Thursday, December 9, 2010

An Oklahoma Christmas

This is the first Christmas Chet and I will be in the new house for Christmas.  It was the first for a lot of things this season:  1st real Christmas tree, 1st married Christmas in Oklahoma, 1st time to decorate the house...
So far the porch has lights and the tree is up!  Things are looking good!  I had to scramble to get decorations this year since living in the apartment didn't really let us have much room for decorations.  Now that we have this big house I have plenty of room to put out decorations.  Mama Reger brought down during her Oct. visit down all sorts of ornaments from when I was younger and hand me downs from family.  It made the tree extra special to know some of those ornaments have been hanging on my families trees for decades! I was able to collect a few more this fall and stock up so I could cover the tree.  I ended up with plenty for the tree, even with some to spare!  Chet wasn't very helpful with the decorations but I did notice that his ornament of the Duke ended up at the very top of the tree!  Grandmom Reger also made us a beautiful angel designed to represent a native american angel.  I loved finding all sorts of stars to add to the tree.  The biggest accomplishment has been keeping the kitten out of the tree and so far so good!  (But I wouldn't be surprised if this good behavior doesn't last!)


We were also lucky enough to both have vacation for the holiday.  Chet has 5 glorious days off in which we plan to be at his Mom's and Step dad's new house in Claremore and then a brief visit to his Dad and Grandmother in Talihania.  We both are glad for minimal travel, and no snow.  Yes, I said it.  I could live without ice, sleet, snow or cold weather.  Though I always get a bit homesick to not spend time with the Regers, I hope to see everyone in the spring!  Wishing everyone a happy holiday season!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Turning 29 wasn't so bad when the Pokes win!

I celebrated the big 2-9 with Chet and friends at our place this past weekend.  It was the perfect timing for the OSU v Kansas game.  I made a huge batch of pulled pork in the crock pot and everyone brought some great food!  Especially Mindi who made an amazing cake with Pistol Pete and a camera.  It looked awesome and tasted great as well!  I also got some great gifts, like a new orange watch from Lyz to add to my game day gear and a new game for my collection from the office!   We all had fun playing some games and watching the cowboys take home victory!  The weather was amazing - in the high 70's!  The kids were able to play outside with balloons and bubbles.  I was very thankful for great friends who helped me celebrate and family that filled my mailbox with cards!  And even better, I was able to order a fancy photo printer!  I am looking forward to being able to do all my own printing!  HOORAY!


But in case you were wondering, here are the things I have learned in almost 3 decades:

1.  Everyone looks good in orange, yes everyone.
2.  Never under estimate the power of the perfect pair of jeans, even if they cost a fortune.
3.  Boots should have leather soles, not rubber, if you want to two step.
4.  Put money into savings and leave it there.
5.  Flavored rum makes everything better (trust me on this - key lime!)
6.  Men are in no way perfect, but they have some redeeming factors.  At least one or two.
7.  Photograph everything, print the pictures, preserve it for later, no matter your weight, age, size, or clothing.
8.  Country living can not be beat, even if it comes with spiders and snakes.
9.  Student loans are a necessary evil, but credit card debt is not.
10. Cherish your family and make sure they know you love them!
11. Visit Australia, swim in the ocean, and be able to recall it's sweet memory.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Week of Orange

Today ends Mama's trip to Stillwater!  We fought of rain (unsuccessfully), we fought off Nebraska Corn Huskers (unsuccessfully), and shopped till we dropped (successfully!).  It was a bunch of fun days full of trips and orange!  Thursday Mama got her first tour of the new house, complete with love from Penny!  Friday we spend the day in downtown eating lunch at the Tai Cafe, looking through some great little shops on Main street and digging through the treasures found at Antique mall.  Though we dodged the rain all day, we did find some great buys!  And a trip into Rocky Mountain Chocolate factory for a caramel/chocolate covered apple was the cure for our rainy day blues!  That evening was walk around and with the exception of one short rain shower we were able to stay mostly dry!  We have learned to go to walk around early, before the crowds so we can actually SEE the house decks and not get stepped on! 

Saturday was game day and we started at the parade!  Shortly later we joined the girls at our tailgate and had fun getting face tattoos for the kids and visiting with each other.  The wind picked up but the rain stayed away.  Mama and I went into the game but sadly despite our cheering we lost!  (Dear Coach Gundy - we need to work on our tackles!).   We did get to see several touchdowns and yell "Here comes Bullet!" (I even found a new orange shirt that has bullet on it!) Sunday was a day of rest and we found some good books at Hastings.  Chet also got to open his first birthday present!  Mama found a couple John Wayne things for him including a Christmas tree ornament and even some old Wyatt Earp glasses!  Monday we wrapped up the trip with a trip to the National Cowboy museum and a few shops in OKC.  Cheese dip for dinner since Mama can't get food like this anywhere in PA!  Overall great trip! I have been building my Christmas decorations since this is the first year we will have a tree to decorate! I was able to find quite a few things around town and in OKC for the tree!

In the years since my move to Oklahoma Mama had been here for sleet and freezing wind, warm sunny games and this year rainy and windy events but we always have  a good time!  This is a great tradition and I am already looking forward to next year's trip!  Let's just hope next year is a cowboy win!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Fall Photos





Somehow I managed to get Chet to agree to some fall pictures, for our Christmas cards and just to have some updated photos of us!  We had fun visiting with a local neighbor who let us borrow his wagons and even brought out his HUGE Clydesdale.  I was able to get some great shots, the sun was shinning and birds were chirpping!  Great fall day!  Look for some of these prints in your mailbox around Christmas!










p.s. Chet does love me, hard to tell by the lack of smiling!  He just loves to pose for pictures... can't you tell? 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The first signs of Fall

Fall has finally started to appear in Stillwater and we are noticing the trees in the yard start to show their colors!  Although this does mean that the gutters are constantly full, we are loving all the changes around the property!  It is our first fall at the new house!!   The first two pictures were taken of our driveway, the sunsets here are awesome!  We live in a low area so we often get a little fog and mist in the yard and around the area.  It makes for some great sunlight shots (especially when the dirt gets kicked up by passing cars). Penny and Friday love playing outside, and they both are showing off their hunting skills.  Beware to all the bunnies and field mice in the vicinity of the Skimbo property!  In fact, it seems all the animals are coming out lately.  We have seen possums or armadillos almost every night!  Even the coyotes have been howling and carrying on during the night, a few have wandered through our yard as well.  The wild turkeys have not spent much time near by although I have seen them feeding at the neighbor's house.  He puts out grain for them and they nest in the trees right down the road so they are commonly out walking around
Fall is the busy season for my work, so I have had a lot to do in the office and Chet is back to campus patrol and teaching his self defense class.  We also had an earthquake in Oklahoma today, and though we have heard some conflicting reports about it's size we do know it originated in Norman, which is about an hour away.  Students and staff felt a mild shake lasting only a few seconds on campus but I was so busy in the office I didn't even notice.  Chet of course slept right through it!  No damage was caused here in Stillwater. 

We will post some new pictures soon of the fall colors and Mama Reger comes to visit for homecoming next week!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Back Porch Make Over

My friend Rachel and I spent last Sunday working hard to give the back porch a make over.   In what is quickly becoming true Andrea fashion, I choose some bold colors and had fun creating a bright new space.  It's amazing what two gallons of paint, two cans of spray paint, a rug, and a lot of sweat can do!  Check out the before and after shots.  Chet says you can now see the porch from a mile away!  Last step is to paint the ceiling fan but that would require some electrical assistance from Chet, so its the last step to go!  Anyone care to join me for cocktail on the new porch?
BEFORE
AFTER! :)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Juli and Josh got married! (not my brother Josh, that would be wierd...)

Chet and I made the trip to PA to be a part of Juli and Josh's wedding.  My little sister is now officially Juli Dupiche!  The confusing part is my little brother's name is also Josh, so I know have a brother and brother in law Josh.  AND Josh has a sister Juline, so now he can say he has a wife Juli and a sister Juline.  Apparently Andrea and Chet are the odd balls!  (true, true).  I had a great time as maid of honor (no corrections Mom or Juli) and Chet was an usher.  The wedding was beautiful and I held off my tears until my toast.  Juli looked amazing in her dress, and the whole day was fun and exciting!   She did a great job with her colors and decorations!  I loved our bright green bridesmaid dresses and her pops of hot pink really made the event bright and colorful. 
The bride said I wasn't allowed to have my camera out, so I don't have too many pictures from the day.  I have to admit, it was nice not to worry about carrying around my camera! I did get some great shots at the reception!  One of my favorite shots from the night was of my Grandmom getting a little frisky with Grandad on the dance floor (notice the placement of her hand!)  I know the other bridesmaids got some shots, and the photographer will have plenty to give Juli.  I am excited to see the photos!  Juli got married in the church we grew up in, I know it was a special place for her.  The reception was at the Meadows, and her colors of green and pink were everywhere.  It was a beautiful scene, and we all got out on the floor to dance. 
I also talked Josh Reger into posing for some portraits, with his bike of course.  I am really happy with the images, and if you knew my brother at all, I think you would agree that these really capture Josh and his personality.   After our ride to the location it became ever so clear how out of "bike shape" I am in, lets hope I can get back onto my own bike here in Oklahoma! 
Sadly, this trip was likely my last until next summer.  However, I will be doing a working vacation next time I am in PA and hope to book several photo sessions as well as offer a photography workshop.  I have a couple bookings aready, so if you are interested feel free to let me know and as the date gets closer we can confirm our plans(likely the last week of July 2011).  If you want more information on the photography workshop visit http://www.pitaspictures.com/ and click the prices and workshop link. 
Overall it was a great trip up north.  We can all be jealous of Juli and Josh as they honeymoon in Punta Kuna on the beaches and tropical waters.  Back here in Oklahoma the students have started classes, and life goes back to normal as I brace for the craziness that is recruiting season in Career Services.  The good news is football season is only two weeks away!  Coming soon:  lots of orange pictures!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Pita's Pictures!

My freelance photography has finally become more of a focus for me.  I am hitting the ground running with the new website http://www.pitaspictures.com/, ordering businnes cards, and working on expanding the portfolio with new images.  The name Pita (pronounced pit-ah) is an old childhood nickname from my family.  Only those who knew me as a child will remember that name, as it was a creation of my Mama's.  It evolved from Ang, because my young siblings and friends could not pronounce the D in Andrea.  Ang a pita pange was the rhym she sing songed to me and eventually it became shortened to Pita.  It is a loving memory so I decided to use it to brand my photo work.  It works nicely for me since I feel Reger is no longer my name and Skimbo is associated with my work at OSU.  Pita allowed me to create a whole different side of myself, and was the creative outlet to name my photo work!  Now if only I could get people to stop pronouncing it like Pita Pit, the local lunch shop that pronounces it like Peta, I could get somewhere.  :)  
I have always enjoyed photographing people in portraits or engagement photos, even some wedding work so I decided to do a better job marketing myself to people outside my friends and family circle.  This means I am seeking to book new customers for photo shoots and provide some great images for people to purchase.  My ultimate goal is to have at least 75 images available during the May Arts Festival here in Stillwater next spring.  These will be landscape and nature shots that would be appealing for the average person.  I will use some of my work from previous shoots but I focusing on taking the time to photograph Oklahoma and start my "red dirt" project.  The idea is to capture images that truly represent Oklahoma culture and landscape.  I also love the look of antique images of old barns, and objects that are well past their prime.  Rachel and I are planning a weekend road trip down Historic Route 66 to find some great places to shoot and find good representation of Oklahoma life.  I have dreams of cowboys, and old tractors, interesting structures and landscapes of red dirt scenes. 
My website will reflect updates and new images as I complete new work.  Feel free to check in to see new images, and I would love to get your feedback.  My good friend Erin is working to help me create a logo that will also be used to to watermark my images.  If you would like to be my model, I'd love to photograph you with your family, pets, friends or whatever.  And I would appreciate any referrals you can offer.  Please send interested friends or co-workers my information (email: pitaspictures@gmail.com).  And if you would like to order any of my images please just let me know!  Thank you to all my friends and family who have supported my efforts, I have a long way to go but it feels great to get started!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Our new kitten Penny!


There is another fur ball running around the Skimbo house, Penny!  She was an anniversary present from Chet and she has more than a little energy!  The first 4 weeks with her were.... interesting....  Friday was so mad and did NOT like her.  In fact she would barely come into the house because Penny was always bugging her!  She would fight and yowl every time the kitten pounced her!  But now they play and have fun together chasing each other all over the house!  She was only 4 weeks old when we brought her home but now she is growing fast and starting to be more adventurous when outside.  She is 3/4 Siamese and 1/4 Himalayan so she will get a little fluffy!  She loves to climb everything and she really loves to wrestle.  This can be proved by the bite and scratch marks Chet and I have all over our arms from play time with her!    Let's hope she can keep the bunnies out of my flower beds!  Chet created a game called "kitty fishing" that Penny loves! He tied a little bell to the end of a string and he throws it and sure enough he catches a kitten with it every time!  She loves to play and meet new friends so come visit her!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Spring has sprung (with a little sweat on our part)

Spring has come to Oklahoma!  And the dreary landscape of the new  house is coming to life.  We have enjoyed watching the grass sprout and the trees come to life.  My two favorite trees bloomed purple overnight to reveal them as Redbuds!  And several bushes and trees are also showing life with green buds.  We were surprised to find a patch of tulips along one of the fences and here and there we see new life in the lawn.  It's so much nicer to have grass than mud, and leaves instead of bare branches!
We spent the weekend doing some real work outside which included a beautiful walkway that Chet created off the front porch and I added a long garden along the front of the house. 
2 tons of stone, 1 ton of sand, and 1 ton of dirt later and we have a whole new look to the front of the house!  It was well worth the work and we will continue to add plants and other outdoor decorations as the summer continues.  I also planted a willow tree and butterfly bush that Aunt Holly sent as a house warming present.  We hope they both continue to grow!  Unfortunately due to several ice storms a couple of years ago we have quite a few trees on the property that are now dead or mostly dead that will need to come down.  We have three new evergreen saplings that will replace the trees that line the driveway that are dead but it will be many years till they are noticeable! 
We also have expanded the Skimbo family to include guineas!  We bought 5 chicks three weeks ago and they are now almost grown!  Chet put together a great chicken coop that we placed right by the garden.  We told them to be on full alert for deer - and to scare off any that enter my vegetable garden!  We will also let them loose once they are full grown so they can eat the ticks and spiders on the property!  My friend Zeb has tilled up a large patch will I will be planting in next weekend.  Keep your fingers crossed for me as I attempt my first vegetable garden this summer!  I plan to plant corn, green beans, tomatoes, watermelon and asparagus!
Easter was also a lot of fun!  Chet's mom and Step Dad came to spend the weekend and we went to church and I cooked my first Easter lunch!  It was a full spread with a 9 lb ham, fresh asparagus, corn, crescent rolls, salad and Shanna made mashed potatoes!   Thankfully everything came out great and I have left overs to enjoy all week! 
We still have a lot of plans for the house.  A friend gave us a pool that will be putting up in early May and it will be tree removal day soon for Chet!  We also are looking to add some patio furniture and maybe extend our kitchen deck.  We are also getting excited for our 1 year anniversary next month!  We plan to celebrate with lots of friends on Memorial day with a BBQ/House warming party!  If you're in town, save the date to come eat, swim and end the night around the campfire!  It was an exhausting weekend, but we got so much accomplished!  Each day, I am watching it grow more and more green and at night the frogs serenade me from our creek.  I absolutely love country living and this house has quickly become home!  Stay tuned for pictures of the new furniture we ordered!  It should be arriving in several deliveries over the next 2-8 weeks!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Unpacking, painting and calling it HOME!

Chet and I have really started to make the house feel like our own.  We painted (and by "we" I mean ME!) the kitchen completely pale yellow with one wall a darker shade of yellow and hung a bunch of wedding photos and trinkets.  And with the significant size of this room, that was no small task!  Allison and Abby helped me for a couple of hours but I have spent most of the last 3 weekends painting!  I am really looking forward to completing the room with a large western style table that will seat 8! The center bath is now also yellow and decorated in a sea shell theme.  The living room has a bright blue wall and we have added a new man chair, coffee table and matching side table.  We also have a new TV, entertainment center and additonal seating coming soon!  The master bedroom now has a red accent wall and we have picked out new furniture for that room as well!
We still have many things on our TO DO LIST but we are enjoying the time we spend making the house feel like our home.  The driveway is getting new gravel and we plan to add a walkway to the house, instead of the mud land it is now.  The lingering winter weather is not helping with the wettness but spring is just around the corner! 

Friday, our cat, had been enjoying the transition to being a country cat.  She is however terrified of the geese that frequent the pond next door and has often come flying back inside when one honks in her direction.  She also spent an entire day way up in a tree on our neighbors property.  I am not sure how she got there in the first place, though I suspect some of the local dogs that wander around may have chased her there.  After several hours of her suspended out on a very long branch more than 30 ft up my new neighbor was finally able to reach her using a very rusty ladder and basicilly risking his own neck!  I think her outdoor time will hence be limited....

Chet had began plans to convert the large outdoor shelter into his work shop.  We learned that this large, metal round building was orignially part of dam and 2 bulldozers brought it to the property to be used as a tornado shelter.  It has been cemented into the ground so it is my safe haven! 

My favorite time of day has been in the early quiet mornings while I get ready for work. The masterbath room and backdoor look to the east so I watch the sunrise on the hill and peek through the scattered trees.  It really confirms that this place is where I am meant to be and I enjoy the brillant view.  I know God had a great plan that led me here, and I am blessed with a wonderful house and loving husband. 

Things are moving along nicely and we have a lot of plans this spring to put some work in outdoor landscapping and gardening projects.  And best yet - we are planning a spring house warming party!  Look for more details soon and can't wait to see you come visit!  In the meantime we love visitors so please give us a call if you want to stop in!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Home (mostly) sweet home

 Well it was a bumpy road to get here but Chet and I have bought our first home.  Let's just say, if it could have gone wrong, it probably did for us at some point during the inspection, appraisial, move in and first three weeks in the house.  It started with a closing delay and extra "fees", then an ice/snow storm hit us on closing day and moving weekend, then the water was out for the first 6 days at the house, and roots have now taken over our septic tank.  But after 3 plumbers, a septic pump, and a lot of money we hope to have worked out all the kinks!
The house is out in the country, and we even live on a dirt road about 8 1/2 miles from campus.  This was a great location because our commute to work is still only 15-20 minutes but we live far enough out in the country we that we were able to get the space and quiet we were looking for.  The house has 4 bedrooms but Chet has claimed one as his "man room" and there is also an office for me.  Our kitchen/dining area is HUGE and I spent a lot of time painting it yellow.  The master bedroom is in the far back of the house which works nicely for us since our schedules are often different.  Window treatments are up and I even have a few pictures up on the walls.  I am slowly painting a few rooms to give it a more personal feel.  We have a lot of things to do but we are pretty happy settling into the house.
Most of the real work to be done is outside.  The property was empty for a long time so the landscaping and trees have taken over most of the yard.  We plan to add flower and vegtable gardens and a pathway to the house.  Our largest outdoor building, which we recently learned was designed to be a tornado shelter, will be Chet's work room.  We have officially decided to take down both of the trees by the house to avoid future root problems since this was what caused damage to the septic and water pipes.  I will be sad to see them go but considering the plumbers bills, I will happily start that chain saw myself.  We also will purchase new gravel for the driveway and grow grass in the spring! 
Lots of stuff is going on and we are slowly working on completing one project at a time!  We will post new pics as things get checked off our to do list and we purchase our new furniture.  At least we can say, welcome home!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Christmas '09 in Pennsylvania

Well it was a whirlwind holiday for Chet and I. Chet was fortunate enough to be able to take a week off and travel with me to PA to spend the holiday with the Reger Family. Our very large group has a Christmas eve and Christmas day tradition of getting together around food for fun and games! This year was no different and we had almost 60 people together for the Christmas eve program which includeds singing, the Christmas story and shrimp. Chet was playing bar tender to anyone who walked by! And another large group got together on Christmas day for the big dinner at Grandmom's house! Christmas eve at Mama's house was a full one since Joshua Reger, Juli, Josh Dupiche, Mama, Chet and I all spent the night at the Reger farm waiting for Santa. We woke Christmas day to open presents and enjoy our family tradition of a huge christmas breakfast together! It was an amazing time!
Chet and I also visited Leah and Sholomi in their new rental house and spent some time in Chambersburg with Chrissy Tina and Mike who are expecting baby Addison in March. I indulged in some of my Quakertown favorites including Giovanni's pizza and Yum Yum donuts. Not to mention that Grandmom sent us home with a box of her homemade carmels! It was a cold trip, and snow was on the ground but we had plenty to do to keep warm.
While Mama, Juli and I enjoyed a day shopping at the Philadelphia Outlets Josh and Chet explored Cabalas. We all brought home some treasures and had a good day!
Now, I have begun the daunting task of packing up to prepare for the move. So far I have made slow progress but we still have a couple of weeks to finish. Our home inspection only found one problem that can be easily addressed so we are now completing roof estimates and hope to see the new roof go on this week or next. Moving day is Jan. 17 - come on over if you want to help us get set up! But the real fun will be with the girls on Jan. 16 as we get together for a girl's painting party. I am adding some color with two accent walls and painting the kitchen and my tiny office. We hope to get the painting taken care of before the furniture comes in!
Things are moving along - we hope to finalize the date for our new roof and as of now the closing date remains on Jan. 15th! We are excited to move!