Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Vintage Baseball Baby Shower

My beloved domain is still not up and running. But there is hope, and I have a few humans who are helping me now. That means I'm writing fewer emails in all cap letters and trying to get a few other projects done instead. I am still very frustrated by the whole process. If you are reading in google reader, click on over, and you will find the blog at victoriaINvirginia.blogspot.com. So all is not lost.

I showed you the pretty quilt we made for Nanette already, but there was a lot more to the shower at Anne's house. The theme was a "Vintage Baseball Shower" because Nanette is a die-hard Royals fan. Anne pulled out all her old baseball items and her house was the perfect place for a Sunday afternoon shower.



One of my casual sewing projects of the summer was homemade fabric buntings. Mom helped me put this one together because it was rather last minute, but I love how it came out. The triangles are sewn inside out and turned, pressed, and sewn together tucked inside a long piece of bias tape. The sign and astroterf runner came from Nato and her son's fifth-birthday-party. Reuse. Save the earth. Make a friend.



Anne frosted some spectacular baseball cookies. I love all things sugar cookies. Especially this homemade recipe of Anne's that I used earlier this spring. Tara made delicious cupcakes for dessert. Twice the sugar, twice the fun.



Obviously a baby shower is a great excuse to have cute stuff on etsy (check out the new baseball section!) I designed the invites, cupcake toppers, thank you cards, water bottle labels and tags for favor bags. We served Old Style, everyone's favorite beer. Or at least at Wrigley Field.

Anways, it was goooooood. It went perfectly with our hot dogs and nachos. We used the real nacho cheese and not velveeta. It was baseball grade nacho cheese, and it was very popular.

These are good party planning tips: basic food can be classy. It's all about presentation and theme.



For the guests to take home, I made homemade Cracker Jacks. The hardest part was popping the popcorn without a popcorn maker. But it was so worth it. Mom, Lauren and I were loving it right out of the oven, and I want to make it again for football games this fall!

The guests in attendance are all book club members + Leah's sweet baby. We're dressed casual because we thought "sports fan attire" would be the most comfortable. But I did warn everyone I wanted to take pictures of our whole book club together. And I did it paparazzi style which meant rapid fire flashes and some interesting posing. These are my three favorites.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Currently Missing from the WWW.

My blog is currently missing. You can see the posts in google reader. I can see the elements of the design. But because GOOGLE STINKS TERRIBLY I can't renew my domain that expired without a warning. And so if you are reading in google reader or via email, you'll get to see this update. 

People who go to my blog and leave comments cannot.

This is the kind of problem that makes me want to throw things at my computer, but one time, I dropped my computer and I've seen it's actually very bad for the computer.

It is a problem that should be able to be solved with $10 and a google checkout, making it that much more frustrating.

I have tried switch domains, contacting google while WRITING IN ALL CAPS to try to make them pay attention but alas, computers don't care if you write in all caps or not.

So don't bother leaving a comment on this blog, unless, you are smart enough like my uncle to know that  you can technically find my blog right here for the time being.

http://victoriainvirginia.blogspot.com/

GOOGLE and I are going to break up, maybe, if this ever gets resolved. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Bambino's Quilt.



We made this quilt for Nanette's baby. It was a labor of love, mothers, and mother-in-laws. Some of us in book club are crafty and some of us are really lucky that we have mother-in-laws that are good at sewing.

Each square represents a beloved children's book, an appropriate gift from a book club. I did the "Cat in the Hat" square, all by myself. A great accomplishment considering Rachel and Mom usually help with at least part of my sewing projects. The four red fabrics are all scraps from my mom's collection, including three from outfits she sewed when we were little girls.

Tara assembled all of the squares with their borders. Mom did help by binding the edges. I also don't think we'll be doing this project again soon for anyone else. Labor.of.love. (emphasis on labor). I know Nan loved receiving it as the last present at her shower two weeks ago, and we were pretty proud of our secret planning and crafting.

P.S. It looks much prettier in real life than the colors in this photo do it justice. It is beyond me why I did not take another picture of the finished quilt in natural light. I'll just have to make sure to snap some more pictures of it hanging in Bambino's nursery. Please forgive the poor quality of this photo and enjoy the quilt instead.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Baby James, Moving.



One of my first official visitors at the new place was James, sweet baby James. Who is, in fact, no longer that much of a baby and more of a mover and a shaker. He crawls! He is pretty mobile and made it around my (mostly) clean floor with record speed. During the moving in process, James was also willing to be held by my mother. Kate unpacked, Mom got to hold a baby, everybody wins!

Here are some other nuggets of love about James.

  • We are obviously already planning his first birthday party. His baby shower made me a success on etsy, so we would like to keep the streak alive with something new, adorable and just for James.
  • Kate likes to ask us if we think he has red hair (like his dad). We like to say yes, but my mother won extra points for hesitating in her answer. I think Kate is worried about raising a red head. I think he's the cutest red head baby I know.
  • Which brings me to interesting point. I wanted to call him a ginger. But then yahoo answers told me that some people think it is derogatory. I didn't mean for it to be, so I erased it and referenced the red head to the point of redundancy. 
  • Last week at brunch, his mom was skillfully eating with one hand. I offered to take a turn. She protested, saying I wasn't done yet. But thanks to my two years in Virginia with Finn and Braden, I am also a graceful one-handed diner.
  • When I stayed at their house after Em's bachelorette party, I woke up at six am just like his parents so I could see him. I love him and his three little teeth.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Anne and Ashley got Maui-ed.

I haven't been to four weddings in one year in a long time. My friends are less in that stage of life and more in the baby stage. So four weddings in 2011 is a really exciting thing to me - lots of pretty friends getting married and celebrations of new lives together. Yeah! Wedding celebration number one was back at the end of July for my friend Anne.



Anne and Ashley actually got married (or Maui-ed!) in Hawaii in early July and celebrated with a big party back in Kansas City later in the month at Lake Quivira. Many of our Alpha Chi friends from around the country were back for their reception, and it was good to see many faces I don't get to see on a regular basis.



Anne is a bridesmaid in Emily's wedding later this month, so Emily was in town from Baltimore from her bachelorette party and Anne's party. She sent me an email yesterday with details for her approaching wedding. I read it on my way back from a wedding in Chicago. I am in the wedding zone, people.



Anne was a beautiful bride and her husband, Ashley, a stellar groom. During one of the toasts, someone described their marriage like the coming together of the Martha Stewart network with the outdoor, do-it-yourself network. So true too! Anne has a great eye for details, and her wedding was put together perfectly. Ashley is a team player who gets stuff done, and he brews excellent beer.

I am sitting with Anne and Ashley this fall at K-State football games, so it is only appropriate that we ended the evening with a rousing version of the Wabash Cannonball.



I had to throw this picture of Nanette in here as well. Bambino Mills is still a ways from making his appearance in Kansas City, but Nan is a pregnant lady like none other. She doesn't miss much! (Look for a blog about her lovely shower sometime soon too!)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Learning a New Job.


Four weeks into the new job, already? I have no idea where that time went, exactly, but I do have a short list of things from the first four weeks.
  • A retreat at my principal's family home out in the country, affectionately called "The Family Place" (pictured above).
  • Learned all the names of a new staff. Done.
  • Met with a few teachers to start building relationships.
  • Shared K-State football posters with members of the staff. I called and told the Alumni Association I worked in a school with a lot of KU fans, and I wanted to get middle schoolers excited about K-State. They came through for me.
  • Presented about reading, writing, and other staff development needs.
  • Went to seven days of training at the lovely new Central Office. I'll be there every Friday for training and staff development for teacher leaders.
  • Tried to figure out a little bit more about how I can serve the school community.
It has been humbling and exciting. There is so much to do, and I think I will really love my new role and new school. I do miss the classroom and the kids. I see them in the hall, but I don't know them yet. I'm hopeful I will get to over the coming year through activities around school. I see kids that remind me of faces from last year. There are others whose brothers and sisters went to my first school in the district and that's kind of nice because it's good to know familiar faces.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Webster House with the Luhrs Ladies.


Lauren is back in Lawrence, and Belle and I are getting adjusted to the new digs (Wednesday = success in the kennel!). But for three GLORIOUS weeks, the Luhrs Ladies were all together at my Mom's. It was fantastic. We walked Belle, ate together, did the laundry as a team, and watched The Closer.

I don't have cable at the new place, which will be fine, but I'm missing Brenda Lee Johnson.

Last summer we ate at the Webster House, and we did it again this summer. It's such a fun downtown location. The food is solid - I don't tend to order the right thing - but the atmosphere in an old school is right up my alley. We had happy hour beers - $3 Boulevard Wheat - and dinner together. It was the first week I was home, but it was the pattern of life for the next weeks. Share a meal and many, many stories.

We make a pretty good team.

And even though we're living in three different places now, don't worry. We'll be in Chicago together for the weekend. More stories, stories, stories with the Luhrs Ladies.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Belle and the New House.


I have marveled recently many times at my pup Belle's great adjustment skills. Driving across the country proved to be no big deal. She was able to adjust to living at my mom's just well, staying out of her crate all day. Belle was showered with extra love, plenty of walks and enjoyed the great fenced-in backyard.

We moved over the weekend, and Belle likes the new house. There are windows she can see out of at the front door and the back. The backyard is full of a lot of squirrels.

But she's not adjusting super well. The first 24 hours were really rough.

Night one, I couldn't find the covers for her bed (Rach - are they in Virginia?). So she sort of slept on a blanket and also on the couch. Nope, Belle, not an option. You are not a couch dog.

Monday morning as I tried to leave the house, she escaped. She didn't stop running around the neighborhood and jump back in the car like she has in the past. Instead, Belle ran. Sprinted around the neighborhood for 20 minutes while I jumped in and out of my car in my white jeans (in the rain) trying to catch her. There were times when I couldn't even see her. It was slightly terrifying, and I was 20 minutes late to a meeting with my principal.

Well hello neighbors, I'm Victoria and sometimes my dog Belle runs away.

Belle, on the other hand, was pretty thrilled with herself.

Lauren checked on her later in the day and everything was okay. Then she broke the blinds while waiting for me to come home. She hasn't been in her kennel when I'm gone for about five months, but I think the transition is too much for her.

When kids aren't doing well at school, we talk about putting them in a setting where they can be safe and successful. Hopefully today goes MUCH better. Because even though Belle is tired and kind of pleased at the end of the day, it was way too much stress for her owner.

This morning Belle stayed in the basement. Her old kennel is blocking the stairs so she can't scratch the door. Maybe I should go back to the kennel? That was a battle I was tired of fighting. Belle just hates that thing. She cried when I left, but she has plenty of room to stretch her legs and sleep all day. That's all she does while I'm gone anyways.

P.S. The house is AWESOME. Besides the broken blinds.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

My Brother Went to Kindergarten.

Huge milestone this week in our family: Spencer went to kindergarten.


It's startling to realize that he is in kindergarten and even scarier when I think about how we won't graduate from high school until 2024. I'll be 40 that May. Oh gosh.

As you can tell by the photo my dad snapped, he was ready to go. Could.not.be.bothered with photos getting on the bus. He's got places to go. Teachers to impress or exasperate. So proud of the littlest Luhrs.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Happy 80th Birthday!


Today my grandma is 80. I think that is just nifty. When I was little, my great-grandma Della turned 80 and that seemed old. Now, I'm 28 and my grandma is 80 and that seems so young! She is so active and engaged in the world that there is no possible way she is 80. Quite possibly my grandma is redefining 80-years-old up in North Central Kansas. She responds to every blog post, reads the books we read, and loves each of us so much.

I think a lot about the lessons my mom taught me about serving and faithfulness. And I'm always aware those were lessons that her parents taught her. Even Grandma's second hand lessons are powerful and shaped who I am today.

My family is so lucky to have Grandma at the top. Happy birthday Grandma!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Three Important Things/People.

First, two weeks ago I went to a party for my friend Anne. While I was there, I met one of my blog world friends, Mrs. Grey House. It was pretty cool and makes our internet friendship more legit.


Second, my K-State season football tickets came in the mail today. I'm a real grown-up with real football tickets. Who-hoo!

Speaking of real adults, my mom took this picture of me at 10:15 last night in her house. I'll be living on my own again shortly. And then I don't know who will take pictures of me doing grown-up things like posing with football tickets.


Third, I met Nato tonight. Another internet friend, in the flesh. I had to go to her house to pick up a couple things for a shindig I'm having later in the week. So because it was the first time we met, I tried to be super low key. Not a Craigslist creeper. I did not bring my camera to take a photo of our meeting. But we met, and it was just as I imagined it. Funn-y and not creepy at all. Her kids are cute too.

I'm pretty sure these are weird things to blog about. But I was falling out of the habit, so I needed to jazz it up a little bit and tell you about these three important things and people.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Pretty Pretty Bride-to-Be.

I am trying to learn new names this week. About forty new staff members. Thankfully I have worked with five of them before this year so that just leaves thirty-five more. The beginning of the school year is always marked by learning a ton of new names.

I usually do pretty well picking up my 100+ students names, but there is extra pressure this year. Adults remember if you call them the wrong name. Kids forget. They give you a lot more grace about names. I am also trying to get their grade level and eventually I will figure out where their rooms are in my new building.

Deadline (for myself): Thursday.

Here are some not new names for ya. Erica, Anne, Emily, Tara and Kate.


We went to a bachelorette party for Emily a couple weeks ago. This could get confusing for some of you because you remember that Emily is my East Coast friend. But she is getting married in KC in September so we celebrated Kansas side.


I love Em and her husband-to-be. She looked so pretty for our evening on the Plaza. I told her she looked like a Barbie veterinarian. This was one of the first nights KC felt like home again. Friends, a few drinks and the Plaza. I love these old names and places.

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Four Books of July.



Look! For the first time in a few months, I read some books for big kids. And a lot of them actually!

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was spectacular. Totally awesome, and I don't know why I didn't want to finish it. Other than my reluctance to finish series like Veronica Mars, Hunger Games and now - The Wire! (Season four broke my heart, I don't think I'm ready for season five.) Anyways, I carried HP7 back and forth to the pool until I got if finished. And I bawled my eyes out. So very good.

State of Wonder was written by the same author of Bel Canto. I loved Bel Canto, and this book also received a positive report from NPR so I was willing to try it. However, it is really difficult to describe (Ginny does a better job than I do). The story travels from Minnesota to Brazil, and I was willing to go with the author as the protagonist goes into the Amazon. I stayed up late reading the last 150 pages because I wanted to know what happened, and the premise is socially fascinating as it connects to fertility and life expectancy. I liked it, Abbey & Tara didn't like it quite as much. In fact, we had different understandings of the ending! But it was very thought provoking, and it felt good to read an adult book again.

Unbroken was the July book club book, and I'm back to being a regular Kansas City member. Hard to believe we have been meeting in some shape or form since 2006. FIVE years! Unbroken was amazing. My daddy reads lots of WWII airplane books, but this was my first one. The story about what happened to the men in the war, especially as POWs was new to me. To call them the greatest generation is an understatement. I thought it was humbling. A little long in a few parts, the author spares no details in the story that deserves to be told.

Garlic and Sapphires was just fun. No joke, I love to eat food, write about food and read about food, so I loved the behind the scenes look at Ruth Reichl's time as NY Times food critic. I've read another one of her books, and she is honest but not too snarky. It made me think differently about going into restaurants and the food they serve. And it made me hungry.

Back to work, so the first book of August is already a juvenile literature book. Our August book club book is Tina Fey's Bossy Pants, and I'm really looking forward to it!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Tavern in the Village.

My baby cousin (alright, she's not a baby anymore) moved to Wichita last weekend, and Lauren and I went to a dinner up in Prairie Village in her honor. We ate at Tavern in the Village, which has been open for a little while in the corner previously occupied by Applebees, Jose Peppers and Cactus Grill. And all of that since 2003 when I started work at the church.

I feel pretty good about the future of this place.



There was a wait, but the restaurant staff were super willing to combine three high top tables together for us to form a big table in the bar for drinks and dinner. The service was quality. Our waiter was attentive, even though I was just drinking water. The manager also stopped by our table to check in. We were even in a photo shoot for the building designers. Lauren and Sasha were prominently featured!



The food was great too. Erica & Jon recommended the ahi tacos, and I loved them. Spicy slaw with avocados and perfectly tender ahi tuna. As soon as we left this restaurant, I called Rachel on the phone to tell her about the tacos I found in Prairie Village. Sure, she lives a really long ways away, but I knew that she would want what I had for dinner when she visits. She said, "Those are my jam!" Do I know her or what?

Lauren's fish sandwich was spectacular. Spicy and perfectly tender. I had major food envy over the chicken nachos and will totally order them the next time we go. It was smartly proportioned into five small mini nachos instead of large piles of chips that get soggy and greasy. The Santa Fe chicken salad also looked stellar.



The portions aren't huge but that's probably a good thing. But it is quality and a nice alternative for a yummy dinner in the Village.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Stopping Over in Indy.

One last post from the pre-Kansas days - and it is a FAMILY one! Erica and I drove the first part of the trip to Indianapolis on day one. We wanted to get to see my dad and celebrate my birthday with this mess of awesomeness.



Let's pause for a moment and deal with the realization that they are GROWING UP. While Cooper is missing in the photo, it is undeniable that all my little brothers are no longer little. And I've known Gabby was a straight up teenager for a while, but it's still tough for me to handle that she is no longer the little third grader that she was when we met. Mitch will be in the 8th grade (my favorite grade to teach!) and Cooper (not pictured) is in seventh grade (my second favorite grade to teach). Blake is bouncing into fourth grade, and Spencer is starting kindergarten.

Dear world: watch out. My little brother is starting kindergarten.



No time with Spencer is complete without some stories. He's really into jammin' on his little ipod. But it's loaded with music that not every five-year-old will recognize. Quite a bit of classic rock and seventies hits.

This is actually pretty normal for a Luhrs kid. My sister and I totally grew up thinking that Bruce Hornsby and the Range was normal kid music. She argued for years that Phil Collins was the real king of pop, not Michael Jackson.

So back to Spencer. He's sitting next to this other kid, listening to his ipod. And he says, rather loudly, "DO YOU LIKE DEVIL WENT DOWN TO GEORGIA?"

The other kid just looked at him.

Spencer asks him, again, louder. The kid's got no idea. He's not much of a Charlie Daniels fan, apparently.

Spencer, as I heard it, just shakes his head and grins because he loves Devil Went Down to Georgia. He'll also extol the awesomeness of Car Wash and Coming to America. And you will love it too because he's five and has huge dimples.