Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Two K-State Games.

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We've been to two K-State games already this year, and I'm really hoping the third one on October 10th isn't as hot as the first two! The first one on September 5th was really hot with temperatures in the 90s. The second game on September 19th was way cooler, but we all dressed for the low 70s and our jeans were hot in the sun during an afternoon game (with three overtimes!).

The tailgate gang is back together, and we're back to filling our plates too full with all the good options each week. At the first game, Kip and I shared our big news with everyone! They were so excited, which was no surprise considering how generous they were last year at our Oktoberfest shower.

While we were driving up to the game, a buddy of Kip's text him that he had one extra pass for a special tailgate before the game and to go on the field for the pregame warm-up. Kip wasn't going to say yes because there was only one, but he was driving so I said yes for him! It was his first time on the field, and I went once during college. Kip tucked the baby's first onesie in his back pocket (it looked like a bandanna) and headed off to check it all out. He even had his buddy take a photo of him holding the onesie down on the field. I love it.
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Our little buddies Collin and Maddie were back for the second game with their parents, but I didn't do the best job pulling out the camera. We tailgated, drank large McAllister's iced teas in the stadium, and watched a good portion of the game. Kip was staying to hang up deer stands, so I rode home with Erica, Jon and Maddie. We left when we thought the game was under control in the fourth quarter, but the Cats needed three overtimes to actually win it. While the Wildcats started the season 3-0, we're down a couple quarterbacks and getting a little bit nervous about the start of Big 12 play this weekend!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Last Weekend in August.

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Over the last several months, I have tried to do a very quiet rebalancing of life at the Lynch house. Part of it was out of necessity as the first trimester made me tired and adverse to any invitations for backyard barbeques. But it also felt like the time to readjust how we spent our time and what was on our plate before the arrival of a baby. The littlest Lynch will probably shake things up, or so everyone loves to tell me over and over again. So I sort of silently resolved to stop booking things for every day of the weekend. If at all possible, one of those evenings needed to be marked off for dinner at home with take-out and the Royals, or tasty leftovers, or a quick bite to eat somewhere just the two of us.

I went back to work July 20th, and the transition at work was (and still is) extremely challenging. I don't think I would do the job if it didn't make me think in new ways all the time, but it can be pretty draining over the week. Kip's job has it's own challenges - between problem solving, training new guys and working in the heat, he's often totally exhausted by the end of the week. And he works a Saturday once a month too. Readjusting for more spaces of quiet felt really important, and Kip was on board too. He's not the one who overbooks us anyways.

So far it's been working pretty well, and it helps compensate for the weeks with too many weeknight appointments and meetings. It does mean that with football season and hunting, it is a long time before we are both available to make weekend plans on a Friday or Saturday night. This is obviously a struggle for me as I value my friends, LOVE to make big exciting plans, and there are so many fun things to do in Kansas City all the time during the fall. But slowly I think it also makes me more grateful for the times that are already on the calendar. Regularly scheduled book club, football car rides and tailgates, fun out-of-town guests, and a couple little weekend trips are also highlights this year, and I love all those things too.

On the last weekend in August, we worked on that new normal balance with a slow meal at the bar inside Hereford House. For our wedding, we received two gift cards and savored each one with their fantastic happy hour deals while watching the Royals. Saturday night we drove out to the Leavenworth area for a wedding at Lamborn Farm. Kip works with the groom, and we didn't end up knowing very many of the guests. But we like to hang out with each other, ask questions about farms and old barns, and chat about the Royals with people we don't know, so we definitely enjoyed ourselves. The bride & groom really lucked out, and it was a gorgeous evening for a wedding in late August.

If there's something else I need to readjust, it is in the measurement of these weekends and what's "accomplished." Quieter schedules do not need to translate into longer weekend to-do lists. Rachel told me recently that she saw someone with an "I DID IT!" list instead of a to-do list. Probably a more appropriate way to look at time off after really long weeks. This is still an area of growth for me, but I'm working on it. I don't really mind being a work in progress.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Celebrating Keith and Karen's 50th Anniversary.

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My in-laws celebrated fifty years of marriage on August 27th. I spent months trying to think of something special to get them for their anniversary but the best thing I could come up with was a grand baby. (You better believe they are pretty excited!) We also planned a special evening with the three sons and family in August.
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We took Karen and Keith to Harry's in Manhattan with the help of Keith's sister LaVonne and her husband Jim who traveled up from Oklahoma to join in the celebration. It was Karen's first trip to Harry's, and they do a lovely job at the restaurant making a big deal out of special occasions. Harry's has been open twenty-five years, and Kip and his brother Kevin both think the last time they were there was for prom or homecoming! I've always loved the place and am hoping we can eat next door at the casual lunch restaurant again on a future trip.
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Our reservation was for 6:30, but we gathered early for a few photos. Kip and I brought flowers with us from Kansas City and left them at the restaurant for a surprise on our table. Sunflowers and orange are two of his mom's favorites.
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Dinner was delicious and oh so fancy. And we ordered a cake as our final surprise! It was so fun having it come out and be presented. We stayed overnight and went to church in the morning, and I think it was a good low-key celebration but well deserved. Cheers to Karen and Keith!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

#mpc8 on 8.8.15

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I think every year that maybe the Mission Pub Crawl won't resurrect itself or won't live up to the early glory days. But then a design for a t-shirt just clicks in my head, people start RSVPing on facebook, and before you know it we have people talking about how they are thrilled to be a part of another year of #mpc. This year's pub crawl did not disappoint with over fifty friends and fans of Mission joining us throughout the night.

The t-shirt design is a play on our favorite baseball team and their slogan for the year, Forever Royal. I refuse to disclose just how long I spent trying to match the fonts exactly. I can't say enough nice things about Custom Ink for t-shirt designs. They were willing to print our small order of sixteen shirts for a very reasonable price, free shipping and on both crew neck and v-neck tees. I also got a big kick out of the fact that #mpc8 was on 8.8!

I was definitely thirteen weeks pregnant on the pub crawl and barely eating meat again (no meat was a highlight of my first trimester!), but I felt like I was a pretty good sport about leading the troops through Mission. We ate dinner at RJ's Bob-be-que, as has been recent tradition. They do a wonderful job feeding a crowd of thirty people, and the weather cooperated for a pleasant start to the evening on the back patio. I even enjoyed a quesedilla with pulled pork in it!

A really awesome side effect of pregnancy, besides temporarily becoming a vegetarian, was the sweet cowlick that developed in my bangs on the right side of my face. Maybe it was from all the naps I took at the beginning? Regardless, you can see it really clearly above in the photo of the Luhrs Ladies + Kip.
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This eighth pub crawl also felt like a miniature sorority reunion. We loved having Jesi join us from Manhattan. This photo was taken in the Clarette Club, now gone from Mission but forever in our hearts. It closed shortly after our visit, and we'll probably have to add it's replacement to the line-up for next year. We also were very sad to have to skip the bowling alley this year as Mission Bowl rebuilds from a fire. We added "The Bar" and liked it, plus we've grown increasingly fond of Sully's. So much room to spread out, free popcorn and games! We never skip the Keyhole where the whole event began. Plenty of pub crawlers enjoyed Tang shots while standing elbow to elbow with regulars who look at our huge crowd with a bit of disdain. But hey, we're there because we love Mission, apparently, forever.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Three Books of August.

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AUGUST. Oh man, AUGUST. Teachers reported back on Tuesday, August 4th, and the month of August found me often exhausted both physically and mentally. If you saw it on Instagram, baby Lynch is coming in February! We're so excited! The first trimester wasn't terrible but a general level of nausea and exhaustion kept me company through the first part of August. Between growing a baby and learning the culture in a new building, I didn't get much reading done. Lots of sleeping though! The new school commute is also shorter, so it doesn't feel as natural to plug into an audio book. A podcast or half a podcast has been a better fit so far. I'm not missing the time in the car though I am missing the books!

Stella by Starlight is a story about a girl finding her voice as a writer with the background of the Great Dpression and the Ku Klux Klan in North Carolina. It's a good look at community, how writing helps students think and a good fit for social studies and reading classes in grades five through eight.

The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace sat on the Kindle for a long time before I was in the right place to read it. It came highly recommended by my friend Candi, and we actually chatted on the phone about it after I finished it. It's a quick read about a brilliant young man from Newark, New Jersey. His single mother works so very hard to help him get to Yale, but he also fought his own way forward after his dad was incarcerated. It's not a surprise based on the title, that even though Robert graduates from Yale, the pull of the Newark neighborhood is too strong. It's a must read if you think schools will be the salvation for people who live in poverty. We make a big difference for kids, but there are so many factors to consider.

Etta and Otto and Russell and James has been floating around the internet and our book club choice for August. It reads like a fine arts movie that takes place on the Canadian plans. It was a bit strange, and I like this reviewer who talks about how there is almost too much restraint in the writing.

And just because I told you that I'm having a baby, here are three reads about reading after babies. What Happens to Your Reading When You Have a Baby (written by a dad!), Have Babies, Keep Reading (related: people don't tell Kip "wait till you have kids" nearly as often as they tell me), and How to Read After You Have Babies

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The 2015 Threshing Bee and Family.

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We've had pretty tolerable weather for the past couple of Jewell County Threshing Bees, and for Kip's first in 2014, it was downright gorgeous. This year the heat cranked back up, so we all opted for ice cream from Call Hall in Manhattan or snow cones to try to cool off a bit.
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Sasha and Mike drove the tractor this year in the parade - it was their first time taking the old Oliver out for a spin! Thankfully tractors got to go before the old cars this year so they didn't have to wait too long in the heat before rolling through the park.
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Lauren had a Junior League meeting she couldn't miss on Saturday morning, so she drove out in the late afternoon to meet us all for a small party at Keith and Bethany's house and a trip down to the beer garden at the park.

Sunday morning we ALL were together with my grandparents for a very nice birthday brunch. Uncle Keith and I try not to make a big deal out of our birthdays. Well, he tries anyways. I LOVE birthday celebrations. But our family spoils us rotten, buys us the best pastries, and makes delicious casseroles to commemorate another year. And they gave us lots of lovely gifts too. Thirty-two was off to a great start with this breakfast.
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It was the first time we had all been together since we added Kip to the family and rounded our number to ten. We talked about the Royals, the weather, Kip's dove hunting plans, and upcoming adventures for everyone. It was a lovely time with the whole family, and we have the photos to prove it.