Thursday, August 31, 2017

Thoughts for Thursday: Our Love Story

I've never really written it down anywhere, and after I posted this about us going back to visit our alma mater, Baylor, with our two kids in tow, I had some requests to share Brandon and my story. So, here you go: our love story. 

In 2007, I studied abroad via Baylor University's "Baylor in Great Britain" program. It was, hands down, the best summer of my life. I went into the trip not really knowing anyone, and roomed with a friend of a sorority sister, Laura who has now become one of my very best, lifelong friends. 

Yes, my hair was that short. Don't ask.

One evening in our dorm as we were distracting ourselves from the homework we should have been doing, Laura started talking about this guy named Brandon. She pulled up his picture on her clunky laptop on an equally clunky (and just a mere 2.5-years-old Facebook) and I thought he was the most handsome guy ever. And I vividly remember saying, "Oh my gosh, he's so cute. But he'd never go out with me." We giggled, talked about how cute he was some more, and went on our merry way exploring London, with me thinking that I'd probably never run into Brandon and be single until I graduated. {I had gotten out of a really  tumultuous relationship from 2005-2006 that was so awful emotionally that I told myself that I wasn't going to date for a good while.} 

Fast forward to January 2008. It was the first day of the new semester and it was freezing cold outside. I had a class, Nonverbal Communication, for my minor, Corporate Communication, which I just happened upon because I was only about four credits short to actually qualify as a minor, so I just said "Why not?" and went for it. The class was in Castellaw Communications room #249. 

I was dressed up for class, because I had work right after class, and because I'm me, I was early to class. And not a minute before class starts, Brandon walks into class and sits in the desk right behind me. I still remember what he was wearing: jeans, boots and a blue sorority "Foam Crush" T-shirt. I could feel my face turning bright red. I pulled out my Motorola Craz-R (remember those?!) and texted Laura, "Guess who's in my Nonverbal Class?" She replied, "Who?" I said, "Your friend, Brandon Whitaker." (I think it's funny that I misspelled his -- our -- last name because it's a frequent occurrence.) I don't remember much else from our texting conversation, but I do remember being so excited he was in my class so I could look at him. Ha! At the time, I was casually dating another guy, but it was nothing serious and was a very wishy-washy "relationship," if you could call it that. 

Well, fast forward that semester and we, along with my former neighbor who was also in our class, became friends. We would casually flirt, talk when we weren't supposed to, and I'll admit, Brandon was a total motivator to go to class. The guy I was casually "dating" ended things on Valentine's Day (seriously) and I'll admit that I had a big ol' glass of wine, planned to go home the next day to get out of Waco, and was a bit sad/annoyed with the other guy. After that glass of wine, I texted my friend/former neighbor and asked him for Brandon's number. (Oh yes I did!) We were technically working on a group project at the time and I told him I just had some questions about the group project. He gave me Brandon's number and guess what? I called him! Every single thing we teach girls not to do, I did. (Face palm.)

We talked for over an hour with plans at the end of our conversation to meet for dinner that Sunday night at a restaurant called Teriyaki Park, since I was going to my hometown for the weekend. 

I don't remember anything about being home that weekend, but I do remember my phone buzzing when I was on my way home (in little bitty Mart, Texas) and it was Brandon telling me he had a couple of tests the next day, so he needed to study, and would need to reschedule our dinner. I was really bummed. But the more I drove, the more I thought. We had our Nonverbal class the next day and we most definitely didn't have a test. Then I got mad. 

So, the next day when I saw him in class, I called him out on the carpet right then and there. I have no idea what I said, but I know I was frustrated. I do remember telling him that he was going to make it up to me soon, though. And sure enough, after a few days, he called me and asked me to go to dinner with him again. I replied that he better not stand me up. Our official first date was to On the Border in Waco, Texas. I don't remember what I wore, what I ate or even what we talked about, but I know it was a fun first date and I was smitten. 

Soon after, he called me and asked if I wanted to come over and hang out at his house. Consequently, I was at a party with Laura, but we left and she took me to my apartment, and then I went to his house. We talked for the longest time, continued our conversation through the Whataburger drive-through for breakfast tacos (so college of us) and ended the evening with him kissing me in front of his house. 

A couple of weeks later was Baylor's All-University Sing, a huge song-and-dance production that's one of the biggest deals on campus. My sorority, Zeta Tau Alpha, was performing and our theme was "Route 66." Of course I was stuck with the female truck driver costume and looked, well, a bit butch. Brandon wasn't performing with his fraternity, Kappa Sigma, so he was out in the audience with his friends/roommates...watching his butch-looking new "girlfriend" perform. 

Horrible costume, right?!

After the performance, my mom and her friends took Brandon and me out to eat and he was basically baptized by fire. ;) After dinner, he drove me to my apartment, kissed me in his truck, and asked me to officially be his girlfriend. (Do people still do that anymore?!) Of course, I said, "Yes!" 

And the rest, they say, is history. 

But in all seriousness, it most definitely wasn't a perfect relationship to begin with. We bickered constantly (but never, ever broke up!), which I find so random and weird now, because we rarely bicker. We'll nag, but we don't argue very often. And, Brandon left in June 2008 (a mere five months after we met) to study abroad with the Baylor in Argentina program for a little over a month, while I was stuck in Waco doing summer school. He retuned in late July 2008, graduated in August 2008, and moved home to the DFW area right after graduation. (I stayed in Waco because I wasn't set to graduate until December 2008, a semester early.) He lived at home (to save up for my engagement ring, which I didn't know at the time) and we would do the every other weekend thing: either he would drive down to Waco and stay the weekend, or I would drive up to Dallas and stay at his parents' house (yup!!!) for the weekend. 

I finally moved to Dallas on Dec. 27, 2008, for a paid internship at a PR firm, which turned into a job. I had my own apartment in Uptown Dallas and loved living by myself in the big city. That job wasn't anything what I was expecting (though I made wonderful friends out of it!), and I got another job at another PR firm (consequently through my now sister-in-law's sister-in-law!) and worked there for four years. On March 27, 2010, Brandon proposed to me at White Rock Lake in Dallas, and we got married a mere 6.5 months later on Oct. 9, 2010. 

And there you have it! Our love story, all weaved together by God through Baylor University and friends/neighbors. I'm so thankful to now be Mrs. Brandon Whitacre. <-- spelled correctly ;) And I'm so thankful of this life we have together with our two precious boys. 

Linking up with Annie, Natalie and Julie

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

What's Up Wednesday: August 2017

Happy Wednesday! 

I thought I'd link up with Mel, Sheaffer and Shay to do a little "What's Up Wednesday" to answer the following questions: 

{1} What We're Eating This Week: 
We have been trying to eliminate some gluten from our diets and overall just try to eat healthier and better. It was a busy week, so we didn't do as well this week, but we have had: homemade Sloppy Joe's with sweet potato fries and broccoli; spaghetti {with GF noodles}, Caesar salad and GF garlic bread; Beef, Corn and Black Bean Tostadas and Spanish rice; grilled chicken and roasted mixed vegetables; and Friday night is our traditional pizza dinner. {I'm really loving the Udi's gluten-free frozen pizzas!} 

{2} What I'm Reminiscing About:
With Walker starting school last week, I'm reminiscing about summer 2017. It was such a good summer and was so good to us, and while I'm excited to be back in the groove with a routine and more structure, I'm definitely missing the lazy days with nowhere to be, running errands with my little baby besties in tow, and just the slowness of it all. 

We had dinners and play dates with friends; celebrated Knox's 1st birthday; hit up our local pools and splash pads; said goodbye to Brandon's brother, our sister-in-law and nieces as they moved to Waco; saw Jimmy Buffett; visited my parents over Father's Day weekend and had the best time at the lake; went to the beach {read about that here and here}; celebrated birthdays; went to museums and play places; visited Waco; and watched the Eclipse. It was a full, fun summer! 

{3} What I'm Loving: 
I could go on and on about the things I'm loving lately. I'm trying to be really good about spending since we're gearing up for the super expensive holiday season where I feel like I'm constantly buying ALL THE THINGS, but I do have my eye on a few things: 

These candles are the best. I buy them every year and my house just smells amazing!

This cardigan from Old Navy, to boot!

These waterproof labels I finally purchased for Knox's water bottles {poor thing had been using Walker's! #secondchild} 

And this "Texas Forever" T-shirt from Magnolia Market. Through Sept. 30, all proceeds from this shirt will go directly to the Hurricane Harvey relief effort. 

{4} What We've Been Up To: 
Like many of you, we have been glued to the TV watching the events of Hurricane Harvey unfold. I grew up in a small town 90 miles northeast of Houston and my family still lives there. Thankfully, they're all safe and dry, but the rain just hasn't let up. Having grown up visiting Houston constantly for shopping, doctor's appointments, professional sporting events, date nights and more, my heart is just aching for that city. We have so many family members and friends who live in the Houston area and I really don't know what else to do except help the people of Houston from DFW via monetary and physical donations. There is so much you can do to help: 

  • Text HARVEY to 90999 to donate $10 to the Red Cross or visit their website here. {Multiple texts equal multiple donations.} 
  • Donate new underwear, new socks, new toiletries, new baby formula, new wipes, and new diapers to Trusted World
  • Carter Blood Care is accepting blood donations. Call 1-877-571-1000 or text DONATE4LIFE to 444-999. 
  • The Salvation Army is accepting monetary donations. Call 1-800-SAL-ARMY or visit their website here.
  • The SPCA of Texas needs cat litter, litter boxes, towels, blankets, treats, toys, and newspaper. You can also donate money online here.
  • Also, check with your local church. Many Houstonians have evacuated to the DFW area and many local churches here are rallying together to donate items like towels, soap, feminine products, etc. Call your church today to see if they're doing anything to help. 

Other than that, we've just been getting back into the swing of things with Walker's school starting back and the adjustment that comes with that {for everyone}! He's in PK-3 this year and is going twice a week, and is just loving it. 

{5} What I'm Dreading: 
Just seeing the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. It's not anywhere near over and the recovery is going to be long and rough. 

{6} What I'm Excited About:
I'm definitely not one to rush the seasons, and I don't decorate for fall until mid-September, but I am looking forward to fall and all the fun things that go along with it -- including the cool air that will hopefully come soon! We are celebrating our 7th wedding anniversary in October, and I'm just excited about our trip to Scottsdale, Arizona to celebrate. And of course, I'm looking forward to trips to the pumpkin patch, trick-or-treating and a trip home next month to see my little sister cheer on the Varsity cheerleading squad! 

And just for grins, here were my babies last fall. Time is such a thief! 

{7} What I'm Watching/Reading: 
I'm anxiously awaiting fall TV to return next month {ahem, "This is Us!"}, but in the meantime have been watching a lot of Real Housewives, the "Making a Murderer" series on REELZ, and some random stuff on Netflix. Hurry up, fall TV shows! 

I have gotten back into the swing of reading before bedtime, and I'm so glad I did. Summer threw that off a bit, but I've read some really good books lately and have my eye on a lot more. I just finished "The Husband's Secret" and am currently reading "The Nightingale." I have my eye on "What Alice Forgot," "Present Over Perfect" and "Of Mess and Moxie" to read next. 

{8} What I'm Listening To: 
When I'm not in the car listening to Walker's two favorite CD's on repeat {you can buy them here and here if you want to sing those songs in your sleep like I do...}, I'm loving listening to Jen Hatmaker's "For the Love" podcast.

{9} What I'm Wearing 
I'm wearing a lot of Nike shorts and T-shirts on the weekdays because it's still hot and humid in North Texas, but if I have somewhere to go, I'm loving wearing these shorts {seriously, they're so comfortable and go with everything!} and a cute ruffle- or bell-sleeved top. These are the bell-sleeved tops I've recently purchased and loved: 

Gibson Bell-Sleeve Poplin Top (currently on sale for 40% off!)

Calson Tiered Bell Sleeve Tee (only $39!) 

{10} What I'm Doing This Weekend: 
A whole lot of nothing and I'm so, so looking forward to that! It's Labor Day Weekend and I'm so excited for Brandon to have an extra day home with us -- and a short week next week, too! We will probably go to the pool one last time before it closes for the season and just relax and have a low-key weekend at home. 

{11} What I'm Looking Forward to Next Month: 
In complete transparency, September {along with January} is my least favorite month of the year. It's technically autumn, but it is still warm and humid here in Texas. I always want to decorate for fall, pull out my sweaters, and run out and get a PSL, but I just can't justify it when it's still upwards of 90*.  But, that said, I am looking forward to the return of college football (Sic 'Em, Bears!) and a trip down to see my little sister cheer on the Varsity cheerleading squad in my hometown. There's just nothing, nothing like small town Friday night football. #TexasForever 

{12} What Else is New: 
Not much else to report around here! I hope y'all have a wonderful Wednesday!

Monday, August 28, 2017

Weekending: Last One for August

How on earth was this the last weekend in August?! I'm so appalled at how quickly this month flew by. We had an extremely low-key weekend thanks to all the rain Hurricane Harvey brought our way here in DFW: lots of down time, lots of time spent at home and los of low-key time together as a family. 

Thankfully, we weren't in the path of the hurricane here in North Texas, but are thoughts and prayers are with those affected. My family lives in the town I grew up in in southeast Texas {90 miles northeast of Houston} and they have had buckets upon buckets of rain and are expecting lots more rain this week; we're just praying they don't experience flash-flooding. We have family and friends who live in Houston and we are just continually praying for them. 

I saw this on Facebook and wanted to share here: 

Both Houston airports have been under two separate tornado warnings and are completely closed. Every major road in Houston is shut down. Ben Taub Hospital is being evacuated. There is only one way out of Brazoria County because every other way out is under water. 20,000 cruise ship passengers are stranded in the Gulf of Mexico. Every waterway from Houston to the coast is predicted to reach major flooding stage within the next two days. Most schools are postponed until Sept. 5 or 6. The Bastrop and Austin Bayous are still rising, tornado warnings continue for many areas, and it's still raining. 

To help you understand the devastation: Houston is huge. The greater metropolitan area is circled by the Grand Parkway, which is 170 miles long. That makes the area of the circle inside the Grand Parkway over 2,200 square miles. 2,200 square miles of densely habited, urban and suburban areas flooded. Imagine the entire state of Delaware, with twice the population of Manhattan, under water. That's Houston. It's still raining. 

Here are some of our weekend highlights: 


+ Knox got his first hair cut! He cried and I admit that I got teary-eyed myself. There's just something about knowing this was our last first haircut moment. He looks so grown to me now, but I'm thankful the stylist gave us his little curls to keep and she said it looks like he's going to have wavy hair, so this will be a new experience for us! 

Here's the before: 

And here's the after: 


+ We took advantage of the cooler {well, to us Texans anyway: 75*} morning and took a bike ride/walk to a local park. The boys loved swinging and sliding and it was nice to just get out and get some exercise before being cooped up inside all day due to the rain. 

+ We spent our morning playing with Play-Doh (Walker); working out (Brandon); napping (Knox) and I...

...grabbed a bucket of white paint and a paintbrush and started touching up Walker's door frame. Which turned into me repainting the majority of our door frames. Ha! I told Brandon it was like, "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" but except mine would be called: "If You Give a Mom a Paintbrush." ;) I have plans to finish painting the rest of the door frames in the house this weekend. 

I also got a little stir-crazy and reorganized and cleaned out my entire pantry, as well as did some rearranging with my living room and dining room d├ęcor. Nothing like some rain to make you get really productive. 


+ Walker has had a cough since Thursday and it got progressively worse over the weekend, so we stayed home from church. There's nothing I despise more than parents bringing their sick kids to the church nursery, and I wasn't about to be one of them myself. So, while Knox took his morning nap, we all live streamed our church service from my bed. I'm so thankful for that awesome feature! 

+ The rest of Sunday was spent completely lazy: naps for all, pre-season football on TV and lots of getting ready for the week ahead. 

Please continue to remember Texas in your thoughts and prayers this week. This great state and the people in it I know would covet them. And, if you are feeling so led, you can visit, call 1-800-RED-CROSS or text HARVEY to 90999 to make a $10 donation to help those affected by Hurricane Harvey. 

Linking up with Biana 
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