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Archive for "Life"

The Best of 2017

Posted on January 30, 2018 by under Life, Relationship, Zumba.    

Every year I post highlights to reflect on everything that happened — good and bad. I usually post it at the very end of the year or right at the beginning of the new year. I’m a little bit late posting this one because our weekends have been jam-packed with stuff. It’s been difficult to find a few minutes to write about an entire year.

First, here are links to past annual recaps to get you caught up:

So what happened last year? So much! Probably too much to condense into a single update but I’m going to give it my best effort.

We started the year off strong with a Plank Challenge and we were very optimistic about blowing our goals out of the water. However, it didn’t take long for us to succumb to life and being busy and we were back to our lazy selves in no time.

I hosted my first Zumbathon┬« and we raised a good chunk of money for Big Brothers Big Sisters, a cause that is near and dear to me. All of the crazy fundraising we did during the “For Kids’ Sake” campaign paid off. I was the top fundraiser at our annual company “Bowl for Kids’ Sake” event.

Brian and I attended more events this year than we ever have and were even inducted into the Society of 1895. I couldn’t make that luncheon but Brian attended for the both of us. Here are some of the other events we had the privilege of attending last year:

We also discovered a winery just South of Wichita. Besides selling great wine, they also host an amazing outdoor concert series every summer.

The Keeper of the Plains statue that Brian helped design was finally installed in our atrium at work. And, it’s magnificent!

I celebrated my 15th service anniversary at work. I also switched teams at this time. I’m still in Customer Care but now part of the Business Solutions team.

Brian and I traveled to two places we’d never been. First to Alaska over Memorial weekend, where we went to visit Sheryll and her family. Then, later in the year, we celebrated my 40th birthday in the Bahamas. Both trips were memorable in their own way and we feel truly blessed that we had the opportunity to go.

We hosted a couple of fun parties at the house. The one over Fourth of July weekend resulted in Brian finally completing the installation of the automatic garage door opener for our third car garage. The second one was the first Zumba World Party party that I’ve had in a long time.

Besides installing a garage door opener, Brian also installed a Nest thermostat and some smart switches.

Brian and I completed a couple of drink tours: the Wicked Brew Tour and the Carlos O’Kelly’s Summer Drink Tour. The former got us these cool, limited edition shirts from Visit Wichita. The latter got us really cool hand-blown glassware.

Besides the #DanceForKids Zumbathon that I hosted at the beginning of the year, I did a ton of Zumba. We had more Zumba in the Square events than ever. There was Zumba at the Relay for Life event, where we danced from Friday night into Saturday morning. I added a new class to my Zumba teaching scheduled — 5:15 AM on Fridays. And then, of course, there’s the annual Zumba Instructor Convention (aka #ZINCON), where we spend four days of nonstop Zumba.

Speaking of Zumba, I finally made Zumba Wear 3 Star Insider! My friend Missy and I made it during the same quarter.

Other firsts include visiting local sunflower fields for the first time and playing in a ping pong tournament with some friends. I have to say 2017 is the year that I saw my ping pong game truly improve.

This was a banner year for me because it’s the year that I left my 30s behind. Supposedly 40 is the new 30 so I’m looking forward to what this new year will bring!

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12 Class Challenge

Posted on January 3, 2018 by under Life.    

Every year the Greater Wichita YMCA incentivizes people to exercise and stay healthy throughout the holidays by holding a 12 Class Challenge program. Basically, you sign up for $10 and you get a card that has 12 boxes. After participating in a group exercise class, you have the instructor initial (or sign) and date a box. Once you have completed all 12 space, you turn your completed card in to the front desk of your local YMCA to redeem your awesome, limited edition 12 Class Challenge shirt. It’s really a brilliant program and is a huge hit every year.

Here’s a vintage video I found on YouTube of local realtor Kathy Ambrose, who does a great job of explaining the how the 12 Class Challenge program works.

The sign up cost was only $5 back when this video was made. The cost this past holiday season was $10 but that didn’t matter. It’s still as popular as ever. My students get a huge kick out of participating and completing their cards.


They are so enthusiastic about this program that I actually had two students complete their cards about a week into the program. The challenge officially started the week of Thanksgiving and by December 2, they were both done.


The only downside of finishing too soon is that sometimes the shirts haven’t arrived yet so you have to hang on to your card for a bit until the shirts are available. I believe that the shirts are available now so if you completed your 12 Class Challenge card then head on over to your local YMCA branch and grab yourself a shirt.

You earned it!

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Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Programming

Posted on December 28, 2017 by under Life.    

Things that happened last month…


I had the opportunity to take project management training at Wichita State University from one of my favorite Rotarians.


We formed a team and attended sci-fi trivia night at Aero Plains. Our team name was Red Shirts. It gave us the perfect excuse to don our Star Trek costumes from a few years ago. We didn’t win but we held the top place for a couple of rounds and we had a ton of fun.


We spent a Saturday afternoon with some awesome people from my work helping Child Start set up for their annual Polar Express Literacy Event. This is our second year helping with the event.


I finally caved and let Brian replace our WattSaver thermostat with Nest. He took us off the program over a year ago but we kept the thermostat because it was useful.

Brian had been begging for a Nest thermostat for years but I wanted to support our thermostat program at work. Anyway, we both decided it was finally time. He’s supposed to blog about his new Nest so stay tuned for that post.

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Another Year, Another Birthday

Posted on November 5, 2017 by under Food and Drink, Life.    

Last month was a very festive month. We celebrated almost every single day. Then again, I guess that’s just kind of how we are. We love living life and celebrate every moment. Here are some of the things that happened leading up to our trip to Great Exuma, Bahamas.

Birthday Card from the Greater Wichita YMCA HR Team

First, there was our escape room adventure with Kate and Deanna. Remember how we tried to do it last month but couldn’t do it because Escapology changed their hours on me so they were closed on the day we went? Well, we finally made it happen. We did the Cuban Crisis room and we escaped!


We couldn’t have done it without Kate, though. She was whiz at the puzzles.

Carrabbas - Meatballs

We also hit all of our favorite restaurants during my birthday month.

P.F. Changs - Crab Wontons

We really shouldn’t have been eating out but your birthday month is a good excuse to fall off the wagon. Anyway, I won’t post all of the food pictures. I’ll just post one picture from each place and let you guys figure out where we went.

Bonefish - Crab Cakes and Bang Bang Shrimp

Besides our favorite restaurants, we also had the opportunity to try a new place we’d never dined at before when we met a couple of my Leadership Wichita classmates (Teresa and Jason) for lunch a couple of weeks ago. I will post all of these food pics because it was a first for all of us.

Okra, Anyone?

Fried Sweet Potatoes





We ate at the Rail at Union Station because Teresa wanted to try one of the restaurants in the area as she hadn’t tried any of them yet. I suggested the Rail since I’d already been to the Kitchen. I actually suggested Mumbai Rail, which confused the heck out of Teresa who got there first. Apparently, Mumbai Rail is no more and has been rebranded as the Rail Scratch Cocktails.

We were all very worried at first because there was no one else at the restaurant besides our group for lunch. You know how the really great places are always busy and the terrible places are dead? We were sort of thinking along those lines. But we were already there and it was too late to back out.

Anyway, the food was surprisingly fabulous. At least, my meal was very tasty and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The quality of the food was definitely not representative of the restaurants lack of patrons. I later found a news article (through my friend Alicia who told me that she thought the restaurant had closed for good) that said the restaurant would no longer be open for lunch. The article was written back in June. I’m guessing people still don’t know that they’re open for lunch.

Which was good for us because it meant great food and no wait. LOL. Probably not great business, though. I hope the restaurant survives because I really did enjoy our lunch. Of course, the great company had a lot to do with that but I really did like their food. I actually want to go back at some point.

This was on Thursday, October 26, final day before departure. We flew out of the Wichita airport very early the next day.

Anyway, I’m sure you’re really anxious to hear about our trip to the Bahamas. I’ve got a few other things that I need to catch up on and then I’ll be able to devote some attention to a full-fledged trip recap. I hoping to do that by the end of the week so check back soon.

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It’s Been a Nerdy Couple of Weeks

Posted on September 1, 2017 by under Life.    

Did you watch the solar eclipse last week? We did too.


This is Brian lying on the hood of his car during his lunch hour. He was an uber nerd and watched the eclipse happen almost in its entirety.

Solar Eclipse 2017

As for me, I walked over to the parking garage across the street with some coworkers a few minutes before totality. We didn’t stay out there very long either. I was content to glance up at the sun a couple of times shortly before, during, and after totality and then I was ready to go back to work. I’d seen solar eclipses before so it wasn’t that exciting to me as it was to Brian and others. I actually planned to just work through the eclipse but Brian insisted that I watch it because it doesn’t happen that often. I told him that it happened in the Philippines all the time so I’d seen eclipses before. Anyway, I went ahead and watched it to humor him.

In case you missed it, here’s where you can watch the whole thing in about four minutes.

If you want to see a solar eclipse in person, here’s a list of where you can see every total solar eclipse over the next 50 years. There’s one that happens in 2014 that will be visible in parts of the US. Better start planning!


In other news, we made our first art investment. Brian and I had been looking for something to hang on the wall of our stairwell for several years. We could never find anything we liked that was tall enough for the narrow wall. We’ve always been partial to Wichita flag art so we though our friend Joe’s print would be perfect.


We decided to splurge and got the 50 X 33 size. Here’s a picture of the print next to Brian to put the size in perspective.


It was kind of expensive but we skipped our annual anniversary couples massage so we just chalked this up to our 15th wedding anniversary present to each other. Every time we glance at the stairwell, we can’t help but smile.

We absolutely love our print! Thanks, Joe!


Even though we already purchased and hung our print ahead of Joe’s Final Friday art exhibit and we didn’t have any money to buy anything else, we still decided to come out to his exhibit at L’image to show our support. Above is a picture of the artist, Joe Montiel, with a smaller version of the print.

On Saturday, Brian took grandma out to get groceries while I taught my Zumba classes and then I met them after for lunch at this Chinese restaurant in Andover that we recently discovered, Golden Garden. It’s right around the corner from grandma’s place so we decided to go over to her place and to play Uno, which is a change of scenery because we usually play cards at our house.


In one corner of the room where we played cards, we noticed this computer-looking device. It’s actually a magnifier. Once we figured out what it was, Brian showed grandma how to use it. You should have heard the excitement in her voice upon realizing that she’s able to read regular books again.


On Wednesday night, Brian and I donned our matching “Wicked Brew” shirts and headed to the Science Friday Trivia Night presented by KMUW at Aero Plains Brewing. It was the largest congregation of nerds I have ever come across in years. Over 30 teams competed in the trivia.

We were tied for 4th place along with a few other teams for most of the evening. When they showed the results on the TV screen at the end of the evening, there were at least 15 other teams that came in behind us so, even though we missed some questions we should have gotten and were felt the quiz master scored against us in some cases, we were pretty pleased with our performance.

Science Friday Live comes to Wichita next weekend, September 9.

For our final act of nerdiness, Brian, Misty, and I did “The Code” room at Escapology last night and got out with almost 20 minutes to spare. I think our official time was 42 minutes and 27 seconds.


I’m not sure if you recall but the first time that Brian and I did a room (we did “Antidote” which was supposed to be the easiest room they had) at Escapology, we didn’t get out. “The Code” is supposedly two steps above “Antidote” in difficulty but it was actually much easier to complete.

We picked “Antidote” the first time because we were going off the difficulty rating. My advice? Don’t worry about the difficulty ratings because it’s all relative. Pick the theme that you can relate to and feel you have the most knowledge about because your odds of success will be greater. I think because Brian and I are both “computer nerds” the puzzles in the “The Code” made so much more sense to us. Had we gone for it on our first visit, we probably would have gotten out without any problems.

Lesson learned.

As an added bonus, besides getting our victory photo taken and posted on Escapology – Wichita’s Facebook page, we also got these nifty rubber wristbands that only winners get. Suffice it say, we were pretty pleased with ourselves. Me more than the others. LOL. I was really bummed that time that Brian and I failed to get out of the “Antidote” room. This makes up for it!


Anyway, that pretty much wraps up all of our “nerdy” activities of late. Looking to get even nerdier this weekend. Have a fabulous Labor Day holiday, everyone!

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