Friday, August 22, 2014


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Some years the Mission Pub Crawl swells up to as many as 40-50 people throughout the night. Year seven was definitely smaller, but it was definitely still a delight and a tradition that lives on. We sold 29 t-shirts, including eight to people who couldn't join us for the evening. And two of those people were toddlers who needed a shirt to match their parents. That's what happens when you still have a pub crawl in your 30s. Thankfully Lauren's friends were along to bring the average age down of the pub crawl participant.

I'm a huge fan of ordering t-shirts from Acme in Lawrence - it's like the t-shirt store Threads in Manhattan. They will let me design, send the files, and then they will print on whatever I want. Even if that means half v-necks, half crew necks, a baby onesie and two toddler shirts.
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Five years ago for #mpc2, Mission, Kansas was under construction. Our shirts featured an adorable dinosaur drinking a beer with the catch phrase "We dig Mission!" Five years later Mission, specifically Johnson Drive, is under construction again. The dinosaurs are back on our shirts, and they brought construction equipment with them. Kip would like you to know this is not a real piece of construction equipment, but I picked it because there was room for more dinosaurs.

I didn't pull the camera out very often during the night, but I promise there were lots of friends there. Mom joined us for dinner and her first trip to the Keyhole. Two babies born five days apart, Leo and Vera, joined us for bbq at RJ's Bob-be-que as well. We enjoyed Kip's first #mpc and my last #mpc where I could walk home at the end of the night.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Boulevard Unfiltered Tour.

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Kip has lived in Kansas City for about eight years and hadn't been on the Boulevard beer tour. Tragedy! Boulevard recently switched up their tour offerings, and the guided tour doesn't include nearly what it used to back in the day. During her maternity leave, Anne was kind enough to be ready to reserve the Unfiltered Tour as soon as it was posted. For Kip's first Boulevard tour, we wanted to start with the very best!

Kip and I are beer drinkers. I saw him drink wine once at Four Olives but mostly just to be polite. He never orders mixed drinks or fancy cocktails. I made a couple of cocktails this summer and enjoy well chilled white wine, but together we love to drink beer. And we have really similar taste in beer! Kip and I like to try the latest seasonal releases from Boulevard, anything our friend Ashley creates, and beers labeled "pale ale." If you are offered a beer by one of us, it's likely to be Copperhead Pale Ale from Free State or Boulevard Pale Ale. Or maybe a Tank 7 if we're taking things seriously.
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I would highly recommend the Unfiltered Tour to everyone whether or not you have taken the basic Boulevard tour. It gives a history of Boulevard, and you get to drink beer while touring the factory! And you have to wear safety glasses! They are serious about the closed toe shoes part as well. A girl on our tour had to wear booties over her flip flops which I found hilarious.

We started the tour in the gift shop where they passed out a full glass of the seasonal Ginger Lemon Radler (still not my favorite) to begin. We toured for a while, then they let us pick our next beer. And our third beer. We finished in the tasting room where we all chose to try the two beers they were sampling for possible future releases. For $20 we saw the factory, had three beers and sampled two more. I would definitely say that this meets the definition of a Sunday Funday AND was worth every penny.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Bachelorette Sleepover at Circle S Ranch.

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This cast of characters traveled from near and far to celebrate my bachelorette a couple weekends ago at the Circle S Ranch. We had so much fun celebrating Abbey's bachelorette there in 2012 that it was an easy choice for us to have a sleepover back at the ranch. It was actually on the books as a "book club sleepover" a few months ago, but it morphed into a bachelorette celebration after we got engaged. It was so nice to have fourteen of my friends gathered together in one place for the night - I am exceptionally lucky to know these women.
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Jennie and Rachel both flew in for the weekend. Jennie had the worst luck and spent about 12 hours in the Chicago Midway airport before arriving in the middle of the night late Friday. Rachel made her connection in Dallas, and we picked her up at the airport before heading straight to the Circle S Ranch.
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Even though Rachel and Jennie flew in from out of town, Vicki may win for "furthest trip" because she just moved home from Serbia. We had the whole book club there plus Rachel, Jennie, Jesi from Manhattan and Allison from Kansas City. There was much to catch up on with everyone together in one place.
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My sister, Kate and Jennie were fabulous hosts. I don't think you can read the sash well, but it says "Gettin' Hitched" which is more than perfectly appropriate for a bachelorette at a ranch and a gal marrying someone who wears cowboy boots 360+ days a year. On the last five days of the year, Kip doesn't always change his shoes after church. He is NOT planning to wear boots on our wedding day or to the BOTAR ball even though I would be okay with both. Kip feels strongly that boots should be brown, and both of those occasions would require black boots.
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Lauren (with Rachel's design help) ordered some sweet camouflage koozies to keep our beer cold with the hashtag we love, #kiptoria. Andrea, one of my bridesmaids who couldn't join us from NYC, sent a HUGE package of candy. I think we opened it before dinner, and there wasn't much left by the end of the night.
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The light was really pretty, and the temperatures were so nice that we took lots of photos. It was so cool for August that we could even enjoy special cocktails Jennie planned outside on the porch. She made a twist on a Pimm's cup, and it was delicious! She also put together cute s'mores bags with the recipe for the Pimm's cup tied to the outside.
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Baby Vera was just two months old and came along for the girls' night. Rachel is wishing she would have both a daughter and a baby in the 97% percentile sometime. Vera was a champ.
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Circle S has these ladies sleepovers down to an art. They start by serving margaritas, chips and salsa, and this time they threw in delicious bruschetta either loaded with figs or heirloom tomatoes. They grow both! We were amazed and ate as quickly as they brought out the food. For dinner, they serve a Mexican feast, and we were all obsessed with the homemade tortillas we filled with fajita fixings.
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We used a fence post and the timer feature to capture this gem.The photographer we use for BOTAR events always says to put your faces as close as possible, and that's what I told them for this shot.
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We stayed up late talking, playing LCR (my favorite!), and drinking some more beer and wine. There were many moms in the group, and everyone was looking forward to sleeping through the night and sleeping in a bit in the morning. We woke to a cool, rainy morning. It poured off and on as we drank coffee and ate a big hot breakfast before heading home. 
 photo Blog_0688.jpgSometimes the bachelorette party is the last thing before the wedding, but in my case it was the first activity to kick off the wedding season. I thought it was perfect. I loved getting to celebrate the start of this really exciting time with people that mean so much to me. From here on out, everything is spaced three weeks apart, exactly. We're celebrating again in a couple weeks with a beer party, then there's a shower in September here in town and even a tailgate celebration too!

Friday, August 8, 2014

The Three Books of July.

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I'm pretty sure it's Friday. Yes, confirmed. It's Friday.

A long long time ago we scheduled a book club sleepover for last weekend, and then it morphed into a bachelorette party in one of our smartest moves. Ever. I drove 280 miles in 48 hours getting besties to-and-from the airport, stayed up way too late for "girl talk," and started the longest week of work a wee bit behind on sleep and sanity. But then the teachers came back and the to-do lists got longer, and it was okay because this is the work I really love. I like to say, "YES," to find ways to make things possible for teachers to do the magic that happens in the four walls of their rooms. Last night the kids came to meet their first hour teachers and the excitement kept building. I love the first day of school!

But I think I might sleep until Monday.

Anyways, I read three books in July. You might be surprised which one I loved the most because everybody (including Oprah) loves a different one the most!

Wonder was a sweet parting gift from a teacher that left our building who shared a love of all young adult literature. My mom read it in two nights, and because the narrator switches throughout the story, it's easy to read it quickly. It's a must for fourth through seventh graders and also probably adults as it is an important story about what sets us apart. This book wins all the awards because it exudes empathy. My mom liked it more than I did, but I think it would make a FABULOUS read aloud. It's definitely good.

The Invention of Wings made the cut into Oprah's book club 2.0, and I think I shocked book club with the number of complaints I had about it. Generally, everyone else liked it. It's mostly the story of Sarah Grimke who should have been listed in the long list of women suffragists in this School House Rock classic.

Also, my book club wasn't familiar with this video. Shared now for everyone to remember the importance of voting.

I digress, back to the book...Grimke is a fascinating lady, but I sort of wish that I could have read a biography instead of the novel. Sue Monk Kidd embellishes Grimke's story with a couple of not believable twists to add some romance. And the alternating chapters are from the point-of-view of a slave in her family's Charleston, South Carolina home. Many of the horrifying descriptions from the slave, Handful, were painfully accurate. However, there are a couple of twists to Handful's story line, including some parts about slaves escaping, that I found a hard to believe. The Secret Life of Bees will always be Sue Monk Kidd's best book, and generally, I think most of the book club liked it MUCH more than me. I think I let the history teacher part of me get in the way.

Counting by 7s was my FAVORITE book this month. It's young adult in case you wondered. The main character is a child genius, Willow Chance, and she had a hard time connecting with anyone besides her adoptive parents. She’s a twelve-year-old genius, but others have a hard time getting past her obsession with counting by sevens and all things science and nature. After a tragic auto accident, Willow finds herself an orphan again. She ends up with a Vietnamese immigrant family where she goes from an observer of how family works to the catalyst to bring unlikely characters together. It's heartbreaking for a bit, and then just turns into plain awesomeness. I laughed out loud as I read it - Willow could be my favorite character in quite a while. I've already passed it on to my mom.

Thursday, July 31, 2014


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I took this photo of my grandma Virginia's gorgeous hollyhocks when I was in Jewell County a couple weeks ago. I thought it would be the perfect photo for a summertime check-in. We're making excellent progress on the Summer Manifesto list over here with still a month of summer still to go! It's been just gorgeous this week, and Belle and I have had lots of quality time hitting the pavement in the neighborhood. Sometimes I get sentimental about moving this fall, but then after we move we will get to explore new neighborhoods and chase new squirrels.

I've edited the list for this post to include things that were not complete when we checked in at the end of June.

Eat cheese slippers at Fervere. Status: DONE. Go there ASAP for your own cheese slippers.

Walk to Baskin Robbins. Status: NOT YET. But we did go to Murray's last weekend, and now Baskin Robbins feels less relevant. I don't ever crave ice cream, so that could be my problem. On the other hand, Kip eats ice cream 5-6 days a week. Maybe when he finishes the one currently in the freezer we will walk down there.

Read for fun. Status: YES! And I read a book in July that I'll probably bug you to read too.

Celebrate my uncle's birthday with Mexican food at the Buffalo Roam. DONE. We had the best time.

Take one online grad school class about the best new books in young adult literature. Status: DONE. And with no class until Spring 2015, I feel like I have tons of free time! #sarcasm

Strawberries/blackberries/blueberries/tomatoes/peaches. Status: 3 out of 5 so far. The deep freeze has strawberries, blackberries and blueberries in it. I canned strawberry and blackberry jam as well as blueberry and strawberry preserves. Mom made some delicious relish that we canned last weekend too! But peaches and tomatoes are still ambitious items on the to-do list.

Beat Kip at Putt Putt. Or at least PLAY mini golf with Kip. Status: DONE with an asterik. I didn't win but man did I make him nervous and kept the game close!

Okay summer, let's keep up the good work. Eating more ice cream and saving up some tomatoes/peaches is all that I have left. Pretty good odds we'll get those things accomplished before Labor Day!