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Pictures from Our Tour of Victoria Falls

Posted on November 24, 2016 by under Family, Life.    

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It was bright and sunny that day so Brian loaned grandma his sunglasses. Doesn’t she look absolutely stylish in them?

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One of the things I liked about the place is that they had chairs everywhere so any time you got tired of walking you could just have a seat as needed.

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This is grandma going through her long list of questions with Tom, facility director.

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This is Brian pretending to pay attention. Just kidding. He really was paying attention. I promise.

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One of grandma’s favorite nurses moved here from the place where she currently lives. We ran into her and we had a nice visit.

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All of the residents we encountered seemed super happy to be living there. Everyone appeared satisfied and happy with the service. There was this one guy in a scooter who was really funny. He was like, “You guys must be pretty special to get Tom here on a Sunday.”

I love the aviary that they have in the middle of the room.

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Here’s a better picture of it.

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You don’t need fake nature sounds when you can hear real birds chirping away.

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This would probably be my favorite spot if I lived there.

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I find bird sounds so calming and relaxing.

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I also like the nice private courtyard in the middle of the facility.

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We walked through there to get to the dining hall.

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It will be the perfect spot for nice days.

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Brian loved the train trolley in the middle of the dining room.

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It’s a nice touch.

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There are also booths in there so you can eat inside the trolley if you like.

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There’s also a beauty salon onsite.

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And a bistro for the dessert socials.

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This is where they play bingo and movies.

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There are also various game tables like billiards and shuffleboard, which is perfect for the more active residents of the facility.

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And all of the hallways are nice and wide. Perfect for zooming around in a motorized chair or scooter.

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There are lots of activities for the residents, which gives everyone ample opportunities to socialize.

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Here’s the November calendar up close.

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The best part is that all residents are issued a safety pendant that they can push in case of emergency. This would have been perfect that time that grandma fell in her apartment. It might have saved her from further injuries from having to crawl over to the phone. With this, she can just push the button and help would be on its way.

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I liked the facility overall but this is by far our favorite feature. We are looking forward to moving grandma here in a few weeks. I think she will really love it here.

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Triple Birthday Bash and Kansas Humane Society Benefit

Posted on November 22, 2016 by under Events.    

Jenni and her roommates, Dom and Val, hosted an awesome event last weekend. They all had November birthdays so they decided to have a triple birthday celebration while raising money for the Kansas Humane Society.

The night’s festivities included a vegan soup/chili cookoff, Tetris tournament, and ping pong tournament. Cookoff participants got three voting tickets while spectators could purchase five voting tickets for $5 (additional voting tickets could be purchased for $1 each). To assist in the cleanup, the environmentally conscious hosts asked everyone to bring their favorite mugs and then Dom also awarded a prize for the best mug. (Janice won the prize for best mug.)

I attended mostly to celebrate Jenni’s birthday but also to compete in the Tetris and ping pong tournaments, which were $5 each.

The Tetris tournament was played bracket style with seeding determined by individual time trials prior to the official start of tournament. It was a single-elimination tournament bracket with the exception of the championship match which would be best of three.

The ping pong tournament was also a bracket style with seeding based on self-reported level of skill. Similar to the Tetris tournament, the bracket was single-elimination except for the championship match which would be best of three as well. The added twist in both tournaments is that any match loser could declare a rematch for an additional $5 fee. It is a fundraising event, after all.

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The game was projected on the wall which made for giant Tetriminos.

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There were some serious competitors.

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I hadn’t played Tetris in years until that night so I really appreciated the opportunity to practice before the tournament started.

It didn’t help much as I lost to James. However, I don’t feel too bad because he ended up becoming tournament champ. Well, Dom and Val did the best in the Tetris tournament but they both agreed to drop out because it would be silly for them to win their own trophies and prizes. I think Dom was the true Tetris champion but James performed the best out of everyone else.

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This is him in full concentration mode.

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I also got to experience Tron pong for the first time ever that night. They put neon lights around the table and along the top of the net and used glow in the dark ping pong balls. It was definitely interesting.

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We didn’t have to play in the dark, though. We played ping pong normally and the Tron pong was simply an option for the championship match, if the competitors so chose. I don’t think the championship match was played in the dark but I don’t know for sure because I didn’t stick around long enough. I didn’t fare very well in the ping pong tournament either. I was the bottom seed and had to face Dom in my first match. Obviously, I didn’t advance.

Dr. Barbara Chaparro, Director of the Software Usability Research Lab at Wichita State University, took down the ping pong tournament. I had no idea of Dr. Chaparro’s serious ping pong prowess until that night.

Here’s what the trophies looked like:

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Each of the tournament winners also won a Valily Lane vintage dictionary print and $10 toward Valily Lane merchandise.

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Val also threw in a nice reusable tote for each of the winners to hold their goodies.

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Anyway, Brian and I arrived at the party around seven o’clock and Jenni was nowhere to be found. After I got eliminated from both the Tetris and ping pong tournaments, Brian and I stuck around for a while hoping that Jenni would eventually show up. A couple of hours later, there was still no sign of Jenni. Brian concluded that she bailed on the party.

Since we were mostly there to celebrate with Jenni, and she was nowhere to be found, Brian and I left the party relatively early. I think we left around ten. We later found out that Jenni was asleep in her room the entire time. What the heck kind of party host sleeps through most of their party?

On a positive note, they raised $672 that night for the Kansas Humane Society. That’s pretty darn awesome. This was by far one of the best ideas for a birthday party ever. I hope they decide to do it again next year.

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Laundry Day

Posted on November 22, 2016 by under Confessions, Life.    

This is what laundry day looks like at our house.

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And yes, for someone who doesn’t even take Zumba classes, Brian has a lot of Zumba sweats. He absolutely loves wearing them!

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We practically live in our Zumba sweats all weekend long. He just happens to not be wearing them in this photo because this picture was taken after our busy Saturday morning of volunteering. And, I think most of them were in the laundry. Yeah, this isn’t all of them. I think he had a couple still stashed in the dresser.

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Anyway, I thought I would share this with you all. I’m so thankful to have Brian and the girls in my life. I just love my babies. All three of them!

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Sakana Japanese Grill & Sushi

Posted on November 21, 2016 by under Food and Drink.    

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Brian and I discovered a new sushi joint last weekend. It’s in the space that formerly housed the Pink Boa in the strip by the Dillons Marketplace in Andover.

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The interior of the space, which sat empty for a long time after the store closed, has been completely remodeled. It definitely no longer looks like the Pink Boa.

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They have a pretty extensive menu.

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They also have really good lunch specials.

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I thought their miso soup was good but Brian didn’t think it had enough flavor.

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I only had a taste of it though because I ordered the seafood soup for myself.

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Here’s a picture of their delicious seafood soup. I thought it was an excellent value with lots of yummy shrimp, crab, scallops, and pieces of squid all for less than $7.

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Of course, Brian and I had to try the sushi.

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We ordered the specialty roll called the Lion King.

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Brian had the chicken teriyaki box, which was also an excellent deal.

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All of their prices are actually pretty reasonable and the food is fabulous. Brian and I have already talked about returning to try some other things on the menu. We may even take grandma on our next trip there.

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And, in the event you’re looking for something different to do on Thanksgiving, they’re open. If we weren’t already hosting Thanksgiving at our house, this is probably where we would be. LOL. It’s definitely nontraditional.

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Team Building and Community Service

Posted on November 20, 2016 by under Events, Projects, Things to Do.    

Here are some pictures from the team building volunteer service activity that I organized a couple of weeks ago. I’m so grateful for my amazing coworkers who gave up part of their holiday weekend to help out.

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The project? We helped set up the North Pole Winter Carnival at Child Start‘s Polar Express Literacy Event.

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The trickiest part was building the train display with no instructions.

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Mike was super proud of the fake wood wall that he and Mel built.

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He’s showing it off in this photo with Faith’s husband (left).

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They didn’t need our help with the main event area. Our group’s focus was setting up and decorating the game room, which I actually thought was the fun part.

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I really wish we could have attended the event and seen the kids enjoy the carnival games. Brian and I had another party to attend that evening, otherwise I would have totally dragged him with me. Had I planned the weekend better, I could have taken Nickira to the event. I think she would have enjoyed it.

I hope Child Start holds the event again next year. Nickira is getting to close to that age where she might think it’s a little bit childish but I really think she would enjoy it. I hope I can take her next year because it will be the final one before she’s officially a teenager. I saw some pictures of the event on the Child Start Facebook page and it looked like a blast. I’m really bummed that I missed it.

At least we got to help set up. I just love volunteering for stuff like this. It warms my heart. The best part is the $1000 donation from the Westar Energy Foundation to match our team building volunteer service hours.

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