Thursday, December 30, 2010

EMC, CK and AK turn 26!

That's my friend Emily :) She turned 26 yesterday. And I really like her. The weirdest part about her bday and the twins (more below) is that we all aren't together! Usually, every year there would be a party or a planned night out for their birthday because it was always over winter break when we were in college and no one had full time jobs. Funny how things change, right? Winter break doesn't exist and those pesky jobs. And this year, I was in Florida for their birthday, so I couldn't even see them in person to wish them a happy year!! But so goes life I guess, I do hope they all got my cards though and that gave them a little smile!

Anyways, that picture is typical Emily. After meeting in the dorms freshman year and immediately hitting it off, Emily and I stayed bff's all through college and lived together 3 times after that. Well, she now lives with her hunky boyfriend Jeff and I live with Jimmy...but I think we secretly miss those time when we lived together because everyone knows girls rule and boys drool. Haha, I'm so mature. Here is another shot of her on our date in STL. Pretty sure this was for the TSwift concert. Duh. We love TSwift.

And here is her hunky bf, Jeff. He's a pretty great guy. Likes wiener dogs, cooks, cleans and likes to have a good time. What more can you ask for? :) Aren't they cute?!

And just for old times sake and to remember how fun we once were- here we are at a date party senior year of college. Em, cheers to many more wonderful birthdays and some more costume parties in 2011!!

Next up, yep Courtney and Ashley (yep, they both have pretty sweet blogs- check them out!!!). Guess what, they are twins and Dec 29 is there birthday too! Ah, what a coincidence :) But they are a great pair of girls that I've been lucky enough to have in my life. Jimmy was actually friends with them first through high school, but I think we are equal friends with them now since we were all Pi Phis together. They both lead pretty sweet lives :) Courtney is about to finish med school and going to get married in May in Mexico to Brian, a great guy and fellow med school student! Then you have Ashley who always wanted to move to LA and work in the movie/entertainment industry when we were in college. Well, guess what? She did just that and four years later is still loving it and is very successful! We are going to try to make a trip to visit her in LA this year! SO fun!! Love them both and wish them a very happy birthday- can't wait for all the fun times 2011 will bring!!

Awesome picture of them at Lora's wedding in October!

This picture is of them in FLorida when they went to go see Brian and their brother run an Ironman race. Holy cow!!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Erica's BIRTHDAY (yep, this is delayed!!)

For real...this is LATE. Oh my gosh. Because what do you know? I actually wrote this a few weeks ago when it was actually Erica's birthday and now that I was sitting here thinking how it's my friend Emily, Ashley and Courtney's birthdays tomorrow, I was looking back through some of the birthday posts I have done. I was looking on my blog. Kept thinking to myself, "where is the one I just wrote for Erica?". After searching, I got into the edit view and searched some more and realized, yep. For sure didn't ever publish that post. I wrote it, but no post was published. What a sweet friend I am!! WOW! No excuses, as I do remember there was a lot going on that day, but still- here it is for all the world to see! Her birthday was in December (not that late) on the seventeenth day. Yep, December 17. Like I mentioned, late. So sorry Erica, but here you go :)

So this is my friend Erica:

Yep, you guessed right. That was her on her wedding day, earlier this year (you can see more on that here), where I was honored to be one of the matrons of honor with our friend Vanessa. Doesn't she look beautiful? :) It was quite the day in Dallas when she and her husband, Andrew, finally tied the knot! Now, while they are still not actually in the same zip code- yet!!!! - they are doing an amazing job of making a long distance marriage work and even though it's hard, I'm so excited for their future and can't wait to see what is next for them.

So that's Erica now. But Erica then. Yep, that's the girl I'll always remember. Now you see, Erica is from Nebraska. She was the one Pi Phi in our pledge class from Nebraska. And that was a big deal because everyone she knew went to University of Nebraska and consistently shouted "GO BIG RED" in her ear growing up in hopes that she would never go anywhere else (who would DARE?!). Well, she did. Apparently that subliminal messaging didn't work for her. She came to K-State, joined Pi Phi and the rest is history. She has this amazing Jimmy (the SUV, not my husband) that she would always drive us around in freshman year because she moved into the pi phi house a semester early and that was so super cool. She loved pearls...and still does. She loves her friends, her family and is passionate at about everything she does. Erica was a leader on campus in college for the St. Jude's children's research hospital fundraiser and I'm pretty sure her love and dedication for non-profit organizations never stopped from that experience. And that love showed in her friendship because she was always so caring, around and willing to listen and could always always have a GREAT time- and still does!!

Picture break---haha! Here is a pictures of Erica's birthday party at our apartment senior year of college. And guess who made that picture? Yep, that would be Andrew himself, her now husband. They weren't dating, but just good friends :) I love this picture!

The four of us at Emily's graduation party in Manhattan!!! Love you girls!

After a fantastic 4 years of college- with lots of nights out to fraternities, date parties, house parties, tailgates, Aggieville, double dates, late night chats and snacks....and oh so much more :) Erica again, did the brave thing (which shouldn't surprise you if you know her) and pursued her dream of working in Dallas at a PR firm. A great PR firm. One of the best. And it wouldn't be anyway else. And yep, she rocked it. Her clients loved her, her boss loved her...and while she did love it, she wanted more of a balance and more responsibilities and you know, just more...which I can completely understand. And she got an amazing job at Cooper Aerobics, where she works with Dr. Cooper-who literally invented the term aerobics. Pretty cool, huh? Um yeah, I think so!!

Now she and her wonderful husband Andrew are in the middle of figuring out their next steps and where they will begin making their life together. Don't tell her this- but I'm hoping for a little closer to KC than Dallas is, but I do love the Dallas trips :)

Here is a great picture of Erica and her husband, Andrew, from their delicious Mexican rehearsal dinner in Dallas!

And here is Erica and...haha....a small man that we ran into on the streets of her New Orleans bachelorette party. I forced her to take a picture. I think she was upset he was so short. I'm sorry Erica, this is just such a funny picture. What a fun weekend we had there for your bachelorette party!!

Anyways, Erica- cheers to 2-6 and here's to many more wonderful birthdays full of happiness, love and health! Love you and hope you have a great day!!!

Fun times with the Dallas girls :)

Our Christmas Eve progress

So on Christmas Eve, Jimmy and I got right to work on (a) installing his Christmas present---which was given to him on the day in demolition, in ceiling speakers for our house, just like he wanted. He looks like a goof, but he was happy when they were finally revealed to him!

and (b) finished the kitchen/dining room demo.

So when it looking this this....outside....with some flurries and snow falling down...

My wonderful dad went over to our house the day before and finished off putting up the trim, putting up the boards that made it all look like there was never ever a wall there. So I worked hard on painting the trim and making it look just right...

...while old Jim was busy cutting the sheetrock in the ceiling in the 4 spots he was planning to put the ceiling speakers. Hence why you see all the spots in the previous picture, there was lots of dust flying in our house! And it was all over our kitchen, living room and dining room...

And this was the result of all his hard work, muscle and eventually apparently a torn rotator cuff? Not sure, but the results were good if the latter is really true, but I guess it's good that he made perfect circles for the speakers :)

But then he had to figure out how to connect them all to the receiver in the family room, in addition to the speakers that he already had. The best part was when I got to play the "middle man communicator" between my dad and Jimmy. My dad was in the attic stringing the speaker cord down through the wall to the family room and telling Jimmy to pull or stop or eh, anything else that was on his mind :) Like a few token cuss words when the wire got stuck. Yep, I was just repeating them to make sure Jimmy knew my dad was frustrated. Haha. After that, Willy and Jimmy spent a lot of time on the Internet trying to figure out why he couldn't control the volume of the downstairs speakers. That's when he won the original remote on eBay. Hmmm- I'll let you know how that one turns out.

But there are the finished speakers. In the ceiling and fully functioning and blasting out some wonderful Christmas music to get us in the holiday spirit! I loved it. When he turned the game on, I felt like our house was a we'll have to work on that aspect. But overall....he loved the present! Which is always a good thing!

And here is it. Finished view #1, with a clear view of the finished trim that is painted white and all nice. You can't even tell that the trim above the painted part is the old stuff can you?! Great job Roger!! And then check out the floor transition and new tile. Yep, looks like the wall was never there.

View #2, which is what you see when you walk up the stairs from the family room. Love how it's so open!!

And here it is standing in the kitchen. Ah, loving this!

Ok, that's it. But another thing I love is that we replaced our big, bulky bar chairs with the old stools that actually came with the house. I'm going to paint them black and then they will slide right under the overhang on the island so it will be an actual island that you can walk all the way around. NICE!

And that is how we spent our Christmas Eve, with a few breaks to wrap some presents. But it was done! Jimmy's Christmas present was installed and we got showered and were ready to head off to the Christmas Eve festivities! These involved going to mass with Jimmy's parents and grandma, then to Capital Grille for dinner and then to Church of the Resurrection for the always amazing and favorite service of the year, which is candlelight christmas eve service. Ah, I just smile thinking about it and all the wonderful and amazing things that Jesus' birth brought to the world and am so thankful for Christmas. Thankful because of his birthday and time on the Earth and also thankful for family and holiday season because of the time that we get to spend with them!

Here we are posing in front of our first completed wall demo :) Hope everyone had a great holiday with family and friends!!!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A room full of....BARBIES!

When my sister (3 years younger than me) and I were growing up, the thing we liked to do most was play Barbies. In our old house, when we were much younger because we moved when I was in 3rd grade, we had them in the basement to play with in a big box. We maybe had one house, but I don't remember for sure. When we moved into a little bigger house at the ripe old age of 8, there were a few extra rooms to play with. And with the persuasion of an 8 and a 5 year old- my parents gave in and the Barbie room emerged. Nope, it wasn't a toy room. It was just a Barbie room. Of course since we had a whole room, when birthdays and Christmas came, Barbie stuff was all that we asked for. From a new house to a new car to a new local hang out (you know, the Barbie McDonalds, post office, movie theater), my sister and I couldn't get enough! We saved all of our allowance to buy stuff for our room. Our friends loved it too and would always want to play Barbies when they were over. It was great. It was one of the few things my sister and I actually enjoyed doing together and didn't kill each other- well sometimes fights would erupt in Barbie land. And when Matell didn't make something we wanted (like a Barbie airplane...because they were getting sick of taking our Barbie camper on all their vacations), we made it ourselves! We made an airplane out of cardboard and flew those Barbies wherever they wanted to go :)

Eventually, the room that the Barbie's started in got too small and we wanted to expand! My parents agreed and we spent two days moving all the Barbie stuff to the room across the hall in the basement. The old Barbie room became the office and the new Barbie room- well it took the whole thing to brand new heights. More room to drive the cars around and of course, the availability for more houses and spots to shop/entertain the Barbies. It was amazing.

Now wait, you might be thinking to yourself, "Wow, these girls sound like they were spoiled rotten!". I will assure you, while we might have been a little spoiled, these Barbies were all we ever got and wanted to almost always had to spend our own money on it if it wasn't a birthday or Christmas. So not only did the Barbie room give us a spot to play together and get along...but it also made us learn the fundamentals of earning and saving our own money for something that we wanted. Love that.

Ok, now to the relevant part and the real reason I'm blogging about this----the Barbie room still exists!! Yes, even though my mom has two 20+ year old daughters, it has moved upstairs into a room that also serves a guest room, but it's still there with the houses set up, some Barbies out and lots of storage in the closets. But who plays in it? No one :( Which is why my mom had the brilliant idea to invite our nieces (and nephews) over to see if they wanted to play in it and get some use out of it!! So Sunday, Libbie (8), Ben (5), Maren (4) and Kenlie (3) all came over to see this room I have been telling them about for a long time and play!!!!!!

Here they are checking out the room!! My sister did an awesome job of cleaning it up and setting all the Barbies up. See how she "set them up" in the grocery store on the left side of this picture? One is shopping and one is behind the register! They loved it!

Here is the doughnut shop (on the dresser- and Ashley Kelly's arrow from Pi Phi---haha not sure why I have that!!), then another house and playground/park on the ground. My sister did a great job of setting everything up!

Another shot of the grocery store!

We have a movie theater too!! Love it!!

Here are 3 of them playing and having a good time! I think this was when Maren went downstairs with Uncle Jimmy to play pin ball. And she was REALLY good!

Finally- Kelly's roller coaster ride! (Kelly is the baby!) So fun!

For a little refresher for those of you that are like me and played Barbies forever ago and can't remember anyone's name except Barbie and is a refresher with pictures of the Barbie "family tree".

Of course, you have Barbie at the top of it all, with a dotted line to her boyfriend, Ken. That's the easy part and not technically Barbie's family! So then you have Skipper- who is Barbie's oldest sister. Then Todd and Stacie, who are her twin brother and sister...but Stacie actually used to be Tutti...but her name changed in 1992. Then finally, you have Kelly who is the baby sister of Barbie and super cute! Kelly's clothes and her little friends are so adorable- my sister and I have strollers for Kelly and everything.

Anyways, moral of the story- Barbies are awesome! They always were and always will be in my eyes :)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Cheap transformation: knock down a wall

When we were at dinner with friends the other night, Jimmy revealed his idea for our next house project: let's knock down the wall between our kitchen and dining room. Ummm....why hadn't he mentioned it sooner? I'm not sure!!! So that was a week and a half ago and we figured, why wait (does that surprise you??)? Saturday morning, that was our mission.
Here are the view from the kitchen.
And a view from the dining room. See ya later wall. Not sure what I'm going to do with these pictures, but after you see the results, you will realized why I'm not too worried :)
This my friends, it was what Jimmy and my dad did when we were supposed to be mid-demo. Yes, that's the KU game. Yes, it was Selby's first game. So I had to take things into my own hands.
and boy was that fun! I loved the feeling of smashing through the wall!!!

Oh, and now he's getting involved since I was talking about how fun it was!

And...the progress continues!!

It's all gone- now talking next steps :)

And all cleaned up! Still need to finish the tile work, finish trimming it off and affix the pantry cabinets to the wall, but looks awesome!!

View from the stairs from the family room!

Same view as the first picture- can you believe that's only one day of work? From 10:30 to 5:30? And we spent no money! AHH- what a crazy awesome transformation! I love it!!

So there you have it, with still some work to do, but WOW!! I absolutely love it and cannot believe how much it has changed. Holy cow!!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Date Night #5: Skating, trains and burgers

Ok, so date night #1, #2 and #3 were documented, but #4 wasn't. Just to stick with continuity, I'll clue you in on what that was all about. Mid-November, we took advantage of a free night in a hotel room on the beautiful country club plaza that was a perk of Jimmy's work upon his one year anniversary that was in July. Right after work on a Friday, we hurried to Nara (delicious sushi!!) and then to the American Heartland Theater, that is actually in Crown Center to see Plaid Tidings. As a trend with our musical visits, I fell asleep, but I guess that's just how it goes. It was fun and we now know what the majority of the 70+ population of KC does on Friday nights:) We had to get up really early the next morning because Jimmy had to go to the KU game (great planning, as always!) so we didn't get to enjoy the hotel that much, but oh well.

Anyways, onto date #5. Working daily with the Crown Center ice rink and Christmas tree/decor right out my window, I immediately knew what my surprise date was going to be. But first, we had to do dinner. And I wanted to go some place cheap but fun. And with a middle school choir singing.

Haha, ok that really wasn't a qualification, but so funny that there were all these choirs down there on a Friday night singing! Especially fun because that is what we did in 7th and 8th grade choir. Remember, Molly? :)

But really, we went to Fritz's! The super popular train place that is in Crown Center that is always packed with kids and their parents during lunch, so I have never been to this one! And Jimmy, I knew, would love it!

After waiting in line even on a Friday night, with several kids and parents...we got a table and I ordered for us. By using the phone!! So cool!

So apparently Fritz's wasn't always a "train" place like it is now. It was opened right after WWII by a couple and business was struggling and they were looking for a way to differentiate themselves from the competition, so the owner developed this system in his basement to deliver the food on a conveyor belt of sorts...right to the customer's table. After it was installed, apparently customers thought that it looked like a train- and so it began. Such a neat story! And I love the Christmas decorations on the trains! Check out the website for more info!

Jimmy loved the atmosphere as well. In his zip up.

And there it is! The train of sorts delivering our food! Awesome- we sat there guessing which one was ours because we were hungry!

So after stuffing ourselves with burgers, fries and onion rings, we were off to the next part of our date, which was....well you will see. But this was the next site that we saw. So so so pretty! The mayor's Christmas tree, which is courtesy of Crown Center aka Hallmark.

Welp, you guessed it. The date was ice skating! Even though Jimmy didn't wear a coat, luckily it was a gorgeous 55 degrees outside, so we were good to go. There were lots of people out as well because it was the last decent weather night in KC!

Here we are in front of the ice rink- ready to get started!

"It's like roller skating, but on ice"...quote of the evening. As well as Jimmy repeatedly saying "I'm going to get FLASH BOMBED" and reaching out for my hand while people flew past him n the ice.

After we were done (several videos later....check those out HERE (Jimmy skating - my favorite of his video was the kid that smacked his girlfriend in the mouth at the very start) and HERE Brittany skating)), I made Jimmy take cheesy pictures in front of the pretty Christmas tree!! He did not like that, but I didn't care one bit!

So another successful date night under our belts and very much in the holiday spirit! It was so fun and the perfect weather to be out ice skating before the crazy crazy cold hit Kansas City!