Monday, January 23, 2012

Christmas visitor

Santa came to see us on Christmas Eve. He hasn't been there in person for the past few years, so we were really excited to see him. Especially Teresa. She always gets really excited when Santa walks in.

He spent a lot of time with us and we all got something out of his special bag. But before he passed out presents, Zachary had to get something off his chest. He started by saying, "I have something to tell you."

And then he said, "I've been a little bad." Santa responded with something very appropriate (we were all laughing too hard to hear what he had to say) and I think he immediately felt better for having unburdened himself. I think he might have been a little worried that Santa didn't have anything in that bag for him and wanted to be up-front about his behavior.

Caden got his gift pretty early in the process. And he was happy to have something with Lightning McQueen on it! He didn't even mind getting his picture taken with Santa.

Micah, on the other hand, minded a lot! Poor thing didn't want anything to do with Santa on his first Christmas. But he really did like the blocks Santa brought him. Maybe next year he won't mind so much.

Jessica got some duct tape the color of her car to help hold it together. She was pretty excited.

Zachary was happy when he got a Spider-Man shaving kit from Santa.

Santa brought me a Starbucks gift card. He knows me very well. And this is the picture that made me decide I really need to lose some weight.

Happy to report that since the first of the year I've lost almost 8 pounds. Motivation can be found in a scheduled vacation to Europe. This time feels different already, though. I've been a cooking fool (thanks in part to the new Calphalon cookware I got for Christmas) and I've been exercising and eating right. That combination of things has been really hard for me in the past. But this time it feels like a shift in my thinking which is a wonderful feeling. Stay tuned for updates throughout the year.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


I was on vacation over the Fourth of July, but the rest of my family was at my sister Jenny's house for a surprise birthday party and fireworks. I love this picture of Zachary. I think he's a little bit excited about the fireworks portion of the evening!

Caden looks like he's not quite sure yet. I heard they had a wonderful time and I'm sorry I missed it.

My not-so-new great nephew, Micah

Micah Bradley was born February 5 and I'm very late in blogging about him. He's the second child for my nephew Andrew and his wife, Rachel. And big brother Caden just loves his Micah! Here's is a picture of him fresh in the world (photo by Jack and Jill Portraits):

Doesn't it look like he's waving to everybody? I love this picture. The next one is from June, I think. Taken by his mommy, who he thinks is the funniest person ever.

And this one is from mid-August. I can't believe how much he changes. And she's not only funny, but a good photographer. His mommy took this picture too.

Here's the big brother, himself. Caden at my house with Mardi Gras hat and nerd glasses. He loves those glasses!

This one of Caden was taken outside in August. His mom tells me she bribed him to get these pictures, but I'm not at liberty to say what she bribed him with. I still think it was win-win because it's such a cute picture. And yes, he's just as ornery as he looks.


I finally met Patricia

Almost two weeks ago, I drove up to Kansas City to see my good friend, Tristan. We were talking about the fact over the weekend visit that we are each other's "oldest" friend. What we mean by that is that we are the first friend that each of us remembers making. Our families lived pretty close to each other in the country (Tristan had horses at her house and I did not) and we are sure we were friends even before kindergarten. Over the years we've seen each other off and on, but it's always like we have never been apart. Friendships like that are few and far between and I cherish those connections when they happen.
This past April, Tristan had a baby. A precious little girl that I had only seen in pictures until two weeks ago. I met Patricia that Friday evening and it took only about 30 seconds for her to decide she liked me and we are now the best of friends. Which illustrates just how smart she is. Unfortunately, neither Tristan or I thought to snap a picture of the two of us together, but I did get one of Patricia and I:
See what I mean? Precious. Thanks for the hospitality to Tristan and Dave. And to Patricia for all the smiles and coos. We'll do it again soon, I promise.

Monday, July 18, 2011

It's been 20 years

I took this picture on the campus of Newman University this past May looking west at sunset (obviously). This grotto area is where I remember my college career getting started. The weekend I moved into the dorm as a freshman, there was an outdoor barbeque for the students and their parents in the grotto. It was just after this meal that my parents walked me back to the dorm and left me for good. I was homesick. But that's not what I remember most about that moment. We were walking in front of the big steps on the east side of Sacred Heart Hall and we were talking about whether or not there was anything else I'd need before they left town.

Mom and I had been the grocery store the day before and bought some things for me to keep in my room (getting up early for breakfast has never been my thing) and I had gotten some bagels. They were not pre-cut. I said that the only thing I needed was a knife to cut the bagels. Mom stopped, then so did dad and I, and we watched while she rummaged around in her purse for a minute and then produced a steak knife. My dad and I looked at each other with confused faces. Why did she have a steak knife in her purse? Her story is that she'd taken an apple to work earlier that week, along with the knife to cut it up, and just hadn't removed it yet. Right. It remains one of my favorite "going to college" memories.

This May was the 20th anniversary of my graduation from Newman. I spent a good part of May 2011 remembering my college years. I spent a good bit of time on campus this May as president of the alumni association. I even got to welcome the new graduates to the association at commencement. It was such a good decision for me to go to school at what was then Kansas Newman College in the fall of 1987. I feel blessed and eternally grateful.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

This just makes me FEEL cooler

With the amount of days we've had this summer in triple digits, I like to look at this picture taken in February at Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia. It just makes me feel cooler looking at it.

I know I'm the minority, but I'd much rather be bundled up in a coat year-round than sweating my face off in the summer. Hands down. Now I must go outside and water my flowers so they don't die.


For the first time in many, many years I was in Ellinwood during harvest. I took Zachary (and Katie and Victoria took Caden) and we headed to the field. I didn't ride in the combine, but the boys did and they had a great time. Here's a picture of them in air-conditioned comfort riding with Ryan while the rest of us sweated it out in the sunshine.

What's a trip to the field without a trip to the Dairy Queen? Well, if you're in Ellinwood, you'd have to drive a bit to find one these days. So we did the next best thing and went for the Heavenly Sno. Are these two crazy or what?

If you're not having any fun while hanging out with Zachary and Caden, you're not trying very hard!