Archive for "Relationship"
Posted on August 21, 2016 by Ching under Events, Relationship, Things to Do.
We made some commitments last weekend that caused us to postpone (and as a result prolong) our anniversary celebrations this year. My work participated in the Wichita Corporate Challenge this year and, a few days before the start of the event, Ebony told me that we didn’t have any volunteers and we needed some otherwise we would lose some points. I decided put aside my anniversary weekend and take one for the team.
I couldn’t volunteer the weekend before because that was the weekend I had my Real Results Party (more on that next time) on Saturday afternoon and then I have my regular Sunday afternoon Zumba class. I already had stuff going on the other days so I had to give up my anniversary weekend.
Luckily, my boss granted my request to take a vacation day on August 10 — the Wednesday before — which is our actual anniversary day so Brian and I got to celebrate before the weekend anyway. This actually works out better because now, instead of doing everything on one weekend, we get to spread out the celebration for the rest of the month.
I had signed me and Brian up to help with the volleyball tournament on Saturday afternoon from 1 PM to 5 PM, which was perfect because it allowed us time to make dinner at Marc and Jess’ house in Derby by 7 PM. Anyway, there was a last minute schedule change and volleyball got pushed to Sunday, which we couldn’t do because Brian and I were already signed up for a bowling tournament at the Alley. I specifically subbed out my Sunday afternoon Zumba class for it so I didn’t want to miss it. When I found out that volleyball moved to Sunday, I emailed the WCC organizer to inform him of my predicament. I would still love to volunteer but I am only free from 1 PM to 5 PM on Saturday as I had previously committed. I would love to help with volleyball but we already were already committed to something else on Sunday afternoon. We all know that my schedule is like a jigsaw puzzle. We have all sorts of stuff going on ALL THE TIME.
Anyway, I was told that they didn’t need additional help with the softball tournament on Saturday afternoon but my work would still get credit for my volunteer time. It worked out perfectly because that was the main reason I had volunteered myself and Brian’s help. I just wanted to earn some points for my work.
Brian and I found ourselves in unusual territory. We actually had some free time on our hands. LOL. Naturally, Brian took advantage of it by taking a nap.
This was the sight at home that Saturday afternoon. It’s not very often this happens so Brian relished every single minute of it.
We hung out at home until it was time to head to the Stoddard’s for dinner. They made a delicious chicken dinner paired with a pasta salad. It was yummy!
They also made this dessert thing which was like pancake brownie but I didn’t get a picture of it. Brian and I brought vanilla ice cream to go with it.
After dinner, we briefly went Pokémon hunting but it was dark and the bugs were out in full force. We were all getting eaten up by mosquitos and then Brian’s phone quit working. We finally just had to call it a night. We didn’t want to stay out too late anyway because we had a bowling tournament the next day.
Zach and I qualified for the end of season bowling tournament right away. Brian was going to have to pay $10 to enter the tournament but he won a free entry on our very last week of bowling.
There were several prizes that we really wanted to win but our names didn’t get drawn, which was a bummer. The three of us didn’t bowl as well as we could have so we didn’t win top score prizes either.
At least I finally got a video of me picking up a 5-7 split so it wasn’t a complete loss.
Fast forward to this weekend… We had planned to take my little sister Nickira and the Phelpi to All Star Adventures for some unlimited go karts, rides, and mini golf but Mother Nature wasn’t cooperating. At least we were able to meet up for a belated birthday dinner for Gavin at Red Robin.
We felt bad for not making it to Gavin’s birthday and not getting him a present so we figured dinner would be his birthday present this year instead.
April said that it worked well because he has too many toys anyway and he got in trouble recently so she actually had to take some toys away. It’s a really funny story but it’s April’s story to tell so I won’t share it with you guys. You’ll just have to ask her about it next time you see her.
I think it was Nickira’s first time at Red Robin and she discovered the joys of freckled lemonade. It’s one of my favorite things to drink there. She originally asked for a Sprite but when Gavin asked for freckled lemonade, I had to veto her drink order and get her a freckled lemonade also because I knew she would love it because I know how much she loves strawberries. It’s her favorite fruit.
It was wonderful to see the Phelpi because it had been forever since we’d gotten together. We used to see them quite frequently when they lived down the street but it’s harder to spontaneously swing by these days since they now live on the West side of town. After dinner we all agreed to have an All Star Adventures do-over next month and parted ways.
I originally wanted to ride go karts with Nickira at the Alley but then changed my mind after it started raining. I didn’t want to be out and about in case it started raining even harder. Nickira decided to stay in and play Jenga instead.
Nickira’s mom said they would be home around 8:30 PM so we took Nickira home around that time. Brian drove to ensure that we would be safe in case something happened because the weather was terrible.
The next morning (yesterday) my Aqua Zumba class was canceled because the water was too cold from the rain. I got to sleep in a little bit before my 10:30 AM Zumba class. After that we had to skedaddle because we had tickets to Mamma Mia! at 2 PM. I showered and changed quickly so we could grab a quick bite at Felipe’s Jr. down the street from us before heading to the show.
Since I missed the half-priced season tickets sale in April, I’ve been relying on free tickets from KMUW. However, I didn’t want to take a chance this time so I splurged and bought our tickets ahead of time. Brian loves Music Theatre Wichita as much as I do so I just called it an anniversary present for both of us. I’m so glad we bought tickets because I didn’t see an email about free tickets this time. This has been a really great MTW season for us in that we were able to see all of the shows except for one. It’s the one that Brian wanted to see most, Jesus Christ Superstar, but it couldn’t be helped because it ran while we were in Orlando for ZINCON 2016.
Since I paid for my tickets this time, I made sure to pick good seats. We were tired of sitting behind tall people or people with big hair so I went a little bit overboard and got us front row seats. We were in C3 and C4 for the show, front and center. At first Brian was like, “I thought you got us front row seats?” He was thinking there would be rows A and B ahead of us, but row C is the first row for this show.
I loved being super close to the stage and performers but I’m thinking that I’ll probably get three or four rows back next time I have my choice of seating because the first row is a little too close for me.
Here’s a picture of the main cast. I took a picture because when they start coming out like this, it’s usually the end. I don’t take pictures during the performance out of respect but sometimes I like to take pictures of all of the performers at the end when they do their final bow. I thought it was over but you really have to stick around because after the usual ending part there was another fifteen minutes of singing and dancing. It was awesome. Best show finale ever!
But that wasn’t the finale of our day. We still had Dudegrass Six. We went home to hang out and take care of the dogs before heading to our next event. This was our first time attending Dudegrass and I’m glad we went because it was awesome.
Facebook said the event started at 5:30 PM but didn’t actually start until 6 PM. I should have checked our tickets because I really thought we were running late. Come to find out, we were just in time. We got there at about a quarter till and, although there were already a lot of people there, there were still a few lanes open. As luck would have it, lane 22 was open so we parked ourselves there.
They had me at two-plus hours of unlimited bowling. The Big Lebowski screening, $5 White Russians, and entertainment factor were an added bonus.
Lamphouse Photo Company also had a photo booth there with an awesome rug backdrop and props. Because we are rebels, we did our photos prop-less.
Jenni talked us into getting a large pizza but it was way more pizza than three people could eat. Brian and I picked the flavor since we bought and we went with all-meat (neither of us like veggies in our pizza).
Lucky for us, we ran into Lisa (she teaches a yoga class before me on Saturdays) and her husband so we got to share our large pizza with two others.
We were off to a great start with bowling but I started bowling crappy once the White Russians kicked in.
They were cheap and delicious. Lisa, who has been attending the event for years, told us one year the White Russians were only $2. I bet they had some lessons learned that year. LOL.
Brian doesn’t drink White Russians so he bought a pitcher of Fat Tire and shared it with Jenni. That made them both happy.
Brian was completely amazed at how many Big Lebowski fans turned out for the event. The costumes were phenomenal.
There were some really awesome costumes. The ultimate winner of the costume contest was the Stranger. I think partly because there was only one of him and there were several Dudes, Walters, and Maudes. There was a really good Jesus Quintana, though. She had the purple outfit down.
The White Russians group costume was also a clever idea although I’m not sure how they could have split the prize, which was a rug.
Brian said, if we go next year, he wants to dress up Jackie Treehorn, the porn director, because we didn’t see anyone dressed as him at all.
Although Brian made a comment that we were probably the only two people there who came for the bowling, we had such a great time at Dudegrass. I can’t believe that we’d never been to this event before. It’s going on my list of things to do next year for sure! What a great idea for a fundraising event!
Posted on August 14, 2016 by Ching under Events, Relationship.
Happiness is… being able to spend time with your loves. This is a picture of me and Brian with our babies, Saki and Molly, taken last Sunday.
Happiness is… bowling a really clean game. Brian, Zach, and I were at the Alley on Monday night for the final night of our Summer Trios bowling league. It wasn’t a regular bowling night. It was awards/prize night but the Alley was nice enough to let us bowl for free that evening.
I’ve been bowling really crappy lately. My normal 160 average has actually decreased by almost 10 pins over the last year. I bowled the cleanest game I’ve ever bowled in a long time that night. Too bad it didn’t count.
Happiness is… celebrating your 14th wedding anniversary with your amazing husband. We didn’t make any major anniversary celebration plans this year for a couple of reasons. First, we spent a lot of money at ZINCON just a couple of weeks prior. Second, we had committed to several things over the weekend that we couldn’t get out of… But, as luck would have it, Brian and I were both able to take off work on Wednesday, our actual anniversary day, to do some celebrating.
Our anniversary celebration consisted of a day trip to TopGolf in Overland Park and riding around Country Club Plaza in Kansas City (just a few miles down the street) for some Pokémon hunting.
Brian has been wanting to go to TopGolf since last November when I told him about our team building event there. I’ve wanted to return too but we have been too busy to make a trip up to the Kansas City/Overland Park area. I’m glad we could finally make it happen last week.
It wasn’t until Monday when I brought the idea up to him and asked my boss Ginger for permission to take a vacation day on Wednesday. This was pretty spontaneous for a couple of people who plan everything weeks (and sometimes even months) in advance. This is as spontaneous as it gets for us, folks. I feel tremendously grateful and blessed that it all worked out.
Here are a few more pictures from our mid-week anniversary day trip.
The food at TopGolf is actually pretty good so we had lunch there while we were playing. I knew I hit it out of the park when Brian told me how much fun he had that day. “Thanks for suggesting this. I had a lot of fun. Did you?” he asked me. “Yes,” I replied. “Are you sure?” He asked again. I was like, “Just because I sucked at it doesn’t mean I didn’t have fun. I had a blast!”
Happiness is… coming up with great ideas every now and then. The best part for me is seeing Brian’s face and knowing how much fun he had on our little excursion. It has been a thoroughly fulfilling and joyful week.
Posted on August 10, 2015 by Ching under Food and Drink, Relationship, Reviews.
Here are some pictures from our low key anniversary dinner at Luciano’s, a restaurant that we’ve heard so much about but have never been to until now.
This is Brian’s interpretation of Kilroy.
Our delicious starter, which consisted of two different types of mozzarella cheese, prosciutto (from Parma, Italy), kalamata olives, olive oil, and salt.
I liked the cozy ambiance of the restaurant. It’s quiet enough for a nice, intimate conversation also. Brian and I agreed that it’s a great place for a date.
Brian had the baked lasagna.
I had the pasta carbonara.
And, we each got dessert. Tiramisu for me.
Creme brûlée for Brian.
Brian and I really enjoyed our dinner at Luciano’s. Even though they did card us and I didn’t have my purse with me. At least our server used good judgement and realized that if I’m married to an old man like Brian then I must be equally old. LOL.
I’m really glad they let me drink otherwise I would have missed out on the delicious sangria. It was so good that I had two glasses of it. Even Brian liked it. The only downside is that you could only order it by the glass. A carafe to share with Brian would have been nice.
Anyway, great dinner overall. I highly recommend Luciano’s. Brian and I will definitely be back, with or without a special occasion to celebrate.
Posted on August 2, 2015 by Ching under Relationship, Things to Do.
As you all know, Brian and I will be celebrating our 13th wedding anniversary in a few days. We started our celebration early because we wanted to do a moonlight horseback ride and we couldn’t dictate the moon’s schedule so we had to be flexible. LOL.
This moonlight horseback ride adventure was even made more special by the blue moon. Blue moons occur when you have two full moons in the same month. It’s not really blue. I’m not sure why they call it that. It was pretty cool, though.
Brian and I both took Friday off because we didn’t know how long it would take to get to the ranch and, having never stayed there, we wanted to scope out our accommodations.
We were supposed to stay in this solitary cottage called Calaboose but the previous guests busted the blinds so Gwen moved us to the Tallgrass Suite, which is on the West side of the cabin. It actually worked out better because we got to look at both rooms and, for the same price, the Tallgrass Suite is way better.
This is the inside of the Calaboose. It’s a tiny cabin consisting of just a sleeping area and a bathroom. It’s cute and cozy and would have worked out just fine but the Tallgrass Suite is definitely an upgrade.
The Tallgrass Suite is attached to the Prairie Room. While we initially wanted to be by ourselves, the spaciousness of the alternative room more than made up for the location. In the photo above, the Tallgrass Suite is on the left and the Prairie Room is on the right.
Our room had a full-sized kitchen, complete with range, dishwasher, microwave, coffee maker, and full-sized fridge. We got dishes, pots and pans, utensils, dish towels, and even wine glasses. We had a sitting area and everything. If we were staying longer, there was a washer and dryer and detergent. We also had a small back deck with a gas grill.
The bedroom had a closet and huge attached bathroom with a separate tub and shower. It was really a lot nicer than I expected. I mean, I packed a hair dryer because I wasn’t sure there would be one there but our bathroom had one. Had I known our accommodations would be so comfortable, I would have reserved two nights instead of only one. LOL.
Here’s the outside of our cabin.
Other accommodations on the property include the bunkhouse, pictured above, and the lodge, below. The lodge is super nice. The pictures that follow really don’t do it justice.
This is the living room area of the East side of the lodge.
The large dining room is big enough for 40 people.
This is the living room area of the West side of the lodge.
Another view of the living area.
The West side of the lodge has two private bedrooms on the ground level and additional sleeping areas upstairs. Overall I think it can comfortably house ten people. It’s perfect for families or small groups.
I love the rustic look of the outside.
Our experience started with dinner at the lodge.
Our dinner consisted of salisbury steak, roasted potatoes, corn, and tomato cucumber salad prepared by chef/rancher Josh Hoy, followed by homemade raspberry and blueberry pies (which I didn’t get any pictures of).
After dinner we sat and listened to Josh’s father Jim tell stories. He’s like the Bob Ross of prairie stories. I could listen to him for days.
Jim Hoy is a celebrity in these parts so I had to get a photo with him. 😉
Actually, Josh is a bit of a celebrity too. He was on Master Chef and showed Chef Gordon Ramsey how to cook like a cowboy a few years ago.
We stayed on schedule and saddled up around eight o’clock.
They put Brian on Rufus, the clumsiest horse of the group. I think they did it on purpose because Brian was the most experienced rider of all the guests. Brian said he was a good horse, even though he found all of the pot holes in the trail.
I ended up getting Phatty. Josh did tell me ahead of time that they might call me by my horse’s name, as they’re prone to doing because they sometimes can’t remember all the guests names, and not to be offended. I guess one time they put a portly man on Phatty and forgot to tell him in advance so he was getting really upset each time he got called Phatty. After they explained to him that the horse’s name is Phatty, he felt a lot better.
In this photo you’ll see their niece Piper, Jim Hoy’s wife Cathy, Brian, and Jim.
Brian, Jim, and Cathy waiting for the rest of us to get on our horses.
Piper may only be thirteen but she looks like a pro. She was going to help them with shipping cattle the next morning.
We took off in time to watch the sunset.
We took some photos while we were waiting.
Here’s a picture of our wonderful hosts, Gwen and Josh Hoy.
There are few things as breathtaking as the sun setting in the Flint Hills.
The first time I ever saw a Flint Hills sunset was during the Symphony in the Flint Hills several years ago. It’s kind of a spiritual experience.
Photos don’t quite do it justice and beautiful doesn’t begin to describe it.
When the sun finally set, it was time to look for the moon.
We stopped at a few spots to admire the beauty of the Flint Hills and learn some stuff but the moon was definitely the star of the show.
She was full, bright, and majestic that night.
I’d been horseback riding before but this most recent horseback riding experience is one that I will remember forever. It was truly something special and I’m glad that I got to share the experience with Brian.
The next day we met John Plots from Boston as we were leaving. He and his wife and two kids were supposed to be on the moonlight horseback ride with us but they arrived at the ranch late. We also met Bones, ranch hand and blogger.
Others who went on the moonlight horseback ride with us besides, Piper, Jim and Cathy Hoy, and our hosts Josh and Gwen Hoy, include Sheila Townsend who actually works for the same company as me. She’s in the real estate department and works out of our Topeka office. We also met Steve, Alice, and their son Charlie. We had a great group. I also liked that it was small because I’m not an experienced rider and I appreciated that there were enough people to keep an eye on all of us.
The next morning, Brian and I wandered around Cottonwood Falls before heading home. We ate at the Keller Feed & Wine Company (formerly Emma Chase Café). I will write more about our Cottonwood Falls adventures next time.
For now, I hope you enjoyed my account of our horseback riding adventures at Flying W Ranch. Perhaps you can join us next time.
Posted on February 16, 2014 by Ching under Events, Relationship, Things to Do.
I had so much fun at Paint the Towne with my coworkers last month that I wanted to share the experience with Brian. April suggested we do the couples painting event on Valentines Day. I wasn’t sure that people would go for it, but I managed to round up six other couples (besides us and the Phelpi) who were game.
I guess I shouldn’t have been so surprised. After celebrating over a decade of Valentines I was open to doing something different. I guess others were as well.
Our group consisted of (from left) the Smiths (Chad and Laura), the Holts (Stacy and Cari), the Rheas (Leo and Tammie), the Phelpi (Cory and April), the Wirtzes (Aaron and Reby), the Richardsons (Brandon and Amy), the Farmers (Brian and Sherii), and of course us (Flip and Ching).
Here are some more photos from Friday night.
Our painting is supposed to match, but Brian wouldn’t cooperate. LOL.
Other couples fared better I think.
We took breaks to snack while we waited for paint to dry.
We also took time to admire each other’s handiwork.
These two were so lovey dovey all night.
They were the most harmonious couple of all.
This is Sherii painting on her husband’s canvas while he wasn’t looking.
People really got into painting.
Brian did too. I’m so glad I got to share this experience with him.
Here’s a picture of our group as we were just getting started.
We saw the Rheas and the Farmers again the following night at the 20th Annual Wichita Heart Ball, a gala benefitting the American Heart Association.
Before I share more pictures of people, here are some pictures of the food that we got to enjoy last night.
The tables were set in the most elegant way and all of the food looked and tasted great. I enjoyed everything, even the asparagus.
Here’s a photo of us in front of the red carpet and a selfie during dinner.
Here’s post-dinner photo of our group: (from left) the Heitkotters, the Shermans, the Rheas, the Farmers, and us. The dinner was great but the company was fantastic. I couldn’t think of a better group of people to hang with at the gala.
As if the decadent desserts weren’t enough, they had chocolate fountains at the event also for our post-dinner snacking enjoyment.
Here’s a photo of Sherii, Tammie, and me as we enjoyed our drinks and the live music. There wasn’t really much room to dance. Mostly I just wanted the silent auction to close to see how much damage we’d done to our bank account. LOL.
Here’s a couple of official event photos.
A selfie of Brian because he just couldn’t help himself.
Our neighbors Raj and Shilpa were co-chairs of the event.
Here’s my favorite photo of me from last night.
Here’s my favorite photo of Brian from last night.
Doesn’t he look absolutely amazing in his tuxedo? And to think that he resisted the idea at first. When I initially told him that we got tickets to the Heart Ball, I conveniently left off optional and told him that the event was strictly black tie. He wanted to wear his black suit with a black tie — I guess to satisfy the “black tie” requirement. LOL. I insisted that he wear a tuxedo not just so he’d fit in at the part but also because I haven’t seen him in a tuxedo since our wedding and I’d been dying to see him in one.
He reluctantly went to the store with me but immediately warmed up to idea after trying on a tux. All it took was seeing how sophisticated and handsome he looked in one. He saw his dashing selection in the mirror and there was no turning back. The guy who didn’t want to wear tuxedo now wants to wear his tux everywhere. I’ve created a monster. He’s actually thinking of wearing his tux to National Sales Meeting in a couple of months. That’s going to throw some people for a loop for sure. All of his coworkers will be wondering why he’s so dressed up. They’ll be like, “What’s up with Brubaker? Is he getting an award or something?” LOL.
Anyway, now that we’ve got our weekend recap out of the way, you’re probably wondering what Brian got me for Valentines Day. I’m not really the roses, chocolates, or jewelry kind of girl. You’re talking about someone who got six personal training sessions for Brian on my 35th birthday. For Valentines Day I wanted to see my husband in a tuxedo and that’s exactly what I got. Actually, he far exceeded my expectations. Last night I felt like I was with the sexiest man at the ball. I felt so special — like the luckiest girl in the world. Not only is my husband caring, smart, funny, and thoughtful, he’s good looking to boot. He is the whole package. And, he looks amazing in a tuxedo. Now to work on his British accent.