Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The One Book of October.

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I read one book, Night Film, amidst the planning and packing filled weeks of October. It was the book club book selection, and Kate managed to pick a book that was a good blend of spooky and mystery. The chapters were short, neat little five minute packages that meant I could easily read a few each night before bed. However, the climax of the story is a long, scary and often confusing chapter, and it kept me up really late one night. I had to make sure everyone stayed alive. I don't really watch thrillers (or read them), so it was a good change of pace. The NPR review gives even more stuff for you to ponder before you pick it up to read yourself. It's a commitment coming in at just over 500 pages.

If you've missed my Junior League blog posts, be sure to click over and read about Korky the kitten and Homeless and Hunger Awareness week. Both make me extremely proud of the work that the Junior League does and painfully aware of the great need in our community.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Some Other Stuff.

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Since my last blog post, here's some important stuff:

Kip had a birthday. He turned 33. I think it's okay for me to tell you that. It was a lovely celebration that included homemade fried chicken. We've been practicing with this double soak recipe, and it really takes fried chicken to a whole new level. I managed to pull off a couple of surprises with a cake I baked (and frosted) while he sat in another room and a new miter saw. I did my research, and he was so surprised. We have already put the miter saw to use in our house!

The Royals played in seven games in the World Series. It was amazing, even though we didn't win. Lauren went to game six and had an incredible time. I watched most of the games from the couch or while packing stuff up. I pretty much have been packing stuff up since late September, but now I'm in the unpacking stage!

The Luhrs Ladies went to two football games and saw K-State beat Texas and Oklahoma State. We were really hot and got sunburned and then the next week we were really cold and ate ribs. Kip sat in a deer stand during both of the games, and he shot a deer the second weekend he went out.

I saw Jim Gaffigan talk about his new book Food: A Love Story with my sister. I let her keep the copy because Kip and I are about half way done with his audio book. We listened to it while we drove to Oklahoma for his grandmother's funeral, and we also listen to the CDs as we drive to church. It's so funny - just like you would expect from Jim Gaffigan. It also makes me very hungry. Besides listening to Jim G. on the drive to Lawton, Oklahoma, we also stopped at Braum's for ice cream and Guy & Mae's for delicious ribs.

I moved. Slowly, I took load after load in the Pilot to Kip's house. While I worked at Battle of the Books, Kip and some guys from work moved the big stuff to the house Kip already owned. My mom dropped me off at the old house, and Kip, Belle and I drove the final load to our home together. It was a little tiny bit sad leaving my little rental because it was very good to me (and my friends). Kip and I fell in love in that house. But oh my goodness, the new house is quickly becoming our home. Things are unpacked. The office is almost set-up exactly perfect. But the time with Kip is the very best part. I really wish you could have seen how excited he was that first weekend to have me there, even though it meant he had to pick up his socks and share his coffee. I regularly feel loved by that guy, and we're enjoying the final couple weeks until the wedding.

There are still plenty of to-do lists around here for the wedding as we collect final RSVPs, prepare all our DIY projects to take to the rehearsal dinner and wedding, and prepare to celebrate with family and friends. But we have our marriage license, so this thing is real. #kiptoriawedding

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Chicago Marathon in 2006.

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In October of 2006, I took a quick weekend trip to Chicago. It was my first full year teaching (and learning!) in KCK, and Jennie had just started grad school at Northwestern. She moved from California to Chicago and purchased a whole new wardrobe for life on Lake Michigan. Rachel and Sol flew in from Boston so that they could run the Chicago Marathon.

Because I couldn't take time off from my eighth graders, I traveled with everything I needed in a backpack. That's my reasoning for why I look so exceptionally awesome in the photo above. Jennie and I worked hard to track Rachel all over town and never saw her once during the marathon. The crowds are kind of ridiculous in Chicago, but they are also inspiring. I'm sure I cried and cheered and loved every minute of the marathon watching.
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We did manage to find Rachel at the end of the race, and apparently the sun came out enough for these very large and ridiculous sunglasses. Rachel wanted a burrito after the race, and even though we were in a city known for deep dish pizza and fancy hot dogs, we obliged. Trump card: 26 miles. Then we took some obnoxious photos and all went back to our homes - the Scotts to Boston, Jennie to grad school and me to Overland Park.
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These photos jumped out at me as a tremendous flashback to how much life changes in 8 years. The three of us probably didn't ever imagine where life would go between now and then. Jennie still lives in Chicago with her husband, Joe, and Rachel has moved three more times to three different states. And Rachel and I were housemates for two years - something not even on our radar in 2006. We are waiting any.day.now for Jennie's baby #1 (c'mon already!), and I've cuddled and loved all three of Rachel's sweet baby boys.  Rachel is getting ready to run another marathon (in New York City), and I'm getting ready to move for another time. But this time I get to move in with my soon-to-be husband.

Is there any question that the plans God has for us are far greater than what we can ever imagine? And I'm a big dreamer and doer. Loved this trip to Chicago in 2006 and love that Jennie and Rachel will be there with me as bridesmaids when I get to marry Kip in 36 days.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

BOTAR Ball 2014.

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Saturday night the family cleaned up and headed to the Muehlebach for the 65th Annual BOTAR Ball. I swear we didn't intend for our outfits to coordinate, but they totally worked well together! Mom found a new top to wear, Lauren jazzed up a bridesmaid's dress with a new belt from Nordstrom, and I rented the runway.

It was my first time trying the rental service and a total home run. Two sizes of this black sequin dresses arrived on Thursday night, and I was so excited to wear it on Saturday! I was able to chose from a wide variety of dresses that they have in extra length, so it hit the floor when I was wearing flats Saturday night.
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My friend Amy, corresponding secretary, had the perfect dress for Saturday night. Seriously, we all loved how much it matched the style of the ball and her personality. Her boyfriend Matt came in from Houston, and we had a great time getting to know him better while dressed to the nines. The presenters wear tuxes with tails and GLOVES. As Lauren says, this is good practice for next month when Kip and I walk down the aisle again!
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My favorite exec dress belonged to the VP Ball, Kristin. The red bow was just so perfect! Kip and I have both enjoyed our time with all the exec members and their plus ones. On Sunday morning, all of exec gathers for a brunch and to recap the night, and I think that was one of my most favorite parts. Maybe for Kip too because there was bacon and sausage.
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Kip has really mastered the art of the Luhrs Ladies group photo. So proud.
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The inside of the ballroom was amazing. It looked like we were up on the twentieth floor of a high rise looking out at a city with huge city scenes hung on all the walls. I bet you are imagining something worthy of a high school prom. Stop, erase that mental image and replace it with FLOOR TO CEILING wall hangings. I have never seen anything like it. The president surprised everyone also with a gorgeous white dance floor which fit the theme perfectly. I don't have a picture of the BOTARs dress, but it was extremely flattering on everyone with a black top and full ivory skirt.

The tables were lit with these amazing boxes of gladiolas and calla lilas or hydrangeas. Even the tables were different this year with big rectangles instead of traditional ovals, and they were covered with beautiful long white and black tablecloths. The president had the brilliant idea to move a bar inside the ballroom for better access and set up a very hip lounge in the back of the room. These cool high back sofas and low tables with stools were a brilliant and purposeful addition. 
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Kip really didn't mind anything too much (except the gloves - that's where "it almost went too far!"), and I even talked him into dancing a few songs with me. Lauren was very busy the week of the ball as she worked as reservations assistant to be sure that over 700 people were in the right spots at tables. She's got a math and numbers head that made her extremely helpful to the reservations chair.
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After dinner there was a big flash mob on the dance floor to the song "Happy." I had been secretly practicing by myself because I thought Kip would be so surprised. He will always catch me in the house dancing to a song on the TV! I don't know that he was that shocked because I didn't manage to pull off the "casual" walk to the dance floor. As Amy put it, I basically sprinted to the dance floor because I didn't want to miss a beat. Kip just also thought it was just "something we do at meetings!" I think we probably looked amazing on the dance floor, but I haven't seen video yet. I DO know it was so fun, and if you want to perform it at my wedding, I will send you the link.
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Here we are enjoying the lounge area at the end of the night! Mom and Lu headed home around midnight, and Kip and I made it to the after party with other exec members and all the BOTAR class. We are certainly not 22 anymore, so we mostly enjoyed the after party because of the chips and guacamole and a chance to sit down.

We had a fabulous time. I mostly kept saying, "Oh, on November 29th I need to remember this..." It's crazy that in less than six weeks, Kip and I will be getting dressed up again for our wedding! He'll wear a tux without tails and no gloves, and I think my dress will definitely be not black. Unless it never arrives, and then I might rent this one again. Just kidding. I love my dress, and it should be here any day now.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Oktoberfest Football Tailgate Shower.

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Oktoberfest is easily one of our favorite K-State tailgate traditions (year 1, year 2, year 3). This year Karen and Don took it to a new level by combining it with a couples shower earlier this month for the game against Texas Tech. The first surprise were hilarious faux Oktoberfest outfits - Lederhosen t-shirt for Kip and a silly Dirndl t-shirt for me. Kip's official looking hat fit perfectly, and instantly we were outfitted for the party.
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The second surprise was Willie. We left extra early from Kansas City and arrived in time to see the special visitor. I think I haven't seen Willie recently up close and personal, so it was so fun to have our photo taken with the beloved mascot - in our costumes and just in purple too!
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Willie got into the Oktoberfest spirit too and took a couple pictures with Kip's hat on too!
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Kate hadn't been to a game in a very long time (maybe nine years!), and we were so glad that she could come along. The Texas Tech game was very close to Mom's and Kate's birthday, and we had a great time taking Kate along to the game. Kip drove us up to the game and said he loved listening to the banter and chatter from Lauren, Kate, Mom and me as we drove.
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Anne made a fabulous purple veil for me and let me snuggle her baby, so that was all around awesome. Kip was in charge of opening the gifts, and he had the best three-year-old helper, Everett. With each present, Everett would carefully turn and hand it to his mom to pack up for us. Except for a new hat that the Nortons gave Kip - Everett thought that it fit his head pretty perfectly. The gifts were all either K-State or purple, and they were so fun to open and unpack at Kip's house. I think we will be hosting some K-State basketball watch parties this winter when we get settled in a bit more!
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I've been teasing my friends about how nicely everything was scheduled this fall. Starting with the bachelorette party back in August, every three weeks we have had another party getting ready for our wedding. Six members of book club had tickets to the Texas Tech game, so they got to celebrate AGAIN!
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I love this little family! Everett is at that super fun age where he asks a lot of questions and really loves to play. He's darling to watch with all the babies too!
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I handed Maddie to Kip so that I could do something else, and she immediately cuddled up and put her thumb in her mouth. She kills me.
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Kip's family lives very close to the stadium, and we were so excited that they could come over to join all the fun and meet more of our friends and family. Kip's mama also was happy to hold all the babies too. You can see my new purple fleece in this photo - the Nortons purchased it for me in Wisconsin at one of our favorite breweries, and it's perfect for fall K-State games!
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It was a little bit longer tailgate day and a great Wildcat victory, but all the babies did so well! I love this photo of Erica and Anne and their cute babies all Ergoed up and ready to go.
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Kate and I explored the new west side for a little bit during the game. I snapped this photo of Bill overlooking the parking lot at sunset. It was a very good day in Manhattan.