Sunday, October 16, 2016

Happy Birthday Stoli

This birthday was a little more special than past birthdays with Stoli and for one reason--we weren't sure she'd be here to celebrate it with us.

Last March/April she gave us quite the scare---two surgeries, multiple diagnosis & a ton of medication later she was finally back on the road to recovery. There were multiple times where Justin and I thought, actually scheduled, to have her put out of her pain but the doctors kept us focused & wanted to give her all the chances they could and we were right there with them. Finally, after trying a few additional medications for a gallstone, she started eating again and things just kept looking up from there. That one final look over by the doctor proved to be everything that she needed. That we needed.

If you met Stoli today, you'd never know she had been so sick only months ago. She certainly took no time at all putting the weight back on & we have Cherokee Animal Clinic to thank for that, specifically Dr. Kontras. So of course we had to do something for them since they ensured Stoli got to be here with us to celebrate her birthday! I had a couple dozen cookies ordered, shaped like a dog and a dog bone, and Justin, the boys, and Stoli girl met me after work at the clinic to deliver them to the doctors and staff.

As soon as we walked into the office and said we were there to drop of some cookies to show our appreciation for all they did with Stoli, they all stopped what they were doing and instantly called her over to them. Stoli was wagging her tail so hard, they kept petting her and loving her and saying how great she looked. We were all starting to tear up, Stoli certainly has a special place in our hearts but we could tell she wiggled herself into theirs as well.

Happy Birthday Stoli, you are the sweetest, most lovable companion. Thanks for not giving up and for fighting as hard as you did, no one could believe the fight you had but I think we all know it's because you LOVE so hard and just weren't ready to give up my comfy bed at home.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Kindergarten - Fire Station Field Trip

I decided to take a mental health day--you know, a day where I take off from work and I don't do anything for anyone else but myself between the time of 8 am and 4 pm when the bus arrives home. That mental health day that I was so looking forward to, only last until 9 am when I got a call from the boys' school and what I ended up hearing derailed my entire day. Honestly, I needed a mental health day from my mental health day. I decided that since they day was pretty much hijacked, I might as well meet up with Logan & join him on his fire safety field trip.

I'm not sure you could really call this a field trip, it was only about an hour and a half long & we walked from the school but all the kiddos had on their class shirts so we'll go with field trip. Made Logan feel better about Kaden going to the zoo too.

When we arrived at the fire station we were greeted by two fireman who took the kiddos on a tour of the fire house. While the kids were touring they got to ask any questions they had and they got to watch a fire safety video---Fire Safety is as EZ as A, B, C. It was a cute little video but I certainly have questions regarding some of their spelling techniques. E-Z....

After the video the kiddos watch as one of the firemen put on their gear and crawl around. They did this so that the kids would see what they would look like if they had to come into their house to save them. They didn't want the kids to be scared and hide from them. They got a kick out this.

& then they got to walk through the firetruck. The kids thought they were pretty cool. & best of all, they had learned so much and Logan has been talking about our fire safety plan and what we need to do in case of a fire.

Although it wasn't a long field trip he was wiped and ended up taking about a 2 hour nap, which was fine by him because then at bedtime he wasn't tired and he got to snuggle with me for a little bit.

Over the course of the next few days Logan continued to talk about fire safety. He even asked what happens if I am on an airplane & they can't get out the front door, then how does dad get them out off the roof? Poor kid. I explained that Dad would handle it & I may have told him that if he broke his arm it was way better than getting caught in the fire...

It is.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Pitt State Homecoming

I haven't been back to Pitt in years & honestly, I think it's only been once since I have graduated. Justin and I talk about Pitt, the kids have asked a few questions here and there about where we met and we tell them how one day we will take them there. Except we haven't, and their now 7 and 5.

It's not that we aren't proud of where we went to school. We are. It's not that it would take us forever to get there. It wouldn't. Life has just gotten busy and if you don't make something a priority, it isn't going to happen so we decided to do just that, we made it a priority. If the weather cooperated we figured we could go down for homecoming, there would be a parade, good food and lots of activities for the boys to do.

The parade started at 9, we had plans to leave around 7 which turned into 7:30 and then the next thing we knew it was showing us arriving WAY later than we expected and we were pretty certain we were going to miss the parade. So we prepped the boys who were pretty bummed, they wanted candy.

As we pulled into Pittsburg all the feels came flooding back, it hadn't changed a bit--or at least what we were driving by hadn't. We took the bypass---oh the bypass---to 4th and Justin pulled up to Broadway and we noticed the parade was still going so the boys and I jumped out and ran up to hopefully catch the tail end, except we caught so much more! And the boys were in candy heaven.

And then as the parade was wrapping up the boys had another surprise....

Papa Tom and Grandma Sara came made the short drive over to say hello and venture onto Gorilla Fest with us. Outside of moving me in and out of the dorms and my graduation, I can't count too many other times my parents came to Pittsburg. I was pretty much always working on big days like family day or homecoming and when I had time off, I headed home for gas, laundry and a home cooked meal!

We drove by the old dorms, Justin's faternity house, parked and then walked to the stadium. As soon as we got to Gorilla Village the boys got their faces painted and hit the bounce house--looking back we probably should have done the bounce houses first.

We grabbed a quick bite to eat and then got in line for some balloon animals--well a bow and arrow and a light saber. And somehow, neither busted. We piddled around for a few minutes and then Papa Tom and Grandma Sara said goodbye but not before grabbing a picture for me.

I can't believe how tall Kaden is getting, he'll be at Pitt before we blink--STOP GROWING.

We had never planned on going to the game, just figured we could take in the festivities and then as the crowd picked up we could hit up The Mall Deli. We were close to losing the boys, both were on the verge of tears because they were so tired but once they saw The Mall Deli they were good to go. They love sandwiches...

& the first thing we did was introduce them to "the dressing" & crackers. They were a little hesitant but Kaden went first and declared it "fantastic & interesting" & Logan soon followed with a thumbs up approval. Justin picked up a bottle to bring home as he paid and both boys again said, "that was really good, Dad. Thanks!"

And it was. Mall Deli was everything that I remembered. I had the Deli Dog & it was like no time had passed. On the way out I told the lady that seated us that it had been 10 years since we had been back but that nothing had changed. So good.

I showed the boys were I worked for 3 years while going to Pitt -- Bath and Body Works -- made one final stop at Hibbet Sports as both boys were requesting new shoes---which they needed--and then we were on our way back to KC.

On the way out of town we swung by 3105 Scotty Dr.--my home in Pittsburg for 2 years with Abby and Korie and again, everything still as it was when we left. That's what I love about small towns, there are never big changes, just small little updates that add to the character and the love of the town. It didn't matter if it was 1, 3, 5 or 10 years, Pittsburg still felt the same and it probably always will, which is the way it should.

Friday, October 7, 2016

First Grade - Zoo Field Trip

Friday folders came home a few weeks back and the infamous field trip permission form was included.

They were headed to the zoo. Kaden wasn't the least bit excited and honestly was asking to stay home because we tend to venture out to the zoo frequently---FOTZ members. I asked his thoughts about me going. Yup, that did the trick. He was in.

But now I was too.

Field trip day came and it was suggested that we bring a backpack. Each parent would have a couple of students assigned to them and basically you would have free range of the zoo from the time the buses arrived till it was time to go. The backpacks would be used for carrying lunches. And snacks.

The buses were pretty much leaving as soon as school started so I decided to take the boys to school. We walked into Kaden's classroom and I found my list of 1st graders. I'd have Kaden and then two of his buddies, Henry & Ryan--both great kids.

We decided to go through the zoo backwards--starting with Africa--in hopes of avoiding the thousands of other school fields trips in attendance. As we walked through the entrance all three boys grabbed a map and navigated us straight to Africa---we made the truck by foot as we were not allowed to take the train, tram or the sky safari. We were all bummed but they were good sports.

The boys each picked out a favorite animal and added them to our must see list. Kaden had the cheetahs, Henry wanted to see the lions and Ryan was looking for the rhino. First up was the cheetahs and we got lucky, she was sunbathing on top of the hill for us & so were the lions a few exhibits down. We crossed over to Karuzi-Biega for the gorillas but it was a tad chilly and they weren't out playing but the boys still had fun on the suspension bridge.

We checked off the zebras, the chimps, the ostriches, crocs and hippos but the rhino & giraffes hadn't made it out and we were a little disappointed in our trip to Africa. And hungry, so we decided that we would head back to the elephants and have lunch with them as it was their feeding time and we knew they would all be coming out for that. And they did.

Next we were off to Australia for the kangaroos & we got to see the snakes not once but twice--the boys' request, not mine.

The tigers were active & the penguins were a hit.

We finished off our little field trip with one of the boys feeding the lorikeets.

What started out as a chilly day, ended up to be one beautifully fun day with a couple great first graders.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Ryder Cup-Hazeltine

I'm not a big golf fan, I tend to be the one sleeping through most of the coverage and waking up at the end. Now don't get me wrong, I know about golf and I can certainly name more golfers than most girls can, maybe guys too. Let's see, there's Mickelson, Woods, Garcia, McIlroy, Johnston--both Dustin and Zach, Bubba, Spieth...

I rest my case.

Anyways, an opportunity came up through work which would take me to the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine. My husband was jealous and would have done anything to tag along with me but this wasn't one of those times so he stayed home with the kiddos.

We flew up to Minneapolis for meetings to be followed by dinner on Thursday afternoon & then departed for Hazeltine bright and early. That's only half true, it was early all right but not so much bright & it was freezing. Thankfully, my good friend Sarah, had helped me pick out some clothes to wear because I had no idea what was Ryder Cup appropriate...

Turns out, I could have worn long as it was RED, WHITE or BLUE. The outfits were amazing--Captain America was there, at least 50 of them, Uncle Sam, faces were painted--it was a great people watching event.

The one thing that stood out to me though, the security. It was so well done. As soon as we got off our corporate bus we went through metal detectors and once we got to the gates, all they had to do was scan our badges. Lines were so quick but safe.

We had a few minutes to spare before the opening tee-time so we hit the merchandise tent. HOLY COW. It was like 2 football fields worth of Ryder Cup merchandise and of course I had to pick up a few things. A shirt for Justin--the Sunday shirt that Team USA wore, a hat for the boys--the Friday hats team USA wore and then a sweatshirt for me. & then we made it to the first hole. We decided to stop half way down the fairway since there was a hill and their second shots would be right in front of us. It was a good call.

We watched each of the four morning groups tee off & then headed to the chalet which was overlooking the 7th hole--the signature hole for the Ryder Cup. What you don't see on TV, the muddy mess that we were all walking through and around, the bathrooms, and TV camera crews following each player. It was crazy.

As we made our way to 7, we came across the 5th tee and there were spots right there to watch a couple of them tee off-but pictures couldn't be taken of them teeing off so this is as good as I got.

& then it was off to the chalet. We got some food and watched a few rounds from there and then headed off to what we thought was going to be the 13th but it was packed. So was the 14th and the 15th--we kept going. Now remember, there are only 4 groups on this particular morning & all 60k of us were fighting over a few holes.We finally got to the 16th and decided to park it about 100 yards out as there was a hill I could stand on and we could see the green pretty easily too. I got some of my favorite shots here...

and then the players started to arrive. Dustin Johnson and his partner had already wrapped up their day on 14 with a win so we were down to just seeing three groups play---2 of which won their matches at 16!

After the 16th hole we headed back to the chalet for lunch and networking with colleagues. As the afternoon group began to tee off we were on our way back to the bus to catch our flight home. On the way, I snapped this of the 8th.  

This might have been a once in a lifetime opportunity as it won't be here in the US for another 4 years--Koehler, Wisconsin actually--and I was pretty lucky to have gotten the invite. Sometimes traveling for work really does pay off but that doesn't change how great seeing KC was that afternoon.