Friday, April 24, 2015

Oh What a Year Book.

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When I ordered the 2014 Blurb book, I was really excited for it to arrive with more of our wedding photos in print. All of these blog posts in the Blurb book chronicle the wedding and all the details in too much detail. (Probably way too much detail for 90% of the readers of this blog!) But I love the Blurb books with all of the blog posts and photos tucked together in one hardbound book, and 2014 was my 6th book.
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But when the package arrived from Blurb, there was also a thin paperback book inside that I made as a surprise for Kip. It's almost exactly the same size as my hardback books, just thinner, so it sits perfectly in line with the Blurb books on the shelf in our living room. The cover says, "Moments - the very best of 2014."

To create the book, I brainstormed a list of things that I loved about last year. Obviously getting engaged and married were on the list, but it was an overall awesome year. We went on trips to Philly, Indy, Manhattan and on our honeymoon. Some of my other favorite things were little things around town - the Boulevard Brewery tour, eating cheese slippers and moving into our home. I included all the sporting events we went to and the BOTAR experience and had a fantastic collection of events from 2014.
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The page templates were designed by Paislee Press, and I dropped the photos into the templates into Photoshop. I debated about doing a color scheme for the book but opted instead to use colors that matched the photos on a given page, reusing the same colors as much as possible throughout the book.

Normally when Rachel and I order from Blurb, we choose the standard page quality. I upgraded this thin book to the premium pages because I wanted to print full size pictures on the back of the small circle pages, and I didn't want the big photos to show through. Kip and I compared the two books, and I think it was a good call for this little book. I had a coupon, but even with the upgrade the whole project was less than $30.
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Some of the photos are the professional ones that Erica May took for our engagement and our wedding. Others are ones that I took on my DSLR. And some photos were captured by my iPhone. This photo of Kip holding the strawberries was taken on my iPhone and printed crystal clear and sharp at 8.5 x 11. I'm often misquoting but Annie Leibovitz says something along the lines of this, "The best camera you have is the one you have with you and use."
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The final page is a note about what a good year it was with one of my favorite photos of Kip from our wedding. I love photo projects, and I don't really miss the scrapbooking of my youth. It was expensive! But I do love finding new ways to record our stories with photos and in print. You could make a book similar on Shutterfly with photos and lists, and I think it would be sweet to do "Top Ten Things" about a kid at a given age or your own top ten book for a year. And if you're one of my very best friends, I'll even help you make one if you'd like. I take this memory keeping business very seriously.

Kip was touched by the book and thought it was very sweet. 2014 was one for the record books, but we both know that "The Best is Yet to Come."

Friday, April 17, 2015

Happy Birthday Erica!

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Tomorrow, Saturday, is Erica's birthday. But I know Erica reads the blog first thing in the morning before school, so I'm posting it one day early. Here is a list of ten things I love about being best friends with Erica.

1. Erica likes to talk about school, specifically the really nitty-gritty stuff related to diagnosing struggling readers and responding to their needs. Often when we talk on our way to school we are trying to figure out what to do with kiddos or celebrating their amazing growth.

2. She is an encourager. Her love language is words, and she always listens and responds with love.

3. Walking! We have wrangled up our two black & white dogs and her daughter Maddie in the stroller for countless walks.

4. We have a shared love of Alpha Chi Omega and K-State. While we don't attend nearly the number of events we used to, we made it to Wine and Cheese to support the local alumnae chapter last week.

5. She bought "off the registry" for our wedding and gave us the pan we use almost nightly because it's the pan she also uses almost nightly.

6. We go to church with her family and get to see them most Sunday mornings. It's nice for one of the familiar faces at church to be one of your best friends.

7. She thinks it's normal to discuss what's on the weekly meal plans. We regularly ask each other, "What are you making for dinner this week?"

8. We like to host parties together. Soup swap, baby showers and wedding showers - we've done it all! She tends to not tell me I'm crazy either when we're planning something.

9. Erica gets along super well with Kip. That's pretty nice because I get along with her husband Jon, and I was actually friends with Jon before they even started dating years ago!

10. She's got the biggest heart. Erica teaches kids who need the extra love and encouragement, and she still has plenty to give her family and her friends. I count myself very lucky to be one of her friends.

Happy birthday Pal!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Career Fair.

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Our school district is working on a few initiatives related to graduation and careers. The new programming starts with 6th graders and encourages them to think really long term about their life goals after graduation. We had our first career fair last Friday, and it was a great look at a lot of different job opportunities for our kids. I can't take any of the credit - my new partner Poonam took the lead and brought a format that worked at her old school.
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The event was held in our school gym, dressed up nicely with special tables covered in tablecloths. Groups of seven or eight students rotated around various tables to learn more about careers. They moved without their teachers which I thought added a level of seriousness to the whole deal. Also, many of the kids dressed up and looked their best for the event. Sixth graders are super loud when they pass by my office in the hall, but for the most part are still darling little eleven-year-olds, super curious and respectful.

We had people in medicine, higher education, engineers, and some guests from some big companies around town - P&G and John Deere. Someone came from Sporting KC and let the kids hold the championship ring. (Overheard: "I'm never going to wash my hand again!") Most of the people came because they are friends with or family to someone who works in our school, which added to their positive attitude and the energy in the room. They were genuinely excited to be there!

Kip and Tara came to represent Ryan Lawn & Tree. Tara had some ideas for how to organize their ten minute sessions and brought all of her husband's gear to add to Kip's gear too. He set up his climbing rope through a basketball goal and let kids try on safety gear and his saddle. Truth to be told, his saddle fit a lot of the sixth graders!

I observed the sessions for a while in the morning, and I thought he did a fabulous job. He asked the students questions and answered theirs too! I thought he should have made a bigger deal out of being married to me, but only few kids made the connection. They might have thought he was a celebrity! (not likely) Poonam was teasing him that with all his gear he was super distracting in an awesome way.

When Kip and I were talking about it later at dinner, he told me that he thought it went better than he expected. I think he wasn't sure what to expect out of sixth graders. The kids asked great questions, and he figured out some ways to engage with them. I'm super thankful that Kip and Tara took time to be there, and now I keep asking 6th graders if they went to the tree guy's presentation last week. If they say yes, I say proudly, "That's my husband!"

P.S. Let me know if you want to be on the list for 2016!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

KC with Audrey and Mike.

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My friend Audrey (another teacher leader in KCK) got engaged earlier this year to Mike. She was SUPER surprised and is SUPER excited to be planning a wedding with Mike. I told her last week that it makes me happy when nice people marry other nice people.

Audrey and Mike have family in Arizona and Oklahoma and make their home here in KC. They wanted to capture all these important places in engagement photos, so I agreed to help them with Kansas City. Audrey and Mike also wanted to get some photos with their dogs, Foster and Scout. We met down by Liberty Memorial and took a variety of photos with the dogs and the city as background.

I'm not going to be in the business of photography, but the stakes seemed low enough that I was willing to give it a try. We got some great photos that I loved, and I can't wait to see how they use the photos alongside ones from Oklahoma City and the Grand Canyon.
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Kip came too so that he could help wrangle the dogs. He fed Scout and Foster a lot of dog treats! This is actually Kip's second time as dog wrangler - he also did it at family photos in Indianapolis in 2013. I don't think he's going to make it his career either, but I might sign him up again if necessary. We were happy to be out and walking around the city on a gorgeous Saturday in April.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Easter 2015.

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Two years ago our church moved Easter services to the Kauffman Center in downtown Kansas City. It's easily one of my favorite buildings in town, and this year we went back to celebrate Easter. There were two services with over 1900 people in attendance. We arrived plenty of early to secure seats in the orchestra level.
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The service was beautiful, mostly because the story of the resurrection is just so hopeful. The music was incredible - our worship band writes almost everything they perform - and they even added a choir for much of the music.
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Sweet Madeline looked great in her Easter dress. She's getting so big and is well aware that she has a pretty captive audience wherever she goes. I'm definitely holding her snack trap on top of my head to keep her attention on me and the camera.
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New Easter dress and new Easter haircut. I kept pestering Kip to figure out what he thought about his first trip to the Kauffman Center. I think he was impressed, but he also doesn't have a lot to compare it to. His family of three boys didn't think it was as much fun as my family did to see Phantom of the Opera and Cats like NINE times in various music halls.

I'm just guessing on the number of times we saw Cats. It probably wasn't that high, but we certainly listened to the soundtrack all.the.time. Our first cat was even named Macavity. You know you're a true Andrew Lloyd Weber fan if that name causes you to sing in your head, "Macavity's not there!"
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We are really loving sitting around our big table with family and friends. Flower selection was limited at Hy-Vee the Friday before Easter, but pink and green ended up being the perfect colors for our cookie place cards and my new place mats from Pryde's in Westport. My sister and Ashley requested grapefruit juice to go with our champagne, and it was the perfect amount of tart to balance out the mimosas. I'm a convert.
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I made hot cross buns. Twice actually because the first time I didn't knead the sweet sticky dough enough, and we had a block of bread instead of rolls. King Arthur Flour usually has foolproof recipes, but this one gave me a little bit of grief. They still tasted fantastic even if they looked not exactly like the photographs on their website.
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My mom had a new dress for Easter too, but it's actually from her event the weekend before. She has been working hard for months on the Pi Beta Phi Centennial in Manhattan, managing all the finances for the event. They had over 700 Pi Phis attend their events, and as she points out, you don't have that many together except at convention. My sister also attend the centennial of her sorority, Alpha Delta Pi, this spring in Manhattan. As for my beloved chapter of Alpha Chi Omega? We'll be celebrating in 2047, and my pledge class will be pretty close to 65 years old.
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And one last photo of the Lynches in front of our house. Kip's parents will be in town this weekend, and they haven't seen the house since before I moved in. I think they will be so impressed with all the work we've done, and we're happy to share it with each other and anyone that comes by.