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Archive for March 2016

Fort Worth — Down and Back

Posted on March 29, 2016 by under Babies, Travel.    

I missed posting pictures of our trip to visit Sheryll and the kids while they were in Fort Worth a couple of weeks ago. It was a really fruitful trip achieving a couple of objectives: (a) seeing Sheryll and the kids who we haven’t seen in a few years, and (b) testing road trip or potential vacation options with the dogs.

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Since we were doing a down and back, we left really early on Saturday morning. Above is a picture of the dogs watching intently as Brian filled Rex up with gas.

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Molly is like, “Where did daddy go?”

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Molly isn’t much of a lap dog at home but, when you’re driving in the car, she definitely wants to be in your lap. She’s a front seat kind of dog.

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Saki, on the other hand, was quite content at the back of the car.

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Here’s Molly keeping an eye on daddy’s driving.

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Saki and mommy selfie time!

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Saki is such a pretty dog.

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Saki’s turn on daddy’s lap.

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Isn’t she just adorable?

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Molly on my lap.

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I know you’re probably sick of seeing dog pictures but it was a long drive and I had nothing better to do.

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Quick pit stop at the first Texas rest area. It was meant to be a short bathroom break for the dogs and the humans, but we had to take a photo at the rock thing because I guess it’s the thing to do at this rest stop. Anyway, we had to stop a few times for potty breaks making the five hour drive take almost seven hours.

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It didn’t matter how comfy we made the back of the car, they both wanted to be with us.

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It didn’t take long before we were in Fort Worth. We went to our hotel but our room wasn’t ready so we ended up going to see Sheryll and the kids first.

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We hung out with them briefly before returning to our hotel to check in and dropping off all of our stuff. I was pleasantly surprised. We had never stayed at a La Quinta Inn before and didn’t really know what to expect.

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Our room, which was clean and spacious, consisted of a bedroom with a separate living room, and bathroom next to the entry way.

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We had the perfect space for the crates in the bedroom area.

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We loved being able to take the dogs with us.

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There was also a nice walking path behind the property, which was a perfect place to walk the dogs to get them to do their business.

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There was also this cute little bridge.

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Later that day we met back up with Sheryll and the kids, her mom, and her mom’s boyfriend. We had dinner at Dickie’s.

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Their Dickie’s is a lot bigger than the Dickie’s we have here.

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After dinner we went back to her mom’s boyfriend’s house to hang out and catch up some more, and also take a few selfies.

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We had a great time visiting with Sheryll and her family.

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We didn’t stay out too late though because we had to get back to our babies.

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I need to give a shout out to La Quinta for the accommodations. They didn’t charge us extra for bringing our two dogs with us. The hotel rate was reasonable as well. I was super pleased with our experience. I’m likely to stay at a La Quinta again next time that we’re travelling with the dogs.

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Saki liked it so much she refused to leave. LOL.

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Sheryll wanted to make breakfast for us so we went back to their house again the next morning before driving back to Wichita. Sheryll made these yummy breakfast burritos. And then we were on our way back home.

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It was a really short trip but very productive. We thoroughly enjoyed visiting with everyone. Also, we’re super glad to have discovered La Quinta. I can’t wait to take the dogs on a real vacation!

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The Burger Stand – Lawrence and Topeka

Posted on March 26, 2016 by under Food and Drink, Reviews.    

The Burger Stand at the Casbah Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Burger Stand is hands down the best burger joint in Kansas. Not just because of their hip ambiance but the burgers are amazing. They’ve come up with the most creative and delicious combination of flavors. They offer a variety of different types of fries, which are flavorful enough to stand on their own, but they also have lots of different sauces you can try.

I had dinner at the Burger Stand at the Casbah last month, which is their Lawrence, KS location. Here are some pictures.

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I know that menu is hard to read so here’s a link to their menu online. They have burgers (meat and veggie) and hotdogs (made with Nathan’s Famous all beef hotdogs) and a variety of fries to choose from. They even have poutine fries, which aren’t very common unless you’re in Canada.

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These are the truffle fries, which are my absolute favorite kind of fries to get there. Even though the sweet potato fries and the duck fat fries are quiet popular as well. I hear the Cajun fries are yummy as well but I tend to go with what’s familiar so I always end up eating the truffle fries.

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They have some salad selections too, if you’re not a burger eater but you gotta try their burgers because they are super delicious. I’m not much of a burger eater myself but these burgers are amazing. Beyond amazing. They are life-changing. LOL. The one pictured above is the Smoke which consists of a super thick burger patty, applewood-smoked bacon, gouda cheese, and chipotle-cocoa ketchup. I have never tasted a more delicious burger in my entire life.

The Burger Stand Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

We had our team builder at the Topeka location this past week. The Topeka location is officially named the Burger Stand at College Hill, probably because of its proximity to the Washburn University campus. Getting there is kind of weird because you drive by a bunch of houses. Parking is kind of iffy at times and the one way streets can be confusing but, I have to say, it’s totally worth the trip. I think the Topeka location actually has a more extensive menu than the Lawrence one in terms of burgers. For instance, I don’t think you can get Holy JalapeƱo or Thai Turkey in Lawrence. It doesn’t matter to me either way though, because I just want the Smoke burger which I can get at both places.

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Our team building activity last Wednesday consisted of pounding some burgers and playing a single-elimination ping pong tournament.

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I’m not any good at ping pong but I think it’s super fun and wish I could play more often. My first match up was against Darcy. I don’t think she’s ever played ping pong before. I was able to advance to the next match which was against Miranda. I also won that match. My next match was supposed to be with Nathan but he withdrew because he felt bad about winning against Jenni despite his illegal serving style. I ended up playing against Jenni instead. She was pretty good and I lost that match.

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Anyway, I had some pretty easy matches. I’m glad I didn’t have to play any of the pros like Kim, Dan, Andy, or Sam. I think Sam was the ultimate winner that night which is funny considering he’s not even on our project team. He was just tagging along with our Project Manager Andy who also works for the same consulting firm. Andy’s first match was with Kelsey and he was being really mean and smashing the ball every chance he got. I’m glad I never had to play him. Our Project Director Kim was really good and she held her own against Sam. Sam played ping pong the best out of everyone.

Even though I’m not as good at playing ping pong as the others, I really enjoy it. It’s a shame that we already have some furniture in the basement. If it was still fairly empty, I would totally ask for a ping pong table for downstairs. LOL. I wonder if there are any restaurants in Wichita that have ping pong tables you can play on. I know that there’s a ping pong table at the ICT Pop-Up Urban Park because I’ve played there before but it has been too windy and cold to play, and I haven’t really been in town enough.

Do you guys have some suggestions as to where Brian and I can go and have some food and play some post-dinner ping pong? Please post them in the comments. Otherwise, I may just have to take him to the Burger Stand in Topeka one of these days.

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Help Me Support Big Brothers Big Sisters

Posted on March 16, 2016 by under Community, Projects, Things to Do.    

It’s that time of year again when I’m obnoxiously raising money for Big Brothers Big Sisters. There’s not many fundraising events that I aggressively seek out donations for… This happens to be one.

I’ve been “bowling for kids” on and off for almost 15 years. I’ve been a team captain a few times, team member a few times, and donor/supporter every time. I’m involved in the event for a couple of reasons: a) I enjoy bowling; and b) I believe in this program.

Even before I became a Big Sister myself, I was already an avid supporter of this program because I believe the children are our future… Teach them well and let them lead the way… Give them a sense of pride to make it easier… Let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to be… Everybody’s searching for a hero… People need someone to look up to…

LOL. I can’t keep going with a straight face. See what I did there? I just Whitney-rolled you. If you’re not familiar with the song, watch this video:

Alright, back to seriousness. I really and truly believe in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program and the power of having positive mentors and role models in your life. I know I would not be the person I am today if there had not been caring adults in my life. I’m sure you can remember a teacher, coach, or other important adult that made time for you. You remember that in between the cooking lessons or fishing trips, that person helped you find your way.

Today (just like last year and the years before that and probably every year after until I die), I’m asking you to support me and Big Brothers Big Sisters’ Bowl for Kids’ Sake. Your gift will help match another child with a mentor that will help him or her find the confidence he/she needs to overcome problems and make good choices. Click on one of the many links that I’ve spattered all over this blog post to make a donation and start a child on the path to success in school and in life.

Just do it. It’ll make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I promise. And, if you don’t, at least you got a tax write-off out of it. Thanks in advance for supporting a program that is close to my heart. You are wonderful and generous and I appreciate you.

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Our Youngest is Growing Up So Fast

Posted on March 7, 2016 by under Babies.    

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It’s been a while since we gave an update on Saki. She recently graduated from puppy school at PetSmart. She would have finished sooner except we had to move her to another class. We enrolled her in the 2 PM class on Saturdays over the holidays last year. Things were going swimmingly until Brian and I both went back to work and then she started not wanting to pay attention and refusing to perform commands. After a couple of sessions like this, we figured it out. It wasn’t that she didn’t understand the commands. It was because she wanted to take a nap. On every single day of the week, 2 PM is her nap time (since she and Molly are locked up in their crates while we are at work) so, on Saturdays, that’s what she wanted to do as well.

Saki started falling behind since she didn’t want to pay attention in class and I was really worried about her. Luckily, there was another puppy training class at the same location with the same trainer, Mike Miller, on Tuesday nights at 7 PM. Mike was nice enough to allow Saki to transfer to that class. They started later so Saki got to review some of the things that she was already supposed to know. The time worked out better as well. Saki was more attentive and she responded to commands a lot better.

I was really worried about Saki but she seems to be turning out okay. In this aspect, anyway. She still has some behavior issues that I’m a bit concerned about. No dog is perfect, though. Actually, no one is. None of us are perfect. We all have our issues.

Molly is kind of a bitch. Well, she literally is; but she’s also a bitch in another sense. When Saki tries to love on her and be friendly, she’ll randomly snarl at her and pick a fight. Most of the time it’s uncalled for but sometimes I wonder if it’s in response to Saki’s attitude. Saki can be a bully. She already knows that she’s much bigger so she likes to pounce on Molly and body check her. Sometimes it’s nice and playful and sometimes it’s rough. I bet that can be annoying to a senior citizen dog like Molly, which doesn’t really do anything to improve her bitchy attitude. It just makes it worse.

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Here’s Molly’s adorable RBF.

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Saki got spayed last week and I was hoping that would slow her down. It only lasted a couple of days. Even though she’s still recovering, her energy is back in full force. Brian says it comes in bursts now so rather than being super hyper 100% of the time, she has a few moments of calm in between bursts of energy. She still has a lot of energy, though. I’m hoping that she’ll start to calm down because that will be the key to her and mellow Molly getting along.

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The dogs usually play with our neighbors dogs, Nikki and Ellie, but we’ve been keeping them apart so Saki can take it easy and recover quickly. Well, the weather was super nice the other day and the dogs missed each other so much they were anxious to play together. We let them and I think Saki overdid it.

We noticed some blood clots in her stitches that weren’t there before. It was probably too soon. No more playing and rough-housing with the other dogs again for a while. They’re not going to like it but Saki just can’t resist being all wild and crazy and she’s liable to hurt herself if we don’t stop her.

By the way, I found this really cool site last night when Brian and I were shopping for a new harness online for Saki. She’s quickly outgrowing the one that she has now. I didn’t want to buy the wrong harness, have her outgrow it, and have to buy another in a couple of months so we wanted to figure out how big she will get as an adult dog. Puppy Chart lets you do that. They have info on just about every breed imaginable. You just input some information such as your dog’s birthday and their last known weight and it will estimate how big they will get over the next couple of years. It’s pretty neat.

If the site’s prediction proves to be accurate then Saki will top out at about 18 lbs, which is perfect for me. I’m not really a big dog person. I was hoping that she wouldn’t get any bigger than 25 lbs. If she stays under 20 lbs then she’s technically still within small dog realm. She’s gigantic compared to Molly but still quite small compared to other dogs. I may just get my wish after all.

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My Room with “Boo” at the Haunted Eldridge Hotel in Lawrence, KS

Posted on March 6, 2016 by under Travel.    

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I hit the jackpot on a recent stay at the Eldridge Hotel in Lawrence, Kansas. I normally don’t request a specific room so, when I checked and they asked me if it’s okay that I got room 506, I was surprised in a good way. I’ve always been curious about this room and have wanted to stay in it, just not enough to specifically request it. I lucked out this time and it got assigned to me by chance.

The hotel, which started as Free State Hotel in 1855, has had a long history of getting torn down and being rebuilt. It became Hotel Eldridge after it was rebuilt in 1865 following an attack from William Clarke Quantrill and his band of raiders. This wasn’t the first time that the hotel was rebuilt and also not the last. The hotel has fallen into disrepair and been rebuilt a few more times since then.

The entire hotel is supposed to be haunted but there’s something eerily special about room 506. Reportedly most of the paranormal activity happens on the fifth floor with 506 being a portal to the spirit world. Guests have claimed to have seen breath marks on recently cleaned mirrors, doors opening and shutting by themselves, and lights turning on and off on their own. It’s all very creepy.

Here’s little video about the hotel that I found on YouTube:

I knew the hotel was haunted but I’m really glad that I didn’t have all of this information before because I would have had an even more difficult time sleeping. As it was, I hardly slept that night without imagining all of this ghostly paranormal activity. I’m highly impressionable so it’s pretty easy to put crazy ideas in my head.

In doing some reading after my stay, I also learned that the hotel was featured in My Ghost Story, a show on A&E’s Biography Channel.

Above is a short preview of that episodes that I found on Facebook. It’s Season 3, Episode 1 of My Ghost Story. You can watch the full episode from Amazon Video.

Here are a few more photos from my stay…

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I had taken a couple of pictures of the view across the street.

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When I talked to Brian that evening, as we do every night when I’m away from home, he was like, “I saw the picture you posted on Facebook. It looked like there’s someone standing behind you.” He thinks he ‘s funny.

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Here’s the layout of the fifth floor.

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Here’s my very nice, un-creepy bed.

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Here’s the lovely bathroom. The creepiest thing about it is that the shower area is kind of dark because the light is outside the shower curtain. There’s not a light directly above you in the shower.

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The weirdest thing that happened to me during my stay is I couldn’t get any hot water to come out. I was actually not very happy about that. I wasn’t upset enough to complain, but it felt like I was showering in the Philippines where your water only has one temperature — cold.

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Here’s a picture of the cute, little sitting area that you see immediately upon entering the room. The room is actually quite spacious and has two TVs that probably rarely get used, if at all. The second TV faces the bed.

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I was smart this time and didn’t turn on the ceiling fan, although it would have been nice when I got hot in the middle of the night. I didn’t turn it on because, the last time I stayed at the Eldridge (granted, I was in a different room), the ceiling fan wobbled and made a clicking sound and kept me up all night.

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I had a hard time sleeping again but I couldn’t blame the ceiling fan this time. I don’t really know what to blame for my insomnia other than I’d been having a rough time at work since one of my mentors and one of my most favorite people in the entire world announced that he’s leaving the company.

But I digress… There was no paranormal activity the night of my stay unfortunately — or fortunately, I suppose. As cool as ghost stories might have been, I’m not sure I could have handled it.

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