Monday, November 30, 2015

Lucky Baby Lynch.

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A couple of weeks ago, Erica and her mom, Marsha, hosted a very sweet shower for little baby Lynch. It was mostly family and my Alpha Chi sorority sisters, including Rachel from Texas. She brought baby Merritt, and we had the best time together. I hadn't seen Rach since my wedding a year ago! It's so nice whenever I have so many friends in one place, and I was lucky it was for a baby shower.
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Erica and Marsha set up a lovely shower with many of my favorite pink things. I'm a huge fan of the pink champagne cakes from Three Women and an Oven, and as I've mentioned before, I can eat a lot of fruit. (You really don't want to hear about our produce bills!) They decorated with a few onesies and headbands that I got to take home with me. So many sweet details with loads of pink!
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Buying maternity clothes for fall and winter hasn't been too much of a struggle except when it came to my baby shower. I wanted to have something that looked like a "girl mom!" Mom gave me this pretty blush colored scarf that I've been throwing on often, and Lu tried to arrange it so you could still see my baby bump. Merritt just looks panicked in the other photo, she actually had a lovely time and received many compliments about her cute Freshly Picked moccasins and outfit. 
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Like I said, Merritt enjoyed herself - she took a nap for part of the party! Leah's baby boy will arrive next before my baby, and we are really enjoying swapping baby stories. I've mentioned the number of babies in our book club before, but our K-State pledge class will have nine babies between June and February when my baby arrives. It was a year for babies!
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Baby Beckett came too, and he's getting to be such a big kid. He wants to put everything in his mouth and is getting so close to moving everywhere. He also looks just like his mama Nanette!
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I was lucky that Jesi could come from Manhattan, as well as my mother-in-law, Karen. Everyone is pretty excited about a baby girl, though Karen could be one of the most excited after raising three boys!
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When Erica offered to host a shower for me, she said, sorry, it will have to be really early! Her own baby was set to arrive in December, and she wanted to be sure to have the shower with plenty of time to spare. It worked fine for me, and it was nice to have the shower before the craziness of the holidays. However, there wasn't that much time in the end. Erica had her baby just a week after the shower, and they are both doing really great! I'm so glad that my baby will get to grow up with her baby, Olivia.
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Dad and Tracy came from Indianapolis, and we had fun having them to dinner on Friday night at the house. The baby received so many wonderful gifts at the shower, and Kip is getting really tired of listening to me say, "It's just so cute! And little!" about everything I show him. At 29 weeks, we have plenty of stuff still to do to prepare the nursery and a few classes to take at the hospital, but with every little outfit, gift of bottles and burp clothes, it starts to feel a little bit more real all the time!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Forever Royal.

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This whole adventure started on Monday, November 2nd when plans for the World Series parade started to take shape all over Kansas City. Districts started canceling school on Tuesday, and I thought, there's no way my district would call the day too. The logistics ended up being too much for us though - we would have had way too many teachers call in sick, not enough substitute coverage - and they called it! We've been referring to it as our "blue snow day!"
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Lauren thought fast and called the Cashew to see if they were accepting reservations to watch the parade. She was able to get us a great table on the first floor right by the window. It was kind of expensive, but since the crowds ended up being more than any of us could imagine, it was definitely worth it.

I set out really early, leaving my house just after 8 am. Kip was going to do one big job at work and hoped to meet us down at the Cashew, maybe even taking a shuttle bus downtown so that he could get a ride back with me. It took me about an hour to get downtown and park at the Kauffman Center. I could have still parked on the streets, but the two-hour parking signs deterred me a bit. I was afraid of getting a ticket! Knowing downtown pretty well definitely helped me maneuver around and find somewhere to park, though in the end, everywhere was a mess.
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I walked straight to the Cashew where there was already a line out the door, people waiting to get in at the rate of one in, one out. Thankfully because we had a reservation, I was able to get right in and find our reserved table. The next couple hours were a bit of a disaster as about 800,000 people also made their way downtown. Lauren and her friends from work tried to take a shuttle but the lines were so bad they had to find other arrangements. Kip tried to go to Kemper and take a shuttle but turned around after waiting on the exit ramp for 45 minutes.

I waited patiently for a while, but ended up really frustrated because I lost the ability to call/text so I really didn't know where anyone was. And they didn't have coffee - I was waiting to have my one cup of coffee while I read and watched the crowds! Our table right by the window was perfect for watching the crowds but also closest to the people taking their smoke breaks. We've forgotten how nice it is to go places and not have smoke everywhere! Once I was in the Cashew, I couldn't leave, which was too bad because our church was passing out coffee a few blocks away and our friends the Mills were also pretty close with their great seats. By 11 am, the crowds were so dense that normal moving around was no longer possible.
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Lauren, Crystal and Abby made it sometime between 11 and 12, and I was so relieved. It was about that time that I finally got through from Kip - he was almost back home! In the end, I think he was glad that he was able to get a bonus day off and relax at home watching the parade and pep rally. We all ordered some lunch from their limited menu and started to anxiously await for the main events to start! Later I would find out how hard it was for people to find food to eat - servers called in sick and some restaurants downtown ran out of food and closed their doors.

The parade started after 12 and made its way towards us. We stood in the big open window, and we could all see each of the Chevy trucks as they drove by. It was so crazy, the crowd often chanting the names of the players as they neared us. Kip estimates we watched at least 100 games this year, and I not only knew the name of every player but almost all the coaches too! Our lives were so totally different during October as baseball games dictated our schedules. It was not uncommon to find us debating Orlando v. Rios, pitching changes, and agreeing on the superiority of the American League. Pitchers shouldn't bat. We know so many stories about each of these players after hours and hours of baseball watching, and it was fun to see them all in the parade. And at the end of the season, Salvador Perez is still the favorite player in the Lynch household.
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I was pretty much ready to go after the parade passed us by after so many hours sitting and standing in the Cashew. Walking through the streets of Kansas City with the masses was fantastic - the skies had cleared and it was a beautiful day for November. It took me another couple hours to get home - most of it sitting in the parking garage reading a book waiting for it to clear out enough for me to leave. I wore my "second trimester" Royals shirt that Mom got for me free at the K this summer. She was kind enough to get an XL, and I wore it often to school for Royals dress down days. We still need to go shopping for Royals World Series gear!

Kip and I watched the pep rally later that night, and I marveled at all the photos people were posting of their families and adventures online. It was maybe one of the craziest things I have ever done in Kansas City, and I certainly wouldn't do it again. But by about 5 pm that day, I decided I would have been so sad to miss the experience. The estimates are between 600,000 and 800,000 people gathering for the event, numbers that are staggering and impossible to imagine. But it was peaceful and positive, something worth remembering and celebrating in a world where scary things happen all the time. My only regret is that Kip and Mom weren't able to come, but we did our very best with less than 24 hours to plan.

Who knows what next season will bring, but it's only 84 days till pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training. I think this city looks to be staying Forever Royal for quite some time!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Park City.

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Saturday morning, I drove over to the Salt Lake City Bar Method and took a quick class. (Bar hopping, they call it in the business!) When I returned, Kip and I loaded the car and headed towards the mountains. We tried to stop and get a waffle from the Waffle Love food truck, but the crowds were too much to bear. The mountains were calling, we had to go!
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Park City is a quick drive from Salt Lake City. It's crazy to think how many people probably drive up to ski from Salt Lake on the weekends. It's a lot closer than any ski slopes to Denver. We were definitely in Park City between seasons. All the summer visitors were long gone, and there wasn't any snow yet for skiers. And it was definitely not yet time for Sundance. The quiet streets, empty shops and hiking all by ourselves fit us perfectly. It did mean the scenery was a little bit more brown than it normally would be during the peak summer or winter seasons.
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We checked into our hotel on Saturday and changed for a hike. The paths weren't marked super well, and Kip was sure we were going one way on an easy path, but we ended up on a more moderate path with great views. We were the only hikers, though we met many mountain bikers along the path. I'm 100% convinced I do not have the endurance for that sport! Saturday was clear and cool, and we probably hiked for about an hour and a half. Kip will point out that I had to rest often (the elevation), but I think between the intense Level 2 class I took earlier in the morning and the thinner air, it was justified. And the pregnancy.
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We stayed at the Stein Erikson Lodge at Deer Valley. It was totally a splurge, and in my opinion, totally worth it. Kip would say that it was mostly worth it. I ate an apple every time we walked by and drank the fancy water. We valeted the car and took the shuttle down to main street (and called for a ride home too!). I thought our lunch after our Saturday hike was delicious with a gorgeous view. Our room was really lovely, though I forgot to take a photo of it before we made ourselves at home. I think the outstanding service was my favorite part. It was really five-star.
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Saturday night we explored Main Street for a while and ate a nice quiet Italian dinner. Sunday was Kip's birthday, so we slept in and went to a great place for brunch that was recommended by my bar teacher on Saturday morning. It was so yummy!
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We drove around a little bit as we headed back to Stein Erikson Lodge, stopping to take a few photos of Park City and the surrounding areas in between seasons.
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It's crazy to think how much this will change in the coming months. While neither of us profess to currently be skiers, we both have skied enough to appreciate the quiet before the barrage of skiers to the mountains.
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Leaving the lodge, we walked down past the ski lifts for our trails each day. Since the paths weren't super well marked, the ski lifts helped us mark our progress. There were a few as we went that helped us know we hadn't totally lost our trail!
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We thought Sunday's hike would be easier (the map said so!), but we did lots of elevation change over the course of our trip. It was colder and gray, but we were moving, so we warmed up pretty quickly.
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This birthday was well suited for Kip. He LOVES to be outdoors, especially wandering by ourselves. He pointed out trees and any signs of animals as we walked though we didn't see any up close and personal.
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After our hike it was sadly time to start wrapping up our quick trip to Utah. Kip had another beer at Squatters, and we looked in a couple more stores before heading towards Salt Lake City. We ate an early dinner at In-n-Out burger (still Kip's favorite meal from our honeymoon) before heading to the airport for a late flight back to Kansas City. The baby got her first taste of Pinkberry, still the only fro-yo I love!

When I think about the trip to Utah, I'm so very happy we went. I like to travel and see new places, Kip likes to be outside, and we both like to hang out with each other. The trip was just the right kind of long weekend for both of us.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Two Books of October.

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October! So long ago and just two short book updates for you.

Why Not Me? is Mindy Kaling's second book. I'm a fan of Mindy, and I've liked her since she played Kelly on The Office. I just looked back at my review of her first book, and now I'm confident in saying that I liked her first book better. This is absolutely still a worthwhile read as Mindy provides lots of insight into the world of television (it sounds exhausting) and is still hilarious.

Monster by Walter Dean Myers is the story of a teenage boy (falsely??) accused of playing a role in a robbery gone wrong. Our 7th grade students read it, and it's always been lurking around but I had never picked it up. I can see why the students devour it, and Myers has a gift with the craft. He uses film sequences and diary entries to tell the story in a totally unique way. He passed away in 2014, and I am definitely behind catching up on his work. He also wrote Darius & Twig that I read earlier this year. 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Friday in Salt Lake City.

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When we went to Salt Lake City, it was still pretty warm in Kansas City. With Kip working outside each day, he was happy to hear the temperatures in Salt Lake and Park City would be much more reasonable than the weather in Kansas City. We've had a gorgeous fall in Kansas City, and Salt Lake City was just as nice when we were there. Kip wondered if we missed the peak of the fall color, but there was still plenty to admire.
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We received wonderful recommendations about where to stay and what to do from my friend Kate and her aunt and uncle who live in Salt Lake City. Much like on our honeymoon, we took an early early flight west. We landed in SLC before 7:30 local time, so after renting a car we started towards breakfast. I found a really random breakfast recommendation on Yelp, and we enjoyed a delicious full breakfast with $1 cinnamon rolls and hot coffee while we watched the neighborhood around the shop wake up and go to work. We were there so early that our first tourist stop of the day wasn't even open yet, so we leisurely ate and drank coffee. 
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We started the day at the Red Butte Garden, part of the University of Utah. They have beautiful gardens open year round as well as numerous hiking trails that extend up into the foothills. This was not my best hiking day as we weren't dressed quite warm enough for the chilly air and didn't change into hiking shoes. But as we walked up up up, the sun rose more and warmed us. We had beautiful views of Salt Lake City as we went!
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We also spent time exploring the traditional gardens too! Kip reads all the signs to see different trees and shrubs and also points out everything we have at home. He recognizes most trees automatically, though I think he also loves to get stumped by a new one too. I loved the garden in the photo above because it intentionally was planted with beautiful things to bloom and feed the birds for all the seasons.
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Compared to our honeymoon, there are far fewer photos of the two of us together. Probably because we spent so much time wandering in the wilderness and not encountering anyone on our hikes! Kip would have explored the paths outside Red Butte for much longer, but between getting up at 3:30 am and being pregnant at 4500 feet, I wasn't the best partner on Friday morning. I did my best!
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I loved seeing what they had in their children's garden (the one at Winterthur is still my favorite) and couldn't get over these planters with cabbage and mums artfully paired together!
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After Red Butte, Kip and I moved the car over the to the Natural History Museum. The architecture of this place was amazing, and Kip made sure to point out all the local copper that was used in the design. I love learning new things about Kip - and he knew about the various LEED certifications that buildings can earn when they are built for environmental certifications. Learning about it was part of his major at K-State!
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Museums like this are a natural fit for Kip. He is full of natural history information, and he easily serves as my tour guide. We saw the most beautiful exhibit about the Birds of Paradise in Papua New Guinea, and Kip could add to the story because he'd already watched a documentary on National Geographic. I've decided Kip is an auditory learner because he sure keeps track of a lot of information he heard once on a tv show.
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We followed the path through the museum, learning about weather and Native Americans in Utah, stopping at every skeleton, till our stomachs growled so loudly we couldn't process any more new information. Lunch was relatively inexpensive for a museum cafe, and we could sit outside admiring Salt Lake City while we ate. Then we went back for the dinosaurs (all discovered in Utah!), and more fossils and skeletons. I thought this was a fantastic dinosaur exhibit.
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After the museum, our early wake-up call warranted a nap at our hotel, the history Peery Hotel downtown. Before dinner, Kip and I walked to Temple Square. We toured a visitors center briefly before walking back towards Squatters Pub. We wanted to be sure we could find seats with a prime view of the ALCS game 6. For the next four hours we were glued to the TV, watching a ridiculous Royals win. I was so glad they won because otherwise we would have spent Saturday night glued to a TV in Park City as well!