Monday, November 21, 2011

The O'Briens Invade El Paso

On the night of Friday, November 18th the whole O'Brien clan arrived safely in El Paso after flying waaaay west (from Orlando).  Kyle and I met them at the airport, squeeeeeezed them into the Explorer, and hauled everybody to grab some grub and refuel after a long day of travel.

Before their arrival, I had scoured all of the Internet restaurant reviews for El Paso, and I finally decided on Mexican cuisine from local L & J Inc. Cafe, which has been open since 1927.  Now, Kyle and I hadn't tried this place before, but many customers had rated it positively.

Dad and I were both rockin' our Furman gear.  FU all the time!

Well, we were glad that we trusted their advice because the food was delicious.  Plus, the portions were generous and the prices reasonable.  On the down side, the atmosphere became a little rowdy thanks to a large party celebrating near the bar.  However, with all the yumminess and love at our table, we couldn't be bothered.  Besides,  we've never been described as quiet folk anyway.

Mexican Must Really Excite Mom

Everyone approved of the restaurant selection, and there was even talk of possibly stopping there again before my family's return flight.  We O'Briens are known for thinking ahead (when it comes to food anyway).  We finished the meal off with some sweet, honey-drizzled sopapillas and then made the hour long car ride to Las Cruces.

Rebekah Gettin' Her Sopapilla on

The restaurant is famous for being located across from the graveyard.  So, we got a picture there!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Every year Kyle's company hosts an annual Christmas party for employees in November.  Last year we joined a small group of Kyle's coworkers for dinner at a steak house, followed by the play The Christmas Carol.  

This year we were treated to a performance by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra (TSO).  Although we were familiar with the band's songs and had seen their commercials, neither of us had experienced TSO live.  

Here's how I'd explain the experience.  Picture lots of bright flashing lights, fog, flames, a captivating narrator, and deafening volumes of rock music blaring from the instruments of long-haired musicians dressed in black.  Dare I forget the head banging.

The night was fun and entertaining, and I would be up for seeing TSO again.  However, you better believe that I definitely won't forget my earplugs if there ever is a next time.

Monday, November 14, 2011


My mom called about three weeks before Thanksgiving to ask how I felt about having visitors for the holiday.  How did I feeeeeeel?    Ummmm.  Let's see.  Like this.

Now we weren't talking about just any run of the mill out-of-towners.  Certainly not.  My whole immediate family- Dad, Mom, Val and Reba were potentially planning a trip to Cruces to see me... and Kyle of course... and the little dogs too.  In other words, my favorite people in the whole world wanted to travel 2,000 miles to spend Turkey Day with me us.  I hadn't spent Thanksgiving with family in over three years.  Plus, this would be everyone's, except Val's, first trip to the Land of Enchantment.

Being the respectful and communicative wife that I am, I told Mom that I would check with Kyle first.  As expected, Kyle welcomed the idea and was excited about having the OB fam bunk up at our Cruces crib.  Needless to say, once plans were finalized I was the happiest girl ever and could not wait until their arrival.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Welcome to the World Amelia Grace!

Our dear friends, Amanda and Jared, gave birth to their first child on November 12th.  Since we'd only known them as parents-to-be, we had literally and quite anxiously been awaiting the arrival of Amelia Grace (Millie) for months on end (eight to be exact).  

7lbs. 14 oz. of Pure Angel
I serenaded her with a lullaby rendition of Happy Birthday!

Her birth story will make an enthralling tale for her grandkids one day.  It began with Millie surprising Mommy in Wal-Mart when Amanda's water broke.  Nurse Amanda didn't panic.  She didn't even rush to the hospital.  Rather, she stopped for a bite at Sub-Way, ran home to take a couple of showers and did everything she could to delay Millie's delivery.  

Can you believe this woman just gave birth?  She looks phenominal, right?
You're settin' a high bar there Amanda.

Don't be alarmed.  Amanda is a responsible medical professional and loving mother.  She simply wanted Millie to do some waiting since Jared's mom and grandmother were still en route to New Mexico.  That's where Kyle and I come in as chauffeurs of the day!  We successfully picked up the West Virginia kin from the El Paso airport and delivered them safely to Las Cruces.  

We had been waiting and praying for you for  Little Millie.  You're more precious than we ever imagined!

Allow me to make an even longer story shorter and spotlight its star. Millie stayed in vetro long enough for her visitors to experience and celebrate her birth.  What a perfect gift from God she is!  We love you, Amanda, Jared and sweet Baby Amelia.

Beautiful Family

Friday, November 11, 2011

Who Knew?

Early Morning Family Shot

Well, apparently it snows in New Mexico... in October.  Who knew?  Not me!  When I planned our hiking trip to Cloudcroft a few weeks ago, I knew it would be chilly, but I certainly wasn't expecting several inches of snow.  

First Sights of Snow

Kyle and I enjoyed the white forest floor, but the dogs' poor paws became unbearably cold.  Luckily, Tiney and Lola are small enough to carry when faced with treacherous weather conditions.  The snow was a beautiful surprise, nevertheless.  

We'll definitely return to Cloudcroft to explore again, but next time I'll be sure to check the forecast very closely before venturing out.

Kyle and His Girls in Their Sweaters

Lola loves rolling in the snow.

Fall Festival

For the last two years, Kyle and I have volunteered at my school's Fall Festival.  It's a very special celebration that's right around Halloween, and I love being a part of it because the community involvement is so substantial.  Local organizations make donations, parents help decorate and clean up, and students bring everyone in the family to school for a night of fun and games.  

Kyle and I created and manned the very popular tattoo booth right outside my classroom and received lots of willing customers.  In 2010, we were so busy that we didn't get a break for hours.  However, this year NMSU students unexpectedly came to help out.  So, Kyle and I got to freely roam around and visit the other booths, including the spooky haunted house (our favorite).  

Both years the Fall Festival has been a huge success with a large turnout.  I'm not sure why I didn't post about it last year, but I've included photos from the last two Festivals to bring you up to speed.

October 2010
Cowboy Kyle giving Charlize a tat

I dressed as Cat in the Hat.

October 2011 (This Year)
Kyle Gettin' the Job Done (and Having Fun)

Chatting While Applying Tattoos

The Very Hungry Caterpillar (Pre and Post Chrysalis)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Pumpkin Bread

Kyle is usually the chef making miracles happen in the kitchen.  In this case, we decided to experiment together and tackle bake our first loaf of pumpkin bread.  After finding a winning recipe in my favorite modern day cook book, the Internet, we decided to go ahead and whip up a double batch.  That meant there was plenty of pumpkin goodness to share with friends.  I don't think they were brutally honest with their reviews, but no bread was returned or left in a visible trashcan at work.  Personally speaking, no bread went to waste at our house!  If you'd like to see or even try the recipe for yourself, just click here.

All of the Ingredients

Handsome Chef Partner


Ready to Hit the Oven

Time to Devour

Saturday, November 5, 2011

A Fair Night

The Southern New Mexico Fair is a Las Cruces fall favorite and  always a great excuse to pull out the cowboy boots.  With that said, we couldn't pass it up.  Like last year, we made all of the rounds and stopped by the show animals, caramel apple stand, huge tractors and rodeo.  All of this combined, made for a very fun Saturday night at the fair.


Winning Pig

This man can appreciate a Deere.

Gettin' a Good Rub

Just What I Wanted

Kyle's making friends with the barnyard creatures.

Not Your Typical Fair Animal, but Adorable Nonetheless

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

No Tricks, Just Treats

Now that November has arrived, fall is finally in full swing.  This means life is bursting with trees sprinkled yellow, cool breezes drifting through windows, soft button-up jammies, hot coffee or cocoa as a beverage of choice, all things pumpkin, lazy football Saturdays, and a slew of other treats I can't wait to share.  Here are a few to start.

Concentrating on the Art of Squash Carving

Kyle gave our orange friend a silly face.

The Girls with Our Finished Product

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Blogger Spotlight

I want to give some love to my talented friend Lindsey and spotlight her blog, Chick Flick Chic.  Her site features primarily movie reviews, but contains celebrity updates and fashion tips too.  Visit, and you'll get a dose of Lindsey's stylish, witty insight that I've adored since we met freshman year of college.  

Until Lindsey signs on as my personal stylist, or becomes the next Roger Ebert, I'll be following her work as a blogger, and you should too.  So, go ahead and check out Chick Flick Chic, and prepare yourself to enter a world governed by the rules of a romantic comedy!

Me and My Linds Linds