Brian Saves Christmas

I thought I was completely ready for Christmas. Things were going so well. All of the presents that we’d sent to friends and family around the world made it to their destinations on time. Christmas cards were mailed. We were just relaxing while waiting for the day itself to finally arrive. And then I got sick the weekend before Christmas. I had no idea how much still needed to be done. When I was no longer feverish and returned to consciousness I started to panic. I didn’t feel ready. Brian had everything under control though. I calmed down once I reminded myself that I completely trust Brian and that’s if he says that everything is under control then it is. It just sucks to be completely sidelined during crunch time.

I was still feeling alright last Thursday. I had felt a little achy the preceding days but I’d just attributed that to probably sleeping crooked or something like that. Anyway, no major issues on Thursday. Brian’s parents were in town so we used the evening for them to drop off their presents for us in Wichita and to give them their presents from the two of us. Thursday nights are also usually the nights I hang out with my little sister Nickira.

I had taken her to make a craft project for her mom at Color Me Mine a few weeks prior. She wanted to make something for her Aunt also but after she realized how much each piece cost, she suggested that we go to the dollar store instead. We were starting to run out of days before Christmas so we decided to do that on Thursday on the way home to have dinner and do homework.

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My in-laws were still at the house when we arrived so Nickira got to meet them. They also had a present for her, which she got to open right then.

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She also got to open a present from me.

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She got to wear the necklace and earrings that day.

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We were in presents-opening mode so while we were waiting for dinner to be ready, Kira helped us open the present from the Orbases that arrived in the mail that day.

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They got us an awesome chess set where the pieces consist of Chinese soldiers.

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Here’s a video Kira reading the Christmas card that came with it.

After dinner Brian left to take grandma to see Christmas lights. It was one of her requests this year. Kira and I stayed home to do homework, wrap her presents, and write messages for the recipients.

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It was then that I remembered that Kira’s mom wanted me to help her with her penmanship. So I ordered a couple of learn to write tablets. They should be coming in a few days so we can start on this project at the beginning of the year. I also need to help her with her spelling. She keeps spelling aunt as ant. LOL.

After we completed our tasks, Kira got to play with Molly for a while before I had to take her back home. Nickira and I didn’t go to see Christmas lights with Brian and grandma that night because my original plan was to take her to Illuminations at Botanica on Sunday. It was Westar night and I could get four people in free with my work badge.

Sadly it was not to be. I came down with the flu on Friday. I was hoping to be well enough by Sunday but I still had a fever. There was no way I could go. I missed so much that weekend. I missed dinner with friends on Friday night, missed my Zumba classes (I was so glad Hideki and Alexa were able to teach in my place so the classes didn’t have to be canceled), missed my waxing appointment, missed a friend’s birthday party, and on and on. I spent all weekend in bed, feeling completely helpless and out of it.

In the meantime, Brian did laundry (my job every weekend) and everything else. In my delirium I was like, “What are we going to do about Christmas Day? What are we going to make for grandma?” Brian came up with a plan and went to the grocery store on Sunday. All this happened while I was out.

Went back to work on Monday but took a few hours of vacation in the afternoon before my Monday night Zumba class. My fever was gone, but breathing was still kind of a problem. I tried to convince myself I was well enough though. Tuesday I worked the full day and taught two Zumba classes afterward. In hindsight, I probably shouldn’t have gone back to work so soon and I definitely should not have taught those Zumba classes. While I don’t have a fever, I’m still miserable and now I feel like I ought to go see the doctor before I kill myself completely.

It seemed like I was better on Christmas Eve but I was probably just happy that Brian didn’t have to work that day. In my elation I completely forgot that I was supposed to teach Zumba that morning in Alexa’s place (she’s celebrating the holidays with family out of town). The ironic part is that I had just received my review the night before and had gotten excellent ratings for being willing to sub other classes and for being dependable. So much for that record.

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I may have missed my grooming but Molly didn’t miss hers. She looked so adorable in her Christmas sweater, with her fresh haircut. I was so glad that mom and dad let us bring her with us so she would have to be at home alone on Christmas Eve.

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Kevin, Kasey, Andy, and Kyndra celebrated Christmas Eve with us. It worked out well because we were able to exchange gifts at mom and dad’s that night.

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The kids just wanted gift cards. GameStop for Andy and Gordmans for Kyndra.

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Kevin and Kasey wanted their own Cards Against Humanity set so we got them that and the first two expansions. We also got them X-Men: Days of Future Past and Wolverine Collection, which they didn’t ask for but we knew they would like.

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The movie collection comes with X-Men, X-Men 2: X-Men United, X-Men 3: The Last Stand (Widescreen Edition), X-Men Origins: Wolverine, X-Men: First Class, The Wolverine, and X-Men: Days of Future Past.

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Grandma received a pullover from Kevin and Kasey but was most thrilled to see her great grandchildren. I think that was the greatest present of all.

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Jen and Armando also joined us this year. It’s their first time meeting grandma.

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Grandma also got to meet the Cannadys and our other nephews on that side.

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We had wonderful food and wonderful company. We were out later than we wanted but it worked out great because grandma didn’t seem to mind and she had the opportunity to meet the Cannadys.

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The next morning grandma got to explore the contents of her Christmas stocking at breakfast: a new wallet, jumbo print playing cards, and Lindor truffles.

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Brian and I don’t really buy each other presents to open on Christmas Day. We mostly just buy the things we want, say that we got them for Christmas, but immediately start enjoying them (much like our new Xorbee). The wrapped presents you see under our tree are all the presents that that we’ve bought to give to others.

We have so many generous people in our lives, though that there’s usually not a shortage of presents to open on Christmas Day. This year we got to watch grandma open the presents that we got for her and the presents that she got from David and Donna.

We also got several presents from Brian’s mom and dad, a Kurt Adler Christmas ornament from Aunt Sandy, cutting boards from Cousin Tracy and Jeff, and a personalized Christmas ornament from our neighbors Jim and Karen who were nice enough to stop by on Christmas Day. Grandma finally got to meet our awesome neighbors we’d been telling her about. And they got to meet her.

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Molly got presents too — from me and Brian (new beds and toys) and also from Karen and Jim (outfit and treats). Karen and Jim got her a cute little Wichita State shockers dress that she wore all day. She looked like a little cheerleader!

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After lunch we got to video chat with Brian’s parents and thank them for all the wonderful presents they gave us. It was a wonderful Christmas despite my not feeling 100%. Brian really saved Christmas from becoming a complete and total disaster this year. After he took grandma home we both took a very long nap. It had been a busy two days and we were completely and utterly exhausted.

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Hope your Christmas was filled with just as much joy and happiness!

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

Ted’s Cafe Escondido

We had the opportunity to try a new restaurant a few weeks ago when we were in Oklahoma to deliver Brian’s old truck to his dad. We’d been looking to buy a new vehicle for a few years now and just hadn’t found the right one. Plus, we were saving money because we didn’t want to finance it. We paid for Crichton in cash in 2007 and we finished paying off Bebot in 2008. We didn’t want another car payment. However, we promised that we would give the truck to Brian’s dad once we got a new vehicle.

Goodbye, Crichton.

We finally found the exact car that we wanted to add to our family in October. We would have delivered the truck to Oklahoma sooner but we promised Jenni that Brian would help her move in early November so we couldn’t get rid of the truck just yet. Our opportunity came Thanksgiving weekend because neither of us had to work.

It was fitting too. Rather than participating in the consumerist juggernaut that is Black Friday, we used the day to drive to Brian’s parents’ home in Oklahoma and deliver the truck to them. We gave it to them for several reasons. Brian’s dad likes to do projects at home and in his workshop and had been looking for a truck to haul stuff to and from the store. They have a couple of four-door sedans that aren’t really conducive to hauling big, bulky items. We figured that he would get more use out of the truck than we would. We also wanted to get rid of the truck because Brian doesn’t really enjoy helping people move and he got tired of me volunteering him and his truck long ago.

It didn’t make sense to sell the truck or trade it in because we wouldn’t get what it was worth. Plus, Brian’s dad was looking for a truck and it didn’t make sense for him to buy one when we had a truck that we no longer needed. Giving them the truck was a great way to say thank you for everything they’d done for us over the years. And, how appropriate that it happened on Thanksgiving weekend.

Ted's Cafe Escondido on Urbanspoon

But I digress… I really wanted to tell you about this restaurant that Brian’s parents took us to that day. The place is called Ted’s Cafe Escondido. We don’t have one here in Wichita, but it’s very similar to Abuelo’s. They have the same kind of tortilla chips that I like and the menu options are similar. Prices are comparable also. I guess the restaurant is more like Abuelo’s and Felipe’s together. You’ll see what I mean when you see the food pictures.

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Brian had a bean and cheese burrito smothered in queso. This is what my unadventurous husband gets everywhere. Unless we’re splitting something. Then he is forced to eat what I’m having. LOL.

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I had the pork chile verde and Brian wanted nothing to do with it.

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Donna had the handmade tamales.

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I can’t remember what kind of burrito David had because so much time has passed. I really should have blogged this weeks ago but we’ve been super busy.

The restaurant gives you a free sapodilla on request. It’s good but not as good as the mini, bite-sized sapodillas at Felipe’s Jr. You have to pay for those, though. One could argue that free is better. LOL.

Of the places we’ve tried in the area, which is not many because we’ve only been down there a couple of times since they moved, this one is my favorite. That doesn’t say much, I suppose. Check back in a few months.

Meddys

Meddys on Urbanspoon

Meddys opened a few months ago at the old Jimmy’s Egg location on Harry and Rock Road. However, we didn’t learn about it until after Lights on the Lake. We were super impressed with food at the event that we had to track down the caterer. That’s how we found out about Meddys.

We try not to eat out too often but we’ve been really lazy about cooking at home the last few months and it’s hard to resist a good hummus. LOL. Plus, it’s located in our section of town so we couldn’t not check it out.

Here are some pictures of the restaurant:

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What I like most about Meddys is the simplicity of their menu.

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You don’t have to spend a half an hour trying to decide what to have. Also, the sides are all $1.99 which beats any super value menu at any fast food restaurant.

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Brian got the creamy tomato soup, which he had a chance to try and liked at the fundraising event.

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He also got a chicken shawarma wrap and a side of shoe string fries.

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I love skinny fries so they already got me. Brian prefers the fat, steak fries.

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For dinner I had the beef shawarma bowl. I had to fish out the onions, which I don’t like, but it was great other than that. I’m not really that hard to please. You give me some meat and some rice, and I’m good to go.

Brian, on the other hand, wasn’t easily impressed. He felt that the quality of the food fell short of the restaurant’s promise. I would have to agree with Brian. Meddys is great but, if you have the opportunity to try their catering, it is way better. I wonder if different cooks prepare the catering food than the ones that cook at the restaurant on a regular basis. I still think it’s good either way, but Brian was really disappointed because he expected the food to be just as good (if not better) than the food at Lights on the Lake.

For me, if you have good food and good prices, you’re already winning. For instance, a couple of people can share the $1.99 hummus and call it good. They give you lots of pita. More than enough to share. May that’s just me because I find hummus really filling.

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If you want something more substantial, you can get the shawarma and hummus plate for $7.99. It’s enough to feed two hungry people. Where else can you eat for that cheap (without resorting to ordering from a super value menu)? Nowhere.

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Thank you, Meddys, for giving me another reason not to cook.

Thanksgiving 2014

My coworkers take Thanksgiving very seriously. Our lounge area and break room were totally decked out last month for Harvest Feast.

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Our coworkers who organized Harvest Feast really outdid themselves this year. They even got matching aprons. How cool is that?

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We all chipped in $5 for the meats but Brian didn’t want me to show up to work empty handed so he made me the banana pudding dessert thing that we love so I would have something to bring to the potluck.

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It was a huge hit. How could it not be? This thing is like crack. Anyway, if you’d like the recipe or if you’d like to see all the other variations we’ve made in the past go here.

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We hosted Thanksgiving again this year so I decided that I probably ought to decorate. We found this beautiful wreath at the store that matched our Christmas tree on the main floor, which is natural and woodsy, so we had to get it. It looks great, don’t you think?

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This is the Christmas tree in the basement.

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We didn’t decorate too much but we put up enough decorations to be somewhat festive.

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We like personalized things. Can you tell?

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I liked these napkins and placemats not only because they’re personalized with our last name initial but mainly because they’re neutral and match the rest of our decor.

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We brought out our wine glasses for mimosas so I finally had the opportunity to use my festive wine charms.

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This was Molly’s first Thanksgiving back with us.

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Molly and grandma kept each other company as we reheated the food that was carefully prepared by the Fresh Market.

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We had a great time celebrating with family.

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Here are some pictures of the food we enjoyed at Thanksgiving.

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We were wise this year and created a project plan for when things needed to go in the oven. It worked out perfect. Everything finished right on schedule.

The food was delicious and we had way more food than we needed. I’m thinking either we order less food or invite more people to our little Thanksgiving shindig next time.

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Jenni’s birthday was the day before Thanksgiving so we celebrated with her.

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I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. Until next year!

Homework Night with My Little Sister

I know my little sister loves it when we go on outings to the zoo, amusement park, museum, skating, painting, etc. but my favorite activity with her by far is homework night. I enjoy taking her on fun outings, but I really enjoying helping her with homework.

She was a little impatient on Wednesday night because there was more homework than usual and the assigned work, specially the math portion, was more challenging. She wanted to stop before we were finished, but I managed to get her to complete all of it.

I think next time I may need to add a short break in there to make up for Kira’s shorter attention span. I’m learning so much from this process.

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I snapped these photos on Wednesday night. I couldn’t resist. The sight was very Norman Rockwell and the Saturday Evening Post.

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Homework nights are nights that I look forward to with eager anticipation.

Lights on the Lake 2014

It’s been a few years since we’ve attended a Lights on the Lake launch party. The last Lights on the Lake launch party we attended was at Abode back in 2011. The event has gotten so much bigger since then. Last year and this year it was held at Murfin Stables, an amazing venue.

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They really upped the ante this year with the upgraded dress code (cocktail attire was recommended) and lavish decorations. Check out these photos.

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The opulent table setting made me feel very fancy.

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We were assigned to table 22, Brian’s favorite number.

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Meddys catered the event.

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Here’s what was on the menu. The hors d’oeuvres consisted of creamy tomato soup, vegetarian lentil soup, baked pita, hummus, and fresh vegetables.

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There were people walking around with trays of hummus and soup until dinner.

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Salads and desserts were already at the tables but dinner was served buffet style. The salad was a delicious Mediterranean salad with salmon. It was very good.

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For dinner we had chicken shawarma, beef shawarma, rice, and roasted vegetables.

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Savories provided dessert. We had a couple of options: brownie bottom cheesecake and cherry cheesecake. Yummy!

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There was a silent auction, my favorite thing to check out and do at these events. I didn’t win any of the items I bid on this time, though.

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There was also a live auction. That’s something that I generally don’t participate it because I don’t have as much money at my disposal as other event guests. Live auction items usually go for thousands of dollars.

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At this event, however, there were a couple of things that went for just $900 so that was a pretty good deal. One of the most successful auction items was this black goldendoodle puppy that went for $3500.

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She’s going to be one spoiled puppy!

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There was also a wine pull and signature cocktails for sale for people like me who weren’t keen on the drink selections at the open bar. For $30 I got a signature drink with a commemorative champagne flute and $5 refills.

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Brian and I got to play with the TapSnap photo booth.

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We took a group photo of our table also.

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Brian and I had such a great time. Brian will say he still prefers Brew Ha-Ha but, overall, Lights on the Lake is a really enjoyable fundraising event. It also benefits a great cause – Heartspring Pediatric Services. I highly encourage you all to support the organization and participate in the event next year.

Also, remember to check out Lights on the Lake this year. It’s one of the most amazing Christmas light displays in here in Wichita.

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.

Brew Ha-Ha 2014

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We had a great time at the Big Brothers Big Sisters Brew Ha-Ha fundraising event on Friday night. The event, which is our most favorite fundraising event every year, is always a great time but it was even more meaningful for me this year because I started my journey as a big sister volunteer for Big Brothers Big Sisters in over the summer.

We saw several of my coworkers and former coworkers. We also met friends from outside of work. We spent most of the evening hanging with the Shermans and the Washingtons, who also happen to be our neighbors. I know I’ve raved about our neighbors before. We really have the best neighbors. If you are looking to buy a house in Southeast Wichita, Sierra Hills is the place to be.

The food this year was provided by Freddy’s (always our first stop because the beer milkshakes are a highlight of the event for us), P.F. Chang’s, Siena Tuscan Steakhouse, Newport Grill, and Woodfire Grille. No Carrabba’s this year, which was a bummer because we always enjoy visiting with Joe. They donated to the silent auction though, so they weren’t completely absent from the event. My favorite food was the braised short ribs that Woodfire Grille served. It was delicious. I don’t really drink beer. I mostly like to go to sample all the delicious food that the vendors offer.

Brian was hilariously inebriated, but not embarrassingly so. Thank heavens. I would like us to be invited back next year. =P Jokes aside, we both had a wonderful time and are already counting the days until the next one.

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