Christmas Day Recap

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

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Grandma met Saki for the first time on Christmas Day.

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

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

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She sent us his and hers mugs with our initials.

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

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

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She also asked for flavored popcorn.

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So we got some for her.

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

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

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Grandma always gets lots of food items at Christmas time.

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Donna asked for these Rachel Ray cooking utensils.

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We try to follow instructions. LOL.

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

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

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David mostly just wanted tools.

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

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Brian got this hoodie, which he absolutely loves.

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He wears it everyday.

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He also got a monogrammed tie, which he loves.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Saki was my Christmas present from Brian. :)

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

Christmas Eve Recap

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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QQ was pretty easy. He just wanted Hot Wheels.

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

One Year Ends and Another Begins

It’s that time of year again when we look back on the previous year, recall what went wrong (or right), and reflect on lessons learned. Before we begin recapping 2015, allow me to briefly recap the past few years.

The year 2014 was a fantastic year for me but it ended pretty rough. I got sick and ended up with pneumonia. Right then I knew that I was in for a rocky year but I remained optimistic. And, despite all of the ups and downs of 2015, I managed to avoid a trip to the ER so I consider that a win. LOL.

So what else happened last year besides not having to go to the ER?

I got to visit one of our partners’ call centers in Saint George, UT. Their office is near Las Vegas so we ended up flying in and out of Vegas for the trip. It was fun and I got to meet some really cool people but it was rough staying in a different hotel room every night.

Brian and I had the opportunity to attend several great fundraising events like the Heart Ball, Celebrity & Chef Cook Off, Labor Run, Zoobilee, Light Your Heart, Brew Ha-Ha, Boo and Brew Ball, and the Second Wave anniversary party at the Wichita Art Museum. We also participated in Cards for the Cure, which our friend Jay masterfully took down.

Brian was laid off from Viega after seven years but we didn’t let that hamper our spirits. We still celebrated Super Pi Day on March 14, 2015. It worked out for the best though because then Brian was able to do some traveling with me when I had to go to Washington, DC for a work conference. We both got to visit Washington for the first time together. During Brian’s brief break from employment, he dabbled in travel agent work and helped our friends Jay and Becca sort out the Travel Junkie CRM before eventually changing careers and joining Edward Jones.

Besides Saint George, UT and Washington, DC, I also had the opportunity to travel to Charlotte, NC when I got a free registration to the annual CS Week conference. While there I got to visit the NASCAR Hall of Fame and had the opportunity to meet NASCAR legend Junior Johnson.

I also got to visit New York while I was in New Jersey for a utilities workshop. Darcy and I traveled together. It was both a fun and productive trip.

I got to help with the 2015 Youth Entrepreneurs Summer Partnership program at my work and also participated in some great team building activities with my coworkers. We learned how to do makeup one time, and we also did community service work at the Kansas Food Bank and the Wichita Art Museum.

I had fun hanging out with my little sister from Big Brothers Big Sisters all year. Here are some of the things we did: Starbird-Devlin Cars for Charities, Big Fish at Century II, learning some Zumba, painting at the Big Brothers Big Sisters office, Bartlett Arboretum, bowling (a few times), roller skating, playing at Get Air (the trampoline park downtown), celebrating with other matches at the Big Brothers Big Sisters holiday party at Botanica, etc. It has been a wonderful year and Nickira is growing so fast. Her feet are actually bigger than mine now.

Besides doing more community service this year than I ever have (I actually qualified to request Tier 1 and Tier 2 volunteer time matches at work, which I asked to be donated to the Greater Wichita YMCA both times), I also got to do other enrichment activities such as joining the Andover Rotary Club (thanks to my friends and coworker David for recommending it), and Brian and I both completed Citizen Police Academy.

Brian and I got to see some good concerts from artists we’d never seen perform before: The Avett Brothers, Moreland & Arbuckle, Here Come the Mummies, and John Fullbright. We missed the Avett Brothers the first time they came to town so we vowed not to miss them again this time around. Here Come the Mummies was a complete surprise. We thought they would be hokey but they were actually amazing. The others were at Bartlett Arboretum. That place is completely enchanting. I can’t believe we’d never been there until now.

Besides the disaster of Brian getting laid off from work, I also had a couple of disasters with my phone and my car. UBreakIFix saved my hiney, not once, but twice. Then I wrecked both the front and back ends of my car shortly after paying it off. Isn’t that just the luck? I had to take care of the front end damage, which was actually more expensive, myself because no other car was involved. It was me vs. a parking stop. LOL. The back end damage was a minor fender bender (rear-end collision) in downtown Kansas City. It cost about half as much to fix but it wasn’t my fault so I didn’t have to pay for the repairs that time. What a relief!

Brian wasn’t the only one who had some work changes. I started working on a new project at work. It’s a major one that’s a three-year commitment. It’s so huge that I had to move my office from one end of the building to the other and I’ll be reporting to someone else this year.

We celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary in a low-key way by going on a moonlight horseback ride in the Flint Hills and having a nice quiet dinner in Mulvane. Our anniversary this year was simple but it’s definitely one of the more memorable ones.

We had some friends who turned 50 this year and threw the most amazing parties. We also got to attend Christina and Jake’s wedding at Exploration Place. That was another great party.

Lastly, we added two new family members. Brian got a new car he named Rex because it’s a Lexus RX 350. It’s a 2015 but we got a heck of a deal so we didn’t have to finance. That happened during the week of Thanksgiving so we just called it his Christmas present (for this year and the next few years – LOL).

In December we won a puppy in the live auction of the Light Your Heart event. We named her Saki. Life hasn’t been the same ever since. For all of us.

Saki is very sweet and is an amazing dog but it is an adjustment. Molly is on senior dog food and Saki is on puppy dog food. We now have to buy two of everything so they don’t get jealous of one another. There’s also the additional vet bills. Feeding times are now a two-person effort because we have to make sure they don’t kill each other. Brian and I are fine with the changes, but Molly is taking a long time to adjust. They have good moments but the two still fight a lot. Even though we’d been thinking of getting a companion for Molly for a while (ever since we found out that our favorite neighbors and their two dogs would be moving to Orlando), this is probably the most spontaneous thing we’ve ever done. And, Brian and I are not spontaneous people.

We have sit-down meetings with each other to plan our budget at the end of every year and halfway through. We schedule everything months in advance and have a strict calendar. Heck, we use a spreadsheet to plan our Thanksgiving cooking! We were definitely not as prepared as we usually are for this change.

That’s pretty much our year in a nutshell. It was a rollercoaster with lots of ups and downs but I feel blessed for all the great things that happened. Like I said, I didn’t have to make a trip to the ER so that in itself is a win.

I’m optimistic about the coming year but Brian tells me that I’m optimistic about the new year every year. For one, we are already off to a great start compared to last year. Last year I wanted to teach Zumba on New Year’s Day but couldn’t because I had pneumonia. This year I was able to make it happen. I turned the event into a mini Zumbathon/party complete with gift drawings and two other instructors leading songs. We had such a blast.

I believe that great things will happen for us next year and I look forward to recounting them around this time next year. I’m hoping that going on the first ever Zumba cruise, which is less than a month away, will be only one of many highlights that I’ll be sharing with you this time next year. Brian and I are both super excited (me more so than Brian as can be expected – LOL).

Happy New Year, Everyone!


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Hanging Out with the Dills

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.

Bowling League Christmas Party

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!

Life With Our New Puppy

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.

Getting in the Spirit

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!

One Day and Three Parties

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!

Light Your Heart 2015

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Brian and I had a blast at the Light Your Heart last weekend. This fundraising event for Heartspring used to be the Lights on the Lake launch party but they discontinued Lights on the Lake last year so naturally the benefit had to be renamed.

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They had a different band this year, but they were very good.

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Here’s a picture of how the venue was decorated.

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Here are some pictures of our great-looking group.

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The Bowmans always look happy and fabulous.

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Looking back at my pics from the evening, I realized that I missed taking a photo of Michael and Rachel. Yikes! I think it’s because they kept wandering off. LOL.

We wandered away from the table a few times ourselves. A couple of times to bid and rebid on silent auction items and once to take some photos at the photo booth.

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The photo booth was cool but it wasn’t as cool as the photo booth last year. The photo booth last year could accommodate more people. And, I don’t know what it was with this photo booth but we could not get the timing just right. We would pose and then the camera would snap a picture just as we would move. It was fun, though.

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There were lots of great silent auction items this year, but it seemed like there were fewer than last year. I bid on the WSU items but didn’t win any of them.

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It’s a good thing too because we ended up winning one of the live auction items.

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Attendance seemed low this year compared to last year. Last year they filled a much larger venue. I’m wondering if Garth Brooks had a lot do with it.

People weren’t bidding as much in the live auction either so we thought we’d help out. LOL. Last year the puppy fetched $3500. This year we were able to take it down at $1400. Granted Goldendoodles look like teddy bears and probably go for a lot more in general, but our little Shiba is the cutest little puppy ever. That said, even though we would have donated even more for the privilege of adopting her, I’m glad the bidding ended when it did.

We were disappointed to find out that you don’t get to take the puppy home with you that night. You actually have to go to the store and sign a bunch of papers and they give you a bunch of extra stuff too like a crate, bed, toys, food, etc. Makes sense. We’d never won a puppy from a live auction before so we didn’t know.

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Here’s a picture of all the stuff we got with our puppy adoption. The Snuggle Puppy is the best thing ever. We actually went back to the store and got one for Molly as well.

Anyway, I’m glad we lost all of the silent auction items that we bid on because that would have made for a very expensive evening otherwise. Heartspring is a great organization though so we are happy help. We named our new puppy Saki, which in Japanese can be translated as “blossom of hope” — fitting considering the circumstances.

Here’s to Saki, the newest member of our happy family!

Big Brothers Big Sisters Holiday Party

Brian, Nickira, and I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the Big Brothers Big Sisters holiday party at Botanica last weekend.

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We saw Thunderdog, Santa Claus, and Mrs. Claus. We also did crafts and played bingo. It was a lot of fun and Nickira received several presents.

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Thunder dog gave Nickira a gigantic stuffed dog, almost the same size as her.

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Santa gave Nickira a present and we also got a photo with him.

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Here’s Nickira with her giant dog and other Christmas loot.

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She loved her dog. She got the biggest stuffed dog out of all the kid there. That was the absolute highlight of the day.

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The dog was so soft and comfortable that she promptly fell asleep on it on the way home.

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Here she is completely out. She was so out of it that she ended up drooling on the dog. LOL. And then we finally had to wake her up when we arrived at her house.

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I didn’t get to see Nickira this weekend because we enrolled our new puppy Saki (more on that later) in puppy school and yesterday was her first day. I’m hoping I’ll be able to spend some time with her on Thursday so we can give her Christmas present to her.

We missed the Big Brothers Big Sisters Christmas party last year so this was my first one and I didn’t really know what to expect. It was really cool actually and we had a great time. Nickira liked it so much she said that we have to go again next year.

We will most definitely be back!

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