Old Town Rotary Map Project and Feeling Grateful

Brian and I got to help with our first Rotary map project over the weekend. Well, Brian got tricked into helping and I wasn’t going to go at first. I didn’t find out about the project that Misty’s Rotary Club (Rotary Club of Old Town Wichita) was working on until the day before. I told her that I was teaching Zumba that morning and couldn’t make it. I really wanted to help but my Zumba class fell right in the middle of the time we were supposed to be be painting. She said they would start at 9 AM and, since Prairie Creek Elementary is right across from the YMCA branch that I teach Zumba at on Saturday mornings, Misty somehow managed to convince me to help. I figured I could go right before my class and then come back to continue helping right after class.

Brian was initially going to just stay home and do house chores while I went to help with the map project and teach my Zumba class. However, I managed to talk him into “dropping me off” at the school. I told him that he could “drop me off” and then I could just walk across the street to the YMCA when it was time for class. I also bribed him with Scooter’s Coffee, which he couldn’t refuse.

Because we are sickeningly punctual, we arrived at the school right at 9 AM. There were only a couple of people there. I was worried that there wouldn’t be enough people to help and so I asked Brian, who was only supposed to “drop me off” at the site, to stay and help us. A good number of people showed up to help a little bit later that morning so Brian probably didn’t even need to stay. I think he was glad he stayed though, because the painting project was right up his alley. He’d be reluctant to admit it, but I would venture to say that he actually had fun. Besides that, doing volunteer work every once in a while (despite being tricked into doing it) is good for the soul.

Even though we started late, they made good progress while I was in Zumba class. By the time I walked back to the project site, they were almost completely done. Here are some pictures of our map painting adventure…

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Getting the map template to stay down was kind of tricky because of the wind. Lucky for us, we had a few people who worked on these map projects before so they were pros. They knew exactly what to do and were prepared with milk jugs filled with water to line the perimeter of the template and keep it from blowing away.

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With the template down, we had to chalk all of the holes. This would leave dots that would serve as an outline for us to follow for painting the map.

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Based on experience, they knew that the East Coast would be tricky so those lines had to be drawn before removing the plastic completely.

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Lots of going back and forth between the ground and template happened to check and double check that the lines were drawn properly and no states were missed.

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It’s not difficult to mess it up because the East Coast consists of a bunch of tiny states.

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The lakes are also tricky so those lines had to be drawn before removing the template as well. The template tried to fly away a few times but we managed to hold it down long enough to get all the tricky parts out of the way.

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After the lines were drawn the rest of it was cake.

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When I returned from my Zumba class, we had way more volunteers than paint brushes.

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Having lots of people there to help paint made painting the map go quickly.

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The map was complete before long. It just needed a few touch ups to make the lines more crisp and the colors pop.

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Another cool thing about last Saturday was meeting Andrea and Donovan’s handsome dog Tank for the first time.

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They live right by the school so it wasn’t a long walk.

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Tank is a bit of a ham as you can tell. LOL.

Anyway, last Saturday reminded me of how truly lucky I am to have Brian in my life. I have often complained about not being able to be at two places at once so, even though I want to participate in everything, sometimes I just have to pick and choose and then I feel bad for having to say no to people or missing out. Well, with Brian’s help, I can be at two places at once. I really wanted to participate and help with the map project but I knew I couldn’t be there the entire time. Brian was there to help when I couldn’t be and they actually got an upgrade because Brian is far more talented at that stuff than I am.

Today, it was much the same. I had multiple things that I wanted to do: attend my friend Cari’s party, spend time with Nickira, participate in Zumba in the Square, and get some yummy dinner from the Kamayan Truck. Brian helped me so I could do it all.

I made an appearance at Cari’s party before picking up Nickira from her house. We went home so I could change into workout clothes and pick Brian up. Brian dropped Nickira and I off at the Zumba in the Square event while he went to pick up dinner from the food truck event. We got to enjoy a delicious dinner and then had ice cream for dessert at Churn & Burn after.

As an added bonus, I even got to spend time with my mom. Dad dropped her off at the Zumba thing so she got to hang out with us the rest of the evening and we gave her a ride home. She went with us for ice cream after Zumba and then to drop off Nickira back at her house. Then it was mom’s turn to be dropped off.

Double bonus, I got to see dad as well because we stayed a little while to check out dad’s basement project when we dropped mom off. Anyway, I am super blessed to have such a loving, supportive husband without whom I couldn’t possibly do everything I want to do. Thank you for being awesome, baby! You make my life – correction, our life – great!

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Christmas Day Recap

Our family had a nice time celebrating Christmas Day at our house. Grandma spent the night so we didn’t have to get her first thing in the morning. David and Donna came up for the Christmas holiday so they went to pick grandma up on Christmas Eve.

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Grandma met Saki for the first time on Christmas Day.

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Both of the girls got special presents, handcrafted by Donna.

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This is the present that we received from my half-sister who lives in New Jersey. We received them a few days before but wanted to wait until Christmas Day to open the presents because the packages looked so good under the tree.

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She sent us his and hers mugs with our initials.

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We experienced a Christmas miracle: a rare moment of Saki and Molly not fighting. It was short-lived, though. Within seconds they were not getting along again.

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This isn’t a gag gift. Grandma specifically asked for fruit cake.

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She also asked for flavored popcorn.

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So we got some for her.

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She didn’t ask for these cookies but we know that she loves them so we try to get some for her every year.

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David and Donna also got grandma a basket full of goodies.

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Grandma always gets lots of food items at Christmas time.

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Donna asked for these Rachel Ray cooking utensils.

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We try to follow instructions. LOL.

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She also wanted coloring books. So we got her several different kinds. This is one of the books we got her.

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We followed instructions except for the colored pencils. Donna had a different brand on her list but Brian insisted that we get Prismacolor because they’re of better quality.

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David mostly just wanted tools.

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All of the presents we got him this year came from Harbor Freight.

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Brian got this hoodie, which he absolutely loves.

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He wears it everyday.

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He also got a monogrammed tie, which he loves.

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He doesn’t wear it everyday but he has worn it a few times since Christmas.

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His favorite present of all is his new bowling bag. Up until now, he’d been using his grandfather’s old bag.

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Now he has his very own, and it matches his shoes and bowling ball.

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Brian, David, and I all got one of these lighted beanies.

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They’re going to be great for walking the dogs at night or before sunrise.

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I got some She & Him CDs from David and Donna.

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Saki was my Christmas present from Brian. 🙂

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We had a great time celebrating Christmas with the Brubakers. These are just some of the highlights. Click here for more Christmas Day photos.

Christmas Eve Recap

I just realized that I never posted the photos we took over Christmas. Here are some highlights from Christmas Eve.

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We got dad some new Zumba sweatpants and a gift card to Lowe’s since he’s currently remodeling the basement. He’s actually used his gift card already so that worked out really well.

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I really didn’t know what to get mom because she already has everything and never asks for anything. I decided to get her the Zumba Gold box set. She was super thrilled and has been using it at home since her favorite Zumba class is on hold until February.

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I got Jenni a Passion Planner. That was a no-brainer.

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Brian and I got these super soft throw blankets for Christmas last year (Brian got a blue one and I got a cream colored one) and we loved them so much that we decided to get Matt and Jen their own. We figured brown was a safe bet.

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Logan just wanted cash again. We decided to make him work for it this year so we put the money in smaller wrapped presents inside another wrapped box inside another wrapped box. I noticed he wasn’t so excited about the present at first.

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I don’t think he realized what he was getting until the boxes got smaller. Once he realized he was getting cash, he got pretty excited.

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Eli always has some odd requests. One year he wanted a stick vac. Another year he wanted an electric pencil sharpener. This year he wanted a clock that makes relaxation sounds. Brian picked out a really cool one that, in addition to making several nature sounds, projects time on the wall or ceiling.

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QQ was pretty easy. He just wanted Hot Wheels.

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Click here for the rest of the photos from Christmas Eve.

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!

Family Time

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Brian and I had the pleasure of having dinner with his parents and his grandmother when his parents were up from Oklahoma a couple of weeks ago. We went to Stroud’s where we hadn’t been for a long time. We had a nice dinner and look forward to their next visit.

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Mom’s Birthday Surprise

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.

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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.

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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? 😉

Saturdates with Grandma

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Brian and I hung out with grandma two Saturdays in a row. Last Saturday we took her bowling with us at Derby Bowl. For months now she’d been asking to watch us bowl. We talked about taking her on league night one evening but it’s just so late for her and there’s way too many people. We finally just decided to hold a bowling match up between the two of us and grandma could come and watch us compete.

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Here are a couple of pictures of Brian explaining the contest rules to grandma.

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The contest rules are as follows: One point for each game won and two points for the highest total overall for a total of five points. Theoretically someone could lose two games but if they got a high enough lead in one game to take the total then they could get one point for winning the game and two points for the total for three points to the other person’s two points and effectively steal the match.

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It seems complicated than just competing for the best two out of three games but we like making things more interesting. Sometimes with the other scoring the player who has won two games already feels like they can slack off in the final game. With our scoring you still have to be on your toes the final game because the other player could steal the whole match by winning with a high enough score.

Brian who has been bowling twice a week all summer long had an advantage on me. I was so rusty. I bowled terribly. The scores were close but he easily won the first two games. I was hoping to recover in the third game for the win but he stepped up his game for an even more decisive game victory. It was a sweep. He took all five points that day. I’m gunning for a rematch, though.

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While we were at the bowling alley we ran into dad and the Cannadys. Our nephews have started getting into bowling and are actually started to get quite good at it. Eli (middle child) really enjoys bowling.

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Anyway, it was nice running into them specially since we were with grandma. She doesn’t get to see them as often as we do. I found out later that mom came to the bowling alley too but she arrived after we left so we just missed her.

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After bowling we took grandma to Los Cocos, one of our favorite restaurants in Derby.

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While there we ran into a couple of my coworkers who were nice enough to stop and say hello. Grandma loves meeting our friends and coworkers so that was great.

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We had churros for dessert and they were delicious!

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Grandma would agree. We had a fantastic Saturday!

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Yesterday we took grandma to another one of our favorite restaurants, The Hill Bar and Grill. She got to try Brian’s favorite starter: chicharonnes.

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For lunch grandma got chicken tacos. Brian had them before and really like them.

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Brian had the meatball sub this time.

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I had crab eggs benedict from the Saturday brunch menu. It was pretty good. I messed up and ended up with hashbrowns instead of the asparagus, though.

Brian and grandma had a productive day shopping for groceries and we had a wonderful brunch together. Overall it was a great day except for the mishap with my car in the parking lot. I will tell you guys more after I find out how bad the damage is on Monday.

Moreland & Arbuckle at Bartlett Arboretum

Last Sunday was a busy day for us. Brian helped his mom and dad sort through what they could take to Oklahoma. They didn’t have room for everything in their car so his mom will take the rest home on her next visit in a few weeks.

I dropped off a Father’s Day present for my dad who lives in Derby. I hung out with my family until it was time to head to my Sunday afternoon Zumba class at Andover YMCA. After Zumba I had to skedaddle. Took a quick shower so we could head to Bartlett Arboretum to celebrate Father’s Day with David and Donna.

We initially planned to taking Bebot but our new cooler was too big to fit in the trunk filled with folding chairs so we ended up taking two vehicles. Brian and his dad were in Bebot. Donna and I were in Alex. I hate driving in general and I hate driving to unfamiliar places even worse. Brian’s GPS decided to go berserk and I was totally stressed out. About an hour later, we miraculously found our way to Bartlett Arboretum safely and unscathed. Thank you, Jesus!

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It was a beautiful day for an outdoor concert. Bartlett Arboretum is so magnificent, I couldn’t stay upset. The stress and frustration soon lifted away as we sat enjoying the music. I’d never seen or heard Moreland & Arbuckle before but I really enjoyed their performance. The parts we got to watch anyway, since we arrived at the end of the first set. (In addition to getting lost and taking a long time to get there, we actually misread the web site info. We thought the concert started at 5 PM rather than 4 PM. Oops!)

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At least now we know how to get there and we know what to expect. It’s so beautiful there. Brian and I hope to return for another concert or maybe even attend the Winfield Warm Up in September or the Ecofest in October. There’s not any info yet about these two events on the Bartlett Arboretum web site but they’re both listed on the Tree House Concerts page so I’m penciling them in.

If you’ve never been to Bartlett Arboretum, I highly recommend it. It’s so peaceful and beautiful, and it’s not even that far away (about 40 minutes from our place, without getting lost). Here’s a little documentary about the century-old landmark in Belle Plaine. After watching this, I’m positive you’ll want to schedule a visit.

See you at one of the concerts!

Belated Anniversary Treat for Mom and Dad

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During last weekend’s visit, we treated Donna and David to our favorite steak place — Cy’s Hoof & Horn Supper Club in Sedgwick. It’s a long ways from our home in Southeast Wichita but totally worth the drive. They have the best chicken fried steak I’ve ever had and it’s a huge portion. It’s more than enough for two people to share.

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Of course, I ordered the chicken fried steak because it’s my favorite thing on the menu. Donna ordered the same. David had the prime rib special.

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Brian wanted to try one of Cy’s legendary burgers but, after he told them to take everything out of it, it wasn’t so impressive. LOL.

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He said the onion rings were good, though.

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The homemade dessert that night was banana walnut cake with ice cream.

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I’m not sure what was going on that night. Maybe they were just super busy. The food was good but not has good as we’ve had it there. The service was slow and my mashed potatoes were on the cold side. Though I wished that it was hotter, I didn’t say anything. I hope that mom and dad enjoyed the dinner despite the service shortcomings.

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Belated happy anniversary, Mom and Dad B!

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