Sunday, November 29, 2009

Breaking Tree Tradition

Several times in the last few years I've blogged about our traditional trip to a local Christmas tree farm to pick out one of the lovely white pines that I'm so crazy about. As we made our plans to go pick out our tree today after church, Chad suggested that maybe we should break with tradition and stop by one of the many stores in town instead. His point was that since we were no longer walking out into the tree fields to cut down our own pine (since I now refuse to buy the dry, prickly, Kansas born and raised trees), there was really no point to go the tree farm. Since we started the white pine trend, I've insisted that we continue to go just for the ambiance, but Chad pointed out that the ambiance was ruined by this old guy who works there who seriously tries to recruit Chad to work at his business every single year. It was really annoying, and since Chad spent our whole tree farm visit trying to avoid this dude, I decided I'd concede and we'd try a town tree instead.

We ended up stopping at the first store down the street from our church that had a huge selection of trees, which happened to be the Ace hardware store. They had TONS of white pines (compared to only 2 white pines at the tree farm last year) and we were able to pick out a perfect one in just a few minutes. The added benefit that we didn't anticipate was the cost--the pines at the hardware store were only $22. We paid around $70 at the tree farm last year and really had no idea we'd been overcharged so much!

So our afternoon was spent decorating the tree, with a little help from the dogs, who did a great job supervising. While I haven't figured out where I want the rest of the decorations to go yet (and I might need to go buy some more Christmas decor since there's more space to cover in the new house), the tree is at least finished now, and I think it looks pretty nice!


It feels good to be a little more on top of my Christmas preparations this year than in the past! I may not have much of the Christmas shopping done, but at least I have the tree up and the cards started!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Turkey Day Triumph

We had a lovely Thanksgiving lunch today with our moms, and while it wasn't the most stellar meal I've ever fixed, it was still darn tasty. After leftovers for dinner I'm still pretty darn stuffed, so between the overeating and the football watching this evening, I'd say it's been a pretty successful Thanksgiving. To top it off, this evening while watching football, I actually wrote our annual Christmas letter--at least 3 weeks earlier than normal! I'm so proud of myself for not procrastinating, although it's sort of out of necessity. I never sent out change of address information to our family and friends, so I'm trying to get our Christmas cards out early so that everyone else can change our address on their own Christmas list!

As I wrote our letter tonight, I realized how much the house shopping/packing/moving/settling consumed our year in 2009. It was seriously the shortest Christmas letter I've written in years! I didn't realize how boring and non-eventful our year had been until I saw it in its entirety!

With that said, I realized there was one fun event that I never did get around to blogging about since it was right in the midst of our busy home shopping season. Hopefully during this wonderful long weekend I'll be able to get to that story and edit the pictures!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Prep Day

I took the day off work today to get ready for Thanksgiving, and it was such a relaxing day it made me want to quit my job altogether. I slept in until just after 8, caught up on my blog reading for the day, then went downstairs to do my P90X. After my workout, I took a long shower and then headed to the grocery store, where I gathered up all of my ingredients for our Thanksgiving Day dinner. We're not going ALL out this year since it will only be our moms and their significant others, but this afternoon I still made two pumpkin pies, sweet potato casserole, cranberry sauce, and cornbread/apple/sausage stuffing. Our moms are bringing the mashed taters and green green casserole so that all of our favorites will be represented. This evening I mixed up some bread dough to make tomorrow's rolls, and we seasoned up the turkey breast (we're not doing a whole bird this year), which will get plugged in at about 2 a.m. After all that cooking, we still had time to watch the Jayhawks win this evening!

I don't know why I love cooking for Thanksgiving so much when I don't like cooking on an everyday basis. I think it's because cooking during the week takes up such a huge chunk of your valuable evening, while for Thanksgiving, I get to take all day to cook! Maybe it has a lot to do with the fact that I also like cooking up yummy stuff to make my family happy!

I had plenty of company today while cooking, although they weren't especially helpful during the preparation. Mostly, they just stood around trying to get a sniff, waiting for me to drop something.



However, when Chad wiped off the counter top a little later, and clearly managed to dump most of the sugar right onto the kitchen floor, the dogs were extremely helpful in getting it all cleaned up!





With all the wonderful aromas and tiny tastes they got today as a precursor, I'm guessing they're just about as excited for Thanksgiving tomorrow as I am!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Football and Friends

This weekend was a full one, and I'm glad we got to see lots of good friends, because it certainly wasn't a good weekend for football! Ugh. We certainly didn't think our Jayhawks had a chance to win, but we didn't think the Steelers would lose as well! The Steelers game was even a bigger bummer because we were actually there--they played the Chiefs. It was the first Steelers game I've been to in two years and they couldn't come away with the win. :(

Today actually started off well--we got to Arrowhead plenty early and Chad cooked up some breakfast burritos that were really yummy. We hung out with our friend Ryan and his friends and enjoyed watching all the Steelers fans pour into the parking lot. By the time we headed into the stadium the wind had died down and the weather wasn't too bad at all. After allowing the Chiefs to run back the opening kickoff for a touchdown, the Steelers didn't play too badly. At halftime, Pittsburgh was ahead and we were happy.

We went to find our friend Ted during the break to hang out and chat for a while. As you can see, Chad and Ted laughed together like little kids--like they always do when they get together. Since the stadium was so empty, we were able to go back and sit with Ted and his friends during the second half, but things started to go downhill soon after. The Chiefs scored immediately and then intercepted Big Ben, and things only got worse from there! In overtime, the Chiefs threw a huge bomb and subsequently kicked the winning field goal, leaving Chad and I completely bummed out for the rest of the day.

Yesterday, on the other hand, was actually a very fun day despite the Jayhawks loss to Texas in the evening. In the morning we made our annual Operation Christmas Child shopping trip at the dollar store. I love this ministry and I love shopping for a needy child in some faraway place so that they can experience the joy of Christmas! As you can see, we got a ton of stuff for packing into our shoeboxes! I got them wrapped last night and we dropped them off at church this morning on the way out of town.


I hope my little girl likes pink! :)



After our shopping trip and a little housecleaning, Chad cooked up some awesome chili and our friends Vikkie and Brett came over for dinner and football watching. It was the first time they'd come over since we moved, and it was the first time we'd seen their little man Hutch since he was first born!! It was so fun to hang out with them for a few hours and get to play with the munchkin a little bit, although Hutch was pretty serious most of the evening. This was the coy little smile he gave us most of the night. Isn't he just a doll? That little curl on the top of his head is especially precious! I could have probably taken pictures of him for hours.

Look at that sweet and very serious little face!

Friday night we actually had a wonderful visit with great friends as well, because Jake and Amber flew in to KC that night! They were staying just one evening before driving to Nebraska for the holidays, so we took advantage of our small window of opportunity and went for dinner with them and Jake's cousin Amy and her husband Brian. What great people and what great fun! I miss these friends so much since they moved over a year ago. As much as I love to see them and will do so any chance we get, it makes me so sad when we have to say goodbye. We of course had to take a few pictures to commemorate our brief evening together!



Before our dinner with these dear friends, we actually met an old, old friend from high school for a drink since we were already going to be in KC! We hadn't seen Charla for almost 10 years--since our 10th reunion back in 2000. She just recently moved to KC, so we decided to get together to catch up and to chat about the planning of our 20th reunion next summer. It was so great to see her and I am so thankful to have her help with the preparations!

It was definitely a fun weekend, but I'm pooped!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Happy Homecoming

My friend Leigh Ann sent me this video the other day and I just loved it. Apparently it's been on Youtube for years and just recently went viral on the Internets after getting posted on a popular website. Apparently it became so popular this guy and his dog recently went on the Today show!



How sweet is that? Dogs are so darn awesome.

If you actually go to Youtube to watch the clip you can read a bunch of messages from this soldier about his dog and the video's sudden popularity. He mentions that Gracie is a shelter dog and gives a big plug for everyone to rescue instead of buy! What an awesome way to use your 15 minutes of fame!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Happier Football Times

You may have noticed I haven't blogged about KU football much lately, and if you've been following college football at all you probably understand why. This season has been so incredibly disappointing for all of us who love our Jayhawks. At the beginning of the year, our offense looked unstoppable. We were predicted to be at the top of the Big 12 north. Our defense was definitely struggling, but overall we were looking pretty good before conference play started. The defense finally started to show improvement, but when they did, the wheels came off the offense--completely. Our quarterback, who has been the super-accurate spark to our offense for four years, suddenly can't hit the broad side of a barn. No one really knows what the problem is, but something (either psychological or physical) is very wrong with Todd. The lack of a passing game has definitely affected our running game as well, and the result has been a very unproductive and depressing offense. Although our defense has had a few moments of near brilliance, they haven't exactly been consistent, and our special teams have been pretty darn awful. The combined result of these factors has been our 5 straight losses.

Obviously KU fans are not happy, and many people are grumbling that Mangino should be fired. Personally, I'm really torn about this. I mean, there certainly have been a LOT of questionable coaching decisions this year, and there are definitely serious issues when a team who was supposed to be so good falls completely off the radar like this, but Mangino obviously got us where we are--he has done so much to turn our program around. I can definitely see both sides, and I wouldn't really be surprised either way. If Mangino doesn't get fired, he most definitely needs to fire some of his assistants/coordinators!

To top off all the speculation about coach getting fired, today there was all sorts of media craziness about some sort of complaint against him by one of the players that's being investigated. The football program is a flippin' train wreck these days!

Don't get me wrong, I am still a loyal fan and I will still cheer for my boys in blue until the final quarter of the season, but wow, the second half of the season has made me sad! As an ode to our happier football times, here are the pictures from one of our last good football games this year--the one where our nephews joined us!



Obviously, if you stuck around for the entire slideshow, you noticed that it wasn't just football--that was their entire visit! I've just been meaning to share those pics forever so I thought this was a good time to do it!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Snow Season

Today we got the first snow of the season, and while I normally LOVE snow of any type, today was fairly miserable. First of all, it was super cold and windy, and second of all, it was wet. It was the kind of snow that needed an umbrella instead of snow skis. Ick.

With that said, the snow was actually pretty if you didn't have to be outside in it. The flakes clumped together in these huge massive blobs. I couldn't resist taking a few pics when I got home at lunch.



It's hard to tell from the pictures how huge the clumps of flakes were (and are, since it's snowing like that again right now), so I tried a little video to see if that would give you a better idea of what it was like outside.

video


It looks beautiful but it felt miserable!!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Midnight

Tonight we went over to our friends Bill and Lindsay's house in Topeka to hang out and watch the KU basketball game. Evenings with our good friends are always entertaining, but tonight was especially so because their Great Dane, Midnight, was especially playful. This loving, adorable, 140 pound sweetheart was added to their family earlier this year when they adopted him from a Dane rescue in KC. He's so awesome, and I can't even explain how big he is! People always comment about how big our 70 pound dog is, but Midnight is twice Fresco's size! Check out Lindsay with her big baby in her lap.


I know this picture isn't very good since it was in a dimly lit room and taken with my iPhone, but you get the idea! Here's some great video of Midnight playing with Billy, albeit poor quality as well!




I'm so glad Bill and Lindsay chose to rescue instead of buy when they were ready for a new dog. Midnight is such an awesome (and massive) guy who has been a perfect addition to their family!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

3-Day Slideshow

Today I finished the captions on my pictures from the weekend, so enjoy the slideshow!



I hope to eventually write a little more about the whole event, but I'll probably do that over on my other blog and not bore you all with all the details here!

Monday, November 09, 2009

Back to Life and New Life to My Back

Chad and I got back from our trip to Dallas last night at about 12:30, and today was just a day of recovery. We didn't go to work, but instead got caught up on laundry, grocery shopping, dog walking and sleep. Strangely enough, I didn't really feel the need to recover much physically despite walking 60 miles over the weekend. It's pretty remarkable that my body doesn't hardly seem to notice a 60 mile walk after doing it four years in a row. It seemed fairly easy--especially considering I didn't train nearly as much as usual. My back even felt good--better than it has for years! I can really only attribute this to the new chiropractor I've been seeing the last few weeks who's done an amazing job fixing up my injury from a few weeks ago. I'm definitely Dr. Michael Stuart's newest big fan! Hopefully as I continue to visit him I'll continue to see improvement!

More about the 3-Day later--I'm working on the pictures right now!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Road Test

Today I'm trying something new on the old blog just out of sheer
boredom. We're currently driving through Oklahoma on our way to
Dallas for the 3-Day, and although I'm enjoying the quality time with
my dear husband, I'm tired of being in the car and I'm trying to pass
the time. I hadn't tried posting via email yet (although I've been
known to post via Chad's Blackberry), so I thought I'd give it a go
even though I really have nothing to say!! So there. I guess that's
it. We're driving and I'm super excited. Twenty-four hours from now
I'll be finishing up my first 20 miles!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Happy Birthday, Pops!

Today is my dad's birthday. I can't even believe it, but my dad is SIXTY-NINE today. That just doesn't seem possible, partially because he's one of the youngest-looking and most active 69-year-olds I've ever seen. Since I wasn't able to talk to him in person to wish him a happy day, I thought it would be a good day to finally post a bunch of the pictures from his recent visit. Seriously, check this handsome guy out! Imagine how young he'd look if he actually shaved off that beard!




These pictures are kind of random and probably need some captions, I know, but I'm too tired for that tonight. I need to get my rest since we leave for Dallas in just a couple of days!

Happy birthday, Dad! Hope you had a terrific day!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

The Barrel House

Last Thursday about 15 of our wonderful friends and family members came out to The Barrel House for the 3-Day fundraiser. I can't even describe what an amazing job Danny Williams and his staff did putting on this event! They went above and beyond in every way imaginable. The entire bar was decorated with pink ribbons and balloons, and all the staff members were decked out in pink as well! Danny had procured a donated keg of beer from 23rd Street Brewery, and along with the money from the cover charge at the door, the proceeds from the sale of that beer was donated to the 3-Day! They publicized the event on Facebook and through other means, so by the end of the evening, there were quite a few people there for a Thursday night! The support from The Barrel House was just outstanding and amazing and I couldn't be more thankful.

Although not many of our friends were able to make it out on a week night--especially a gloomy and rainy one--we had a terrific time with the friends who were there. The pianists were great--one in particular was amazingly funny and talented. We had a blast singing along to all the songs and watching the antics of the entertainers. It was so much fun! We're definitely hoping to go back again soon!



Thanks again to all of our fabulous friends who took the time to come out and show their support. I appreciate it so much!!

Bloodshot Eyeballs

The other night I went to a gathering at a friends house that was Halloween themed. I decided to channel my inner Martha Stewart and make something creative for a snack. They were deviled eggs that were supposed to look like eyeballs. What do you think?



If you just look at just one by itself they might resemble monster eyeballs just a tad, but in a group they just kind of looked like a bunch of green deviled eggs with olives on top!




Oh well. I had fun making them at least!