Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Reminiscing on them good times...

Saturday after the race I headed to KC to spend an evening with my brother and his gf Deidra and friends. They were so nice to have an early dinner ready for us when we all met up at Deidra's house. We had BBQ ribs and chicken, fried potatoes, corn on the cob and some amazing dips. They outdid themselves on the good comfort food!

Deidra and I freaked when we realized it was 5 pm and we had to start getting ready. We made it out of the house by 6:30 and were downtown by 6:45. Brandon and his friends were already down at P&L enjoying a beer or two. Deidra and I had a fantastic time laughing, worrying and cussing about finding a parking spot. Oh my goodness, hilarious! Even though we didn't think it was at the time. We had no cash, and thought surely the parking garage would take credit cards. Nope. We were rebels (got the cash in case!) and parked without paying. Sorry, God! We honestly were going to pay when we left, but we didn't have to.

We then went into the concert at the Sprint Center (my first one!). Deidra had seats by some other people from around home, and Brandon and I sat together. I will tell you Luke Bryan is one of the best vocalists (to the untrained ear) I have heard in a long time. He hit every note perfectly and does not sound any different than he does on the radio. Not to mention how gorgeous he looked with his pearly whites and tight jeans...oh my!

Outfit courtesy of Southern Jewlz!
They had a pretty awesome DJ during intermission and then Mr. Jason Aldean came on. I love every song this man sings so he could do no wrong. However, Brandon and I both thought he was merely there putting on the regular ol' show instead of entertaining us like Luke did. The best part of his concert was when Luke and Jason played acoustic for their Buck Commander show on the Outdoor Channel. I LOVE LOVE LOVE acoustic. There is no messing up there. It is just you and the guitar and nothing else so you can really hear their voice and emotion. They did an amazing job!

Overall it was an amazing night that I would not normally have to spend with my brother and his friends. It was a great homecoming gift to my brother! It was out of the ordinary and I'm glad we did it. I can also check two things off my 101 list! :)

Monday, March 19, 2012

Picking up where we left off...

I was going 100 miles an hour this week with lots of things going on. First, it has been absolutely gorgeous this spring for weather. I have loved being able to run in great weather. I'm not sure if I am ready for all the sweating though as the temperatures get warmer!

Wednesday was the test of all tests in my life this far with my comprehensive exam for my Master's degree. It was a 4-hour test in Kansas City, and it was one I was really nervous about. It is either pass or fail. You can complete all of the coursework with a 4.0, but if you do not pass this and the oral defense, you do not pass the program! I won't find out for another two weeks if I passed or not, but there is nothing more I can do.

On Thursday, I had the honor of having lots of ladies join us for our monthly MK girls night out in St. Joe. It was a lot of fun, and I got a couple of bookings and a new team member from the fun evening!

Friday, I had my last task force meeting before our annual campaign at work starts on Monday. I am praying all goes at it should, and we raise a good amount of money and get as close to our goal as we can. I then left work to head out West to Manhattan. I met up with Ronny and Kelsey Pope, Craig and Patricia Betzold and Kelsey's sister, Emily, for dinner at Olive Garden. You know we ate there because we had to load up on carbs! :) I love how we all can pick up right where we left off in conversation. We all have not been together since Ronny and Kelsey's wedding in September 2009, but it was so wonderful being together and talking about everything. Makes my heart so happy to have such great friends and husbands who are equally as fun to be with (you picked some good ones gals!) Kelsey, Pat, Emily and I then toured the Theta house since we had all not been back since last spring and had missed the renovations that happened over the last year. They have a pop machine in the kitchen!! No more 15 cent pops from the pop machine! We all loved being back at the house. It smelled the same, and looked cozy just as we had remembered it.
I apologize I can never get the pictures to save as they should! Regardless, how cool is this at the Theta house?!
Kels and I by room 11 where we first lived together! The room even has a MK consultant/Theta (which is where I started my business right in room 11!!!)
We all stayed out at the Pope ranch north of Manhattan for the evening, and it was really nice of Ronny's parents to host us for the night.

I didn't realize the race had been pushed back to 10:45 am on Saturday, so in a way I was bummed as I would not be able to stay around Manhattan as long after the race, but we also got to sleep in a bit longer, which I think we all needed from traveling. We even ate breakfast (I say that because I normally do not eat anything before a race as it makes me sick to my stomach). We headed into Aggieville and got ready to go for the 10K race.

Here are some highlights from the race:

Here are the girls before the race started.
  • We started out all together.
  • At mile 1.5, Pat had sped ahead of us,
  • By mile 3, I had to scale my pace back from Ronny and Kelsey so I had to run alone,
  • By mile 4, my foot cramped hard core and I thought I was going to have to take my shoes off but I didn't and I found a nice guy to pace with the rest of the race,
  • At mile 5, we entered Aggieville where a bunch of people were cheering us on, but we still had 1.2 miles left (what a bad joke!),
  • At mile 6, I really felt I almost had to walk the last .2 but that would have been crazy,
  • At mile 6.2, I finished ahead of my goal of 1:15. I actually finished in 1:09:32! That is an 11:13 pace, which is what I have averaged on most long runs so far this spring.
Ronny, Kelsey, Pat and I at the finish line!
And what St. Patty's Day Race/K-State game day would be complete
without a green beer at Rusty's?!
 It was a great race day! It was a bit windy, which proved to be hard on the way back, but we all finished and were in good spirits after we were done. I completed half of one my goals with this race, too! I cannot wait until the next race we all decide to do together.  Maybe one in Nebraska this time?

Friday, March 9, 2012

A Change Up for Lent...

Yesterday was a good day. The sun was out. I got a lot done at work. I ran my 3.5 miles in almost record time. I cooked two dinners and washed dishes. Watched some shows, took a nice bath and did some reading. Yep, that was my day, but it was a good day nonetheless as I felt productive.

My first dinner was a chicken and wild rice casserole from none other than Pinterest found here.

I then made a lasagna primavera for a change up to our usual fish on Fridays during Lent.

Here is the recipe I came up with using stuff in my pantry:
  • 12  no-boil lasagna noodles
  • 3  cups frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • 2  green peppers, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 can of artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1 can of Italian style tomatoes, drained
  • 1  container (15 oz) ricotta cheese
  • 1 package of Italian shredded cheese
  • 1 jar of spaghetti sauce
  • Italian seasonings, salt and pepper to taste
I might add I would probably add a little more to it next time with some carrots and zucchini.

Here is a pic of the ingredients and prep work.

Mix the spinach and ricotta cheese together. Then put a thin layer of spaghetti sauce on the bottom, layer with noodles, spinach/ricotta mixture, veggies, cheese, and then repeat. I did three layers of that, but you could do more.
And here you have the final product after baking for one hour at 350 degrees in the oven. I tried just a bit of it last night, and it was pretty good although like I said I probably would add more veggies if I had them in my house at the time. 
This was a great alternative, and I hope Todd likes it it too!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Welcome home...

Well Friday could not have been a more perfect day, at least the best surprise this year helped me get through a pretty stressful day at work anyway. My brother called me about 8 am as I got to work, and I looked at my phone and was confused to see "Brandon" on the caller ID. Sure enough it was him to tell me he made it home from Afghanistan. He was just leaving KCI and heading to Topeka to make his final out-processing appointment before coming home. I was so flabbergasted to hear his voice let alone to know he had safely made it home from serving our country since late in the summer last year.

I realize that he was not gone as long as many, many friends have had to deal with their spouse, family member and other friends, but regardless of how long anyone is gone fighting for our country, it just makes you so happy to see them safe and home in our FREE country! Brandon asked me to keep it a secret from our parents as he wanted to surprise them. I went along with it and anxiously waited by the phone for them to tell me he had made it home, but I went through the entire work day with no phone call. I had to think fast as I wanted to meet everyone at my parents' home in Hiawatha after work. I called them to casually say I was coming to town to deliver some MK to some customers and wondered if they were doing anything that night. They said to come on over, and I then had to think fast as to what we had to do for the extra half hour between me arriving at my parents home and Brandon arriving. I said I had to wait as the antibiotic I was on made my stomach upset if I ate too quickly after taking it...ha! Finally, Brandon walked down the stairs of my parents' home, and that's when they saw him, and of course went crazy to know it was a surprise.

Here is the video of their reactions.
I wanted to do a little crafty project with this graphic when Brandon would have told us he was supposed to be on his way and we were to meet and greet him at the airport, but he was given the opportunity to come home early, and I don't blame him for taking it.

Either way, we are very excited he has back. Thank you for serving our country and making us proud, brother! Not many step up to the plate to willingly join our military and then have to leave everything to go overseas, and you did it because you were honored to do so.

Here is a little something made by Brandon's daughter, Alexa, for his return home:

Brandon and I have some exciting things planned this spring to do together, and I can't wait to share them with you all.