Thursday, December 30, 2010

Baby Kate

During the last couple of days when I wasn't enjoying the company of our lovely houseguests Jake and Amber, I was busy editing the pictures from my first newborn photo session from earlier in the week. My friend Megan and her husband Chad had a beautiful baby girl a few days before Christmas, and since they hadn't scheduled any professional pictures of dear little Kate, I asked if I could come over and practice photographing their first born. Megan was kind enough to allow me to use her beautiful daughter as a guinea pig, since the few things I knew about infant sessions were from websites and not from actual experience!

Let me first just say that I have a whole new appreciation for the amazing talent of my friend Kelly--as if I didn't already idolize her photography skills. I mean just look at these pictures of newborns she's done. They're phenomenal, and I have no idea how she makes it look so easy. After looking back at her pictures, I don't necessarily feel great about my own, but hopefully my so-so pictures for Megan and Chad will still give them a little joy and give me a few shots for my practice portfolio!

The session didn't exactly go as I'd imagined, I guess because I thought Kate would be a lot more sleepy and posable than she actually was. She didn't really have an interest in being placed into strange and unusual places or positions, so we weren't able to be as creative as I'd hoped. Much of the time she literally had one eye open and on me, like she was very suspicious of what I was doing and why. It was too funny. She was so adorable and so alert and aware for only being 8 days old! It took a little more time and patience than I imagined, but we eventually got a few decent shots, although not in all of the outfits and poses we'd hoped for!

Before I share the full group of pictures from the session, I just have to share one small set that I just loved so much I turned them into an animated image. It's not so much that these were such terrific pictures of Kate, but I just loved the way she went from being clearly frustrated and uncomfortable to calm and peaceful in just seconds from the soothing touch and voice of her Momma. Megan is such a super mom already!


The full slideshow is probably entirely too long, I know, but I just have such a hard time deleting pictures after a session. I got this one down to about 65 pictures or so, which is pretty good considering I took over 200 pics and then edited those down to just over 100, including some copies with special Photoshop finishes that didn't make it into the slideshow. Many of those that did make it aren't really keepers, but I just thought some of the goofy and sad faces are just too precious not to share. She is an adorable little baby, although I'm sure my pictures don't really do her justice!


Monday, December 27, 2010

Picture Project

I mentioned earlier this month that I had an idea for a Christmas present for Chad's folks using the pictures I took of their farm back in September. With tons of help from my dear husband, I finally finished the project on Christmas Eve, just in time for us to take it to Salina on Christmas morning. Here's a shot of the finished project, which we hung on our wall briefly just to make sure the hanging apparatus functioned properly.



I'd originally planned on trying a fabric border around the edges, but after painting the wood base and mounting the pictures I thought it looked fine without one. I think it turned out okay for my first attempt at executing my idea, although next time I think I'll test out some slightly different materials. The pictures didn't have the textured look I was going for because the Mod Podge I originally tried didn't work with the texture of the chipboard that I wrapped the pictures around. Next time I'd like to try plywood instead of chipboard to see if that makes a difference. Speaking of wrapping the pictures, here are a few more pics so you can see the detail of my little pretend mini canvases.






I think it turned out kind of cool, and thankfully, I think my in-laws liked it too!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

A Griswold Christmas

The other night while we were out running the last of our holiday errands I asked Chad to drive us to view some crazy Christmas lights I'd seen on Youtube the day before. There were actually two different displays I wanted to go see and the first one was right near where we were, so my husband reluctantly agreed to make the detour. I loved the tradition of driving around to view Christmas lights as a child, so I was slightly more excited about the viewing than Chad was.

While I fully expected the display to be slightly cheesy and over-the-top based on what I saw on Youtube, I did not expect to actually enjoy it as much as I did! The music (on its own frequency of the radio) was pretty fun and the way it was programmed to the lights was pretty amazing. We stayed for about three different songs (much to Chad's chagrin) and I got a little video of one of them.


After leaving that house (which, by the way, has its own website called Light Up Lawrence), I kind of wanted to go to the other house just to see if it was any better. I'd only seen a tiny bit of this video of the display, and it looked like it had potential to be entertaining as well. We drove to the next neighborhood and the traffic was absolutely insane, with a line of about 5 cars waiting to get in front of the house for viewing. We waited for just a couple of minutes to see if the line was moving, but even from down the street we could see enough to know it wasn't worth waiting. While you could tell the programming was done in the same way and at least one of the songs was even the same, the lights were just so tacky. There was a huge light tree and just so much crap going every which way--it wasn't neat and orderly like the other house had been. It was just kind of a debacle, in my opinion!

Speaking of Christmas cheesiness, today I was singing the Christmas Cookies and Holiday Hearts song again, and I realized I should have looked for it on Youtube the other day so my post quoting the lyrics would have make more sense. So without further adieu and because I know you all were wondering, here's the aforementioned song, complete with the cover of the album (not the muppets, by the way) that I think we still possess somewhere in our basement!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Greetings 2010

For all those people who don't normally read my blog, who have been directed here via email, welcome to the official Luce Family Christmas Letter online! I hope you will enjoy this enhanced version of our Christmas letter and homemade Christmas card.
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Warmest Christmas greetings, dear friends and family!

It's late in the afternoon on December 16, and I'm trying to get some inspiration for our Christmas letter by listening to Christmas music while sitting in front of the Christmas tree. I've had such a hard time getting started on our letter this year and I don't really know why! I think I always have a difficult time moving from Thanksgiving into Christmas because I'm so annoyed by Christmas items in the stores starting in October. I have managed to finish 99% of our Christmas shopping, so at least there's one thing I haven't procrastinated like this letter!

The biggest (maybe only) news in our life, although this isn't very chronological, is that I quit my job at KU Endowment last month! I'd been considering it for quite some time, and finally there were more reasons for leaving than for staying, so I resigned just a week after my 12-year anniversary. I am adjusting to being the primary housekeeper, cook, errand runner and dog walker in our home, and Chad is enjoying our more relaxing evenings and weekends as a result! I'm looking forward to having more time for hobbies (photography, blog writing, and other crafty stuff), volunteering at a local food pantry, and spending more time with my Mom in Topeka. While we're obviously tightening our purse strings a bit, we're very thankful for the opportunity and for the improved quality of life!

Chad is in his 7th year at Westar and spends quite a bit of his time traveling to meetings all over the eastern half of the state. Thankfully, he rarely has to spend the night and still has plenty of vacation time he can use for golfing, which is his primary hobby these days. He's also become quite the civic leader (not always by his own choice), serving on the Lawrence Sustainability Advisory Board and the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, to which he was just elected. Although he stays very busy, he somehow found the time to play on two softball teams all spring and summer and to go deer hunting earlier this month.

We also found a little time to travel this year, with the highlight being a trip to Los Angeles to surprise my brother on his 40th birthday. He's had a good year that included a commercial with Jerome Bettis, a small part on an episode of an NBC sitcom, and the release of a self-written web series called The Beta Test. Chad's brother also turned 40 this year, but thankfully we didn't have to travel across the country for his party!

In November we made a fun and fast trip to Nebraska to see our good friends Jake and Amber and to watch KU's last football game in Lincoln. We also took several trips back to Salina (which can hardly count as travel), the best ones being the trips for a Roger Daltrey concert and our 20th high school reunion in June. Sadly, one of our trips was for the funeral of Grandma Decker, who passed away in September at age 88. We were so saddened by her passing, but are so thankful that she is now running around with Jesus in heaven!

I also made a trip without Chad this year when I traveled to Washington, DC with my dad to walk in my fifth 60 mile, 3-Day walk to support Susan G. Komen for the Cure. There were lots of cool things to see in DC and it was a great city for the 3-Day walk, although next year I plan on participating somewhere else in the country. I was very proud of (though not surprised by) my father's commitment to raise money, train and then complete the 60 miles less than a month before his 70th birthday.

Speaking of birthdays, our oldest dog Celtic turned 13 years old this summer, and although he's gotten a little arthritic, he is still walking a half mile each day and even still sprints when he's super excited! Hope turned 10ish and stayed cancer-free this year (knock on wood), although she somehow went almost completely deaf in a matter of just a few months! Her deafness definitely adds a new dimension to her weirdness. Our little big man Fresco is as affectionate and loving as ever, and we are thankful that he is only 4 and will hopefully have many, many more years with us! We can't imagine our lives without our pups!

We are so very thankful for all we were blessed with in 2010 and hope it was a wonderful year for your family as well. We pray that your homes will be filled with immeasurable love, peace and hope this holiday season, and that you might know the true joy of Christmas—the miraculous birth of the Savior!!

Much love,
Kim (and Chad too!)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Cookies and Holiday Hearts...

"...that's the way the holiday starts!"

Does anyone besides me remember that song? Maybe from the John Denver and the Muppets Christmas album? Or maybe it was a different kids Christmas album? Anyone? Bueller?

Anyway, that song is about making cookies and treats for the holidays, which is actually what I've been doing in my free time the last few days. Check out all the goodies I've made in the last couple of days that I finally finished up tonight!

Peppermint Almond Bark, Chocolate Dipped Pretzels, and Chocolate Chip/Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

Peanut Butter Bon Bons and Chocolate Dipped Peppermints
(I had some chocolate left over and had to dip something!)


??????????

That last mystery "treat" is the remains of the two bon bons that fell apart in the chocolate while I was trying to dip them. I spread the chocolate with bon bon chunks onto wax paper, and then broke it up into "chocolate peanut butter bark" once it hardened. I'm hoping it will be tasty even though I know it looks like p**p smeared on waxed paper in this picture. You're welcome for planting that disgusting thought into your head if it wasn't already there. :)

"Goody goody yum yum yum!" Those are more lyrics to the aforementioned song in case you were wondering. You're welcome for getting that song stuck in your head if it's one you also know from your childhood.

On the agenda tomorrow: putting all this stuff on plates to take to friends and neighbors so that it won't be sitting around the house for me to eat!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas Photo Adventure

Although I have yet to actually start making our Christmas cards, over the weekend we did actually manage to get our family Christmas photo taken. Let me just say that this was a bit of an adventure. A couple of times in the past we've had a friend come over to push the shutter release button for us because it's so hard to get the dogs to look at the camera when there's no one behind it. I think in the future we'll have to plan ahead a little more and hire someone to come over and help us, because Sunday's photo shoot was a bit of a disaster--albeit a hysterical one.

With the help of a remote and a tripod, I took 101 total pictures, starting with a few just of Chad where I was trying to get the exposure right using just the light from our window. Once we got the dogs (sort of) placed I just started holding down the remote button, instructing Chad to just keep smiling and hoping that eventually all of the dogs would at some point look at the camera. Although I never actually captured them looking at the exact same time, there were a few decent pics of each of them in the batch, so I was able to use Photoshop to edit together different dog heads/bodies/eyeballs to fabricate one coherent and acceptable picture. This is the final product with sort of an "antiqued" finish.


Overall I'm fairly happy with what I came up with, and I appreciate the end result even more because of what we went through to get it. It's pretty darn hysterical. Enjoy!!



Sunday, December 12, 2010

Ahhhahhhh, Kansas!!

Does anyone else besides Chad and I remember those promotional ads for Kansas that were on the radio when we were kids back in the 80s? They are so ingrained in our brains. Whenever we think about what a terrible place Kansas is to visit we think of those ads, which I'm pretty sure is the opposite of the effect the ads were supposed to have. Regardless, that's where the title of this post came from. If you have no idea what I'm talking about or would like to hear one of those ads just for the sake of nostalgia, you can check one out here--although that's a total digression and not the original purpose of this post!

When I mentioned in my Friday blog entry that the weather was unseasonably warm and beautiful, I knew it was supposed to turn cold over the weekend. I did not, however, realize the severity of the swing in temperature and wind speed. Overnight on Friday, we started hearing the wind howl and also heard some precipitation at some point. We awoke to ice on the deck and wind chills of about 15 below. It was miserable out, and the weather got worse as the day went on. It started lightly snowing late in the afternoon and was blowing so hard it was hard to keep your car on the road. While it was painful to be outside in the cold, it was actually kind of beautiful to watch the snow blowing on the road--it looked like liquid flowing over the asphalt. I'd hoped to get some video of it, but when I went outside after we got home Saturday night, it was too dark to even see the road. You can sort of see the phenomenon in this video from the Journal-World though--it was kind of fascinating.

Although I couldn't get my own video of the blowing snow late last night, while I stood there on our porch freezing to death waiting for a car to drive by to light up the street, I did get a video that clearly displays the ferocious wind. Since you can see the blowing snow as well, you can probably imagine how miserable it was out there!



Ahhahh, Kansas! Gotta love it!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Jekyll & Hyde Bush

Today the weather in Lawrence was unseasonably beautiful—so much so that Chad took the day off work to play just one more round of golf for the year. I didn't spend as much time outside as he did, but I did take Fresco for an additional longer walk after dropping off his older siblings. It was so gorgeous out I ended up finishing our walk in a short sleeve shirt!

The weather today made me think of gardening, which is something I'm looking forward to doing more of when springtime rolls around. We have a big garden in the front of our house that appears to have been landscaped professionally, but the problem is that I really don't like many of the things that are planted there. There are all sorts of bushes and shrubs, as well as a huge evergreen tree, and I'm definitely more of a flower person. Last spring I was able to replace a couple of small shrubs with a couple of daylilies (my favorites) and other perennials, but it will still take a ton of work to replace all the stuff planted there that I don't like.

First on the list of things to replace is this bush.



Does anyone else think this thing is as hideous as I do? I have no idea what it is, but it looks like a huge weed to me. In fact, it looks so much like a huge weed that I didn't even realize that there actually was a huge weed growing right smack in the middle of it all summer. Take a closer look.


It's like some scary, freaky, evil tomato plant with spiderweb looking leaves. It's branches were full of stickers and it was a big pain in the rear to pull out. I couldn't believe how huge it was—here's one more picture so you can see the size (and overall ugliness) of the thing relative to my foot.



I seriously think that's the largest and scariest weed I'd ever pulled.

So anyway, there are actually three of these ugly bushes in our garden that I need to get rid of, and here's the only drawback about doing so. Just as I was wondering why in the world someone would ever plant that thing in the first place, fall rolled around and the bush changed color, and for a couple of months it actually looked like this.



Is that color not gorgeous? It's so pretty I almost considered keeping the bush around, but its summer appearance is just too darn ugly. Hopefully it won't be too difficult to dig up in the spring!

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Good Jayhawks and Bad Jayhawks

Tonight we watched our awesome Jayhawks beat the Memphis Tigers in the Jimmy V. Classic, and although they were quite sloppy in the first half, it was a much better showing than our one point win over UCLA last Thursday. That one was slightly embarrassing, although a win is a win is a win and we're still undefeated.

Watching this game tonight made me think of the one and only game I've gotten to go to this year, which was thanks to my friend and former colleague Kevin, who provided me with tickets to the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi game so that Chad and I could take Eric to a game while he was here. We had SO much fun because the Jayhawks were absolutely astounding, but also because last year Eric wasn't home for basketball season and he hadn't been to a game since 2008 at least. It was a fantastic evening with my two best guys!

The great thing about the timing of Eric's visit last month was that he also got to go with us to a KU football game. Although our football team left a lot to be desired this year, it still was a fun day at the stadium with relatively good weather. In a surprise turn of events, we actually got to see a good first half of football too, which wasn't expected since we were playing the number 12 team in the nation--Oklahoma State. After scoring a couple of touchdowns in the first quarter and holding the Cowboys to just 20 points at halftime, our 'Hawks came unglued and completely derailed in the second half. We ended up getting slaughtered and leaving before the end of the game, but I was still glad Eric was able to see a tiny bit of good football and have the game day experience, even if it isn't the most spectacular of game day experiences! Maybe some day our program will get permanently turned around and it will be!

Sunday, December 05, 2010

The Farm

Back in September, when we were in Salina for the celebration of Grandma's life, I obviously spent a lot of time taking pictures of Chad's family. The pictures I forgot to share from that day were actually of the family farm--a beautiful 160 acres west of Salina where no farming is actually still done. This homestead was originally built by Chad's grandparents, but when Grandma Decker was widowed moved into town back in the late 80s, Chad and his family moved into the house and his parents have lived there ever since.

The farm is such a peaceful place and I love taking pictures of the landscapes whenever I get the chance. The day of Grandma's funeral, a big storm came rolling in late in the afternoon which made for some dramatic horizons. My pictures (especially resized for Picasa) don't really do the beauty of the place justice, but I was looking back at them this evening because I was thinking about using 6-8 of them for kind of an art project for Chad's parents for Christmas. I'm not sure if it will really turn out like I'm picturing it in my brain, but I'm going to attempt to make something interesting and attractive. The only reason I'm sharing that here is because Chad's parents don't have a computer and I'm 99.9% sure they won't ever read this!

Anyway, I put the pictures online so that I could compare them all and try to pick out the ones I want to use for my project. Let me know if there are any you absolutely love!

Friday, December 03, 2010

Infrequent But Funny

Wow. So that whole idea of me having more time to blog once I quit my job? Um, yeah--not so much. I can't believe I've actually averaged fewer posts per week than I did while I working! Clearly, I suck.

It sounds kind of crazy, but I've actually just been keeping really busy. I didn't really anticipate how much time it would take to become of the CEO of the Luce household. I've become quite the domestic goddess, whipping up creative yet tasty dinners from leftovers or whatever is left in the pantry. Chad has been quite impressed and also thankful that he's no longer required to be entirely involved in household chores like laundry, vacuuming, errand running and dog walking. Our evenings are super relaxing and couldn't love my new position as housewife any more, but I really need to figure out a way to work in some more blogging and other creative outlets!

Anyway, hopefully soon I'll find some time to work on some posts which are actually about something in particular, but for now I just have to share a funny video that I think is a keeper. You might have seen this already since over 3 million people have viewed it on Youtube, but our friends Cara and Beth shared this with us just a few weeks ago, so I guess we were a little slow to the party. Since then, I think I've watched this and the "sequel" like 15 times, at least. It makes us laugh so darn hard! After sharing it with some friends last night we've been singing different lines from the song all day--in fact, Chad is singing right next to me as I type! Just so you know, there's a bit of foul language included in this "hastily made Cleveland tourism video," but hopefully you can see past that to the humor!


While I think the above video is pretty hysterical, the follow up "2nd attempt" video is even funnier, so you have to check that one out here. Seriously. It's so offensive in many ways, but so flipping funny! If you share our sense of humor, you'll be singing "buy a house for the price of a VCR" in no time!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thankful for Family

My brother and I had a great time together this last week and I'm so thankful he was here. We always have so much fun no matter what we're doing. We watched movies, did some shopping, visited my cousin, went to the KU football game, watched and went to KU basketball games, went out to eat, went to church and brunch with my mom and did lots of other stuff with my mom, did the Insanity workout together each day, walked the dogs, ate Thanksgiving dinner (after I spent the whole day cooking) and I'm sure did lots of other stuff that I'm forgetting. It was a fun and busy week! I'll share a few more pictures later, but first I wanted to share a few pictures from our amazing Thanksgiving dinner at my cousin Darren's house yesterday. This was the Turkey Day dinner to top all Turkey Day dinners!

My cousin Darren and his partner Oscar built this incredible house in Shawnee earlier this year and it was absolutely designed for entertaining, so they hosted 20 people at their house yesterday and the food was just phenomenal. Darren and his sister (also my cousin) Debbie are both amazing cooks (just like our Grandma was) and Deb's son Mike is a great cook as well. I can't even explain how much food was there and how fabulous it was!

We had a great time seeing my Aunt Lois and her husband Bill along with Deb and Darren and other family members, and it was also nice to get to know Oscar better. He's a great guy and it's just so nice to see my cousin so happy.

I had a great time taking tons of pictures of their gorgeous home and beautiful Christmas decorations that were already up. I also had lots of fun taking pictures of all five dogs in attendance, two of whom are Darren and Oscar's and three others belonging to my aunt and her sisters. How adorable are these guys?



Kobe

Ralphie

Lucky

Effie

Scrappy

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving with lots of great food and lots of quality time with family and lots of adorable canines!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

OCC Gifts

One of my projects earlier in the week was to finish shopping and wrapping and packing up our Operation Christmas Child box. I love this ministry so much and have so much fun participating every year!

Since I'm now without income we decided to fill only one shoebox for this Christmas, so Chad and I decided together that we'd shop for a 10-14 year old girl. We thought maybe the older kid boxes would be in higher demand since the older kids are a little more difficult to shop for--there isn't as much of a cute factor as there is shopping for the little ones. We headed to the dollar store and made the rounds picking out toiletries, candy, accessories, school supplies and a few toys. I couldn't find a sketchbook to go with the colored pencils we'd picked out, so I later picked one up at Half Price Books and thought I was all done shopping. When I went to box up our gifts on my first day off, I couldn't fit them in a small box so I ended up having to pick out a larger one, but then I had too much space left over and decided I needed to do more shopping!

So anyway, this week I wrapped my box and printed the shipping label and wrote a note to go inside to our child, but first I laid out all the presents to take a few pictures. I always think it's so fun to see how much stuff you can fit into the boxes--it's like a little clown car! Here are a few pics of all the stuff we got before I did my supplemental shopping.







Look how much empty space there is! I went back to the dollar store and picked out a jump rope, a princess watch, some bracelets, and some headbands. That filled the box up perfectly, so I dropped it off at our church and was all done!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Memorial Stadium in Lincoln

Chad and I originally decided to go to Lincoln for the KU/Nebraska game when our friends Jake and Amber moved back to Nebraska over the summer, at which time we had no idea how good (or in this case, bad) KU would be in football. As the season progressed and it became obvious how inconsistent our Jayhawks were, we had a tinge of regret about spending a significant amount of money on the tickets. However, we thought that since it would be the last time KU would ever play Nebraska in Lincoln's Memorial Stadium (since Nebraska recently left the Big 12), and since we hadn't ever been to Lincoln, and since their stadium is supposed to be the football equivalent to Allen Fieldhouse, and since it was supposed to be a fantastic football experience, we were actually pretty excited about the game.

While we didn't actually have any hope of winning against #10 Nebraska, we were expecting that our 'Hawks would have a little momentum after their record-breaking comeback against Colorado the week before. Unfortunately, like most of the people in the stadium that week, we left at halftime. We had totally underestimated them against Colorado, so we were hoping that we were underestimating them against Nebraska as well. I kept telling Chad I would be happy if our guys were just able to score one touchdown.

Anyway, when we got to the stadium in Lincoln and found our seats, we quickly realized that we were not going to have the quintessential Nebraska football experience, since this was our view.


Uh, yeah. So we couldn't see all of the field, most of the Nebraska band, the majority of the other seats in the stadium, any of the 5 jumbo screens, or the sky. The only good thing was that because we were tucked away in a corner underneath the upper deck, we stayed incredibly warm on a super cold night. While our friends elsewhere in the stadium were freezing under blankets, we never even put on our gloves!

Clearly we didn't get to hear, see and feel the excitement of the game at Lincoln's Memorial Stadium, which was a bummer. The game was also a bummer, in that we didn't even score that one touchdown that I had hoped for--our offense was horrific. The one bright spot of the evening was our defense, which held those Cornhuskers to only 20 points all night. I thought that was super impressive--way to go defense!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Product Testing Institute

A couple of weeks ago we were watching football with some friends and we saw this phone commercial, which I absolutely love. It's so flipping funny! That made me think of the commercial below, which a coworker sent me a few months ago. It cracked me up so much I saved it, but then I totally forgot to share it! Chad didn't think it was quite as funny as I did, but I think it's a keeper. These little girls could not be more adorable!


Once you've watched those cuties you have to watch the other similar commercials for that particular Sony phone. They are seriously so hysterical. They have focus groups for Guidos, Models, Surfers, Glam Rockers, and Seniors. The Guidos and Models are probably the funniest, but the Models are so over the top I don't even think they're real. The Surfers are darn funny too though. When you need a break today you have to check them out!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Nebraska

This weekend we made a quick getaway trip to our neighboring state of Nebraska, where we met our good friends Jake and Amber and visited the college town of Lincoln for the first time. While the primary purpose of the trip was seeing our favorite Nebraskans, we also went to see our Jayhawks play the Cornhuskers in football. The game left a little to be desired (more on that later), but we had a nice time with Amber and Jake and their good friends (and our friends too) Amy and Brian, who we met up with after the game.

After our friends left Lincoln this morning, the highlight of my day was actually taking pictures in the really cool Haymarket district of Lincoln and the UNL campus. While I didn't have the lens I wanted and the light was entirely too bright for good pictures, I still had fun and got a few good shots. I didn't take the time to edit many of them and I uploaded them in a small file size so the quality isn't great, but I still want to share a little of the beauty of Lincoln!



Friday, November 12, 2010

Kristin's Fall Show

When I wrote about quitting my job a couple of weeks ago I mentioned wanting to use the creative side of my brain for a change. Although I didn't really do anything creative in my first week off, I did find some inspiration by spending a couple of afternoons with my friend Kristin. I've talked about my talented friend and her amazing jewelry many times in the last few years, but I have to blog about her once again because I never cease to be amazed by her fantastic creations. I've been helping her to get ready for her fall show (which is Saturday), and I can't even begin to explain how much incredible STUFF she will have at her show! Along with amazing bracelets, necklaces and earrings, Kristin also makes wool and wire flower pins (at right) and wool purses--all made from recycled wool sweaters. She also makes smaller wool flower hat pins and flower hair bands with interchangeable flowers! As if that isn't enough, she also has hand-painted mugs and embroidered wool pillows. Seriously, she absolutely amazes and inspires me!

I obviously love Kristin's designs and believe wholeheartedly in her talent, so I'm excited to do some online marketing for her now that I'm unemployed. My first project was making her a Facebook page today, which will hopefully eventually have lots of pictures of her jewelry and accessories. If the link doesn't work, you can log on to Facebook and search for "Something Beautiful by Kristin Campbell" to become a fan or like her! I've also set up a Facebook event for her show tomorrow if you're interested in going.

If you aren't on Facebook and would like to attend Kristin's show, here are the logistics.


Saturday, November 13 · 4:30pm - 8:00pm

Point B Dance Studio
3115 W 6th St Suite H (east of Sonic on 6th Street)
Lawrence


I hope everyone in the Lawrence area can make it. If not, I'll be helping Kristin with another show Friday in KC, so put it on your calendar! I promise you won't be disappointed!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Old 97's Video Blitz

After about six upload attempts I finally got one of the the videos from this summer's 97's show on Youtube, so if you're interested you can watch their old song Doreen below. I love this one because it shows each of the guys rockin' out on their own instrument--they're all so good at what they do!


If you missed their stint on Leno last night, you can actually watch that as well (after sitting through a brief commercial) on NBC's website here. Their website also had a backstage interview with the guests of the evening, which includes a few words from Ken and Rhett starting at about 1:50. Rhett mentioned that this was actually the 4th time they've been on Leno's show, so apparently I'm not the only person out there who thinks they're pretty awesome!


As you can imagine, Chad was pretty excited to hear that their new song started as a Bob Dylan tune, since Dylan is his absolute favorite artist ever. Now Chad's on a mission to figure out which song it was that they rewrote. I'm sure he'll be going through his 100 Dylan CDs in the next few days and listening to every song--or maybe he'll just be able to find the answer on Google!

Seriously, don't you think I deserve some sort of compensation from Old 97's for all of the online marketing I'm doing for them? Maybe in the form of backstage passes for their upcoming show at The Bottleneck? ;)

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

My Favorite Foursome

Back in July when we saw my favorite foursome from Dallas (aka Old 97's), I really intended to blog more extensively about the show, but instead only ended up sharing about my awesome encounter with Murry. So let me just sum up my review of the evening: the weather was perfect, we had great company (our friends Nate and Leigh Ann), and the 97's sounded fantastic. Although they didn't play two of my favorites (Niteclub and 4 Leaf Clover), they played with their standard over-the-top energy and were absolutely terrific. Although we weren't quite in the front row because we didn't pay for VIP tickets, we were just a few rows back at the front of the "regular person" section. As usual though, I didn't have my good camera, so getting good pictures of the band was nearly impossible in the dark with them always moving! I saved just one of the band and one of each of the 97's.

Ken

Rhett

Phillip

Murry

Old 97's

While my pictures pretty much suck, my camera does much better at video, and I have several great clips of entire songs that I'm going to try to get uploaded to my Youtube page tomorrow.

So this post might seem completely out of nowhere since the concert I'm talking about was so many months ago, but the reason I thought of it was that I was just looking at my calendar and noticed that I'd set myself a reminder to record Jay Leno on Wednesday, because my 97's are the musical guest! They'll be playing a song from their latest album, which I don't like nearly as much as their old stuff, but it will still be fun to see them!

Speaking of seeing them, I'm way more excited to see them in person, which will actually happen again in just a couple of months!! They are coming to Lawrence on January 28 and will be playing at the Bottleneck! I'm putting it on my calendar right now and think you should too!

Monday, November 08, 2010

Days Off, Day One

Today was obviously my first day of not being gainfully employed, and thankfully I had a pretty productive day. I hate the idea of Chad working his tail off for the man while I contribute nothing to the family unit financially, so I darn well want to be sure I'm contributing in other ways! To make sure I got myself off to a good start on day one, I woke up with Chad at 6:30 and got busy soon after. I did four loads of laundry, dusted a couple of rooms, put away a bunch of stuff I'd brought home from my office, boxed up our gifts for Operation Christmas Child, figured out how to work the new digital picture frame my coworkers gave me for a going away present, boxed up some stuff for Goodwill, cleaned the kitchen, started the Insanity workout series, went to lunch with a former coworker, went to Half Price Books and bought my first Christmas present, went to the bank, talked to my friend Mindy about her upcoming first 3-Day, walked the dogs and got the mail, had my quiet time, poop scooped the yard, answered a bunch of emails, unloaded the dishwasher and actually cooked dinner. I probably won't be this productive every day, but I'd say my first day off was a successful one!

Saturday, November 06, 2010

12 Years

A 12-year chapter of my life officially came to a close yesterday, and I'm so very excited to start spending more time doing things I really enjoy! I expected to sleep wonderfully last night since a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders, but unfortunately that wasn't the case. My poor hubby's congestion meant that he had a hard time breathing and therefore snored all night long. As I lay in bed listening to his snores my mind was still racing about work, which I guess is to be expected for a little while at least. The last couple of weeks were extremely busy and pretty frantic, as so many people came to me with projects they wanted me to complete before I left. For the most part I got everything done, but I still feel like there were so many loose ends that could have been tied up better, and since I'm such an anal retentive freak, I'm still worrying about it.

There's actually another thing that's eating at me as well. Hopefully if I get it off my chest now I will put it behind me and not feel the need to talk about it again. I mentioned this last night to some friends who were helping me celebrate my departure, and they thought it was weird too, so hopefully this isn't just me. Here's the thing: outside of my own division, there was only one senior staff member who even bothered to say goodbye. She happens to be the only woman senior VP, which I don't think is a coincidence. She called me earlier this week to specifically say how much she appreciated all the work I'd helped their department with and how much she enjoyed working with me, and I appreciated the gesture so much.

Strangely enough, my own senior VP (my boss's boss) didn't say a word to me until he sent an email on my last day thanking me and wishing me well. It was a very nice email, in which he said, "I greatly respect the expertise, hard work and unique precision you have brought to that position. You have taken it a long way from the days when providing reports for in-house staff was essentially a non-technical position, and forever changed how Information Systems will handle that function. You leave behind a tremendous legacy of reports, applications and processes that we will use for years to come." While I certainly appreciate his sentiments, it would have been nice if he'd shown me any sort of respect while I actually still worked there, but whatever.

I honestly expected that I would hear SOME sort of goodbye from our president and a couple of the other senior VPs, but no such luck. This is actually so typical of the leadership of that office, so I don't really know why I'm surprised. There is a "good old boys"culture that everyone has talked about there for years, and if you're not one of those important guys in the fund raising department, you really don't matter that much. Within the fund raising division, there are 6 VPs/assistant VPs under the senior VP, all of whom I'd worked with closely, and most of whom had worked there a shorter time than me. Despite the fact that all of their subordinates were extremely kind, appreciative and complimentary when they found out I was leaving, not one of the VPs/AVPs said a word upon my resignation. Not a word, despite the fact that I was in the midst of projects for a couple of them at the time!

Seriously, I think this is so disrespectful on so many levels. I don't care if I'd been a file clerk who'd never spoken to the organization president in her life, I think after 12 years at the same office, anyone deserves a "thanks for your years of service" email at the very least!

While I certainly don't regret all the years I worked there, all the things I learned there, all the benefits I was given there, and all the friends I made there, I am so thankful not to be there anymore!

Monday, November 01, 2010

First Photo Session

Saturday afternoon I had the pleasure and honor of taking some family photos of my friends Pat and Kristin and their little baby boy Elijah. I was super excited about it but also a little nervous, because even though I've taken a million photos in the last few years, I had yet to take any pictures for anyone other than myself. Thankfully though, my subjects were beautiful, the weather was perfect, the setting was lovely, and the late afternoon lighting was great! Everything came together and my first photo session actually went pretty well!

I did a little editing of pictures Saturday night and then some more editing Sunday evening, and although I might still have a little more editing to do, I wanted to at least share the ones I'd picked out so far. I think they turned out pretty good! I put them into a slideshow using Windows Moviemaker, but I didn't have any tunes that seemed like a good match, so I ended up using a random sample song that was on the hard drive of my computer which is totally lame. I need some good ideas for slideshow music!


I had a great time on my first photo shoot and hope to take some more pictures for friends in the near future!!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Happy 1st!

Our little friend Violet had a birthday party just a few days before I left for my trip to DC, and we had a lovely time celebrating with her family and friends on a beautiful fall day in a local park. Her parents, our good friends Robyn and Dan, provided tons of great food for everyone and we had a fun time watching Vi enjoy her first cake. She is such a happy, agreeable and easygoing baby--one of those babies that makes everyone to have them! We were a little bummed because we had to leave before all the presents were opened, but I got a couple of cute cake shots at least. I think this was my favorite!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Why I Quit My Job, Part 2

So obviously there was a lot going on at work causing me a lot of dissatisfaction in my job. In addition to that, there was a lot going on in my personal life that was making me want to spend less time at work and more time doing other things. Here's a brief list of some of the non-work reasons I was ready to hit the high road.

1. I really want to feel like I am doing something meaningful and important with my life, and writing reports all day wasn't really cutting it. I didn't mind my job while I was spending 6 hours a week volunteering at the shelter, because that was my purpose, but since I was no longer involved with dog rescue I was feeling very unfulfilled personally.

2. I really want more time to volunteer! I've been volunteering two Saturdays a month at The Leo Center food pantry and I really like it, but I'd really like to have time to get more involved--there and with dog rescue! About a year ago I connected with a couple of local Lawrence women who had just started Lawrence based Crossroads Dog Rescue, and although I only got to take pictures for them one time, I'm so looking forward to helping them as much as possible!

3. I really feel like I need to use the other side of my brain for a while. I've been using the left analytical side of my brain for so many years, and that's definitely one of my strengths, but the creative side of my brain wants to get some exercise too. I want to have time to practice my photography, maybe learn some more web design, do some more writing on my blog, and practice my simplistic graphic design some more. I have some ideas for art projects floating around in my head that I really want to get to work on!

4. I really want to improve my physical and spiritual health through daily workouts and quiet times with God. It's never been possible for me to do both in the mornings without getting up at 5 a.m., which takes a toll on me because we don't usually get to bed until between 10 and 11 p.m. There are so many studies that have found 8 hours of sleep a night is important, so I really want to be consistent in my sleep and in my spiritual/physical workouts!

5. In addition to my back pain that's made worse by sitting, I have a couple of other ongoing health issues that have been taking a toll on my work life. A few years ago I developed "unexplained edema," which is just random swelling (mine is mostly in just one leg), and the doctors haven't been able to figure out what's causing it. It's uncomfortable and slightly painful and it makes sitting more difficult as well. Then this year I developed some upper gastrointestinal problems (esophageal spasms from a messed up stomach) that are definitely exacerbated by stress.

6. I really want to spend more time with my mom as she's dealing with her own health issues. As one of my coworkers pointed out when I told him I was leaving, I won't ever regret making some personal financial sacrifices to spend more time with my mom as she gets older. Period.

I know there are probably other factors that lead me to this decision, but I took some Tylenol PM a couple of hours ago and I'm really getting loopy, so I can't think of any more. Regardless, I think you get the picture--I resigned because there were lots and lots of straws on the camel!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Nervous Excitement

I slept terribly last night, waking up ever hour or so and having a hard time going back to sleep. I woke up at 6:30 and laid in bed wide awake--my mind was racing in so many directions I finally just got up. I guess it's not that strange under the circumstances, because a lot has happened in the last 48 hours and I'm getting ready to experience some major life changes. For the few people out there who don't know yet, I officially quit my job yesterday and I'm so very excited about it!

While a few of my friends were a little surprised, most people close to me knew I had been contemplating this change for a really long time. Honestly, the decision has been years in the making. I first started thinking about quitting or going part time several years ago when my back problems started. Sitting is just so painful for me, and since I sit at a computer programming reports all day long, that means I'm in pain every single day at work. This pain has controlled my life for so long, and I am so thankful that I won't have to sit all day long every day anymore.

Really though, the back pain was just the tip of the iceberg. For months we'd been praying that God would give us guidance and wisdom in relation to my job, because there were just so many issues making me want to quit--issues at work and in our personal lives. I'd been fighting my desire to leave mostly because of financial worries, since without two incomes we certainly won't be able to support as many ministries and causes that are important to us. It felt selfish to stay home when I'm capable of working since there are missionaries relying on our support to feed their families. It felt selfish to leave a good job when so many people were completely out of work. Finally though, so many things had piled up on the list of things making me want to quit, I felt like this must be God's direction--I was so burdened it felt nearly impossible to stay!

Although I don't necessarily want to go into huge amounts of detail about all the reasons I'm leaving, I do want to make a brief list, mostly so that 10 years from now I'll remember why I made this decision!

Work Related

1. I just had my 12th anniversary at work, and have been in my current position for 9 years. For about the last 2 years, I feel like I haven't learned anything new, so the work I'm doing is generally not that challenging, which means I'm not enjoying it nearly as much as I used to.

2. While the work I'm doing (creating database reports using SQL and PL/SQL, in case you're curious) isn't necessarily challenging, my workload certainly is. On average, I get 20-30 requests for reports or data each week, and it can be pretty stressful, especially because many people don't plan ahead and think their request is an emergency.

3. One of my responsibilities was training new employees on how to run reports, and only about 10% of the people I've trained over the years actually a) understand how the database works and b) remember the reports they were trained on and c) still actually work at the EA and d) actually care. It was such an exercise in futility and I was really tired of it.

4. As my organization geared up for another campaign, there was some reorganization taking place elsewhere in the building that affected my job and made the reporting process less efficient. Inefficiency is like fingernails on a chalkboard to me--I just can't take it.

5. There's another department in the building that has an incredible amount of turnover--there have been 16 people in 2 positions in 12 years. Since I happen to have worked in that department previously and also happen to have helped create their reporting application, the training of those new people and the cleaning up of their data-related messes always falls on my shoulders. They just had another person leave, and I just don't want to deal with them anymore. I find it super frustrating that the administration doesn't just fix the problem in the department that's causing all the turnover!

6. While my responsibilities at work seemed to increase each year, my position/title did not, so I felt as though my career wasn't advancing at all and there was no potential that it ever would.

I could probably think of lots of other things if I tried, but these were definitely the most significant work issues. The issues in my personal life are so numerous that I'll just have to put them into their own post tomorrow!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Beginner Graphics

Since I get bored pretty easily, I've been trying to update the colors and header of my blog about every season. On Saturday, I was feeling kind of crummy (still fighting the cold I was complaining about before I left for DC), and since I didn't feel like doing anything except laying in bed anyway, I decided to use the time to redo my header for fall. Although my graphic design skills still leave a lot to be desired, I think I'm getting a little better, although I changed it so many times the new header took me like 3 hours to finish. I'm pretty sure a real designer could have done it in 1/3 of the time, but oh well. I like projects that help exercise my creativity!

In case you're subscribed through a blog reader and didn't see the new header, come visit the blog and let me know what you think!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

DC 3-Day Pictures

I've obviously been home for several days, but I haven't had the chance to blog until now because every free evening I've been trying to get the pictures from the 3-Day ready! Initially I didn't think I would spend much time editing them, but since most of the shots were taken while I was walking, there were plenty of crooked and blurry pics that needed a little attention. Plus, since I got the new Photoshop over the summer, I just can't help tweaking pictures a tiny bit even when they probably don't really need it!

Anyway, I added captions to some of the pictures, but many of the shots are just buildings that I thought were really cool even though I had no idea what they were! Maybe my DC knowledgeable friends Jake and Amber will help me identify some of them. There were so many awesome things to see on days 1 and 3 when we were in the city. I can't wait to get back there for a vacation to get a better look at the sites and learn more of their history!

I'm really going to try to write more about the 3-Day on my other blog, but in a nutshell, it was a great location for the event, the weather was darn near perfect, and my dad finished strong without any problems at all. Not that I had any doubts that he would!

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Stress and Birthdays

The last week has been quite stressful, and my body let me know that it wasn't appreciating the extra stress when I woke up Saturday morning with a sore throat and a fever. I wasn't really surprised under the circumstances. After receiving the terrible news on Thursday and subsequently worrying about my grieving friend nonstop, I could feel the illness coming on by Friday afternoon. Then after a super busy day at work I ended up staying at the office until after 7 trying to finish up a big project, which certainly didn't help things. Even downing a bunch of vitamin C Friday night and going to bed early didn't keep me from having to cancel my training walks with friends on Saturday morning. After sleeping most of Saturday away I managed to make it to our friend Mike's 40th birthday party for a couple of hours that evening. On Sunday I tried to rest as much as possible too, but that day we actually had another birthday party to go to--this one for our 1-year-old friend Violet!

Tonight the birthday theme continued when I went over to my friend Melissa's with a few other friends from work to bring her dinner and wine for her birthday. It was hard to call this one a birthday celebration though, since obviously Mel just lost her husband 7 days ago. There were a lot more tears and hugs at this party than candles and presents, unfortunately. The sadness and grief have been so emotionally draining, I can't even begin to imagine how Melissa and her family feel.

Although I've felt a little better every day since Saturday (is this only Tuesday??), I would like to have spent more of Sunday and yesterday evening lounging around and trying to heal. Unfortunately that wasn't possible since I had lots of packing and preparing to do, given that I'm flying out tomorrow evening to Columbus, Ohio, where my dad will pick me up. As most of my friends and family know, the following day we'll drive together to Washington, DC, where we'll be participating together in the newly titled Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure! I'm super excited!

Now if I can just make it through one more day of stress at work, I'll be free to enjoy a relaxing vacation with my Pop--that is if you consider walking 60 miles in a weekend relaxing!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Sadness Beyond Words

This morning I received such horrific and unfathomable news it still seems absolutely surreal. I'm completely overwhelmed with sadness and yet part of me can't even wrap my brain around what's happened. Yesterday afternoon my good friend Melissa learned that her husband Gavin died while hiking in the Grand Canyon with some friends. I can't even express my sorrow for my friend and their two-year-old son Liam.

Although the final cause of death has not yet been published, initial indications are that Gavin died from heat-related illness. His death seems even more unreal since less than three weeks ago we were celebrating his 30th birthday with a bunch of friends at the bar he owned here in Lawrence. Although I'd known Gavin casually through Melissa for a couple of years, his birthday was really one of the first times I'd had an extended conversation with him. He was intelligent, funny, kind and down to earth, and he was loved by many, many people here in Lawrence. Gavin was involved in many community groups for which he volunteered his time and was a wonderful husband and father. He will be greatly missed.

Please say a prayer for my friend Melissa and their precious little guy Liam, and remember to hug your loved ones every chance you get. Life is just too short, and you never know what might happen tomorrow.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Margie's Family

Although last week was a sad time for Chad's family with the loss of Grandma, the celebration of her life at her funeral was really very nice. We had a great time sharing stories about Grandma with her pastor the previous day, which he then retold at the service so that even those who didn't know her well learned what a strong, hard-working, giving, generous person she was. While we were talking with her pastor I realized I had a ton of first hand stories and memories of Grandma, considering she wasn't my actual grandmother at all. Then it dawned on me that she had been my Grandma for 17 years now--no wonder I felt like we were actually related! I think she was even more special to me since I lost my last grandparent, my beloved Grandma Seaman, over 11 years ago. Grandma Decker and our dear Grandma Luce are all I have!

Anyway, as it happens with many funerals, it was nice time to spend with family members that we don't get to see very often. After the burial on Thursday we went out to Chad's parents house and ate and chatted and relaxed with family, and it was really nice. Of course I took lots of pictures, and as I often do, I took lots of candid shots, which I think best capture real moments and real personalities. In fact, one of the few posed pictures of the entire day is one of the few I totally messed up! Candid shots are definitely more my strength!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Best.Video.Ever

Back in 2006 when OK Go released their treadmill video to the world via Youtube, I became an instant fan. Their music is catchy and slightly unique, and their videos are SO amazingly creative and downright goofy. I'm a huge sucker for goofy.

Earlier this year I was amazed and mesmerized by another of their videos when they released the Rube Goldberg machine version of "This Too Shall Pass." If you haven't watched it you absolutely have to. Right now. It's just flipping phenomenal. Every time I watch it I see something totally new and amazing. I'm such a huge fan I can't believe I haven't actually talked about this before on my blog--maybe I have and just can't seem to find the post, since searching for "ok go" brings up hundreds of posts.

Anyway, today at lunch I was checking a dog photographer blog that I subscribe to and she had posted a new OK Go video that might just be my absolute favorite ever. While it's not quite as amazing as the Rube Goldberg machine, it's definitely near and dear to my heart. I was already a big fan--then they had to go and do this!!



Did you catch at the end that they have a place on their website where you can donate to the ASPCA? Can you see why I love it so much?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Grandma

Yesterday the world lost a wonderful, selfless women when Chad's grandma passed away at about 3 p.m. We will miss Grandma tremendously, but we are so thankful that she is in a better place now and her suffering has ended.

After moving to an assisted living facility in early 2009, Grandma's health had continued to decline and she'd finally been moved to a nursing home just a couple of months ago. Although she seemed to be improving initially and even talked about possibly coming to visit us in Lawrence like she used to, a couple of weeks ago she took a turn for the worst. On Friday Chad's parents called to tell us she wasn't doing well, and we started discussing when we would go to Salina to visit her, but she was gone just over 24 hours later. Thankfully Chad saw her just a couple of weeks ago when he was in Salina for work, but I was so sad that I didn't get the chance to say goodbye.

Grandma was such a generous, loving woman who spent most of her life volunteering her time and talents and giving of her own resources to help those who were less fortunate. She loved the Lord and was a leader in her church, where I know she'll be missed by so many. The good news is, she's now free of that 88-year-old earthly body and is running and jumping for joy in heaven! Save a place for us, Grandma--we love you!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Sidetracked by Video Chat

Last night Chad was out of town, and early in the day I had these grand intentions (delusions) that I was going to have an incredibly productive evening while he was gone. I started strong by getting the first load of laundry going, but just as I was getting ready to clean the bathroom I started getting hungry and went to make myself something for dinner instead. Going to the kitchen meant that I passed by the computer, at which point I happened to notice that my brother was online on Google chat. I couldn't resist calling him for a "quick" video chat, because Google's video chat is just so awesome it feels like I'm hanging out in his living room. Basically, for about the next two hours Eric and I sat around and made each other laugh like a couple of children. Good times.

I just love Google video chat so much, I've been trying to recruit all my other friends and family members who have gmail accounts to use it, because it's so simple. Like all Google functions and products, it's just so perfectly integrated with email and easy to set up and use. I totally love it. I wanted to provide a little sample just so you could see how cool it is! Just try to ignore my ridiculously loud, nasally voice while you check this out.




Why didn't anyone ever tell me my voice was so incredibly annoying? Ack! Regardless, you can see how cool video chatting is!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Beta Test--Episodes 4 and 5

I've totally failed as the #1 fan of my brother's web series since I've failed to blog about the last two episodes! New ones have been coming out every two weeks, so #4 came out just over three weeks ago and #5 came out just last Friday. You should definitely watch them if you haven't already! Each episode is only about five minutes long, so it would only take you 25 minutes to get up to date on the entire series! All five episodes and the trailer can be found on The Beta Test YouTube page. I probably won't be embedding them here anymore because they're starting to contain a little more adult content than I'd like to feature directly on the Chatter! According to The Beta Test Facebook page, "If you haven't watched episode 5 yet, get to it! Violence! Mayhem! And even more cats!"

Speaking of their FB page, they're steadily gaining followers, and today they gained five whole fans in one day! I think having 171 people who "like" you is pretty great, but it would be wonderful to see their popularity explode and "go viral" like so many YouTube videos do. Feel free to email this post and help spread the word about The Beta Test!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Football First

Last weekend I missed the Jayhawks' opening game of the season because I met my friend Tish in KC at the Royals game instead. That sounds like an odd choice of sporting events since the Royals are so ridiculously horrible, but I thought it would be fun to see Tish and also meet her best friend Jenn, who is one of the founders of the Fit Bottomed Girls website, of which I'm a big fan. I also didn't think the KU game would be a big deal since it should have been an easy win. Instead, I'm glad I wasn't there because it turned out to be such an awful loss.

Anyway, today was my first game of the season, and apparently I'm good luck because the team that played today was clearly a totally different team than the one that played last Saturday. Our defense was pretty great, our quarterback was effective, and our running game was solid. We lead much of the first half, trailed slightly at halftime and then took the lead again in the third quarter and never gave it back. It was pretty freakin' fantastic. All of this might not sound like that big of a deal since it was just a preseason game, but in fact we were playing the number 17 team in the nation. So yeah--it was a big deal!

The crowd was pretty excited about the game and the win, especially because so many people were calling for Coach Gill's head after the loss last week. The students celebrated big by storming the field, but thankfully had enough sense to not tear down the goalposts! Go Hawks!


Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Piano Room Project

A few weeks ago when we were doing a little sprucing up around the house in preparation for Robyn's birthday party, I finally finished up a project that had been hanging over my head for nearly a year. When we first moved to this house and were doing a bunch of furniture shopping, we bought this huge picture frame to put over the fireplace, but then decided after sitting it there for a few days that we didn't like it in that spot. I also needed to sand and stain it because the color was a little odd, but since it was too cold of a winter to work in the garage, the project got put on hold for many months. Finally in the spring when I took a bunch of pictures of campus, I decided they were perfect for the frame and got motivated to work on it again. After sanding, staining, editing pictures and getting them printed, I was finally able to get all the pictures into place (which only took about 5 tries) and get it hung on the wall of the piano room (with a little help from the hubby).

Since we'd gotten some long sought after tables on my birthday to almost finish furnishing the space, I went out and got a few decorative pieces and a lamp to put on the new tables. I love the tables and I adore the lamp, which I think matches the print chair in that room perfectly. I still would like to get a ficus for the one remaining corner, but since I killed two live ficus trees at our old house (which I contend wasn't really my fault--there just wasn't enough light in our old entryway), Chad and I are currently in negotiations as to weather I should get a live or a fake one.

Anyway, besides the plant, I think the room is done. I also think the frame looks pretty great, if I do say so myself. It just feels so good to have the project finished!