Couples Painting Night

Despite the challenges we ran into trying to do a couples painting project together last Valentines we still decided to have another go at it this year. LOL.

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We initially had a few couples interested but then everyone bailed at the last minute except for Holly and Meader.

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When we first decided to do the couples painting thing this year, I was bummed that it wasn’t going to be a private event like last year. However, after everyone started bailing, I was relieved that it wasn’t a private event because we would have been on the hook for all of those painting fees. Another benefit of the event being open is that we got to meet some really cool people, who we never would have met otherwise. We also bumped into one of Brian’s former coworkers at T-Mobile, Levi.

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This is the couple painting project that we were going for; unfortunately, ours didn’t turn out as successfully. Brian wouldn’t even let me take a picture of his final painting.

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Mine started out a mess. Brian’s started out really well.

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Meader’s and Holly’s paintings started well and ended up awesome.

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I guess it works out well when you are creative and have a plan.

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Here’s a picture of my final painting.

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My painting actually looks better after I painted over everything. Brian didn’t like the way his turned out after he painted over it so there is no picture of his painting. I don’t think we will be putting these paintings on display. We will try this again next year. Hopefully with better results.

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I Don’t Always Beg People for Money

I don’t always beg people for money… but when I do, it’s usually for some kind of bowling charity fundraiser. LOL.

So what’s the cause this time? Well, it’s an important one that is close to my heart.

I’m bowling on Saturday, February 7, to support the YMCA’s Strong Community Campaign. So yes, I’m begging for donations and I’m not ashamed of it. I hope you consider making a donation to support the YMCA’s Strong Community Campaign because the Greater Wichita YMCA is the region’s largest provider for:

Child Care
Swim Lessons
Summer Day Camp
Youth Sports
Health & Wellness
After School Programs

When you give to the Y, you continue to strengthen our community and move everyone forward. Your gift makes a meaningful, enduring impact right in our own neighborhood.

Please help us build a Strong Community by supporting the Strong Community Campaign Bowl-A-Thon. Your support and generous donations are the reasons why we have the best YMCAs in the nation.

Every donation, no matter how big or small, makes a difference. Thank you.

Cars for Charities

My little sister and I had the opportunity to do volunteer work together the other day at the Starbird-Devlin Rod & Customs Charities Car Show. It’s an annual car show held at the Century II Convention Center. I’m not sure if it benefits the same charities every year but this year all the proceeds from the event are going to the Arc of Sedgwick County, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and Starkey.

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I find volunteer work not only rewarding but I really enjoy it. I always have fun, but most specially if the volunteer work entails working at an event. Besides the satisfaction you feel for helping, there are perks such as being able to participate in the event’s activities. Having experienced some really amazing volunteer opportunities has made me prefer doing volunteer work to going to the movies or hanging out at the mall. Well, I’ve never really enjoyed hanging out at the mall. I usually limit my trips to twice a year to get my ring cleaned and inspected at the store where it was purchased.

But I digress, Brian didn’t share my passion for volunteer work at first but I’m slowly turning him around. It used to be that you couldn’t get him to volunteer to do anything. Now he’s more open to it. I had to start with the really fun stuff like Zoobilee. After he realized how much fun you can have volunteering for things, he’s starting to warm up to the idea. I’m hoping that my little sister will begin to see the value of volunteer work and that you can have fun while feeding your soul. She has many years ahead of her and can really make a difference in this world.

We were assigned to the Kids’ Zone on Friday night so our volunteer work was really less work and more play. Our shift didn’t start until six o’clock but I picked Kira up an hour early so that we would arrive at the even early and have a few minutes to look around. I wish Brian could have been there with us. I know nothing about cars and couldn’t tell a Corvette from a Camaro (okay, I’m exaggerating) but Brian would have been able to name them all off as we walked past. They all look cool to me.

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People did some really creative things with their display. Kira asked to pose with several.

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It should be no surprise that she wanted a picture with the pink car because pink is her favorite color. I couldn’t tell you what kind of car that is, though.

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She wanted a picture with this big truck also.

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The Corvettes are always well represented at these events.

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We also ran into the Holder family. Andrew had his station wagon in the show. We had to get a picture with his car. LOL.

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Speaking of Andrew, he started an auto detailing business a couple of years back. He detailed several cars for the show and I’m sure his own. I hadn’t seen his work in person until now. It’s amazing. If you guys need your cars thoroughly cleaned, Andrew Holder is your man. You can get more info on his Facebook page: Holder’s Auto Detailing.

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This isn’t even half of the cars in the show but I wanted to show you guys the variety of entries. Today is the last day to of the car show so if you haven’t been, I highly recommend checking it out.

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They have plenty of activities for the kids also so you won’t even need to leave them at home. There are characters working around to take photos with and entertain the kids.

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We caught up with a few of them.

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Other activities for the kids included a coloring station (that was our assignment), face painting, bracelet making, model car making, bounce house, car racing, shooting baskets for prizes, and various other games. They also have some scheduled entertainment throughout the day like magic shows and such. We didn’t get to see one while we were there on Friday but they had a stage area set up for it. I was thinking that must have been for Saturday or Sunday. There’s also a bicycle exhibit and a car model exhibit next to the Kids’ Zone. It’s really cool.

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I forgot to mention the photo station where they had cutouts of several cars and kids can take photos with them like they’re inside. We only took a photo with one but there were several of these that you could choose from.

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Even if you’re not into cars, it would be fun to go to the Kids’ Zone and hang out. It’s something different than the usual weekend activity with the kiddos. There’s so many cool things to do at the Kids’ Zone that the coloring station was pretty slow. That’s actually why we got to play.

We had so much fun that we stayed 30 minutes past the end of our volunteer shift. Kira really wanted to build a model car so toward the end of the evening I told her she could go to the model car make and take station while I manned the coloring station. It had slowed down enough so I was able to pack up the coloring station and join her at the model car making station.

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There were three different cars you could choose to build and, wouldn’t you know it, this little girl picked the most challenging one. Five minutes before the closing time (Kids’ Zone closed at eight o’clock on Friday night) and she was no where near done. The man said we could take it and finish it at home but he didn’t mind staying to help because he’s there until ten. I felt guilty because I’m sure he had other tasks. It sure was nice of him to offer, though.

Kira wanted two more cars so she wanted me to start building some too. I told her we wouldn’t finish in time. I think she just wanted me to start some so we could take a couple of extra cars home. They weren’t giving away model car kits. They’re there to make on site and then you could take the finished car with you. Of course, if you didn’t finish then you could choose to finish it at home. In Kira’s case, we were able to assemble the car but we didn’t get to put the stickers on. She gets to do that later.

Anyway, I had to explain to her that they couldn’t give all the cars away because they needed some for kids to do the next day and the day after. She is so thoughtful, though. She is always thinking of her brothers and her cousins. Any time we go somewhere we can take stuff, she always wants to take extra so she can share it. I knew she wanted the two extra cars for her brothers.

This clever little girl who charmed the man at the car model make and take station into practically building her car for her almost talked him into giving us a couple of car kits to take home. Seriously. Had I gone along with her scheme we probably would have had three cars instead of one. I’m not much of a rule breaker, though. And, the man said he wasn’t supposed to give out the kits so I didn’t want him to do anything he wasn’t supposed to do. Plus, it wouldn’t be fair to the other kids.

I wish that I would have gotten his name so I could send him a thank you note. He was the nicest, most patient person ever. And, he practically built Kira’s car while still let her participate in the easier parts of the build so she had a sense of accomplishment.

We had so much fun that Kira didn’t want to leave. If she had her way, we would still be there today. If you have no plans today, I highly recommend checking out the Starbird-Devlin car show.

Things Were Going So Well

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Things were going so well… until I got sick. Here’s what I missed documenting because we got super busy with stuff.

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Brian and I got to watch a Shocker game. Thanks to our awesome neighbors for passing their tickets our way while they were out of town. Men’s basketball tickets are in high demand and difficult to come by because most of the games are sold out and people with season tickets do not give them up.

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My friend Hideki who can always be counted on covered for me in my 11 AM Zumba class so Brian and I were able to enjoy a nice leisurely lunch at Granite City before the game.

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It was a wonderful afternoon, punctuated by more fun and games in the evening at Becca’s birthday party/luau.

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Mama Dill did an awesome job organizing games. Jay provided fantastic food.

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Oh, and Jay and Becca have some awesome neighbors as well. We know this because we went to the wrong house at first and they actually let us in. We think they were after the pies, though. Jokes aside, Brian and I were really grateful that they allowed us to realize our mistake on our own rather than slamming their door on our faces. Granted, I wouldn’t have slammed the door on anyone but I wouldn’t have let complete strangers into my house. Then again, this was Thanksgiving weekend so maybe people are just super nice and exceedingly trusting around this time of year. Good thing we aren’t a couple of serial killers like Juliette Lewis and Brad Pitt in Kalifornia.

The following weekend was the white elephant gift exchange at our house. I know it seemed really early in the season but we always get so busy as Christmas approaches and it becomes even more challenging to get everyone together. I was worried no one would play, but we had a pretty good turn out.

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Brian and I also attended my department holiday celebration at Emporia Country Club. It was a long drive but worth it. It’s always nice to spend time with coworkers outside of work. Since I don’t really take breaks (except to have lunch with Brian or go home and let the dog out) I don’t really get much opportunity to visit with coworkers about non-work stuff. I’m grateful for opportunities to mingle and visit on a personal level.

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Of course, immediately after I say this I show you pictures of Faith, Nickira, and Noel at a basketball game. Faith is more than just a coworker to me. Our friendship really developed this year. When I found that I could get extra tickets to the WSU women’s basketball game against K-State (thanks to Big Brothers Big Sisters), I immediately thought of Faith and her daughter because I knew they would enjoy it.

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I was able to get quite a few tickets so in addition to saving a couple for Faith and Noel, I gave some to my team members also. That’s why you see Shanda and Nykole in the background in the photo above.

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It was my first time watching the WSU women’s basketball team play. Their games are not as popular as the men’s (which was good for us because we got to sit just a couple of feet from the floor and watch the game unfold up close, rather than having to watch from the nosebleed section) but they are amazing in their own right. K-State was in the lead at first and then WSU took the lead. By half time it looked like it was going to be a blowout until the last 4-5 minutes when K-State mounted a comeback. It came down to the last few seconds because it was anyones game at that point.

What also heightened the excitement was that Faith had some friends from her church sitting right behind us and they were cheering for the opposing team. It’s always fun when you have people to tease and rile up during the game.

Just one more video clip from that exciting basketball game…

In other exciting news, team Alobaker finally made #1 on our Sunday night bowling league. This is huge because we were one of the bottom teams during the first month of Fall league season. We started to mount our offensive while mom and dad were on vacation in the Philippines. I recruited a couple of ringers to sub for us. LOL.

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We joked that we were booting mom and dad out of the team because we were starting to do really well. When mom and dad returned our luck (awesome bowling performance?) continued and we continued our slow and steady climb to first place. We still have several weeks to go so I hope we can keep it up.

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Oh, and since I really enjoy making you all jealous, I’m posting pictures of my two newest keychains. I worked hard for these! ;-)

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You don’t care about the keychains? Fine.

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What about this? We finally got an Xorbee Xotic!

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Here’s what it looks like immediately out of the box, before expanding.

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We been eyeing one of these for almost two years. Ever since I got my giant floor pillow from them. We had to save some money first, though. We are now enjoying the heck out of it. Well, Brian more so than me. He uses it as a gaming chair/bed.

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I have a few more things to catch you guys up on but that’s pretty much everything that happened until I caught the crud that is going around. I hate getting sick because everyday there is something exciting happening and when I’m sick I can’t participate. Everyone knows how much I like to be involved. I prefer living life rather than just watch it go by and often wish I could multiply because it seems like several things are going on at the same time and I want to do it all.

The first night that the flu finally hit me, we had originally made plans to have dinner with Jay and Becca at Red Rock. That same night my friend Cari had a cookie swap. I really hated that I could do neither. It all worked out for the best though, because we’re going to do a rain check on dinner. Brian had to work that night anyway and wasn’t going to be able to join us. I know there will be another cookie swap because they have these fairly regularly.

I guess this is all I have time to document for now. Come back in a couple of days for more updates on this well-documented life. Happy Holidays!

XOXO,
Ching

Startup Weekend

Last night some people were clubbing, partying, hanging out at the mall with friends, at the movies, or at home just chillin’ while there were a few working. At the Labor Party ideas were getting pitched.

I dropped my little sister Kira off at her house around nine o’clock or so, after we went home to let Molly out and feed her, then dinner at Panda Express, and after we finished painting our projects at Color Me Mine. I can’t post pictures of our projects because they are presents and we wouldn’t want to ruin the surprise.

Anyway, I was already downtown so I decided to check on my dreamer husband who was participating in Startup Weekend. He’s a dreamer who is always coming up with ideas. He registered for the event kind of at the last minute at a friend’s recommendation and encouragement. Of course, I was super excited because I’d always wanted to attend myself but have always been so busy. This way I actually get to be in two places at once because I’m experiencing Startup Weekend through Brian. I know it’s not the same but, given how hectic my schedule is, this is as good as it’s going to get for me right now.

When I arrived they had already completed the pitches process and were just about to form teams. Brian’s idea wasn’t one of the top four concepts. He’s a dreamer who needs talented people to work on his idea. With the limited number of technically skilled participants, many people were gravitating towards the top ideas. I think he was bummed that he couldn’t work on his startup. He pretty much just hung out with me and filled me in. This was not acceptable. If I’m going to be vicariously living Startup Weekend through Brian, he needs to work on a project even if it’s not his own.

The facilitator and I finally convinced Brian to join a team. The team already had four or five members prior to Brian. I feel really bad for the team he joined too for the sequence of events that followed.

So he joins the team and they’re talking about their project, etc. I’m just kind of hanging out, observing the initial stages of team formation. Then Brian asked me to come to their table so I can listen in as the team commenced discussing their concept and planning everything they need to do.

As I’m sitting at the table, trying desperately to stay out of the way, I see the flip chart with the PLTW idea. As you know, I was super impressed with the Engineering Academy kids at West High that PLTW now holds a special place in my heart. I was like, “That’s an idea that I’d like to work on. Who’s working on that?”

The guy who pitched the idea eventually wanders off to our table so I turn my attention away from the team that Brian’s working with so I can learn more about the PLTW idea which I was really excited about. There is a female engineer who offered to work on the idea with the originator but there’s just the two of them. They didn’t have a team. I told them, “This is an idea that I would really like to work on but I’m busy this weekend. If you want to work on it in the weeks or months to come, then I definitely want to help and be part of it.”

Between the three of us, we had an idea that we were passionate about but had no team. I wasn’t even registered to participate in Startup Weekend. I was merely a spectator. LOL. This is when I discovered something important: one person can make a difference.

If they wanted to continue working on the PLTW idea outside of Startup Weekend, I told them I would help round up resources. Even though I have no technical skills to contribute — I’m not a graphic designer, programmer, engineer, or web developer — I was absolutely certain I could round up some people with the necessary skills. Not over the weekend, but we would get it done.

When I latch on to something that ignites my passion, I have a difficult time restraining myself because I have so much enthusiasm and energy. That can be both powerful and scary. Just ask Brian. Within a few minutes of sitting their table, I managed to jack everything up. Their team switched gears and they’re now working on the PLTW project instead of the food porn idea.

One of my reservations about participating in Startup Weekend is that I really have nothing to offer a startup. At least Brian is a dreamer and has lots of ideas. I have no startup ideas. I’m a joiner with no ideas of my own. The one thing I am is a collector of hobbies and experiences. I want to participate in everything life has to offer and I specially relish opportunities to support causes that I’m passionate about.

However, after last night, I realized that I can use my energy and enthusiasm to rally people around an idea. Maybe there is a place for people like me in Startup Weekend after all. Every team needs a joiner.

American Education Week

American Education Week is November 17 to November 21. Five Wichita public schools are participating. Visit one, two, or all of the sessions listed to celebrate American Education Week and experience education like you’ve never seen it.

Monday, November 17 – 3:00 PM
Earhart Environmental Elementary Magnet, 4401 Arkansas
Unique magnet experience and efficiency in building design

Tuesday, November 18 – 8:30 AM
South High School, 701 W. 33rd Street S.
Technology and curriculum meet in the iPad initiative

Wednesday, November 19 – 9:00 AM
Coleman Middle School, 1544 N. Governeour
College prep through AVID’s Socratic dialogue

Thursday, November 20 – 2:00 PM
Horace Mann Dual Language K-8 Magnet, 1243 N. Market
Dual language learning starts in kindergarten

Friday, November 21 – 1:00 PM
West High School, 820 S. Osage
High tech pre-engineering and 3D printing

Please RSVP to make your selections. Call Superintendent Allison’s office at (316) 973-4580 or email jelly@usd259.net.

If I wasn’t already booked up next week, I would totally attend at least one of these sessions. I can tell you from experience the pre-engineering program at West High is AMAZING. After spending time with the Engineering Academy kids during our Leadership Wichita session on Education, I was very impressed. Derby High is great, but the experience made me wish I would have gone to West High instead. I might have finished my Engineering degree, or realized that it wasn’t for me and save time and money and gone straight to business out of high school.

I suppose I wouldn’t be who I am today if it weren’t for the seven years of undergrad. LOL. My time at Wichita State taught me a lot. I would have rather not bounced between various majors and finished in four years, though.

Anyway, in case you don’t already know, we have fantastic public schools in Wichita. Check them out during American Education Week (or any other time — I was told they love visitors) and see for yourself.

Hanging Out with the Little One

Here are some pictures from when Kira and I visited the Wichita Art Museum.

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I’d forgotten how much I love the art museum. The best part is that admission is free on Saturdays. You just make a small donation and you’re good to go. Once my life starts to calm down and I have some free time, I’m totally taking Brian there one a date.

One of the positive side effects of having a little sister is that she’s helping me rediscover all the things that I love to do but haven’t had time for in recent years. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to be a big sister to Kira because I’m not only sharing some great experiences but I’m also learning and growing so much the experience.

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Here’s Kira at the Keeper of the Plains.

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Sometimes Kira and I hang out by ourselves like when we spent the afternoon at the Wichita Art Museum and the Keeper of the Plains; sometimes Brian gets to hangout with us like when the three of us went roller skating.

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We recently went to the zoo (thanks to the free zoo tickets from work) and Brian got to hang out with us there. You can’t tell from this photo but they’re both holding their breath because the penguin exhibit is stinky. LOL.

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Brian loaned Kira a pair of tinted safety glasses since she didn’t have one.

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But we got some new sunglasses as a souvenir from the zoo’s gift shop. It matched her outfit better and really completes the look, don’t you think?

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Hereford House on Urbanspoon

Today we had Sunday brunch at Hereford House. We usually go to Legends at the airport for brunch, but the brunch experience at Hereford House is actually much better. I’m not just saying that because it’s closer to our house either.

The food selection is not as vast as Legends, but the quality of the food is good. They have a prime rib carving station, a waffle bar, an omelet bar, an assortment of entrees (today they had smoked salmon), along with the usual breakfast staples such as scrambled eggs, hash browns, sausage, bacon, biscuits and gravy, etc. They also had fresh fruits and cheeses. There was wide array of pastries and desserts to choose from but we were all so full there was no way we could eat any more.

If you ask Brian, he’d pick Hereford House over Legends because the former has better coffee. I’m not sure if Kira has been to Legends, but I’m pretty sure that the golf cart rides at Hereford House won her over. There was a nice young man who gave us a lift both ways. Even though our car was just a few yards from the front entrance, we got ride in the cart instead of walking to the front door and instead of walking back to our car. Kira really liked that.

As for me, I’d give Hereford House a slight edge based on location. I’m a happy camper anytime I can avoid having to drive West on Kellogg. Another thing that I liked about Hereford House is that it’s a lot less crowded and more relaxed. Legends is always so busy. However, I do have to admit that Legends has better food selection and, of course, Legends has Mo manning their omelet station. He’s pretty hard to beat.

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This is really a close one. I guess you’ll just have to try Hereford House and decide for yourself. We liked it.

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My First Time at Roller City

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Kira wanted to go skating so we took her to Roller City on Saturday. I don’t know how to skate so Brian went with us.

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I’m so glad he did because he was able to skate with Kira while I clung to the walls for dear life. Brian used to be a floor guard so he can skate forwards and backwards. I, on the other hand, never learned how and can barely stay on my feet.

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Here are a couple of videos of Kira and Brian skating.

Brian showing off his skating prowess.

Saturday was my first time at Roller City and it was Kira’s first time at Ziggy’s Pizza, my favorite pizza joint.

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We got to experience a couple of firsts together.

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We had the all meat pizza and wings.

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The barbecue chicken wings were yummy!

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Everything was delicious as always.

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The root beer float was the best part. It came in chilled glass goblet bigger than Kira’s head. Brian and I agreed we would go back just for the root beer float.

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Ziggy's Pizza on Urbanspoon

We had an awesome outing overall. No broken bones except for the ones that were in the chicken wings. LOL.

Ziggy’s Pizza is the perfect end to any outing. Even if I took some tumbles at the skating rink, the amazing food at Ziggy’s would have made it all better. Their food is not just delicious. It’s magical. If you’ve never been to Ziggy’s, I highly recommend it. Their $13 pizzas are more than enough to feed three people so it’s a great value. It’s a fantastic dinner option that won’t break the bank. I’m just glad we don’t live any closer or we’d be there every night.

Sales Tax Referendum

On Tuesday, November 4, Wichitans have a chance to make a difference for our community by voting in favor of the one-cent sales tax to fund plans for water, transit, jobs and streets.

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The proposed ballot question is as follows: Shall the City of Wichita, Kansas, be authorized, pursuant to K.S.A. 12-187 et seq., to impose a one percent (1.0%) city-wide retailers’ sales tax to be effective April 1, 2015, and which will terminate no later than April 1, 2020, with an amount not to exceed $250 million dollars of such tax applied to pay the costs for the purchase, development, maintenance and operation of a long-term water supply, with an amount not to exceed $80 million dollars of such tax applied for job development and creation, with an amount not to exceed $39.8 million dollars of such tax applied to support Wichita Transit operations, and with an amount not to exceed $27.8 million dollars of such tax applied for street maintenance and repairs?

And They Say There’s Nothing To Do in Kansas

Looking for something to do? Here are some options:

KEYN Summer Concert Series
Every Friday, July 11 to August 15
Wichita, KS

Kansas Biggest Rodeo
July 31 to August 2
Phillipsburg, KS

Midget Nationals
July 31 to August 2
Belleville, KS

Busker Festival
August 22 to 24
Lawrence, KS

Tumbleweed Festival
August 22 to 24
Garden City, KS

Heritage Day
August 23
Yoder, KS

Little Balkans Days
August 29 to 31
Pittsburg, KS

Did I miss anything? Add your event in the comments.

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