This blog is ridiculously behind. I’m going to attempt to catch us up.
Did you all see that awesome rainbow that happened last month? It was on October 22. It was an amazing double rainbow. One really vivid one and then another faint one around it. It was a full rainbow too. You could see the arch from end to end. I usually miss these things but I’m so glad that I got to see it. It’s the most beautiful thing I’d seen in a while. I even got a picture of it; though the picture really doesn’t do the rainbow justice. It was amazing. I hope you guys got to see it too.
I love rainbows because they always brighten my day.
Speaking of brightening someone’s day, my extended team (extended because Faith and Amy joined us) and I did a volunteer service day at the Kansas Food Bank. We packed several “Bob Box” pallets from eight to noon.
It was a wonderful team building activity. We not only got to work with one another but we also worked with these ladies from a local church who regularly volunteers the food bank and some employees from Cox Communications who volunteer during their lunch hour. The church ladies arrived around ten o’clock and the team from Cox arrived around eleven. We had such a blast the four hours just flew right by.
I took this photo before everyone showed up. We had a pretty good assembly line going on with just the six of us.
We spent the day bonding as a team offsite so it was a nice break from the daily grind. I like it when we do fun team building activities like panting or crafting and such, but I really like team building activities that involve community service or volunteerism because then we’re not only having fun bonding but we’re also giving back to the community at the same time.
Here’s a picture of us with Kansas Food Bank President & CEO Brian Walker accepting our $1000 donation.
The best part about Westar Energy is that the company encourages employees to do volunteer work and has several matching programs. One of these programs is a team building service match. If we have five employees from the same department do a four-hour service project for a nonprofit then we can request for a $1000 grant from the Westar Energy Foundation to match our time. Of course, the organization and the project have to be vetted first, but it’s great that our company is supportive and encourages community service and volunteerism by donating funds to the projects and nonprofits that employees support.
This was on Friday, October 23. It was a great day for doing volunteer work and bonding with my team. Not so much for the diet, though.
The six of us went to District Taqueria for lunch. I’d never been there before but had been meaning to because it’s owned by the brother of my former dental hygienist. I’m so glad Nykole recommended it. The food was delicious. I have a separate blog post for that because I went back with Brian a week later for my birthday lunch.
Dinner that night was a Granite City with Brian’s Edward Jones office family. His boss (who is also our friend Rune) wanted everyone and their families to get together and meet. Dinner guests consisted of Rune (financial advisor and boss man), Kristen (Rune’s wife who also used to work in their office and still fills in from time to time), their son Eirik, Deb (the senior business office administrator at their office), her husband Mike, Brian (new kid on the block), and me (supportive spouse).
It was a great start to what would be a crazy-busy weekend consisting of groceries with grandma (which Brian usually does while I teach my Saturday morning Zumba class), brunch at the Good Egg, Connie’s 50th birthday extravaganza at the Kansas Star Casino, the Boo and Brew Ball (a benefit for Dress for Success Wichita), packing for Topeka, and bowling. I’m blogging separately about the birthday party and the Boo and Brew event because I have quite a few pictures to share.
We have been so busy lately that the year has just flown by. I’m hoping we’ll catch a break here eventually because we are so behind on house chores it’s not even funny. My having to work in Topeka four days out of the week doesn’t seem to help matters any. More on that in another post also.
We caught up a little bit but not quite enough. Hopefully I’ve have more time to blog this weekend so we can get completely caught up.
Until then, have a fabulous weekend everyone!
In other news, mom got us new bedding as my early birthday present.
Molly likes it.
For Boss’s Day last week my team got me a deliciously beautiful fruit bouquet. Brian doesn’t really eat fruit so I just shared it with everyone at work. The chocolate covered strawberries were my favorite.
Brian and I went to the opera for that evening.
He’d never been to the opera and neither have I so it was a first that we got to experience together. We saw The Grand Duchess , which is a great introduction to opera because it’s light hearted and comedic rather than tragic.
Kaitlyn Costello was marvelous in the lead role. None of the other actors were even close to the level of performance that she gave. They do such a good job with makeup and costumes that I didn’t realize she played Anita in West Side Story last year, which was my absolute favorite show last year.
Speaking of music theater, while we really enjoyed the opera, Brian and I decided that we prefer music theater because then we don’t need subtitles. LOL. Jokes aside, Music Theatre Wichita does a phenomenal job of bringing the best productions to town.
Speaking of performances, I really wanted to see Norah Jones on Thursday but we were not lucky enough to get tickets. They sold out within a couple of hours. Instead I got some tickets to Light in the Piazza, which is another opera incidentally.
I’m hoping that Nickira will want to go to it. We’ve seen a couple of Music Theatre Wichita performances together (Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Big Fish) but this will be our first opera if she agrees to go. I hope she does.
Lots of things going on this coming weekend, as is typical these days in Wichita. However, the event I’m looking forward to most is my vacation day off work on Friday!
I don’t usually take my birthday off but it happened to fall on a Friday this year so it’s the perfect opportunity for a three-day weekend. Brian and I were initially going to go to New York until we realized it’s the weekend of the great New York City marathon, which explains why we couldn’t find a decent hotel for less than $600 a night in the entire city. Even though our travel plans got nixed, I decided to keep my vacation day because I really need a break from work. The long days have finally caught up to me.
I still won’t get to sleep in because, in true Ching fashion, the day is already jam-packed. Meeting at the YMCA at 8 AM, massage at Sveta’s at 10 AM, taking Brian to District Taqueria for lunch, quality time in the afternoon, dinner at Sabor, then dancing at Oeno. Don’t even let me get started on Saturday and Sunday activities.
I may need to have a makeup vacation day after this vacation day. LOL. Until next time. Have a fantastic week, everyone!
We’d been so busy that I hadn’t seen my mom for a while. Usually I’m really good about organizing some sort family dinner or other get together to celebrate birthdays and such. We have had absolutely no time for anything lately. Despite that, we wanted to make sure that she knew that we didn’t forget about her birthday.
I was scheduled to sub for her bowling team on October 7, the day after her birthday, so we decided to surprise her. For her birthday present this year, I got her bowling jewelry. She got earrings and a matching necklace.
Brian and I ordered ice cream cake from Dairy Queen, which Brian picked up on his way to the bowling alley. She totally didn’t expect it. We shared the cake with the opposing team and still had some left over which we ended up giving to the concession employees at the bowling alley.
Happy belated birthday, mom!
Speaking of birthdays, guess whose birthday is coming up in ten days? 😉
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.
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!
Here’s what we’ve been up to the last few weeks.
Bowling at the Alley. It was a lot of fun until these two intoxicated guys started bowling next to us. It was fine. Just a little annoying. They kept trying to use our bowling balls. Brian had to keep one from taking his ball. The other guy put Nickira’s ball away so then, when it was her turn, she couldn’t bowl. We finally asked them what they did with her ball and the guy who put it up went back to get it and brought it back for Nickira. I think the only thing that kept them from messing with my bowling ball was that the finger holes were too small for either of them.
Bouncing around at Get Air.
I’d never been on a trampoline before so I was really tentative. Nickira was really fearless. She was doing cartwheels and flips all night long. I wish I had her energy.
Cheering the Wichita State University women’s volleyball team.
Kira even got a ball.
We’ve been having a ball (pun intended) but I’m really hoping that next week we can just stay home and do homework instead. I’m exhausted!
In case you were wondering what $1200 in damage looks like. Here it is.
Figures. I finally pay off my car and I mess it up. In my defense, it wasn’t my fault. It was because of the poorly finished parking lot at the Hill.
The parking stalls right next to the restaurant have these cement parking blocks. Most of them have been properly constructed/finished except for a couple that still have rebar sticking up out of them.
There’s one in a handicapped parking stall. The other is in the very first parking stall, which is the one that snagged my car.
I was paying attention to Brian’s car that was already parked and I was just relieved to find a parking spot right by the entrance so I didn’t notice the rebar. Plus, it wasn’t really noticeable. I mean, who leaves rebar sticking out of a parking block like that?
I didn’t want people who were pulling into the tight parking lot to hit the back bumper of my car so I pulled in all the way. Normally I have no problem clearing those concrete parking blocks so I typically pull in all the way until I feel the block against my front tires. Anyway, the front fender has some give so I didn’t feel the rebar going in. I didn’t realize what had happened until I was pulling out of the parking spot after lunch and I heard a crunching sound.
I called Brian who was taking grandma home first. I told him to please check my car when he got home because I thought I messed up my front bumper. I was hoping for the best but prepared for the worst, which is sadly the case. Brian confirmed it as soon he got home and was able to inspect the car. I messed up the clips so the front bumper needs to be replaced in order to get Alex back to normal.
Half a dozen quotes later from various body shops around town, we found out that it’s going to cost at least $1,000 to effectively fix the damage. Cheapest quote was Auto Paint Repair at $855. The most expensive quote was $1140 from Carstar. I initially wanted to go with the lowest price because I didn’t want to file an insurance claim and risk losing my good driver discount; however, Brian really had his heart set on Carstar. They fixed Bebot after our rear-end collision last year and they did a really good job.
Twelve hundred dollars is a lot of money so I decided to sleep on it. A friend at work (Derek) told me that the front end doesn’t look too bad so I could probably wait to get it fixed. It’s just that I’m afraid to wash the car or nudge the front bumper in some way because I don’t want the bumper to fall off or worsen the damage. Lately we’ve been trying to drive around in Bebot more and not use Alex as much so we don’t make things worse, except on days when we’re both working because then I don’t have a choice but to drive Alex.
I’ll eventually need to get Alex fixed but hopefully I can postpone it long enough to where I have enough money saved up so I won’t have to settle for the least expensive quote and I can get it done by Carstar (Brian’s first choice). Getting Alex fixed may just have to be my birthday present this year. Sigh.
If you have some spare change and would like to donate to the Alex repair fund, clickity click the donate button on the right. Thanks in advance for your generous donation. I really appreciate it.
The morning after our moonlight horseback riding adventure, Brian and I decided to drive to Cottonwood Falls for breakfast.
This restaurant is in the former Emma Chase Café location. I’m not sure what it looked like before but, right now, it looks pretty cool with the kitschy touches.
The maple bacon donuts looked enticing but we managed to resist them.
Partially due to the fact that we were already full from the big meat breakfast and banana-Nutella French toast sandwich.
Brian said the breakfast plate with ham, sausage, bacon, fried egg (it wasn’t fried hard enough for him), and country potatoes was just okay. We both thoroughly enjoyed the French toast, though. It was delicious!
We walked around a bit after breakfast.
We found several neat stores selling neat stuff like this awesome fountain.
We also walked by Grand Central. I had the opportunity to try their food several years ago when we met some coworkers there for lunch.
Cottonwood Falls is a neat little town. It’s definitely worth checking out. While you’re there, I recommend eating at Keller Feed & Wine. Get the French toast. It is amazing!
My little sister Nickira and I got to hang out on Sunday. We had dinner at Freddy’s again because when we went there last Sunday, she didn’t get to have funnel cake. This time she had her funnel cake first. I really should have objected because, as expected, she had no room for her bacon cheeseburger after that. Anyway, this just validates my decision not to have children. I think I’m a decent friend/big sister, but I would make a terrible mom.
Nickira and I went to see Big Fish at Century II. It was awesome. I think I enjoyed it more than she did, though. She kind of fell asleep during the mostly talking parts. We got popcorn and skittles during intermission and she was fine after that.
I just love Music Theatre Wichita. Last year Nickira and I went to see Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and Brian and I got to see West Side Story. They were both very good. Big Fish was great, too. I’m looking forward to seeing Hello Dolly with Brian. Each year and each show just gets better and better. We are so lucky to have fantastic shows here in Wichita.
The previous week we went swimming at the Andover YMCA water park. That’s another thing we are blessed with — we have the best YMCA facilities in the nation here in Wichita. The water parks at the YMCA are super cool. Kira and I had a great time going down the slides (both of them) and floating along the lazy river.
Before that we attended the Sundaes on Sunday event at the Big Brothers Big Sisters office. This is Kira’s sundae creation.
I kept mine pretty basic.
Anyway, it was really cool because we got to play games with other matches. We played Apples to Apples (one of my favorite games) first and then we played Uno and Skip Bo. I’d never played those two card games before.
I had so much fun I ended up ordering both that day from Amazon. They were less than $10 each and relatively inexpensive as games go. It worked out great because we got to play Uno with grandma on Saturday when Brian fixed us lunch at the house. We also played Uno with Kira before going to Big Fish on Sunday.
The time before that we got to do some watercolor painting. We had some extra time and extra resources so we got to paint several works of art.
Pink is Nickira’s favorite color so she had to make an all pink one.
We are really lucky that our local Big Brothers Big Sisters organization comes up with some neat match activities. It’s fun for just the two of us to hang out but sometimes it’s even more fun when we get to do stuff with others. For instance, we’ve been to Roller City a few times now. While it’s fun every time, I think the time that we went with Faith and her kids and Eleanor and Peter and Ella was way more fun even though it was in the middle of what seemed like a blizzard.
One of my most favorites times we’ve hung out that I haven’t shared with you guys is when we were learning Zumba routines. The video above is of Eleanor practicing one of her songs and Nickira was learning it with her.
Nickira and I have now been matched over a year and, more than just being a rewarding experience, it’s been really fun. For those of you who have the time to spare, I highly recommend volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters. There are several kids waiting for matches. Or, if this isn’t your cup of tea, there’s many other volunteer opportunities in the area.