Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Fortyish Friends and Family

On Saturday we went to KC to a cool spot in Westport called Henry's Bar & Tables to celebrate the big birthday of Chad's brother Mark--it was his 40th last Wednesday! I seriously can't believe my brother-in-law turned 40 this year, which means my own brother will be 40 really soon too. Crazily enough, I think I might have met Mark prior to meeting my hubby, since he and my brother became friends when they were in 7th grade--two years before I met Chad. I've known my bro-in-law for 27 years I think--that's craziness!

Anyway, we didn't get to hang out with Mark and Jen much at Mark's party (since he was the guest of honor and was busy entertaining all sorts of people besides us), but we did get to spend some quality time with some other of Mark/Eric's friends from high school, which was so great. Our friends Phil and Sally were there (the ones who have a small family farm near Lawrence), which was great since we've only seen them a couple of times in the last couple of years. Our friend Chris, who I haven't seen for about 15 years, was also there and we got to meet his wife Laura for the first time. Our friend Charles was there as well, and we got to meet Charles' girlfriend Michelle for the first time too. It was so great hanging out with everyone. Chris and Phil were some of Eric's best friends from high school and were like big brothers to me--I just love these guys!

I actually forgot to take any pictures until right as we were leaving, but I got a few as we were telling everyone goodbye. I'm so glad we were able to be there. Thanks for having us, Mark--and many happy returns!


Monday, May 24, 2010


Last Sunday was graduation at KU, and although we're not exactly in the traditional student demographic, we actually had several friends who were celebrating the completion of a degree of one kind or another. Our friends Matt and Faith both finished a master's degree, our friend Pat finished two bachelor's degrees (and became a first time father on the same day, but more about that later), and our friend Nolan finished his bachelor's in economics. Although I'm impressed by the diligence and accomplishments of all my friends, I think I'd have to say I'm especially proud of our friend Nolan. Having turned 31 this year, Nolan isn't exactly in the traditional student demographic either. In the 10+ years we've known him, he's changed careers several times and started and stopped taking classes multiple times, which often leads to people failing to ever finish their degrees at all. I'm so happy for Nolan and impressed that he didn't let work and softball and relationships and everything else get in the way of him reaching his goal. The only bad thing about Nolan graduating is that now he's taken a job in Dallas and he's moving away from us! Nolan is a great guy and a great friend and softball just won't be the same without him!

Although we'll be sad for Nolan to leave Lawrence, we were happy to celebrate with him on Sunday as he prepares for this next chapter of his life. He hosted a gathering of friends and family at his house on Sunday, and even though the weather wasn't exactly stellar, it was wonderful to spend a joyful evening with good friends. Congratulations, Nolan! We'll miss you!

Sunday, May 23, 2010


I have several things on my list of upcoming blog topics that I just don't have time for this evening, but I do have a video from a couple of weeks ago that I wanted to share. It's actually really more of an audio than a video, since it's pretty much just a black screen. It was taken late one night off of our back deck, and is the audio evidence of a post from last summer when we first moved in. Freaky!!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Jamber Joy

Last weekend we hosted our dear friends Jake and Amber (also known by their celebrity name Jamber) for the first time since last summer. Our friends the professors were back visiting the Midwest preparing for their move back to the Central Plains this summer. After two years teaching at separate universities in the DC area, they have both accepted positions at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, which happens to be in their hometown. They bought a house there this week and are set to move back across the country in July! We're so excited to be within driving distance of them!

The only bummer about them moving is that we never got out to DC to visit them in the two years they were there. We just couldn't ever get our schedules coordinated, and I'm totally bummed we missed DC sightseeing with the pros. Maybe someday they'll join us for a DC vacation and take us to all the best spots. :)

We had such an enjoyable weekend with these great friends. Aside from going to the piano bar on Saturday evening, we really didn't do much except eat, talk and enjoy each other's company. With good friends, that's really all you need!

Friday night downtown with James and Beth. I wish I could wear heels so I didn't look so freakin' short.

Amber and I before they left on Sunday. I didn't even cry this time since they'll be back soon!

Love these guys!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Comedic Tin

As of last week, I really thought that today I would have a video to share that would be comedic gold. I mean like hilariously funny. Like America's Funniest Videos $100K funny. Unfortunately, the event that was going to be so freaking hysterical did not happen, and I was so bummed. You see, on Friday night, the arts center where I was taking a dance class had its big performance to end the semester. Performing in the dance gala wasn't mandatory, but it was strongly encouraged, and since everyone else who was still in the class was planning to perform, I caved to the peer pressure and agreed to dance on Friday night as well.

Now really, watching a beginner/intermediate jazz class dance to Michael Jackson should be entertaining enough in and of itself, but there was one particular student in the class that was just a lot more humorous than the rest of us. Bless his heart. That's really all you can say. He was just not very coordinated at all, even though he got an A for effort. I was really looking forward to our group dance, highlighted by his participation.

Then Friday night while we were preparing for the gala, our teacher came in and said that our classmate had a family emergency that took him out of town very suddenly. Apparently his son was in a terrible accident and he had to fly out immediately to see him in the hospital. It was such a sad and tragic end to my high hopes for humor. I can only hope that his son is doing okay.

So anyway, our teacher stepped in and danced in place of the missing member of our group. Even though the video won't be nearly as funny, I told my dad I'd post it here so he could watch my performance just like when I was little. Because the quality of the video is so bad, you probably can't even tell which one is me, which is definitely a good thing!! :)

I know you're jealous of those rockin' outfits. Although we looked fairly ridiculous, it was still a fun class and performing wasn't even that bad. I literally had a nightmare about it earlier in the week, but it turns out I didn't even fall down or mess up too terribly, although there was one moment at the end that I forgot for a split second what I was doing. Maybe it wasn't hysterically funny like I thought it would be, but at least it was kind of fun!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Campus Beauty

A few weeks ago I took a couple of hours of my weekend to go up to campus and take some pictures of the incredible tulips that were blooming everywhere. The tulips were so amazing, but they only bloom for a few weeks before succumbing to the warmer weather and torrential spring rains. I knew that my window of opportunity was quickly closing, so I actually went up to campus on a late Saturday afternoon like a complete nerd. Well, I actually went Saturday afternoon and Sunday late afternoon, because when I got there on Saturday afternoon I took a handful of pictures and then realized my battery was dead. So I guess I actually went on Saturday like a complete nerd and a complete idiot and then went back on Sunday.

Really my ill-prepared photo session is beside the point. The point is I think some of the pictures turned out pretty good, and I can't wait to figure out (with some help from my friend Kelly) how I'm going to edit the RAW files and make them even prettier! My ultimate goal is to pick a bunch of these to go in my 35 picture frame for the piano room, and maybe a couple of more to frame and hang in the bathroom downstairs. There are a bunch to choose from--check out the slide show when you have a few minutes!

While I love some of the flower pictures, many of those could have been taken anywhere--you can't really tell they're from campus. I think I'm going to pick out some that are clearly campus related. Let me know if there are any you really like!

Monday, May 10, 2010


As you might know, tonight my brother was on one of my favorite TV shows. I'd been looking forward to this night for months, even though my brother kept telling me it was really no big deal. As it turns out, my brother was right--I probably shouldn't have gotten my hopes up. In an unfortunate turn of events, tonight there have been major storms all over the viewing area, which means there were emergency storm maps all over the screen throughout our recording of the episode. This probably doesn't sound like such a big deal, but it seriously hampered our viewing experience. Seriously. I mean really seriously. Really.

So my brother had one quick line in the show, and this was what happened on our screen when he delivered it.

That snicker you hear is me, because seriously, that was just too freaking funny. I mean what are the odds? I probably would have cried if I hadn't been laughing so flipping hard. This was about the 4th time I'd watched it, and the first three times I was in absolute hysterics. I mean it was exactly like that scene in Monsters Inc. where the new commercial airs and Mike's face is totally obscured by the Monsters Inc. logo. I would have been really upset if I wasn't able to watch the scene later on Hulu (oh, and if it hadn't been so hysterically funny).

The good news is that Eric could be seen in several other scenes in the second half of the episode, so we weren't completely shut out. It's always fun to see him on TV, and we had a fun time playing "Where's Waldo" and picking him out of the background of different shots. Here's a screen shot of him and Chuck and some other crazy people in the hospital.

Despite the fact that our viewing experience was a little less than stellar here in Kansas, it was still a great experience for my brother and he still gets to add it to his resume!

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Deluxe Doggy Door

This post had to be put in the long story category because it's taken me so long to finish! I only had time for about 15 minutes of blogging a couple of nights last week, and that just wasn't enough time for me to get this one cranked out. I have been so excited to share this though, so no matter how long it takes me, I'm going to finish it this evening!

Last Sunday morning, Chad skipped church to work on a much needed project at our house with our friend Grant. We'd been talking about this particular home improvement task since before we even moved in, actually. In all seriousness, one of the reasons we knew this house was perfect for us was because it was completely conducive to this particular project. You see, we knew that within a few years Celtic wouldn't be able to make it up and down stairs. We insisted (much to our real estate agent's chagrin) on buying a home that had the master bedroom on the main level specifically for this reason. Although we couldn't find one that also exited into the backyard at ground level, this house did at least have a garage that was on ground level, so we knew we could make it work for our four-legged munchkin.

Sadly, Celtic's been having more and more mobility problems lately and we were starting to worry that we were shortening his quality years by making him use the deck stairs into the backyard. We carried him up and down on occasion, but he hates being carried so much, his squirming makes it very difficult. We'd also been taking him out front several times a day instead, and while he liked the special attention, he also missed being in the backyard with his siblings. Plus, it wasn't super convenient to be out front with him while Hope was barking at the back door to come inside. We knew the time had come to take on Operation Deluxe Doggy Door.

Since Grant is an amazing designer/builder/engineer, we actually had him over a couple of weeks ago to help us think through the project. Thanks to his expertise, he and Chad were able to actually finish the platform and the "wheelchair ramp" into our garage while I was at church last week. A couple of hours later, they'd cut a hole in the back wall of the garage into the backyard and put in the door. Later in the evening, Chad insulated the door frame and then built a gate up at the top of the platform. The gate doesn't make much sense now, but we've ordered some netting that will actually block the dogs off from the rest of the garage once their doggy door (on the person door) is installed. That way, they won't be able to run through the doggy door out the front of the garage if they hear the garage door open when they're outside, or wander around the garage getting into things they shouldn't once the come inside.

So after the door was installed on Sunday, we recorded their first trip outside Monday night using their new ramp and door. I'm sure this will be interesting to no one except me, but I just thought their reactions were so funny and so typical of each of them.

First, how funny are they? Fresco's clearly afraid to go out a strange door into the dark, Celtic is super happy to be able to walk outside unassisted and knows exactly what to do, and then Hope has to be pushed and prodded to do anything outside of her normal routine. Their personalities are so evident in their behaviors. Second, how awesome are their new ramp and gate and door? Clearly there's still a lot to do for the project to be complete (the net, the light outside, the actual doggy door), but already we all love the new setup! Celtic isn't limping nearly as much as he was, and you just tell that he's so happy and feels so empowered by his new independence! The next morning when I let them out for just the second time, I just left the new door cracked and then left the laundry room door (into the garage) cracked as well. I went about my business getting dressed so I could take them for a quick walk, and a few minutes later Celtic happily let himself back into the house! Fresco figured it out really quickly too. Hope took several days to get the hang of it (her habit of running to the back door was a hard one for her to break), but by Thursday she was also going in and out of the back door exclusively. Once the doggy door goes in we won't even have to go back into the garage and shut the door!

We thought we'd have to put a gate on the deck to keep Celtic for going up that way, but he loves letting himself in and out so much I don't think we'll even have to do that. We can still let him out to bask in the sun on the deck when it's nice outside after he's gone out and in the back. The whole setup has worked even better than we ever though it would, and it turned out that it wasn't even that difficult or time consuming to do. A special thanks to our friend Grant for making the job go so smoothly!

Monday, May 03, 2010

1000 Generations

One of the things we did during our busy weekend a week ago was go to a concert at our church by a group called 1000 Generations. We were first introduced to this band by our pastor one Sunday morning, who played this video for us during the service a few months ago. I fell in love with the song immediately and listened to it over and over on their website and on their MySpace page, so I was crazy excited when our pastor announced that he was bringing 1000 Generations to Lawrence for a concert! The lead singer/pianist and the female singer/guitarist are a couple he's known for many years from his previous church in Illinois.

Since I'd listened to their music online and also obtained their latest CD the Sunday before the concert, I thought I was pretty familiar with their music. I wasn't quite prepared for how much the would ROCK the show! It was crazy loud and they were so energetic and entertaining! It was was seriously fantastic. There was tons of humor, tons of variety, and tons of rocking out! The lead singer played the piano with his feet and climbed all over the baby grand, while the guitar player, who happened to be 8 months pregnant, did a ton of jumping off of amps! They were so much fun and they sounded even better than on their album. I loved it!

The only bad thing about the show was that it wasn't very well attended. It's a huge credit to the band that they put on a performance worthy of a huge arena despite the marginal crowd. My mom came with us and really enjoyed it as well, but unfortunately our nephews weren't as impressed. I thought they would be entertained by the drums and guitars especially, but they weren't too happy about how LOUD the band was. They sort of paid attention for about 15 minutes and then asked for their Nintendos. Thankfully, there's a great playground right outside our church and Uncle Chad was nice enough to take them out to play for the last 30 minutes of the show.

Of course I had to take lots of pictures--it was just too much fun!

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Our Life In Pictures

Chad and I have had two of the most amazingly lazy and relaxing weekend evenings that I can remember. We've had virtually nothing going on the last couple of days, which has been incredibly nice, since last weekend was incredibly busy. In fact, the last two nights I've spent the majority of my free hours uploading all of the pictures I took last weekend and last week--almost 300 of them! Here's the list of events that were represented on my camera.

1. Our nephews playing on the playground at our church
2. The 1000 Generations concert
3. Our nephews playing in the fun zone on the Hill
4. The spring KU football game
5. Kristin's baby shower
6. Incredible cloud formations on K-10
7. A fantastic rainbow in front of our house
8. Kristin and Pat's couples/small group baby shower

I've been a little slow in getting these pictures organized, partially because I shot them in RAW format, which I'd never done before. I didn't realize my ancient version of Photoshop wouldn't open them, so I've been working around a bit of a glitch! Thankfully, I finally figured out that Picasa would let me do some minor edits and upload them without converting them first--it actually does the conversion for me when I upload them too!

So far I've only gotten the pics of Kristin's showers edited and loaded onto Picasa, but hopefully soon I'll have a few others to share as well. In the meantime, here's a quick shot of the aforementioned beautiful rainbow!