Monday, September 15, 2014

End of Summer Wrap-Up.

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The temperatures over the weekend and the beginning of fall this week make summer seem so long ago, but really we were finishing up summer well into Labor Day weekend. The first football game delivered with the steamy temps and beating sun, and I still walked before work to avoid the hot afternoons all the way into the first week of September. The heat broke last weekend, and I pulled on a sweatshirt for Farmers Market in the morning. We didn't melt at the Greek festival, and our last training walk for the Plaza 10K was a lovely 65 degrees. Every year when fall creeps in with cool September days, I remember how much I love every single thing about fall, especially in Kansas City.

That's probably why I need the summer manifesto. It motivates me to beat the heat, find the fun things happening around town and take advantage of the long dog days of summer. Kip and I finished everything on the list, including canning a big batch of tomatoes and peaches. We also froze some peaches, made candied jalapenos, and slow roasted roma tomatoes to stock the freezer. I squeezed in five batches of homemade salsa as well which I mostly eat by the spoon in my lunches. It's that good.

Next summer I will live almost exactly five miles south of here in our house, and we'll be married! We won't be planning a wedding, gearing up for BOTAR, but I might take another grad school class. I think the summer manifesto will still be fun to draft in late May because it balanced out fun things for me to do on my own, with Kip, and with friends and family around town. Depending on how much we love all our preserved food this winter, we'll scale back or ramp up our food preservation. My money is on even more obsessing canning. Maybe we'll go on a trip since we mostly stayed here this summer, or maybe we'll find more things to love about KC. We definitely experience four seasons in Kansas, and while summer was good to us, I'm so excited about fall. Football, the American Royal and Bob's 47, and not to mention a wedding. Fall looks pretty good from here.

Friday, September 12, 2014

A Royal Welcome.

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Last year I was busy with BOTAR. Lauren and I spent two evenings a week with all the young BOTARs while they learned the very lovely waltz for the ball as rehearsals chairs. The running joke I've told about Kip is that if he can fall in love with me while I am rehearsals chair, then he's a BOTAR champ already. But this year, we're both busy with BOTAR. It started about two weeks ago, and it will be a blitz until the ball on October 18th.

Serving on exec can be a lot of work, though most of my responsibilities as recording secretary were last spring. It's also just so much fun. Every member of the executive committee is invited to every event the BOTARs and their escorts attend, and often with their husbands/significant others. I haven't been to most of these events since I was a BOTAR in 2007, so it feels like a privilege to be at the Presidents Tea, meet all the young women and their lovely families, and all the parties and events up until the ball.

Kip is obviously a tremendous sport about the whole thing. He's been to events with BOTARs and their escorts, cocktail parties with their parents, and his first event down at the American Royal, the Royal Welcome. He dresses for the occasion (pearl snaps and boots are always appropriate) and comes along with a happy heart. Kip was there last fall when nomintating called and asked if I would serve on exec, and we have discussed from the beginning how this effects both of us and our schedules. I think the craziness is made better that this is a special one time level of involvement for both of us - unless I was ever lucky enough to serve on exec again! He was measured for his tux with tails last week, and I love that he'll be the one escorting me when they introduce exec at the ball. What a guy.
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The event last Friday night at the American Royal was designed to get all the BOTARs, escorts, and all their parents in the same room to meet each other. It's pretty awesome to watch everyone meet the parents, and we both loved visiting with some of the parents who have known my mom and uncle for years. Kip and I arrived about an hour early to lead a group of BOTARs/escorts through their American Royal orientation. Kip learned a few things too about how important the Royal is to the city. I won't get on my American Royal soapbox today, but I probably will revisit it soon. It's 115 years old and still awesome.
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Saturday I attended the Presidents Tea with all the BOTARs, their moms and former presidents of the organization. While the highlight is totally the 2014 dress reveal, the fashion show with dresses from previous years is amazing. They featured all of the dresses of exec, and it was fun to see someone model my pretty red dress from seven years ago. There are some great dresses, and there are some "what were they thinking?" dresses as well!
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My dear friend Amy is on exec with me, serving as corresponding secretary. She writes a lot of notes, which I'm glad is not my job since right now I write a lot of thank you notes. I'm lucky to be involved with BOTAR thanks to the kindness of my sixth grade math teacher and proposer, Kim Mann.

So yes, it's busy with BOTAR, planning a wedding, squeezing in some football, and combining two houses into one. I'm thankful that BOTAR is something Kip and I can do together, and it's busy with events and people that I love. If you would like to come out and join the American Royal fun, plan on attending the rodeo and the parade later this month. Spoiler alert: I'm riding a horse in the parade. Or we would love to see you at the barbeque at the beginning of the next month! I'll be happy to give you all the details, and we can hang out in our cowboy boots and enjoy Kansas City in the fall.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Three Books of August.

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Three books - one that our book club read and enjoyed, one graphic novel (hey! my genres are slowly expanding), and one audio book that I would argue is probably better as an audio book.

The Rosie Project is a darling story about a too smart for his own good college professor, Don, with undiagnosed Asberger's as he looks for a wife. It's pretty good, and we liked picking apart the different characters at book club. Heads up: the setting is Australia. Pay attention because you might miss it! I struggled to think of what else I should tell you about it, so I went back to our pal Ginny's review. She offers a great summary and mentions that it has been movie optioned. I'm with Ginny on Jeff Bridges casting as Don - his character on the Newsroom is probably Don's long lost over the top brother.

March: Book One is a graphic novel about Congressman John Lewis. It tells a great story with flashbacks from President Obama's inauguration to John Lewis's work with SNCC and the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. He also met Dr. King early in his training as a nonviolent protestor. Graphic novels are a new to me way to engage students in reading, and we have so many kids who prefer nonfiction, so a book like March is doubly awesome. I found this book in my summer class at Baker.

Dad is Fat I listened to on audiobook. So did Kip whenever he was in the car - we didn't talk practically for a whole Sunday running around town!. Then Erica listened to it, then her husband Jon, and I think Kate has it right now. We all drove around to KC cracking up at Jim Gaffigan's stories about his crazy family with five kids living in a two bedroom apartment in NYC. Actually, it's a fifth floor walk-up in NYC. He's a "clean" comedian which means that his stories are alternately endearing and side splitting. Gaffigan has a new book coming out this fall, and my sister and I already bought tickets to see him at Rainy Day Books (come with us!) Even though we'll get a copy of his book, I think I might listen to it on CD still. It's so funny to hear him read his own stories, and my commute will get about 20 minutes longer each day when I get MARRIED so I'm looking for other great audio suggestions. Hit the comments below...

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Season Opener in Manhattan.

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We've got a weird football year ahead of us. Technically Kip and I both have season tickets, but he'll only make it to two games, and I'll just be at two more than that. Four games! That's the shortest season for me since I moved home from Virginia. With one game already under our belts, it's safe to predict that the season will go very quickly. Our wedding is the same day as the last home game of the season, but we are already betting that day will be a Wildcat victory over KU.

The first game was warm, but we made the best of it and the Cats easily won. Thankfully, the Williebago was a cool refuge from the heat before the game. The Nortons were back with a tremendous spread of food and lumberjack sandwiches as we played Stephen F. Austin University whose mascot is the lumberjack. Kip and I made a special stop to grab Call Hall Ice Cream (vanilla and vanilla crunch) which everyone inhaled with homemade cookies.

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Kip will optimistically tell you that the team looked pretty good on Saturday, which is saying something because Coach Snyder doesn't show too many of his cards early in the season. As we drove home after the game, we listened to Coach's postgame interview. Here was our favorite part...

Reporter: Coach, why didn't Tyler Lockett play after the first quarter?
Snyder: Because I didn't want him to.
Reporter: Will he play next week against Iowa State?
Snyder: If I want him to.

And that's that.
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Kip loves football just as much as the Luhrs Ladies do, and we had a great time enjoying the game with our friends, my family and the sweet babies at our tailgate. The traditions of football season - the pregame routines, tailgate menus, halftime beers, really good people - make Saturdays something to look forward to and always a highlight of the weekend.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Couples Shower (Beer!)

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Party #2 in our wedding season was a couples beer shower thrown by the Strubes and Andersons. Erica and I actually started talking about this party a long long time before Kip was even on the radar, and it fit "Kip & Victoria" perfectly. We both LOVE really good beer. Instead of a traditional stock the bar party (Kip doesn't drink wine or cocktails), the theme was just beer. Guests brought us sweet surprises from our registry and/or beer, and boy were we blessed by their gifts! Kip has a "beer fridge" in the garage at his house, and all the new beer inspired him to deep clean it with bleach. So now we've got a sparkly clean fridge full of delicious beer. You guys, I love him. Deep cleaning the fridge is one of my love languages.
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Sasha and Mike drove up from Derby to be there for the shower. My only first cousin on my mom's side is very dear to me, and it meant so much to Kip and me that they could be there to celebrate with us. Spending so much time with family and friends has definitely been one of the best parts of the wedding prep!
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The girls from book club were there with their husbands. And baby Vera, dressed for another Royals win. If the Royals could win the World Series this year, it would make this fall EVEN BETTER.

Dereck was in from Chicago which allowed us to recreate a very favorite photo of the six of us that was taken at Jon's law school graduation in 2009. It's hard to believe it's been over five years since that photo!
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The evening's events were simple and perfect: drink beer and enjoy great company. Ashley brewed us a beer, and true to form, it was perfect. Every one of the guests got to try it and raved about how good it was! The hosts prepared fabulous savory and sweet foods including homemade pretzels and jalapeno popper dipper that Kip single-handedly ate half of by himself. To be fair, I refuse to disclose the number of pretzel bites and rice krispie treats I ate while chatting with friends.

We had a fantastic time. Mixing up some family, a few of Kip's friends, adding in some other couples and all the book club husbands made for a fantastic party. Just three more months till the big day, and we are thrilled all these folks will be there to celebrate with us. A huge thank you to the Strubes and Andersons for hosting and doing such a fabulous job. We both feel so very lucky.