Friday, October 28, 2011

Cute Baby Alert.



Baby Braden wants you to have a very happy Friday. He's enjoying his first trip to Kansas and all the sites and sounds of the town. Finley was a little confused about where Kansas actually was. Yesterday he asked when we were going to go there. It's a state and not a place like church, work or Chipotle, so admittedly a little trickier. We're having so much fun, and I'm missing them while I am work today.

Mom, Lauren and I are headed to Manhattan tonight for the Homecoming parade and festivities. Big game tomorrow - my fifth of the season! Hard to believe how much life can change in a few months. Thankfully Finley still is sweet to me, and I think even B-Town remembers who I am.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

K-State @ KU.



Saturday morning the family met in Lawrence for the Sunflower Showdown. My uncle Keith had been eying the hospitality tents on the hill and decided this year would be a good one to host. It was perfect. Seriously. We could see the stadium, it was easy to find all of our friends and family, and we had a great place to hang out together. It was also an excellent preview of my cousin's wedding next spring. Sasha and Mike are getting married at the Oread - you can see it right behind the stadium. Can't wait for that party either!



I heard an estimate on the radio this week that there were about 20,000 purple people in Lawrence for the game. All those K-State fans were treated to a big win. I just feel bad for Turner Gill. They say he is a nice man, but man, his team is suffering.

 

Lest you've forgotten, my sister is a KU Law student. Her she is with fellow KU 2L, Clarissa, but they stayed true to their purple roots. Thank goodness. Here's the other details from my fourth game of the year:
  • Tickets proved a little bit tricky to find, but finally founds some on Craigs' List. I think the KU fan was a little disappointed to sell his 50-yard-line tickets to me, but I was glad to have some. Saw plenty of people looking for tickets Saturday morning, and I got to enjoy my family more because we already had ours ready to go.
  • My sister and Mom brought a hot thermos full of cider and wine. It was so delicious, and the perfect type of hot beverage for a Saturday morning. Big fans.
  • The Union catered the food for the tent, and we had the famous Monte Cristo casserole. It was hot and yummy.
  • K-State won. 59-21. 
  • We could hear the band during the game which is different than Manhattan where we sit a little too far away. They do some ridiculous things, but I'm still giggling about their chant at the end of the game. They started saying, "Warm up the bus, bring on the Sooners." I thought it was a little annoying at first, but it grew on me. In fact, I've been saying it all week.
  • My uncle wore purple. Sometimes he wears green on Sunflower Showdown weekend. 
  • After the game, we were just sure we would be on Game Day this weekend. Thanks Oklahoma for blowing that one!
  • I am really jealous of my sister's purple North Face.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Jon Turning 30.

Two weeks ago on October 15th, our friend Jon turned 30. Luckily K-State was playing on his birthday. He's a big fan, so that's the perfect kind of present for Jon. Erica planned it out with barbeque, beans, cheesy potatoes, great appetizers and one really large Costco cake. I really wish that they would have added the 30-yard-line for Jon. It would only seem appropriate.



Erica got a keg of Coors Light for the party. In discussing the details of this party, I got really worried that kegs had to be ordered a long time in advance. Turns out - you don't. The guy at the liquor store sort of laughed at Erica when she tried to order it Tuesday for Saturday.

Yes, we are 28 and this is the first time we have been involved with the procurement of a keg.



At 7-0, this is the point in the season where we "could" start to get superstitious. For example, in some grouping, Anne, Ashley, Erica, Jon, Kenneth, Melinda and I have watched every game together this season. Even if some of us missed, others were together, cheering and willing the Wildcats to win.

I have worn my purple watch every game so far this fall. (Thanks Dad and Tracy!) I also think it's an important part of a K-State win.

And look! I'm drinking beer out of a disposable cup again! This could also be part of the winning strategy. just.kidding. It just happens sometimes.



Last Saturday at KU, I asked Jon to take a picture of my family. He did it, and then I made him take it again. I think he was a little offended.

I think he forgot about the last time he took a picture of my family. I didn't. Here's Lauren and I pretty up close and personal. She looks pretty good for a morning half marathon.



We had a great time celebrating a K-State victory and Jon's 30th. My mom was the only Luhrs Lady who remembered to get him a card, so she wins. I'm thankful to be living so close to Jon and Erica, and not only because he helps take care of my yard without me even asking. He's a good dude and good friend.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Nelson's Landing.



Indirectly, this post about a restaurant in Leonardville, Kansas, is also a post about two football teams that are 7-0. When Mom and I went to visit my grandparents after the K-State v. Baylor game, we stopped for a quick burger at Nelson's Landing in Leonardville. About thirty minutes from Manhattan, Nelson's Landing is owned by Jordy Nelson's parents. My mom had stopped before, but I was pretty excited about my first trip to the Nelson family establishment.



They have signs up for the Riley County high school team, K-State and the Packers where Jordy plays now. While our stop was several weeks ago, it's crazy to think that K-State and the Packers are both now 7-0!



We both ordered hamburgers, and I was super excited to see Mr. Nelson bringing us our food. Not because of the hamburgers, but because he is JORDY NELSON'S DAD. I almost geeked out and asked for a picture with him, but I maintained my cool and ate my dinner instead.

While we ate, we watched Wisconsin beat up on Nebraska. See the screen in the photo above? That's Coach Bielema, a former K-State coach and now the head coach at Wisconsin. It's a small world. We got a little distracted by the game and didn't notice the fridge full of slices of pie in the back corner until too late. Apparently someone in the Nelson family makes it, and it's supposed to be fantastic. Looks like we'll have to go back again for the pie!

P.S. How many K-Staters reading this started chanting "Jor-dy Nel-son!" in their heads? Love that kid.

Friday, October 21, 2011

State of the TV.



It's October 21st, and I'm just now blogging about television. Something is totally awry. Here's the sitch: I don't have cable. And I don't have a DVR. Also, some shows that I could watch in Virginia because I was already home are on earlier in KC, and I always miss them. Basically, I watch less TV.

And here is the weirdest part about it: I don't mind it or miss it.

On occasion people will mention something to me about a tv show, and I will have to say, "Oh yeah, I didn't see it." Surprisingly, it doesn't happen that often. Apparently the rest of the world doesn't watch as much TV as Rachel and I did last year in Virginia. I miss talking about TV with Rachel, but I feel like she's really not watching as much either. There are just a few shows I'm watching every week, and I love those shows. They've really made the cut and are my favorites. Here's the list.
  • The Good Wife: We've got more Eli in the office this year. Diane is brilliant. And I think Kalinda and Cary might actually work out. And that is all awesome stuff that has nothing to do with The Good Wife herself. I love her character, and Alicia is a pretty awesome 3rd-year-associate at Lockhart Gardner. This could be the best part of Sunday night. 
  • Parenthood: My undying love for Lorelai Gilmore continues. I love all the story lines and family dynamics. I want to go to a Braverman dance party in the kitchen sometime. 
  • Modern Family: How do they come up with this stuff? Between an Emmy winning K-Stater and the funniest TV dads (all four of them), I laugh out loud almost every week at this show. I think Luke might be my favorite of all the kids. I'm still giggling about Luke and Phil buying the pizza without their pants on. 
  • Parks & Recreation: In today's heated political climate, it's nice to have a heroine like Leslie Knope who gets stuff done. She is a model for politicians and bureaucracy today, especially for women! Leslie gets stuff done. (Also, this show is very silly. I like that Leslie is a strong female lead, but it wouldn't be the same show without Ron, Andy, Tom, April, and BEN WYATT). Thanks also to Jon Anderson for sharing the image above.
Yep, that's it. Four shows. If they're online, I have extra time, or everyone Rachel said they were really funny I'll watch Community, New Girl, Up All Night or The Office. But that's happening less and less because I am not home, I don't turn the TV on OR Fox delays shows for 8 days. I'd love watch Bones when it starts up again, but the eight day delay and Thursday night at 7 pm are going to make that tricky.

I miss some of my old friends: Mr. Schu, Barney, Marshall, Olivia and ELLIOTT, Beckett, Kurt Himmel, and Omar Little. Just kidding, Omar is on Community now.

Are you surprised? Proud? Jealous? Think I have a long ways to go? I'm pretty proud myself. Four shows! Or eight depending on how you count

P.S. TGIF.
P.S.S. Go K-State! Beat KU!
P.S.S.S. Rachel, Sol, Braden, Finley will be here next Wednesday!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Kansas City Marathon.

When I lived in Virginia, I missed my sister run five half marathons. That's over 65 miles of running. I was thrilled I would be home to watch her run number six. I even offered to drive. That was before she told me that she would be at my house at 5:45. AM. But it was still fun and totally worth it.

I captured these photos at sunrise in downtown KC. The first one is near the beginning of the race, and the second is near mile two as the runners come back down near Union Station.





Lauren ran with Veronica and Megan, and I was able to see them three times during the race. It is definitely NOT as fun chasing marathon/half marathon runners by yourself. There is a lot of math involved in calculating their pace and location, maneuvering closed roads, and then watching the big crowds of runners to find your runners. Once I found them one time, it was easy to find them again. I would recognize the people ahead of them, and I saw Them at mile 7, 8.5 and maybe 10.



After the race, Megan and I drank some chocolate milk, and Lauren and I ate some GREAT Kansas beef sticks. Lu runs for Team Beef, and they pay for her entry fee. And she gets to wear this great jersey. I totally yelled "Go Meggie! Go TEAM BEEF!" every time I saw them.



I love going to marathons. I think they are inspiring, and I totally always cry. It does NOT make me want to be a marathon runner, but I still like going. Next time I need a buddy to help me track the runners. I am planning on spectating again in November. I will bring a hot thermos of something warm as we chase the runners, okay?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Book Club Special Guests.

Two weeks ago we had two back-to-back book club events. We had a delicious brunch at Tara's on a Sunday afternoon and regular book club on Monday night at Kate's where we discussed our October book.

Tara makes a mean brunch. Baked french toast, mimosas, yogurt parfaits and a lot.of.bacon.

I am terrible at cooking bacon. That's probably a good/bad scenario. If I could cook bacon well, I'd eat more of it. Luckily Tara does it up right, and she lives 3.5 miles from my house. Round trip = seven miles for bacon that is correctly prepared. Fantastic.

While not a regularly attending member of the book club, Alison happened to be in town and joined us for both events. Perfect fit and an excellent excuse for me to hold baby Dinah, who I adore.



Baby Dinah was born in June and really not as sad as she looks in these photos. She was ready for a nap, and I was ready for a photo shoot. She looks a lot like her daddy, Matthew, but we collectively agreed that those eyes remind us of her mommy.


Yep, she's pretty adorable. I don't get to be around a ton of baby girls so I'm always marveling at how sweet little girls are. They get to wear cute little pink clothes and RUFFLES. Dinah was wearing socks on Monday with bows on them so they looked like little Mary Janes. Please stop. 

Dinah's got a great life ahead of her hopefully filled with girlfriends as nice as mine who get together for everyone's birthday, cook bacon well or devour a pumpkin butter cake.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Oktoberfest.



The now 6-0 K-State Wildcats were only 4-0 the last time I wrote a K-State recap. That was before Oktoberfest and a win in Lubbock against Texas Tech. On a recent trip to Germany, Kenneth bought a pair of lederhosen complete with a purple shirt. He decided that we should celebrate a K-State game, the German way, and it was fantastic. I think Oktoberfest could be one of my favorite ideas ever, and I already can't wait till next year. Here are some other notes from game day:
  • Mom and I were already in town because of the Leadership Studies event. (Thanks for all your feedback on the sweater vests!) So we started the morning with breakfast in Aggieville, a quick trip through Varneys and completing an etsy order.
  • Ashley made a PERFECT hefeweizen for the event. It's a good German beer that's easy to drink, and even Mom had some and liked it. 
  • We drank out of steins. The Nortons have a collection that almost ended up at Goodwill but now have a special place in K-State tradition.
  • I wore the Oktoberfest t-shirt Kenneth got me in 2007 to the tailgate. He was surprised and excited! I totally changed for the game and spent most of the game taking my raincoat on and off. It wasn't that bad because we were beating Mizzou.
  • Oh yes, the Cats won.
  • Kenneth and Melinda brought fantastic German style sausage from a place on Johnson Drive about three minutes from my house. The German theme was well carried out in the meal we shared!
  • My friend Allison from work also has a bakery. She made 24 of the most fantastic black forest cupcakes ever. Chocolate cupcakes, sliced open, filled with cherry pie filling and homemade pastry cream, with homemade ganache on the top. We had to eat them with a fork, but they were so worth it. After I described it to Rachel, she said, "I have never been so jealous of a baked good in my life."  
  • Kenneth's dad rode on a Harley for Harley Day. It was pretty cool - read more about it here.
  • Another photo of me holding a beer. But as the Nortons pointed out, at least it's not in another plastic cup.
  • This was the first game that my ticket group was at together. It was great sitting together in our season tickets - we've been looking forward to this for months! Three more home games to go!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Pumpkin Butter Cake.


I have a couple regrets about this cake. One, that there was no natural light to take a photo of it. Two, that it is all gone. Please make it. For people you like or people you want to like you when it's done. I made it for book club, took the extra to school and had many happy friends. Several people had seconds at book club and the school secretary asked, "Are you SURE you don't want to marry my son?"

Pumpkin Butter Cake (from My Baking Addiction and Paula Deen - be warned, butter ahead)

Cake: 
1 (18 1/4 oz) package yellow cake mix
1 egg
8 tablespoons butter, melted

Filling:
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened (I actually used the 1/3 less fat kind!)
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 tablespoons butter, melted
1 (16 oz.) box powdered sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Combine the cake mix, egg, and butter and mix well with electric mixer. Pat the mixture into the bottom of a lightly greased 13 by 9 baking pan.
3. To make the filling: beat the cream cheese and pumpkin until smooth. Don't taste it just now. It's gross. Then add the eggs, vanilla, and butter, and beat together. Next add the powdered sugar (yeah, you want that much sugar), cinnamon, nutmeg and mix well.
4. Spread pumpkin mixture over cake batter and bake for 40 to 50 minutes.

This is where a judgement call is necessary. The cake could have been way gooey-er if I had taken it out closer to 40. I do not like my cake to jiggle so it got closer to the 50 minutes treatment. The edges were not super tender but the inside was fabulous. I think next time I'll shoot for about 45 minutes because it set up a ton as it cooled.

And don't forget to make homemade whipped cream. Whip 1 cup of cream until you've got some peaks. Add two tablespoons powdered sugar.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Correction.

Last week I shared a photo of milo for my mom's birthday. To the undiscerning eye like mine, it looked great. To my uncle and grandmother who read the blog AND look at a lot of milo, they thought it was wimpy.

My uncle Keith sent me these photos of my grandfather and much better milo. His composition blows mine out of the water. I'm obsessed with the horizon and especially my grandfather standing amongst the milo.



Now seems as good as time as any to write down a little story about my grandfather. Especially because, as I mentioned recently, the number of photos of me holding a beer has risen significantly in the last few months at home. 

Once, in high school, I met my grandparents and my mom at a Mexican restaurant on Southwest Boulevard. They were already seated when I arrived, so I asked how long they had been there.

Without missing a beat, Grandpa said, "Oh, about half a beer."

I remember thinking that was the funniest thing in the world. My grandfather measured time in BEER! So funny to teenage Victoria.

And now, to grown-up Victoria, I find it to be incredibly accurate.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

School of Leadership Studies and Other Notes.

Friday night, Mom and I hurried to Manhattan for an event at the Leadership Studies building on campus. We've been loving this building since it's infancy - Mom's a donor, and we're both extremely proud of the Mortar Board National Senior Honor Society office perfectly located on the second floor. Leadership Studies was a home to Lauren, Mom and me during our years at K-State, and we love seeing this program grow in the new building with a new title - the School of Leadership Studies.



Now here are a few things I want to tell you about the night. First, the dress for the event was something along the lines of "purple business casual." That's how we do it at K-State. We specify purple and then everyone wears it. Mom and I are both sporting new purple shirts for the event. Rocking the purple patterns - thanks JCrew and Banana!



Second, I am beginning to feel like the last person on earth who hasn't made the pom poms out of tissue paper. Seriously. I might make some in orange and black and hang them above the table in my dining area just so I can fit in with crafty bloggers.



Next up: the sweater vests. In this great but poorly lit photo of Ally and me standing in the foyer, look to the left hand side for the man wearing a sweater vest. The OTHER senior honor society at K-State, Blue Key, has decided that their members should wear sweater vests at official events. Here's the conversation re: the sweater vests between my sister and I over text message. (Note: Lauren was in both Mortar Board and Blue Key but her heart's allegiance is to Blue Key.)

Me: Um. Blue Key wears sweater vests now. Not cool, right?
Lauren: I'm sorry but I think the sweater vests are the best thing ever. It started two classes after us and we were all very jealous.
Me: I'm sorry we are related. I cannot stop laughing.


There was a wall with "Faces of Leadership" posters. Rachel and I completed ours together, obviously. It had to include an inspirational quote so we wrote "Children are the future."

You are totally inspired right now, right?

Anyways, Rach and I did really complete the minor together and both honestly believe that children are our future. I have a lot of happy memories of Leadership Studies AND Rachel - we took our first class together as freshman, our education honors research was supervised by one of the two founders of the Leadership Studies program, and we took our mad leadership skills to Virginia where we revamped Student Council at our old school.

Also featured on the wall were Lauren and Vicki, both were too busy to attend the event. Lauren was in California with Mark mourning Steve Jobs. Vicki was in labor. True story.

This is just another reason I'm so happy to be home. It's nice to be able to pop in on events like this and see so many friends and familiar faces.

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Two Books of September.



I actually read four books in September, if you count the three times in one week that I read The Lover's Dictionary. Yep, I loved it so much that I read it three times and still pick it up to read some of my favorite passages again. Here's a review of what transpired in September.

The Lover's Dictionary was Leah's book club choice for September and a good one. I may be the only member of the book club who read it three times, but I missed a few things the first time that were fun to discover the second time. And I really appreciated so much more of it on the third. It's the story of a relationship told through words and their definitions which are often anecdotes or short bits of prose. Writing about it right now makes me want to read it again. I haven't read it in about three weeks, so I could probably justify a quick read of the book again. It's pretty short, and a lovely little read that can be finished in about an hour. Loved The Lover's Dictionary.

In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror & an American Family in Hitler's Berlin seemed like a good idea at the time. I loved Erik Larson's Devil in the White City and have shared my beat up copy (held together literally by rubber bands) with many friends over the years. My stepmom's dad gave Lauren and I each a copy of the book, and it's a classic Chicago tale that everyone loves when they read it. So I had high expectations for Larson's newest book, and the reviewers (except Tara) seemed to really like it. I finished it, and I learned some things. Some parts were more interesting than others. If you haven't read Devil in the White City, read that one instead.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Milo for Mom's Birthday.



Mom and I made a quick trip to North Central Kansas over the weekend after the K-State win. I wanted to see my grandparents for the first time since I moved home in July, and it was a great little visit.

Fall is in full force across Kansas. It looks like the leaves changing beautifully here, but there are less trees and the fall colors are more subtle in Jewell County. The milo in the fields is in several autumnal shades, including this rusty red. We stopped to check out my uncle's new combine, and I snapped a few photos of all the fall colors in the country.

It was a great overnight trip, especially because I got all this time with my mom in the car. She cares for me daily and is always helping out with things around town, but she also just cares for my heart. I can tell her my stories, dilemmas, and dreams, and she safely carries them with her. She is beyond good to me.

Happy birthday Mama!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Beating Baylor.




Did you see what K-State did on Saturday? Yep, we upset the #15 team in the nation. It was a glorious day to be a Wildcat. Here are the details and the highlights:
  • K-State vs. Baylor. Down 9 points in the fourth quarter, come from behind, WIN. This is why we are glad Coach Snyder is our coach. He makes miracles happen.
  • First game of the season for Erica and Anne. Their husbands were both absent, so it was a girls' weekend of sorts. We also got to see our sorority sister Jesi who lives in Manhattan.
  • FUN fact about Jesi - we were on the same soccer team in kindergarten. 
  • Brand new K-State shirt from Kansas Sampler. Super cute and soft, it was an easy choice to add into the K-State shirt rotation.
  • We've had 16 sunny days in a row in Kansas. Saturday was not an exception. A few people got sunburned, but thankfully my seat doesn't face the sun.
  • Mom made everyone's favorite fall cookies, pumpkin snickerdoodles, Anne brought sandwiches, and we bummed some more cookies from the ladies next to our tailgate. Low key tailgate day. WAIT till next week...
  • This makes three posts in a row where I'm holding a beer. My parents are proud. 
  • From the rumor mill: if K-State can beat Mizzou, Texas Tech and KU, we'll be 7-0 when we play Oklahoma at home for Homecoming. Maybe an ESPN Game Day visit to this gorgeous stadium? Maybe?

Monday, October 3, 2011

American Royal BBQ.

Friday night marked my triumphant return to the American Royal BBQ. Not the American Royal people, the American Royal BBQ. There seems to be a bit of confusion around just what the Royal is and it is not just a BBQ. It's livestock judging, rodeos, educational opportunities, and a huge Kansas City tradition. 

But the BBQ is definitely a highlight for so many Kansas Citians. They estimated about 35,000 people were there on Friday night with over 600 barbeque teams competing for the grand prize. There were also a ton of parties, but you have to know people to go to a lot of them. Our plan was to check in at Big Brothers Big Sisters party, and then meet back up with Kate at her firm's tent. 


Big Brothers Big Sisters party was huge, but we snagged a little barbeque and then spent most of our time waiting in line for beer. With our mugs full, we headed back to meet up with Kate. It was easier to talk, we met some new people and saw a few of my old friends as well.



It's really hard to describe the area where the barbeque is held unless you have been down to Kemper Arena before. The whole area around this large arena is full of barbeque smokers, tents, rvs, bands, djs and a lot of people. You buy a ticket to get into the area that is marked off for the bbq, but it's a huge area that you could walk and walk forever. Parking is a bit of an adventure, but it wasn't that bad, and we were able to park relatively close.



When we got to Kate's house, the babysitter was a senior at my high school. And then I felt old as I told her I graduated ten years ago. TEN years ago. But it was foreshadowing for later in the evening when we spent quite a bit of time with some of my high school classmates. In a small world connection, I got to see several of them and catch up. Ten years goes pretty fast, and by the end of the night I was feeling young again.