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Archive for December 2015

Hanging Out with the Dills

Posted on December 29, 2015 by under Life.    

Becca and I got to hang out right before Christmas. I just happened to be off work and wanted to get my nails done. Luckily Becca was free and was able to go with me. I took her to my favorite nail place.

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I decided to deviate from my usual neutral tones and picked out glittery nail polish.

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I took Becca back to the Travel Junkie office and then the four of us met up later that night at Hibachi Boy. It’s their first time trying it.

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Then, since we were already on our side of town they came over for drinks. They also got to meet our newest family member, Saki.

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We were really glad that they brought their niece Addi over because we needed someone to run Saki ragged. Saki is so full of energy that she annoys the crap out of Molly, our other dog. Molly gets so irritated that she ends up snipping at poor Saki, which makes me feel bad because Saki is a puppy and doesn’t know any better. She just wants to play.

Saki met her match with Addi. Saki actually ran out of energy before Addi did. So glad that Addi came over to play with Saki because I usually run out of breath chasing her around. It was nice to get a break and also be able to visit with the Dills while Addi and the dogs played. 2015 has been a really busy year for us and we haven’t been able to spend as much time with our friends. It was really nice to end the year spending some quality time with the Dills.

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Bowling League Christmas Party

Posted on December 27, 2015 by under Events.    

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!

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Life With Our New Puppy

Posted on December 23, 2015 by under Babies.    

Our life got turned upside down recently when we met the cutest Shiba Inu puppy at the Light Your Heart benefit a few weeks ago. She was part of the live auction that night to raise money for Heartspring. We named her Saki which loosely translates to “blossom of hope” fitting considering the circumstances.

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We were initially looking for a rescue but couldn’t find one we could agree on. The stars aligned perfectly that fateful night and Brian won me a puppy in the auction. An impulsive move, yes, but the money goes toward a great cause so we were fine with it. We also got a heck of a deal. The puppy came with a crate, crate bed, food, and a bunch of goodies. We did have to buy her a collar, food bowls, and a few other things.

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We’ve also bought some additional things since for both her and Molly. First was the Snuggle Puppy. It worked so well for Saki that we decided to get one for Molly too.

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We also got them both new dog beds for the living room. When we were there last week for obedience training, PetSmart was having a huge sale on dog beds. We couldn’t pass it up. It’s a large one so we initially only bought one thinking they would share. It hasn’t worked out that way and they both liked the bed so we went back for a second one the next day. Now our two tiny dogs both have these enormous dog beds. LOL.

Speaking of puppy training, it’s going well. Saki is learning some things but she’s also picking up some bad habits like barking. She didn’t bark as much until after the first day of class. The other two dogs in class were loud and wouldn’t stop barking. Now Saki is barking a lot more too.

The other down side is you’re in the store so you can’t help but shop. Specially when you end up spotting some good sales. That’s how we ended up with the dog beds. We’re getting great use out of them, though.

Last night Saki learned to go down the deck stairs. She learned how to climb up right away but she’s always been afraid of climbing down. Jay taught her how to do it yesterday. I was so afraid when he was doing it too. I worried that she would tumble all the way down. Anyway, it worked and now she knows how to go down the steps herself. No more having to carry her down. Hurrah! She’s getting faster at it every time too.

Molly is still adjusting. I hope that they eventually become best friends because we really wanted a friend and companion for Molly. We’ll keep you all posted as things progress.

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Getting in the Spirit

Posted on December 23, 2015 by under Confessions, Life.    

It’s Christmas Eve eve! Can you believe it? This year has gone by so quickly.

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We started celebrating early in the month when we had our Optima Customer holiday party, which was a nice break from our long days and busy schedule. Ever since this project started in October, it has consumed my life. I missed out on several things that I had planned on attending/completing the latter part of the year namely, the First Contact Resolution workshop in San Antonio, Six Sigma Yellow Belt training, the CRC and C&I joint Christmas party, and the team building and volunteer service day at the Wichita Art Museum that I organized. And those are just the big things, I’ve missed pretty much every Rotary meeting since our October project kickoff (although I did get to participate in the Andover Caring & Sharing volunteer activity) and I’ve had to bow out of several other obligations (thankfully, I’m getting great support from my teammates and boss). I guess my life will just have to be on hold until we’ve seen this project to fruition.

The hours are long and the work often seems overwhelming but at least the people I’m working with are amiable and fun. Everyone is super knowledgeable and I’m learning a ton which is really exciting for me. I thoroughly enjoy learning new things so when we began current state interviews immediately after the project kick off I remember telling everyone it feels like Christmas because I’m learning something from every single person I come in contact with. I’m like a really dry sponge just absorbing everything. Anyway, fast forward two months and now it really is Christmas.

I’m still really excited about everything I’m learning but I am starting to get bummed about missing out on stuff. And, I really miss having a routine. I guess I’ll just have to make new routines.

I missed Customer Service Week festivities (which we celebrate in the CRC during the week of Veterans Day) and other fun stuff in the CRC. I remember being at work late one evening to take care of stuff and we stopped by Faith’s office because I just had to show Brian her elaborate Christmas decor. She happened to still be in there making even more decorations. We got to visiting and Brian saw the photo booth pictures we had taken last year that were up on Faith’s cabinet walls and I made a comment about how we didn’t have a photo booth this year for Customer Service Week. Faith told me that we did have one and showed me a punch of the pictures she and others took in the photo booth. I just happened to be in Topeka that day and missed it.

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Here are some pictures of Faith’s amazing Christmas decorations.

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Recently, we had a holiday decorating contest at work. I pretty much missed most of it too but I did take pictures while I was at work late one evening.

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The participation this year was so much more than we had seen in previous years and the level of creativity was out of this world. Everyone really got into it. It was great to see and helped get in me in the spirit because up until then I really wasn’t feeling the magic of Christmas. Probably because I’ve just been so busy.

In years past I’ve usually got my trees (one upstairs and one in the basement) up by Thanksgiving and I’m usually done with Christmas shopping by then too. This year I’ve been so busy that I decided to only put one Christmas tree up (the one upstairs) and I’ve really started to question the whole gifts situation. I know of others who only get presents for children in the family and not any adults. I’m pitching that idea to Brian for next year because that would really save us a lot of time and stress.

This year I wanted to crochet presents for everyone but severely underestimated the time it would take to complete each present. Since I started later based on this incorrect assumption I was only able to complete three crochet projects and then had to come up with a backup plan for the rest of our giftees. That left us scrambling for presents last minute. Well, it feels last minute for me anyway, since I’m usually ready well ahead of time. Christmas seems to have snuck up on me this year (I suppose that’s what happens when you’re busier than usual) and I feel completely unprepared.

Here’s one of the three completed projects. Maybe next year I’ll be able to complete more. Or, if Brian goes for the “no Christmas presents for adults” idea then I may not have to make any at all except for the ones that I wish to make. That would be less pressure for me to get these crochet projects done. LOL.

Anyway, it’s nice to finally be off work. I’m still working a little to stay caught up but I’m grateful that I can just work remotely and whenever I feel like it (which is usually at odd hours of day). Since I’m on vacation, technically any work I do is just extra. For now I’m done checking email until after Christmas so I can finally start truly getting into the Christmas spirit. I hope you guys get a good long break from work and have a wonderful holiday season!

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One Day and Three Parties

Posted on December 20, 2015 by under Events.    

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!

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