Since it opened a couple of weeks ago, the ICT Pop-Up Urban Park has quickly become my favorite lunch spot. I ate there four times last week! On one occasion I even made a new friend (Jimmy Vo, Kan-Grow Hydro Farm, pictured right).
Naturally, I had to share the park with Brian (because I share everything with him). We grabbed Thai House food one night and decided to eat dinner there. It was too chilly, though. We caved and brought our takeout home instead.
Determined to share the magic of the Pop-Up Urban Park with Brian, I dragged him out there again before our Citizen Police Academy session at the Sedgwick County Detention Facility. This time the weather was better. We got to play some ping-pong.
I’ve been to busy this week to walk over there during lunch. I’m hoping that I’ll have some time next week. I’d really like to enjoy the park a bit more before the weather starts getting colder.
If you haven’t been to the park yet, I highly recommend it. If you go, holler at me so we can meet up (if I’m free). I may even play a game of ping pong with you.
Brian and I had a crazy idea to complete September reward cards in one visit to the Alley. We had to complete two hours of bowling, two hours of billiards, and eight go kart rides. Though the task seemed daunting, given that we only had a couple of hours to spare, we were up for the challenge. It didn’t cost us a dime and we got free soda to boot!
First up was bowling. So, we kind of cheated a little bit. Rather than spend two hours bowling, we decided to take one lane each for an hour. We asked for adjacent lanes so that we could cross-bowl (league style) which is what we prefer anyway. We completed four games and still had plenty of time to complete all of the other items on the list before closing time. It was brilliant.
For our go kart rides, the attendant allowed us to take the remaining rides in the form of coupons so we didn’t have to actually complete all eight rides. Brian and I raced one time. Since it was a slow night and, it was just the two of us, the attendant cranked the go karts up to the top speed. Not being much of a daredevil, one race was enough for me. Each race lasts four minutes so it would have taken a bit longer to complete four races, and we still had to play some billiards. Neither of us really wanted to be there all night so we cheated at the go karts part as well.
We didn’t even last an hour when we played billiards. We played a couple of games and we were done. Brian lost both games but he didn’t care because he bowled a 252 that night and he was still euphoric from that. Anyway, they signed our cards anyway so we could turn it in at the front desk for the raffle. We didn’t quite finish the task but at least we gave it our best effort. And, we had a blast!
As for the remaining go kart tickets, we ended up using them with my little sister Nickira on Thursday night. Nickira said she wanted to eat somewhere she’d never been before so we took her to Cheddar’s right by the Alley.
After dinner we raced go karts a couple of times. It was perfect because we had exactly six rides left so the three of us got to race twice. The best part was that we were the only three people there so we had run of the track.
Brian and I had to take turns taking pictures. The first time we went in the following order: Nickira, me, then Brian. Brian was able to pass me but he couldn’t pass Nickira.
The second time it was Nickira, then Brian, then me. I was able to pass Brian but, again, I couldn’t pass Nickira. Who knew that my little sister was such an expert go kart driver? She knew exactly what to do to keep us from passing her.
Anyway, I can’t believe that school is several weeks in and Nickira still doesn’t have any homework. I’m beginning to wonder about her teacher. LOL. Kidding aside, I’m glad we got to do something fun last week because I have a YMCA dinner this week and won’t be able to get Kira this Thursday. We’ll just have to make up for it next week. I’m hoping that we will have some homework to do by then!
Brian and I are now halfway through Citizen Police Academy (CPA) so I figured I can tell you a little bit about the experience. The CPA is a thirteen week program designed to provide a working knowledge and background of the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office and Wichita Police Department (WPD). The main goal of the program is to foster a closer relationship between local law enforcement agencies and the community. CPA provides an avenue for community involvement and provides first hand experience of policing.
We’ve been in it a few weeks now and, for a program that costs absolutely nothing, it’s a super awesome experience. Brian and I are learning so much about local law enforcement. All of the speakers and presenters from both the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office and WPD have been very informative and accommodating. We have an inquisitive class and we always have lots of questions, which they answer patiently.
The topics we will cover during the 13 weeks of CPA include:
- WPD and Sedgwick County Sheriff patrol operations
- Overview of Investigations
- Homicide and Robbery Investigations
- Gang Unit
- Tour of the Wichita/Sedgwick County Law Enforcement Firearms Training Facility
- Polygraph Operations
- Exploited and Missing Child Unit (EMCU)
- Tours of the Sheriff’s Crime Lab and the WPD Crime Lab
- Tours of the Records Bureau and the 911 Emergency Communications Center
- Overview of Community Affairs and Community Policing
- Air Section Helicopter “fly-in” and presentation
- Traffic Radar Demo
- SWAT Team Demo
- Bomb Squad Demo
- Tour of the Sedgwick County Adult Detention Facility (including an opportunity to sample jail food)
I can tell you that I’m not looking forward to that last item on the list, which we are actually doing next week. I hope they don’t force me to eat the jail food. I got to try it last year when my Leadership Wichita class spent the morning part of our session at the detention facility. Lunch was really memorable that day because we got to have lunch with some of the trustees and the food was terrible. Immediately after that experience I made a comment to Brian that fewer crimes would be committed if people only knew how horrible jail food is. I can’t wait for Brian to try it.
Our favorite session so far has been our session at the Wichita/Sedgwick County Law Enforcement Firearms Training Facility. I took lots of pictures that night because I didn’t feel like I got to take enough pictures when my Leadership Wichita class went through last year. I made up for it this time.
Obligatory firing range photo. 😉
The facility was established in 1995. Incidentally, that is the same year that my family moved to the Wichita area.
Here are some more pictures from our tour of the facility.
Here’s Brian’s “shoot or no shoot” scenario.
We all thought it was over but then the guy actually pops back up out of nowhere. I really thought Brian got him and he was dead. He wouldn’t stay down, though. At least Brian got him in the head.
This is our friend Bill’s scenario.
Brian gearing up.
Brian and KSN’s Denise getting ready for their simunition exercise scenario.
Here they go!
A few others in class volunteered. Here’s another scenario along with the debriefing.
The debriefing was actually really educational. Even though I didn’t volunteer I learned a lot from watching the participants, how they reacted during the simulation, and the discussion that followed afterward.
Brian got interviewed by KSN at the end of our session. I hope that he told them what a great experience this has been so far and how grateful he is that I talked him into signing up. LOL. Seriously. He didn’t want to do it at first. I really had to sell him on the idea. It was the “shoot or no shoot” exercise that really sealed the deal for him. That night was his most awaited night of CPA training. I’m glad that he got to participate in all of it. I’m also glad that I’m sharing this whole experience with him.
Couples who learn and grow together, stay together!
I seriously hope you didn’t mope around the house on Saturday because there was so much to do in town. All of the events kind of overlapped so you really had to prioritize. Some of the events we were aware of were Race for the Cure, the Great Plains Renaissance Festival, the Wichita Wagonmasters Downtown Chili Cook-off, the grand opening of the Wichita Art Museum’s Art Garden, KMUW’s Old Town concert series kicked off, and the 7th Annual Haus of Brews. That’s just the special events. That doesn’t include all the things to do in town that happen every Saturday. Insane, right?
We couldn’t do everything so we had to pick three activities. One of these that made the cut was the Wichita Wagonmasters Downtown Chili Cook-off. My friend Bill is a Wagonmaster so I had to stop by and see him.
We arrived toward the end of the event because I had to shower and change after my Zumba class, and I had to start on our laundry. We weren’t exactly speedy. There were still plenty of people milling about when we got there. We even ran into my friend Darcy. However, there were several tents that were already out of chili and packing up.
Our next stop was the Wichita Art Museum’s Art Garden grand opening event.
It was a beautiful day to be out and about. We had the perfect weather!
While at the Art Garden grand opening, we had to stop by and say hello to my friend Teresa. Yes, I have cool friends who do cool stuff in the community.
I really wish we could have hung around because there were lots of cool things going on at the Art Garden grand opening event.
Alas, we had to skedaddle to our next stop: OJ Watson Park. I’d never been there so when we were invited to the Kansas DUI Impact Center volunteer appreciation picnic I accepted. I figured that I’d meet some Impact Center folks and also check out the park.
Brian grew up on the South side of town and had frequented the park as a child. He said the park hadn’t really changed. It was pretty much the same as when he was young. It was all new and exciting for me, though. I enjoyed pedal boating and was grateful that we didn’t fall in the dirty, murky water.
The 7th Annual Haus of Brews was our final stop for the evening. I wanted to get there early but we had to stop by the house to take care of Molly. Then Brian ended up falling asleep on the couch so I had to wake him up. LOL.
I’m really grateful to our friends and coworkers who came out to support the event.
I heard that attendance was down compared to last year. However, I know of at least three people are interested in joining Rotary as a result so I think that’s a win.
Misty is looking into joining the Old Town Wichita Rotary Club because the meeting location and time works better for her. I told her I’d go with her to check out the club. We’re going next week.
My friend Jill from Adventurous Babes Society is interested in the Andover Rotary Club so I’ve invited her to our next meeting.
Overall it was a fantastic Saturday. The only thing that could have made it better was if we were able to hit all of the happenings in Wichita!
Brian and I had a blast creating this date jar for our friends Christina and Jake. Yes! Believe it or not, he actually helped me!
As you know Brian is the more creative half. He was a huge help in coming up with date ideas to write in the popsicle sticks. However, his biggest contribution was keeping me from including “joyride” in the jar. Apparently, my idea of “joyride” is not the same as the general population. LOL.
Congrats and best wishes to Christina and Jake!
Brian made a taco bar for us for lunch last Saturday. It was delicious! Naturally, I ate too much. After lunch we ended up playing Skip Bo. She didn’t let us win. Not even once!
Speaking of games, I got to play some games with my colleagues last week after our work dinner. We had a plethora of games to choose from but we ended up playing the old standby, Catchphrase. It was a blast. I’m extremely grateful to our boss man for letting us host game night and to all the peeps who stayed to play.
Then earlier this week we ate at the Hill for the first time since the fiasco with the front bumper happened. We really like their food so we couldn’t stay away for very long. We met our friend Tracy there for dinner on Monday night when she was in town.
Check out Brian’s enormous burger.
Here he is trying to eat it.
One word: WOW.
Tracy had an enormous burger also.
I tried to be good and just had crab cakes. Although, I wasn’t completely good. I had a bunch of the chicharon we ordered while trying to decide what to have for dinner.
As promised, here are some pictures from Christina and Jake’s fabulous wedding at Exploration Place over the weekend…
I feel like I have to explain this picture because it’s not something that you see normally. Christina and Jake opted for a dramatic and unconventional entrance where they walk down the aisle together.
It was a beautiful ceremony. I’m glad they didn’t start on time because Brian and I were cutting it kind of close. Melissa was even surprised that she and Todd beat us to the wedding when they’re notorious for being late. In my defense, I thought the wedding was at 6 PM whereas Christina put a reminder on Missy’s phone and had the wedding time listed as 5 PM. LOL. It actually worked!
Anyway Brian and I were both grateful that our friends arrived early and saved us a couple of seats. We were also grateful for the late start because we didn’t want to miss Christina and Jake gazing into each other’s eyes as they spoke their vows.
Here’s a picture of the newlyweds as they made their exit.
Our awesome group of friends.
Huge thanks to these guys for saving us seats!
Meader and Hideki clean up really well. I was really disappointed that Brian refused to wear a suit. He said he’d been wearing suits all week and wanted a break. We were running late so I didn’t have time to persuade him otherwise.
Brian and I couldn’t resist taking a wedding reception selfie.
A photo of the bride and groom at the reception.
Here’s a photo of our friends Holly and Meader.
We took a regular photo and a fun one.
Missy and Todd.
Me and Brian again. My arm looks weird because we were trying to fake a selfie.
Jake and Missy.
Todd and Hideki.
Brian, Carla, Holly, and Meader.
Holly and I wanted a photo of us with our matching Stella & Dot necklaces.
This was one of my favorite parts of the reception — the newlywed game played using shoes! I thought it was really clever and a lot of fun.
Christina and Jake also had a special photo booth at the wedding where you could created flip books like this one…
And this one…
Here’s a video of Jake and Hideki doing a little dance off…
And Jake and Missy shaking it off…
What a great wedding and reception! Congratulations to our friends Christina and Jake. Thank you so much for allowing us to witness your union, sharing your special day, and letting us celebrate with you.
Donating my copy of The Little Prince to the United Way reading campaign made me realize that I ought to give a copy to my little sister Nickira. So I did. We took turns reading passages to each other until she fell asleep. Not quite the reaction I was hoping for. LOL. Here’s a cute picture of her and Molly…
Other presents we gave away this week are baby shower gifts for a coworker and a couple of friends who are having babies and a wedding present for our friends Jake and Christina. Come back tomorrow for pictures from their wedding last Saturday at Exploration Place. It was a blast!
Zoobilee was a lot of fun this year. Except for the first part of the event when I had a massive headache. I would have skipped it altogether except we actually paid for tickets. For the first time ever, in our seven year history of attending.
Brian was drinking Stellas all night and had a great time.
We ran into several people, including Jeff (above). We also knew of others who were there but we didn’t ever run into them. It’s no surprise, though. Thousands of people attend every year.
Local restaurateur Steve Bacci of Gianni Bacci and Taste & See
Brenda and BJ
Me with Shanda and Nykole
I managed a smile for this photo, despite my massive headache.
This is my gregarious and extremely outgoing Leadership Wichita friend, Bill Ramsey, also known as The Bill Guy.
There were so many people at the event that we didn’t run into the Phelpi and the Dills until almost nine o’clock. The only reason that we knew Dills were at the zoo was because we saw their names on the Sveta’s chair massage sign up sheet.
Thank heavens for that chair massage. It helped my headache go away.
Brian and Kristen at the private YPW area
Jay and Becca
Our crazy, loud bunch
Me with my friend Andrea
I’m glad I toughed it out because I did actually start to feel better and my headache went away later in the evening. I wish it would have happened sooner, before all the food was gone, though. I hardly drank or ate anything because I didn’t want to overdo it. By the time I was ready to cut loose, most of the vendors were gone.
On the bright side, Brian and I once again got really good deals from the silent auction. We got one year of pest control treatments every 60 days for $190, which I thought was a good deal. I also got a gift card for a haircut and some Aveda products for just $65. I love silent auctions! We have a few more fundraising events coming up later this year. We’re both looking forward to seeing what bargains can be had in the silent auctions.
BTW, if you are bummed about missing Zoobilee, fear not. There’s another fun eating and drinking fundraising event next weekend on September 26 — Haus of Brews. Click on the link to purchase tickets. Proceeds go to a great cause. We’d love to see you there!
It’s that time of year again and we’re doing pledge drives at both of my jobs. At my primary job we have what’s called Your Gift Your Choice. It used to be the United Way campaign but we changed it a few years ago so that employees weren’t limited to donating to just the United Way. Now we have dozens of organizations to choose from which has actually increased engagement and participation. Sometimes we have folks who don’t want to give to United Way but they’re passionate about other causes. The new Your Gift Your Choice format allows us to support those causes via payroll deduction.
Here’s what our participation looks like just a week into the campaign. Amazing!
At my part time side-gig for the Greater Wichita YMCA we have pledge drives for both United Way and the YMCA annual campaign. Since I’m donating to the United Way through my primary job, I didn’t pledge anything on my YMCA paycheck but I’ll be donating almost all of my classes back to the YMCA through the YMCA annual campaign.
Here’s my friend Teresa installing a computer at La Familia Senior and Community Center. We met Dr. Carla Lee, Executive Director of La Familia, last year during our Leadership Wichita community service project. She told our team that she needed help with technology and wanted some computers that work. They had several computers at the center but they weren’t connected. Last week my teammates Teresa, Jason, and I installed computers that were donated by High Touch (Jason’s employer). We spent Wednesday afternoon connecting all of the computer terminals. Jason even got on a ladder and fixed network cable through the ceiling tiles.
High Touch donated CPUs, keyboards, mice, and cables and then we just salvaged the existing monitors that the center already had. The monitors weren’t pretty but they worked just fine.
On Thursday morning several colleagues and I attended the United Way campaign kickoff at Century II. The theme this year is “Readers Become Leaders” and we created about 400 reading kits during the kickoff event.
It’s amazing considering we assembled the reading kits in just 10 minutes.
Some of the books that went into our boxes were previously donated and were already at our table but all of the event attendees were encouraged to bring a copy of their favorite children’s book or books. I didn’t get the invitation to attend until the day before so I didn’t have a chance to go to the store to buy books. I had to give up a copy of my favorite children’s book which I grabbed from the bookshelf in the office.
I was bummed that I had to give up my copy but also felt good that I was donating it to a great cause. I ended up ordering a few more copies of The Little Prince on Amazon. This isn’t the first time that I gave a copy of it away and it probably won’t be the last so I thought I better stock up. One of the copies is earmarked for my little sister. The two books I’ve gotten her for her birthdays have been Dork Diaries books, her favorite series. I’m thinking it’s probably time that I got her a copy of one of my favorites. It’s funny that it took the United Way campaign kickoff to make me think of it. I should have thought of giving her a copy sooner.
Anyway, that pretty much sums up my busy and rewarding week. This week is more of the same — lots of work with volunteering and donating and fundraising sprinkled in.