Bowling League Christmas Party

We had a little potluck Christmas party last week at bowling. I’d never been part of a bowling league that had a Christmas party before so this was a first for us. We had a “white elephant” gift exchange of sorts. Everyone who wanted to participate was to bring a $10 gift. There were separate piles of presents for men and women. When bowled your first strike, you got to pick a present from the pile.

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I was a little worried at first because I’d been bowling pretty bad of late. I’ve bowled entire games where I didn’t get a single strike so I was a bit concerned about that. However, I was assured that if you brought a gift then you would get a present no matter what. It’s just that if you don’t strike at all, then you get whatever is left.

The best bowlers naturally have an advantage because if you’re the first one to get a strike then you get first pick. Brian and I participated despite my reservations. I love “white elephant” gift exchanges so I couldn’t pass it up. We just had to take our chances.

Luckily I managed to get a strike on my second frame so I didn’t have to wait long to pick a present. I ended up getting the one that our teammate Kim brought without even realizing it. It was a gift set consisting of a couple of “Keep Calm” mugs and tea. The funny thing is I also got a couple of mugs from our “white elephant” gift exchange at work the other day and then Brian got a Marvel Golden Age mug from Jay and Becca. Between Brian and me, we ended up adding several mugs to our collection this year.

When Brian bowled his first strike, he picked the biggest box he could find. LOL. He ended up getting a thermos which, to my surprise, he was really excited about. He couldn’t wait to use it! He was so excited about it that he actually filled it up with a couple of pots of coffee on Christmas day. It worked great. The thermos successfully kept our coffee piping hot all day.

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Besides the gift exchange, I was really excited about the potluck. It’s not everyday that the bowling alley allows you to bring in outside food. I really wanted Brian to make his mini tacos because they’re always a huge hit when he make them, but we got busy (and lazy) so we ended up getting a chocolate fudge pie and can of whipped cream from Fresh Market instead. We had the pie on Thanksgiving so we know that it’s delicious and it didn’t require any cooking time on our part. It’s lame, I know, but it’s better than showing up empty handed. And, we really, really like that pie. It was our first time using that whipped cream and we didn’t have high expectations but the whipped cream was really good. I told Brian, we’re never buying Reddiwip ever again.

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It was a fun night and Brian bowled one of his best games ever. He ended up throwing seven strikes in a row. He was so excited that he exclaimed, “This is the most strikes in a row I’ve ever had!” To which I retorted, “That happened by the fifth frame.” We both cracked up. I wasn’t being mean. I was just keeping it real. LOL.

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All those strikes that Brian bowled actually pushed me to do a little bit better and keep my sparing on point. Even with only two strikes that game, my score wasn’t that far behind his. That game was pretty good but overall it was a rough bowling night for me. Brian did great, though. I can honestly say, I have never bowled seven strikes in a row, ever. Brian’s bowling skills have immensely improved and he’s been able achieve things I haven’t. I’m looking forward to watching him bowl a perfect 300 game, which is only five more strikes than the game above. Maybe it will happen in 2016!

One Day and Three Parties

We are taking a break from socializing this weekend because we kind of overdid it last weekend. In additional to the usual Saturday stuff, we had three parties to attend. In order to optimize time and mileage, we planned our evening as follows: Hideki’s Rock Band and White Elephant party first, Cory and April’s “stock the bar” housewarming-slash-poker-slash-fight-night party next, and ending with the Second Wave dance party at the Wichita Art Museum.

Here are some photos from our first stop.

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I really wished that we didn’t have a schedule conflict that evening because I wanted to stay for the white elephant gift exchange. They are super fun!

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Next stop: Cory and April’s house.

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Poker was already underway when we got there so we played with Mater for a while and watching some UFC while waiting for a break in the tourney.

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Of course, Brian and the cat fell in love with one another.

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There were so many munchies every where we went. We grazed all night.

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There were even more munchies when we got to the Second Wave party at the Wichita Art Museum. They had a fabulous meat and cheese spread.

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And, and amazing cupcake table. There were two of these lovely ladies walking around the event and offering cupcakes to guests.

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I’m glad Jenni could make it even though she try to decline at first saying she didn’t have the money for a ticket. I was like, “You are my guest, silly! You don’t have to pay.”

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Here’s the story of how that came about: I organized a team building activity at the museum and, since I only have three team members, I opened it up to eleven others in the CRC who are interested in helping. Anytime we have five or more people volunteering at least half a day (four hours minimum) at a non-profit organization then we can ask work for a team building match which means, in addition to our volunteer time, the organization gets a check for $1000.

Our group was there the day before to help prepare the Wichita Art Museum for the 80 Days Around the WAM 80th Anniversary Party. A couple of weeks before the event, Kourtney (the coordinator I was working with at the museum) informed me that each of the volunteers and a guest could attend the Second Wave dance party for free. Anyway, several people couldn’t make it so that left several entries to the party. We didn’t want it to go to waste to we opened the party invite up to friends and others in the CRC. That’s how Jenni got in for free. Even so, we failed to round up 24 people. Only a handful of us could make it.

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Faith and Shanda each brought a couple of guests. James brought his wife. Derek and Darcy both attended. I was expecting a couple more people from work and their spouses but I didn’t see them at the event. All in all, we only had 17 party-goers RSVP and only 13 showed up.

It worked out for the best though, because Amy didn’t end up making the volunteer activity on Friday and I only made the last hour because I had some last minute meetings come up. So we really only had 10 half-day volunteers and it wouldn’t have been fair to take up 24 spots at the party. With Amy and I missing, we only had 20 spots available so it worked out that we were under our allotment.

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I thought it was going to be a cash bar at the party so I was pleasantly surprised that it was an open bar. I guess that would make sense considering the $50 admission price.

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I got to see my friend and Leadership Wichita classmate Teresa (above) and prominent Wichita Twitterer Cindy there, and had a blast partying with friends and coworkers. The band was phenomenal but, as with any party, it took a while for the dance floor to get going. Once it was going everyone seemed to be having a great time. Although, we joked that perhaps one of the reasons we got invited to attend is they needed some young people in the crowd. LOL.

Jokes aside, I think everyone had a great time including Darcy even though she was a tad disappointed at the lack of good looking, eligible men her age at the party. Derek mentioned that he would love to attend again next year. I had to burst his bubble that the event only happens every two years so he’ll have to wait twice as long for the next one. I’m glad we were able to attend the 80th anniversary one, though. This was a big year for Wichita Art Museum and they threw a great party. Glad we were able to celebrate with them!

Light Your Heart 2015

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Brian and I had a blast at the Light Your Heart last weekend. This fundraising event for Heartspring used to be the Lights on the Lake launch party but they discontinued Lights on the Lake last year so naturally the benefit had to be renamed.

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They had a different band this year, but they were very good.

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Here’s a picture of how the venue was decorated.

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Here are some pictures of our great-looking group.

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The Bowmans always look happy and fabulous.

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Looking back at my pics from the evening, I realized that I missed taking a photo of Michael and Rachel. Yikes! I think it’s because they kept wandering off. LOL.

We wandered away from the table a few times ourselves. A couple of times to bid and rebid on silent auction items and once to take some photos at the photo booth.

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The photo booth was cool but it wasn’t as cool as the photo booth last year. The photo booth last year could accommodate more people. And, I don’t know what it was with this photo booth but we could not get the timing just right. We would pose and then the camera would snap a picture just as we would move. It was fun, though.

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There were lots of great silent auction items this year, but it seemed like there were fewer than last year. I bid on the WSU items but didn’t win any of them.

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It’s a good thing too because we ended up winning one of the live auction items.

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Attendance seemed low this year compared to last year. Last year they filled a much larger venue. I’m wondering if Garth Brooks had a lot do with it.

People weren’t bidding as much in the live auction either so we thought we’d help out. LOL. Last year the puppy fetched $3500. This year we were able to take it down at $1400. Granted Goldendoodles look like teddy bears and probably go for a lot more in general, but our little Shiba is the cutest little puppy ever. That said, even though we would have donated even more for the privilege of adopting her, I’m glad the bidding ended when it did.

We were disappointed to find out that you don’t get to take the puppy home with you that night. You actually have to go to the store and sign a bunch of papers and they give you a bunch of extra stuff too like a crate, bed, toys, food, etc. Makes sense. We’d never won a puppy from a live auction before so we didn’t know.

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Here’s a picture of all the stuff we got with our puppy adoption. The Snuggle Puppy is the best thing ever. We actually went back to the store and got one for Molly as well.

Anyway, I’m glad we lost all of the silent auction items that we bid on because that would have made for a very expensive evening otherwise. Heartspring is a great organization though so we are happy help. We named our new puppy Saki, which in Japanese can be translated as “blossom of hope” — fitting considering the circumstances.

Here’s to Saki, the newest member of our happy family!

Big Brothers Big Sisters Holiday Party

Brian, Nickira, and I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the Big Brothers Big Sisters holiday party at Botanica last weekend.

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We saw Thunderdog, Santa Claus, and Mrs. Claus. We also did crafts and played bingo. It was a lot of fun and Nickira received several presents.

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Thunder dog gave Nickira a gigantic stuffed dog, almost the same size as her.

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Santa gave Nickira a present and we also got a photo with him.

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Here’s Nickira with her giant dog and other Christmas loot.

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She loved her dog. She got the biggest stuffed dog out of all the kid there. That was the absolute highlight of the day.

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The dog was so soft and comfortable that she promptly fell asleep on it on the way home.

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Here she is completely out. She was so out of it that she ended up drooling on the dog. LOL. And then we finally had to wake her up when we arrived at her house.

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I didn’t get to see Nickira this weekend because we enrolled our new puppy Saki (more on that later) in puppy school and yesterday was her first day. I’m hoping I’ll be able to spend some time with her on Thursday so we can give her Christmas present to her.

We missed the Big Brothers Big Sisters Christmas party last year so this was my first one and I didn’t really know what to expect. It was really cool actually and we had a great time. Nickira liked it so much she said that we have to go again next year.

We will most definitely be back!

A Savage Christmas Party and White Elephant

Every time I get caught up on the blog I get behind again. LOL.

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Our project director Kim Savage hosted a wonderful holiday get together at her home last week. We enjoyed a nice dinner and had a fun white elephant gift exchange. The Savages were wonderful hosts and made everyone feel welcome.

By the way, there are actually way more people on the project than pictured above. Some couldn’t make it and there were a few people who had already left by the time we got around to the group photo.

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While we were waiting for everyone to show up at the hotel lobby to carpool to the party I took a picture of Kelsey with her very festively wrapped white elephant gift. Both Kelsey and her present were so cute, I just had to.

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The best part about this is that, if you look at our project manager Andy’s party attire next to Kelsey’s, they look like they’re going to two totally different events. LOL.

The white elephant gift exchange went well. Of course, Andy had to outdo everyone. Despite the $25 gift limit he managed to put several things in his gift. His seemingly bottomless gift bag included a giant bottle of Svedka, a couple of bottles of Fifty Shades of Grey wine (one red, one white), and a bottle of Boone’s Farm Blue Hawaiian (it was nasty but Radhika seemed to enjoy it). His gift was naturally the most coveted gift of the evening. Mine didn’t fare too badly and was stolen at least three times as well before being benched but I actually followed the gift limit rules. Granted, it would have cost more than $25 had it not been on sale at the time but Red Envelope gifts always present well and tend to look more lavish than they really are. I got five of those gifts to give a way last year and just happened to have this one left in storage. Since I didn’t have time to order anything online for the event, I ended up using this one and it worked out. Looking back, this gift is probably one of the most well-received gifts that I’ve given to people that I really should have bought a dozen to save for occasions like this one. Now that Red Envelope has folded I can’t get them anymore.

Everyone was a really good sport about the white elephant gift exchange. The first gift to be stolen was Andy’s and once the gift stealing started we implemented a twist where anyone stealing a gift had to take a swig off the Boone’s Farm as penalty. It made you really think twice about whether you wanted to steal because, besides Radhika who seemed to like it, everyone agreed that stuff is nasty. That didn’t slow down the stealing, though. Gifts were still stolen and the bottle was pretty much wiped out by the end of the game. Probably because Radhika drank half of the bottle.

Speaking of Radhika, she ended up going home with my present and I went home with hers. After all of the gift stealing was said and done, we just ended up exchanging presents with one another.

This was the first of many holiday parties of the season. We are off to a great start!

Thanksgiving 2015: All is Well That Ends Well

It was a little stressful this year but it turned out alright overall.

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The days leading up to Thanksgiving were hectic. We found a car for Brian, which we paid for on Monday. Then we sold Bebot on Wednesday. That didn’t really leave much time to get ready for Thanksgiving specially since Brian worked Monday and Tuesday.

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Luckily, we don’t really have to do much to prepare for the meal. We just buy the deluxe holiday meal from Fresh Market as we’ve done the last few years and follow the reheating instructions. The nice thing is we’ve done this a few times that we have it down. We just pull up our Thanksgiving project timeline year after year and follow the schedule.

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The only hitch this year was that we didn’t get everything that was supposed to be in the box. Didn’t realize it until we were planning where everything was to go. I was like, “Turkey will go here. Ham will go here. Stuffing will go here…” And then Brian interrupts and tells me we don’t have any stuffing.

I was like, “What do you mean we don’t have any stuffing?”

“They didn’t give us any,” was Brian’s reply.

I opened the fridge in disbelief. Sure enough, no stuffing. Brian didn’t think we were supposed to get any and was rather calm about it. I don’t really care for stuffing but I was quite upset. We paid for the deluxe holiday meal package and three pounds of stuffing was part of the deal. Not only is stuffing a big part of Thanksgiving, but it was on the list of things we were supposed to get. I had to show Brian this picture to prove to him that we got gypped.

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I called Fresh Market at least three times but there was no answer each time. I don’t know why I bothered or why I kept trying other than I was desperate. I knew that they would be closed for the day and there was nothing we could do. We had to go without stuffing for Thanksgiving this year.

On the bright side, I really don’t like stuffing so it’s not like we were missing anything important. Had they gypped us on the corn soufflé then I probably would have gone completely ballistic. LOL.

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Here are some pictures from Thanksgiving.

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Mom made lumpia so we just put it in place of where we were going to put the stuffing so there wasn’t an empty slot. It turned out alright. I don’t think anyone really cares for stuffing either, and I’d rather have lumpia any day.

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Since we had lumpia, we had to bust out the bottle of Silver Swan soy sauce and Datu Puti suka. Mom brought a bottle of banana ketchup for also.

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This is our turkey.

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We got two different kind of bread to go with our meal. Fresh Market’s bread is yummy!

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We also had ham because that was part of the deal.

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The mashed potatoes were delicious. Don’t know what’s so different about these, but the mashed potatoes made by Fresh Market are just better than others I think.

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We had way too much green beans.

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This is the corn shuffle, which is my favorite dish out of all the items that the deluxe holiday meal includes. It doesn’t look like much but it is delicious. We usually have leftovers of everything else but this always gets wiped out.

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We were expecting a few more people to join us but things came up and it was just us.

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We still had a great time, though.

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Brian made these decadent “adult chocolate pudding” desserts with Rumchata and Godiva. Everyone else thought it was too strong but I liked it.

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Afterwards grandma taught mom and dad how to play Skip Bo.

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And then it was time to video chat with Brian’s folks in Oklahoma.

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Here are some pictures of Brian getting everything set up.

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Don’t mind the bored look on Brian’s face. That’s how normally looks.

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Isn’t technology great? You don’t even need to visit people anymore. 😉

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Later that evening our awesome neighbors came by and brought their dogs Nikki and Ellie over. Jim is working is Orlando now and he was home for the holidays. Their house just went on the market because Karen will be following him shortly.

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These guys are hands down the best neighbors we’ve ever had. We are really going to miss them.

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So that was our Thanksgiving in a nutshell. Even though I was a little stressed out about the whole stuffing situation. It all turned out okay.

Brian called Fresh Market the next day to complain about missing a vital part of our deluxe holiday meal package. They asked him if he still wanted the stuffing. It was pointless at that point since we had already eaten the rest of the food and so we had no more need for it. They offered us a gift card to compensate us for the missing item and that was fine with us.

How about you? How as your Thanksgiving? Anything interesting happen?

Happy Belated Birthday to My Sister

We had a family dinner in celebration of Jenni’s birthday the other day at Oh Yeah! China Bistro the other day. Here are some pics…

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Jen Cannady and QQ

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Eli, Jenni, and Mom (background)

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Mom, Dad, and Logan

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It was really nice to have the entire family together, including the Cannadys. It’s not all the time that everyone can be together in the same place so I’m very grateful for the opportunity to see everyone and celebrate Jenni’s birthday.

Happy belated birthday, Jenni!

Citizen Police Academy Graduation Day

It’s the end of another journey.

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I was in Topeka for Citizen Police Academy graduation night but they were nice enough to make a certificate of completion for me and gave it to Brian.

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Everyone also got a copy of our class photo which, incidentally, I’m not in either because I was, again, in Topeka that week. I promise I really did participate in the class. If it weren’t for work commitments, I wouldn’t have missed any of the sessions at all.

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I am so grateful for all the things we learned and experienced in Citizen Police Academy. I will take the knowledge with me for years to come. The time I spent with Sgt. Hein, Sgt. Kimble, and all the other law enforcement officers who volunteered their time to teach our class has given me an even greater appreciation for law enforcement.

I’m not sure what it’s like in other areas of the nation/world but our law enforcement officers in Wichita and Sedgwick County are amazing. They are the some of the best people you will ever meet.

Our Friends are Old and Throw Amazing Parties

A sure sign that you’re old is when your friends start celebrating their 50th birthdays. Last month we celebrated Connie’s 50th birthday at the Kansas Star Casino. A couple of weeks ago Uncle Roy had a huge birthday bash complete with ping pong and shuffleboard.

Here are a few pictures from the event…

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I didn’t get to have cake but I bet it was yummy!

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I had a cookie. It was delicious.

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I loved all of the personalized touches…

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Including the poker chip drink tokens!

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The table decorations and center pieces were very creative and consistent with the theme. Some tables had chalkboards. A couple of tables had a bit of a debate going.

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Brian and I had a great time celebrating with the old man. I was going to say “celebrating with the birthday boy” but, at the tender age of 50, you are clearly no longer a boy.

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Bonnie did such an amazing job of planning and hosting the event. Thank you to Bonnie and Roy for their generosity and for sharing the joy of Roy’s birthday celebration with us. The best part for me was seeing so many people I hadn’t seen in years.

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And also seeing people we still see on the regular, though not as frequently as we used to. These people are know as the Dills.

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Bonnie and Roy sure know how to throw a party. The parting gifts were great.

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We dream of being Bonnie and Roy when we grow up. Brian and I will eventually get old and turn 50 but we will probably never be as cool.

Cheers to Uncle Roy on his 50th birthday!

“A Day in the Life of Kelsey” and Team Building

Since I was out of town on Veterans Day, I decided to shadow Kelsey on her birthday and experience a day in the life of a 25 year old. It’s been a lifetime ago for me so I can barely remember what it was like.

Step one was a leisurely breakfast at the hotel before heading to the mall for our MAC Cosmetics makeovers. This is what Kelsey had planned for her birthday/day off. She was nice enough to let me tag along and scheduled one for me as well.

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They were so busy that day that we kept getting interrupted. It reminded me of why I don’t get makeup done at the mall. The end result was great, though. Misty did a fabulous job despite having to juggle customers and doing my makeup.

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Here’s the finished product. For her birthday makeup Kelsey went completely glam, complete with fake eyelashes. I went pretty neutral but, even so, I felt like I had so much makeup on. I think it’s because I’m not used to wearing makeup.

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Our next stop was downtown Kansas City. We had the rare opportunity to check out the PwC office there. The consultants didn’t get Veterans Day off so they camped out in one of the conference rooms and worked that day.

Good thing I was off that day because I don’t think I could have worked with the amazing view. I would have been day dreaming all day.

Not sure if you recall but it was super windy on Veterans Day. Kelsey and I got into a minor fender bender on the way to the hotel, which made us a bit late for our team building event. We weren’t the only ones late, though. The consultants worked late and got to the hotel much later than we did even after we waited for the Kansas City police officers to show up on the scene and release us.

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We eventually made it to Top Golf. I’d never been there before. It’s really cool. Even though I sucked compared to everyone else, I still had a blast. I actually can’t wait to go back. I want to bring Brian there on a date.

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You basically wave your club at this box thing that spits out a golf ball. You hit the golf ball as hard as you can while trying to make one of the targets. You earn points based on where your ball lands.

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Radhika is a pro. She did the best out of all the women. She actually did better than most of the men, too.

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This is a photo of Rahima getting ready to swing.

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Here’s our two Project Managers: Andy (foreground) and Joey (background).

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Since we were so late getting started we decided to cancel our dinner reservations and just eat at Top Golf instead. The food there is actually pretty good.

Here are some photos…

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These donut things were delicious, specially with the dipping sauces. Serving the sauces in syringes was a clever touch.

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Some people had already left by the time we remembered to take a group photo.

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We all had so much fun that we ended up spending the entire evening at Top Golf. The time just flew by, though. It was a great team building experience.

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