my voice didn't always match Mariah's when I sang along, and I just belted my little heart out whenever I could.

One Christmas morning, I woke up at the crack of dawn and went to wake my parents up so that we could open presents. When I went into the living room, I saw two big packages: one in front of my stack of presents and one in front of my brother's. When it came time to open them, my brother just happened to go first. He tore off the paper and found a SUPER cool boom box. It even had a CD player and everything! I was just so excited because I thought that Santa had brought me a super cool boom box, too. So I tore mine open and found a bit of a disappointment inside.

My parents had actually thought long and hard about my present, and they looked around until the found the perfect thing: a karaoke machine. It had a real microphone, and they thought I would love being able to sing along to everything that came on the radio. But the problem was that my brother had opened his present first, and mine didn't have a CD player. I remember asking my parents why Santa had brought me this karaoke machine when I really would have rather had the boom box.

It sounds silly, I know. But when I found out, years later, that Santa wasn't real and that my parents had actually bought me that karaoke machine, I felt horrible. It was such a thoughtful gift, and I know how tight money was for my parents at that time. It was a big sacrifice for them to buy me that present, and I didn't even appreciate it.

I'm sure my parents don't even remember this seemingly insignificant exchange, but it has bothered me for YEARS! So if you're reading, Mom and Dad, I'm SO sorry! I ended up LOVING my karaoke machine, and I'm so grateful that I had parents who loved me enough to buy me thoughtful presents, even if I didn't appreciate them at the time. :)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Day Seventeen: Something I'm looking forward to

There are several things I'm looking forward to. I'll start with the thing that (hopefully) happens the soonest.

  • I'm looking forward to seeing the Rangers win the World Series! This Texas girl is DEFINITELY proud of her team. And you can call me a bandwagon-er all you want (and I totally am one), but I'm still rooting. I'm even drinking out of my Rangers cup for good luck tonight!
  • I'm looking forward to next Friday. It's the day I find out whether or not I passed the Texas Bar Exam. I've been waiting for three months, and I'm definitely ready to know. I have absolutely no idea how I did, but I'm hoping for the best.
  • I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving. I think I'm hosting dinner for my Mom's side of the family, and I just always love getting together and eating with the people I love. Thanksgiving is probably one of my favorite holidays.
  • I'm looking forward to Christmas. Obviously I just love the holiday, but my brother and Faith are supposed to find out the sex of the baby by then, and I just can't wait.
  • I'm looking forward to next June. That's when the baby is due! :)
  • I'm looking forward to getting my first year as an attorney behind me. I still feel so green, and it'll be nice to finally feel like I sort of know what I'm doing.
  • I'm looking forward to finding a house that Micah and I want to buy. We really like Sunnyvale, and I think we'll look to buy something in this area.
  • I'm looking forward to the many years ahead of Micah and me. He makes me ridiculously happy, and I so blessed to be able to be his partner in crime. :)

Day Sixteen: My Dream House

Before I get to the Blog Challenge topic, I feel like I should share a little tidbit that, I'm sure, will absolutely brighten your day (or at least make you feel thankful you're not me).
My office is across the street from a Potbelly, which is a fairly dangerous thing in itself. Today I was in the mood for a yummy Uptown Chicken salad (blue cheese, candied walnuts, and grapes - OH MY!), so I walked across McKinney Avenue to pick one up.
As I was walking back, feeling cute in my new shoes and aviator sunglasses, my heel caught on a crack in the road (which, as the wife of a civil engineer, I feel is completely unacceptable), and I fell face-first in the middle of the road. Ugh. I scraped my knee and my hand all up, but my pride took the worst of it, I think. I got a lot of "oh that poor girl - can you imagine!??" kind of stares, but at least I didn't rip my pants. :)
So... if you're all done feeling sorry for me, I'll move on to my dream house. :)
I wish I had a picture to share, but (true to form), I don't have a particular house in mind. The closest thing I could do is post a picture of my best friend's in-laws' house. It's gorgeous, yet homey. And the floor plan is PERFECT for entertaining. But I don't even have pictures of THAT house, so I'll just tell you the things that would be must-haves if money were no object. :)
  • Double ovens. (It' so typical that I first thing of cooking and food...)
  • A GIGANTIC jacuzzi tub. Preferably one that resembles the Prefect bathroom in Harry Potter.
  • Multiple showerheads in the shower.
  • A media room with the most comfortable couch ever.
  • An outdoor living area.
  • A tennis court (I did say that money was no object)
  • A garage built to fit my husband's dream Skeeter bass boat (I deserve a wife of the year award for that one)
  • A top-of-the-line carpet pad
  • An open living area in which the kitchen, dining room, and living room all overlap
  • A wine cellar (never mind the fact that I don't drink wine...)
  • An office with floor to ceiling built-in bookshelves
  • A wall of windows somewhere
  • Lots and lots and lots of windows everywhere (I heart natural light)
  • An electronic closet like Cher had in Clueless
  • A deep fryer built into the kitchen island, a la Paula Deen... I'm southern, y'all!
  • Lots and lots of love and happiness. That's something they can just mix in when they pour the foundation, right? :)

(And, yes, I'm posting this on my lunch break. That's how much I love you guys. I'll do Day 17 tonight.)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Day Fifteen: Bible Verses

I hate to do this again, but I seriously JUST posted about my favorite Bible verse. So I'll re-post it here, just in case anyone missed it the first time around. :)

My Favorite Verse: A Promise and a Blessing

In honor of Show Us Your Life Friday, I wanted to take a minute and share my very, very favorite Bible verse. It's been my favorite promise from the Lord since I was in high school, struggling to find my identity in Christ and trying to make big life decisions.

Jeremiah 29:11 - "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord. "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

This verse is especially uplifting to me now, when I am so uncertain about where the Lord is leading Micah and me. I get discouraged because I miss home and because things haven't gone according to my perfect plan. But then I remember that it's not about my plan. It's about His plan.

And His plans have brought me a life full of joy, peace, and incredible, epic love. What else in the world could I need? :)

Day Fourteen: A Picture I Love

Well this one would be easy, breezy. But Blogger is misbehaving tonight, and it won't let me post any pictures. I swear I'll do my best to remember to post the picture tomorrow. Someone remind me if I forget. :)

Day Thirteen: My Goals

I try to be a goal-oriented person. You'd think that I would be, and sometimes I am. But most of the time, they're fairly short-term goals. Given how important I think living in the moment is, I'm not too big on mapping out every aspect of my life (as if I have any control over what happens anyway!). But I do think it is important to be seeking to accomplish things in life. I think it helps in fostering a thankful disposition, and I've always believed that thankful people are happy people.

So here are a few things that I want to accomplish in this crazy, wonderful life.

1) Be the best wife to a husband who does such a wonderful job in loving and supporting me.
2) Say what I mean, and mean what I say.
3) Pay off my student loans in five years or less.
4) Raise children who love the Lord.
5) Be a fun aunt to my nieces and nephews.
6) Pray more.
7) Worry less.
8) Establish a regular exercise routine.
9) Be a better public speaker.
10) Take myself a little less seriously.
11) Branch out and experiment with color.
12) Perfect my English accent so I can go to England and make them think I am from there. (Sadly, I'm totally serious.)
13) Be a better friend.
14) Listen more intently.
15) Love with reckless abandon.

Day Twelve: I believe...


Vanilla tastes better than chocolate.
Books are the pathway to intelligence.
We should all be a little more compassionate.
There is a living God who loved me enough to die for me.
Comfy socks make life better.
My husband is the most handsome man on the planet.
A girl should always splurge on a good hair straightener.
Mexican food is a gift from heaven.
I look better as a brunette.
Autumn makes living in Texas bearable.
You shouldn't settle.
Life would be a lot easier if boys would just say what they mean.
Life would be a lot easier if girls would just say what they mean.
The five-second rule is totally legit.
Coca Cola puts some secret, super-addictive ingredient in Diet Coke.
I'm not a very good driver.
This life is a gift that we often take for granted.
A good pillow makes all the difference in the world.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Day Eleven: My Favorite TV Shows

For awhile I wasn't much of a TV watcher. During college, Rebecca and I didn't have cable, so we were pretty much relegated to watching things on DVD, which is how I first got hooked on Grey's Anatomy.

Grey's was my one and only TV show for awhile, but once Micah and I moved to Houston, and he made it clear that he needed at least the local channels, I found a few other guilty pleasures.

Now, I watch these shows religiously:
Modern Family
Vampire Diaries


The Bachelor
The Bachelorette

And I watch these shows when I can catch them:
Dancing with the Stars

American Idol

What shows are you addicted to?

Day Ten: Something I'm Afraid Of

I could get really deep and tell you all about my insecurities and fears, but I think I'll stick with the thing I'm irrationally afraid of.

Yup. I'm irrationally afraid of alligators. When I was little, I was playing around in Lake Lavon, and I swear to you... I SWEAR I saw one swim underneath me. Let's ignore the fact that there aren't actually a lot of alligators in Lake Lavon. Or any, for that matter. And the fact that I was actually swimming in a pretty deep part of the lake, and alligators generally stick to shallow waters.

Because, really, it doesn't matter that there probably wasn't actually an alligator swimming underneath me. It just matters that it scared the crap out of me and now I pretty much never get in lake water. Micah doesn't understand why I have no problem jumping in the ocean with the sharks. And neither do I. But I think that's why they call them irrational fears. :)

Day Nine: A Picture of My Friends

I'll go ahead and warn you... I definitely have more than one picture. :)

This is a picture of me and my best friend, Lauren, at prom our junior year. I'm not sure why I love this picture so much, but it's definitely one of my favorites.

I love this one, too. We were flying home from Pensacola, FL at the end of our high school graduation trip. We wanted to take a "kissy face" picture, but she started laughing. :)

This is me and my sister-in-law, Faith showing off our engagement rings. I love her for a MILLION reasons. Here are just a few: we've known each other since we were four or five, she has red hair, she's sweet and honest, she puts up with my brother, she has ten thousand shoes, and she just gets me.

This is Kristen, my sweet Houston BFF I told you about here. This picture was taken just a few seconds before a bird flew into the back window if the car we were riding in... it was one of those moments I'll never forget. I miss her like crazy.

This is one of my college roommates, Rebecca, and me. We were standing on a sidewalk in New York City, as a group of cute firemen walked by and asked us if we were taking a picture for Myspace. In fact, we were. :)


I had a work function last night, so I couldn't get caught up with the 30-Day Blog Challenge, but I pinky promise I'll do it tonight...
And for any other bandwagon-er Rangers fans, how FRUSTRATING was that game last night?? Oh well, at least this way we can make it to the World Series on OUR turf! :)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Day Eight: A Place I've Traveled To

When I was a sophomore in high school, my tiny Baptist church decided to send my youth group to St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands on a mission trip. We wanted to put on a Vacation Bible School for a group of children there, and it was going to cost a lot of money to send us all overseas. We had to raise thousands and thousands of dollars, doing fundraiser after fundraiser after fundraiser. But we finally raised enough to go, and I was so excited I couldn't stand it.

I was fifteen, and it was my first time "outside" the United States (although I'm not sure if it really counts). And I was actually helping teach the Bible lessons to the little kids, so there was a lot for me to learn, but the Lord was faithful to help me remember. I remember feeling so disappointed because my boyfriend's dad wouldn't let him come (he was insanely afraid of airplanes), but I look back and see (once again!) that God always has a plan bigger than mine. I was in desperate need of some one-on-one time with the Lord, without all of the distractions of my first serious relationship, and I definitely got it.

When we got there, I was struck by the disparity in wealth throughout the island. One one side, there were resorts and beautiful beaches, and expensive homes. On the other side, there was more poverty than I'd ever seen, being the small-town girl that I was (and still am). It was a far cry from the calm, quiet pastures I was used to.

When we arrived at the place we were staying, I marveled at how excited the children were to see us. Most of them were so attention-starved that they didn't want to leave us at the end of the day. And I remember thinking how lucky I was to have grown up in a home where my brother and I were the center of my parents' world.

By the end of the week, after several days of Vacation Bible School, those sweet little kids had stolen my heart. My favorite was a precious little girl named Kerri. She held my hand everywhere we went, and I bawled my eyes out on our last day. There are so many things the Lord showed me in St. Thomas, but mostly I learned to have a passion for missions. I went on four other mission trips while I was in high school and college, and I definitely plan on going on more later in life. There's nothing like serving others who are truly in need to remind a person how blessed they really are.

All of my pictures are still packed away in boxes, but I do have my scrapbook out. I took a picture of the page I made a few years ago, and, though it's not the best quality, I think it'll work. :)

Matthew 28:19 "... go and make disciples of all nations..."

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Day Seven: My Favorite Movies

This is one of those posts that I'll probably regret later, because when I list my all-time favorite movies, I feel quite certain that you're going to judge me. But I am who I am - horrible taste in movies and all! :)

My all-time favorite movie is actually Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (it's a childhood nostalgia thing... at least that's what I tell myself). (**I originally mistyped and put Robin Hood: Men in Tights, but I actually HATE that movie... I have no clue what I was thinking!**)

I also love these movies:

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Pride and Prejudice
Sense and Sensibility
The Departed
Spy Game
Dirty Dancing
The Breakfast Club
Little Women
The Notebook
Ever After
Center Stage
Wizard of Oz

I'm absolutely certain there are more, but these are the movies that first popped into my mind, which means they have to be my real favorite movies, right?

In other news, Micah and I got a LOT of stuff hung up in the house today, which makes me happy. Slowly but surely this house is coming together. :)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Day Six: A Picture That Makes Me Happy

This is Micah with his brand new nephew, Landyn Lee. Every time I look at this picture, I tear up. It makes me so thankful that we moved back home so that we can spend time with Landyn and see him as he grows up. And I also think of Micah's brother, Seth, who has taken to fatherhood so naturally. He and his sweet fiance, Diana, are just absolutely in love with their little miracle, and it's such a joy to watch them with him.

And I love the look on Micah's face in this picture. He's really proud of his nephew, and it makes me so happy to think of how he'll be with his own children. I have no doubt that he'll be an incredible father when we get ready to have kids in a few years. For now, though, I think he's content to love on everyone else's babies. :)

Day Five: My Brother

I've written about my crazy big brother here. If you know him, you know how difficult it is to capture him in words. He's just larger than life... and his interests and hobbies are constantly changing. I tell my sweet sister-in-love all the time how patient and saint-like she is for putting up with him day after day. But, all that being said, he's my hero, and I adore him.

So it's with incredible joy that I can say to you...


My brother and Faith are expecting a perfect little bundle of joy next June, and they are both excited and overwhelmed! Obviously, the entire family is thrilled for them, and I was so happy when they told me that I started bawling. I just adore them both, and I can't wait to meet my little niece/nephew.

Day Four: My Parents

I made a liar out of myself yesterday because I didn't get my Day Four and Day Five entries done. We ended up going to Micah's parents' house to eat fajitas (YUM!) and watch the Rangers game (BOO!), and we didn't get home until 11:30. I was out like a light within minutes of getting home.

But the good news is that Day Four will be EASY, since I've actually already done posts on each of my wonderful parents.

You can meet my lovely mom here. The picture above is (obviously) us on my wedding day. Isn't she beautiful? She's just this incredibly kind, artistic, soulful person, and she did everything she could to make my childhood magical. Plus, the woman can COOK! I'm blessed beyond belief to even know her, let alone to call her Mom.

And this guy here is my Dad. With his apricot teacup poodle, Penny. She's spoiled rotten. Just like his kids are. :) You can read more about Daddy here.

You won't meet a better guy than my dad. Ever. Nor will you meet a person who likes (1) flip flops and (2) babies more than he does.

So those are the people who are responsible for who I am today. And, if I do say so myself, they didn't do half bad. ;)

Friday, October 15, 2010

In the courtroom...

Well, I obviously missed Day Four of the 30-Day Blog Challenge, but I promise I'll make it up today. The reason I didn't post yesterday is because I was actually in Marshall, Texas to observe a patent trial!

My firm was representing one of three defendants, and I really wanted a chance to watch some of it, so I got up at 4:30 (AM!) and drove over to east Texas. The morning session got underway around 9:00, and I got to watch one of our attorneys cross-examine two of the plaintiff's witnesses (it was SO great - I only wish I could be that good). I was so looking forward to watching more that afternoon and the next day, but a little after lunch the case settled. So, while I was thrilled for our clients, I was a bit bummed I didn't get to watch more.

But the trip wasn't a total loss because everyone went out to dinner last night in Shreveport. The food was DELICIOUS, and it was so great to get to know everyone a little more. I've been at the firm for a little over two weeks, but I still haven't met everyone yet. I wish I had been game to go out with everyone after dinner, but I was just too tired. So I hitched a ride with some of the paralegals back to the hotel.

I'm SUCH an old lady - I go to Shreveport for the first time ever, and I don't place a single bet! And, actually, I know PLENTY of old ladies who love playing the slots in Shreveport, so I can't even say that. I guess I'm just boring. :)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Day Three: My First Love

To tell you the truth, when I saw that this was the topic for Day Three I considered just skipping it. But I'm just not that kind of girl. So here goes. :)

First of all, I don't automatically think of one person when I think of my first love. And that's because, after I fell in love with Micah, I realized that what I thought I felt for any guy before him just paled in comparison. So I get all confused because I thought I loved them then, even though I feel like it couldn't have been real love, knowing what I know now.

But, in the interest of full disclosure, I'll say that, once upon a time, I thought I loved my first real boyfriend. I had a crush on him for years, and he finally asked me out my freshman year in high school. We looked perfect on paper - we were both active in our church, we both loved sports, and we were both a little brainy. But it just wasn't the right fit, you know? We made MUCH better friends, and I still consider him to be a great friend to this day.

The other guy that comes to mind... well it's really a long story. So I won't bore you with all of that. I'll just say that he was (and I'm sure still is) a wonderful, incredible person, but I just woke up one day and didn't feel the same way anymore. And real, true, earth-shattering love doesn't just go away overnight does it?

So, bottom line (and any good lawyer, after equivocating and telling you both sides of every story, should always give you the bottom line): I think Micah Lee was my first real, true love. He's probably the best man I've ever known or will ever know, and being his wife is honestly the thing I'm most proud of. :)

Day Two: The Story Behind My Blog Name

I'm trying to play catch-up here, so I'm going to go ahead and do Day Two, as well. Don't tell anyone that I cheated. :)

Day Two: The Story Behind My Blog Name

This actually isn't a super-interesting story (which I'm sure has you DYING to read more). I had a blog at a different Blogspot address, but after I got married, I wanted a new title and address that didn't have my maiden name in it. I was ridiculously proud of being married. :)

And, as I'm sure you can tell, I tend to ramble a bit. So The Ramblings of Mrs. Hargrave was born. :) I hope you enjoy reading my silly thoughts.


Because I'm absent-minded and a little sleepy, I just realized that I forgot to explain the subtitle of my blog, which is a tad bit more interesting.

"Life's So Sweet" comes from a line in a cute SHeDAISY song that I love called Passenger Seat. The basic gist of the song is that a girl is riding in the car with a guy, and she can't imagine that life could be any sweeter than it is in that moment. That's how I generally live my life: I try and enjoy every moment and not worry too much about yesterday or tomorrow. Plus, I just happen to love riding in the passenger seat of Micah's truck, which is why I always let him drive. Life really is sweet. :)

30 Day Blog Challenge: Day 1

So I'll just come out and say it. I'm a total blog stalker. I read about this 30-Day Blog Challenge on this blog (which I TOTALLY love!), who apparently found it on this blog. (It's like Six Degrees of Nosy People :)).

I loved the idea of taking this journey with other bloggers, and I decided to jump on the bandwagon. Even if I am three days behind. :)

So here goes.

Day One: Introduction, Recent Picture, Fifteen Interesting Facts

(This is the most recent picture I have, I think. I had just gotten a haircut, and I wasn't sure I liked it. Hence the pensive look on my face.)

Well, for anyone who doesn't already know, my name is Ryan. I'm 25, a recent graduate of law school, married to the love of my life, addicted to diet coke, and in love with all things black and white.

I grew up in a small town about 40 miles northeast of Dallas (I wrote all about it here). I met my husband in seventh grade, and we got married about a year and a half ago. He's a civil engineer, and I'm an attorney (wait - don't stop reading!). I just started working with a litigation firm in Dallas, and I'll be doing mostly patent litigation. We don't have any kids yet, but we do have the cutest chocolate lab mix puppy in the entire universe. :)

So that's me! And here are fifteen random tidbits you probably never wanted to know.

1. I've colored my hair almost every color of the rainbow. It has been brown, blonde, brown AND blonde, almost-black, red, purple (this was a dye job gone VERY bad), pink, and green (from WAAAY too much chlorine).

2. If I was a font, I think I'd be Book Antiqua. Well, actually I'd LIKE to be Book Antiqua. I'm probably something more generic like Arial.

3. I graduated valedictorian of my high school class. Before you start thinking that it's in any way impressive, I should tell you that there were only 83 of us. :)

4. I have a problem with accumulating too much hair product. Here's the evidence.

5. I find out if I passed the bar exam on November 5. You should be expecting either a really jubilant post that day... or SEVERAL days of silence.

6. I've been saved by grace.

7. I love the color green. In fact, it's the accent color for almost every room in our house. I keep trying to branch out, but I fail miserably. I just like what i like.

8. Sometimes, I look at words, and they mean nothing to me. It's happened a few times with the word fork. And then I just repeat the word over and over and over until it comes back to me.

9. My husband is the most handsome man on the planet. Seriously.

10. I love chemistry, and I miss it sometimes.

11. When I was growing up, I had a newt named Newton (clever, right?). One day, he got out of his aquarium and was apparently trying to make it to my brother's bedroom and died midstep. I was too scared to pick him up, so I made my brother do it.

12. Speaking of my brother... when I was a little girl, my friend Lindsey and I convinced my brother and her brother (who were also good friends) to build us a lemonade stand. So they got the wood and put it together, and we set up shop and started selling it. A few hours after we got started, the Wylie Newspaper stopped by to take our picture and put a story in the paper. We didn't let our brothers in the picture, and didn't say a word about them to the reporter. Oops!

13. I have a tattoo on my right foot. It's a butterfly, and it's one of the most "rebellious" things I've ever done.

14. I love to read. When people ask me if I have a hobby, reading is the only thing that ever comes to mind. But then I feel lame and say something cooler instead.

15. I love Harry Potter and the idea of magic.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Following through...

I'm realizing that I'm doing a HORRIBLE job at following through with feedback when I try new recipes. I get you all excited about a new dish and then just leave you hanging, with no idea whether or not it's completely divine or totally inedible.

I've actually tried a lot of the recipes I've posted recently, so I'll post a quick review for each one I've made. I'll use a very technical, scientific rating system that I'm sure none of you will understand at all: Loved it, Liked it, Disliked it, Hated it. Got it? Do I need to list them again? ;)

Creamy Stovetop Crab Dip: Liked it.
I think it would actually be really delicious, except that I overcooked it. When the oil starts separating out, you know you've cooked it too long. So, just stop cooking it when everything is hot, and I think you'll enjoy it. Also, don't skimp and use imitation crab meat. Go with the real thing. :)

Risotto: Loved it.
No tweaks or modifications needed here. This is a delicious, simple (for risotto), classic risotto recipe, and we really enjoyed it.

Double Dressing Pasta Salad: Disliked it.
This was just not good. I'm not usually a fan of using bottled dressing as a sauce, so I should have known this one wouldn't be up my alley. Oh well. Lived and learned. :)

Corn Dip: Loved it.
Micah wasn't a huge fan of this dip, but I absolutely loved it. The recipe makes a LOT, so if you're just cooking for you and your spouse, definitely half the recipe.

Fancy Macaroni and Cheese: Loved/Liked it.
I'm such a lawyer - I always have to equivocate. This was really good, but I wouldn't say I LOVED it. What I liked so much about this recipe was that, generally, baked macaroni calls for egg, and I HATE egg with my pasta. Pioneer Woman left the egg out, and I appreciated that.

Summer Stir Fry: Loved it.
This was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. Especially for "healthy food." (Just ignore the fact that you sautee both the shrimp and vegetables in butter.) It's light, but flavorful. The only problem is that I never know what to serve with it. So I just serve it by itself. :)

Restaurant-Style Smashed Potatoes: LOVED it.
These were exquisite. Probably my favorite mashed potatoes ever. Apart from these.

Fettucine Alfredo: Loved/Liked it.
Again, this was really yummy. The only reason it doesn't get a full-blown "Loved it" is because, as a devoted fettucine alfredo enthusiast, I found this recipe to be absolutely traditional. And I think it's meant to be. If you're looking for a classic recipe that you can cook time and time again and get rave reviews, this is the recipe you want to use. I think I was just looking for a twist when I cooked it. BUT, it has become my go-to base recipe for this dish, which definitely is saying something.

Chicken Cacciatore: Liked it.
I'm not technically breaking my "no bottled dressing as sauce" rule, because this recipe uses a bottled SAUCE as a sauce. :) So it's ridiculously easy. And really yummy. I wasn't sure about serving it with mashed potatoes, but they were actually the perfect side dish. So give it a try.

Alright, that's as far as I'm going back right now. There are several more that I posted months and months ago, but I'm about critiqued out. :)

Monday, October 11, 2010

I'm horrible...

Wow. I'm the worst blogger EVER! I get a little distracted at work and I neglect my blog for a whole week! If there is anyone still reading, I'm super duper sorry! My week was fairly jam-packed, so get ready for a not-so-quick rundown. :)

The Rangers game was really fun last weekend. Our seats were AMAZING, and I'd post pictures to brag, but we were actually sitting RIGHT behind home plate, and there was a safety net up that just ruined all of the pictures. So you'll have to just imagine how great our view was. :)

Work was busy for the first part of last week - I had two quick projects that had to get done, so I didn't do much else from Monday through Wednesday. But I REALLY like the work. It's interesting, challenging, and it actually matters, which feels nice. :)

Plus, like I said before, the people are just great. Everyone is so friendly and accommodating, and there are so many small things the firm does to make life easier for everyone. I just appreciate that so much.

I went to lunch and had sushi with some people from work on Thursday and it was DELICIOUS. We ate at Sushi Axiom, and they had some DELICIOUS rolls. The Jalapeno Roll was so good I almost cried. If you haven't eaten there, definitely give it a try.

Friday, I had lunch with my bestie, which was super fun, and then I had dinner with my dad, stepmom, brother and sister-in-law. We went to Texas Land & Cattle, and I swear that I could eat their Signature Wedge salad every day for the rest of my life and not get sick of it. Delish.

I also got several people crossed off my Christmas list on Friday. I know it's WAAAAY too early to start thinking about it, but I came across some online deals that were too good to pass up. Plus, I'm a HORRIBLE gift giver, so I liked the idea of actually getting a thoughtful gift in advance, rather than just throwing something together at the last minute like I usually do. Hopefully everyone likes what they're getting. If not, I'll be using it all for myself. :)

On Saturday my sweet father-in-law and brother-in-law moved my piano from Josephine into our formal living room for me. I used to play the piano when I was younger, and I learned to play on my great grandmother's piano, which I think is pretty special. We didn't have room for it in Houston, but we do now! It's nice to have it back, although it definitely needs to be tuned and polished.

As a sort of payment for their manual labor, we cooked fajitas for Micah's family. PLUS, his brother and his fiance brought their sweet little boy over. I took about a BILLION pictures of Landyn, and I promise I'll post them soon. He's unbelievably adorable - and SO tiny and sweet!

Yesterday, Micah went out to watch the Cowboy's game with his dad, and I stayed here to try and run some errands - I needed more work clothes, and I also had to buy groceries. I got everything done, except I still need to find a black belt. Apparently I'm a little picky. :)

After Micah got home from his parents' house, we went and had dinner with his BFF and his girlfriend at Fish City at Firewheel Mall. It was definitely yummy, and it was good to catch up with them.

We also found a renter for the Houston house this past week! I couldn't believe it, given that we'd only had our house on the market for about a week and a half! But apparently the tenant needed to find something quick and liked the area, so she was ready to sign a contract. I'm still not sure whether it would have been smarter to try and wait to find someone whose credit and renting history was a little stronger, but we were just ready to be done with it. Hopefully we don't kick ourselves later.

The only other interesting thing of note is that I had to have my picture taken at work today. The firm puts pictures of all of the attorneys online, along with their experience. Right now, mine will basically say: Ryan knows nothing yet, so don't expect much. :) And the picture-taking session, itself, was pretty awkward. I haven't had my picture taken like that in a LONG time. I hated posing and smiling the way the photographer told me to. At one point, I actually threatened his life. I believe my exact words were: "I'll absolutely murder you if you put that one on the website." Looking back, maybe that was a tad bit unprofessional. Oops. :)

Anyway - we didn't have a quiet, relaxing weekend, but I'm still LOVING getting to see our friends and family whenever we want. Maybe at some point it will sink in that we're actually home for good, and we won't feel so frantic about spending time with everyone. Until then, our families should just expect us to keep calling and dropping by. :)

Sunday, October 3, 2010


For some crazy reason, I couldn't stop thinking about my personal statement tonight as I tried to go to sleep. I wrote it during the admissions process for law school in 2006, and I haven't looked at it since then. I tossed and turned for about fifteen minutes or so, but then I finally dragged myself out of bed and came in here to my laptop and opened up the essay to read it. After cringing at several silly mistakes I never noticed before, I stopped to marvel at how funny it is that I ended up doing exactly what I thought I would when I decided to go to law school.

In my personal statement, after discussing my experiences in the chemistry lab at UTD, I wrote this: "I discovered that the prospect of making new things, of new ideas and technology, is exhilarating to me. I heard about patent law and intellectual property shortly after I finished making my molecule, and I fell in love with the idea of being in the midst of cutting edge technology and working with those who create it. I have had an amazing experience with chemistry, in general, but as much as I love it, I can't see myself in a lab for the rest of my life. I have learned to speak the language of scientists, and I know what it feels like to create something brand new, but now I want to learn to speak the language of the law. Hopefully one day I will be able to fuse the two languages together and begin a career doing something I love."

It's rare, but apparently life sometimes works out just the way you planned. :)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Random Things...

This past week has been wonderful! Busy... definitely busy, but wonderful. Just getting to see everyone - our parents, my friends, his friends, our new nephew, my new baby cousin - has been amazing.

Plus I started my job yesterday! Everyone is incredibly friendly, and it seems like people genuinely enjoy working there. Almost every single person - attorneys, staff, everyone - told me how wonderful the firm is and how they couldn't imagine working anywhere else.

I love my new office, though I definitely need to decorate! The walls are bare, and my desk has NOTHING on it, so I'm headed to Hobby Lobby later to see what I can find. I've got a humongous bookcase in my office, too, so I'm contemplating taking some of my law books up there.

I can't tell you how surreal it felt to walk into the office yesterday and know that I had a real job. One that wasn't just for six weeks or the summer and actually pays me money. It's insane to think that I'm really a lawyer now. I'm really a grown up. So weird...

I've gotten a BIT more done with the house, though there are still SO many things that need to be hung on the walls. They'll require Micah's expertise, though, so I'm waiting for him to find time to work on them.

I also have realized how NICE it is to have a real mailbox in front of the house. I haven't had one since I lived in Wylie when I was younger, and I'm loving not having to either (1) go to the post office to check a P.O. box like we had to do in Josephine or (2) go to a mail center like I had to do when I lived at UTD and in Houston. Apparently it's the little things that make me happy. :)

Also, have I written about Gevalia yet? It's a coffee/tea company, and they've got a great promotion right now. If you need a new, pretty coffee maker and like tasty coffee, you can sign up to receive four boxes of coffee, a stainless steel coffee maker (with white or black accents), and a travel coffee cup for $19.99 plus tax with free shipping!! I have a cool Senseo coffee maker, but it only makes one cup at a time, and Micah wanted something that would make a pot, so we were going to buy a coffee maker anyway. And this one is nice and pretty and programmable, and I didn't think I could beat the bargain!

Gevalia's promotion actually enrolls you in a program that will ship you coffee every month or so, but you can cancel after your first order comes in with no problem. Also, their customer service is incredible! I accidentally ordered a white coffee maker by mistake, and I called to ask how to return it to get the black one instead, and they told me to just keep the white one and that they'd send the black one this week! So I ended up with TWO free coffee makers!! So if you want in on this deal, go here to order! :) If you do place an order, let me suggest the Cinnamon coffee. Yum!

I hope you're enjoying your weekend as much as I am. In my opinion, there isn't a more beautiful time of the year, and I'm loving just sitting outside on our back patio and watching Lilly play. We're going to the Rangers game tomorrow and I'm actually THRILLED! I'm not that into baseball, but any excuse to sit outside in the sunshine is a good thing! Especially since we're using my mom's boss's tickets, and we're sitting behind home plate on the sixth row! :)
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