Monday, December 14, 2009


I finally graduated with my Master's this weekend. I now officially can put M.S.ed after my name. For the last 2.5 years, I've been working towards graduate work in Curriculum and Teaching with a reading emphasis and a Reading Specialist. It was a fantastic event even though I was feeling a little under the weather. My in-laws and immediate family were able to make it down. I huge thank you needs to go out to my husband, family, friends, and colleagues for making this happen. I never would have been able to accomplish this without you! P.S. The red shoes were a Kansas tribute to the Wizard of Oz. There's no place like home, which for now, is Kansas!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Crooked Christmas Tree

I have to admit, my lovely Christmas tree seen two previous blogs before, is totally crooked. I received this tree from my mom when we lived in a condo with vaulted ceilings. She thought I might be the only person who could use such a tall tree. Which, is totally true. Most of my family members are currently renting or live in spaces sans vaulted ceilings. We have always chosen spaces with vaulted ceilings or taller than average ceilings. I have a tall husband and we both always choose what is aesthetically pleasing to our(his) eye. Anyway, it is an artificial tree which comes with branches that are supposed to be in order; however, it has taken over five years to really figure out the order in which the branches are to be hung. You see, my mom just sort of gave me the box to get it out of her house. My mom's definition of alphabetic or whatever order is very different than that which fits normalcy. So, now we have the order figured out, but how in the heck do we fix the crookedness?? It is a gorgeous tree! A totally gorgeous, crooked, Christmas tree. While I would love to fix the crookedness of the tree, I began thinking that life is not always organized, gorgeous, nor does it lead you on a straight path. Thus, I have come to accept the crookedness. I love my tree. Every piece exemplifies something about what my life and my family's life is totally about. In Lou of 1980's popularity, I must say it is totally awesome.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Family Time

Our Thanksgiving break came and went so quickly, I was glad we took a lot of family pictures. It was a wonderful trip and we are so blessed to have such a wonderful family.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Happiest of Thanksgivings

We wish everyone a very happy Thanksgiving this year! We hope your travels are safe and the Turkey is good. Justin and I can rest easy this holiday as.....I PASSED MY GRADUATE COMPREHENSIVE EXAM!!!!!! It is really nice to know that it is the downhill slide and I only have two simple assignments due for my class. Then on December 12th, I get to walk across the stage. It feels really good. Looking back on it all I know I never would have accomplished it without my supportive husband, family, and friends. It's a lot to be thankful for!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Two Done Son!

After three days of thinking really hard and writing, I have two of the three questions answered for my comprehensive exam. I am celebrating this evening with a lovely glass of merlot. Good news is I'm right on my strategic schedule. Thanks to everyone for all of your continued patience and support! Your words of encouragement have really made a difference. Now on with the final portion!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Comps Questions

So, thankfully I got my questions for my graduate comprehensive exam early. This is great considering I am taking Friday, the weekend, Monday, & Tuesday off from anything teaching related at school to work on them. The negative....I will be working my a$$ off to finish them. One question involves creating a whole freakin' curriculum. Had I known that was going to be a question, I would have started that a little earlier. A whole curriculum!? Is this for real? It has to be related to John Dewey, yes not only known for the Dewey decimal system, but also for his work in education. Looks like I have my research cut out for myself along with the other two questions I must answer. Wish me luck!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Princesses & Pigskins

I don't know if many people know this about me, but I love college football. Yes, this former princess girly-girl loves college football. My love of college football most likely initiated back at Iowa State during my first tailgating experience. Before, I never really understood the point. Then, my guy friends as well as my sorority sisters taught me a lot about the game. So here we go at my take on sportscasting....

It was an exciting game for Big 12 football fans. Iowa State upset Nebraska winning the game 9 to 7. This was the first time in over 30 years Iowa State beat the Huskers in Lincoln. In other college football news, Sam Bradford is out for the rest of the season for the Oklahoma Sooners due to a shoulder injury. This has brought big tears to my eyes, as Sam is currently one of the hottest football players in my book. Not to mention the fact that I used to hate the Sooners due to an old tailgating experience and then began to love them because Sam Bradford is amazing. Don't worry, I am still a Cyclone at heart. The verdict is still out in the SEC as to whether the Florida Gators will upset the Alabama Crimson Tide. Secretly, I am going for Bama as I just have a distaste for Tim Tebow. Guess we'll see. It should be interesting.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Support Bras

I knew that would get your attention:) My sorority used to give out the "Support Award" every week in chapter. It was this big, and I mean the biggest, crummiest, support bra I had ever seen. It was passed along to various sisters for showing support when people needed a friend. So, I hearby give everyone the support bra award for all the nice posts and support you all have offered me in my time of oral pain. I also have my graduate comps coming up next week, which is probably another reason I've been vomiting. Truth is though, I'm a heck of a lot less nervous than before for all the kindness and support. Thanks a million!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Self Improvement

So, my hands are shaking terribly from nerves and I had to take the day off. I have not yet blogged about this because I am a little embarrassed as well as nervous to the point I've thrown up twice today. Yes, twice. No, I'm not pregnant. That would be joyful vomiting. I am getting braces. Two weeks ago, I went in thinking the braces would be totally on; however, ran into some problems and they were only able to get the brackets on. Apparently, my teeth are so crowded my spacers would not go in. They snapped and broke three trying to pry them between my molars. Next, they tried the old school wires, got two in on the bottom; but, crammed as the might could not get them in on the top. So, Dr. Carter, my orthodontist, has another plan in mind. I feel like a total pumpkin mouth right now because I've been walking around with just the brackets on my teeth. I'm excited and looking forward to a future of straight teeth, but am incredibly nervous about the pain I'm going to endure this afternoon.

Monday, October 12, 2009

10 Years

I know it has been a while, almost like ten years, since the last blog. Life got the best of me again. I am nearing the end of my graduate studies, it's the end of the quarter at school, and I had other personal duties to attend too that left me completely exhausted and crabby by the end of last week. Anyhow, the Creston High School Class of 1999 finally had their 10 year class reunion. Before attending the reunion, the Kenyon family and the Nickels celebrated Pumpkin Days in Orient, Iowa. I purchased a fairytale pumpkin from non other than the legendary Novak Gardens man. The guy is rumoured in the town of Creston to be sort of like Kokapeli. I can't imagine ever having much to do with this guy other than politely saying hello and purchasing produce from him; however, since we're still trying to conceive I thought it might help things along if I had my picture taken with him. John Oscar and Jacqueline both enjoyed the parade. Next year, we hope to make it back for the couples lawn mower race.

Next, was the class reunion. It was the nice/good-to-see-some/awkward feeling that I had expected. Jen and I posed for a lovely picture with the fellow buffalo of 3 mile lake lodge before crashing the Class of 1994 reunion, which was way more fun than ours. They had a theme- The Past, Present, and Future; plus, a class president who was way more ambitious than others. Their class reunion completed the theme with tarot card readings, a photo booth, and magic 8-balls as favors. All in all it was a great and memorable weekend. At least what we can remember of it:)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Really Boring

No friends, I am not trying to grow my own magic mushrooms. These are growing voluntarily in our yard. Funny thing is that I'm finally getting somewhat of a tomato crop. Okay, so I have one tomato that has not been raped by the squirrels; but, really I was mistaken when I saw the mushrooms in my yard and thought the squirrels had yet again taken my one and only tomato. While the squirrels do enjoy these mushrooms, trust me, they were eyeing me as I was taking pictures this evening, I am wondering if the mushrooms are really safe to have in my yard and why they are growing. Sorry Sam! I think by now you realize how boring I really am since I am blogging about fungi, tomatoes, and squirrels.
In other non-boring news, we are headed to Greenfield, IA for the annual Citywide Garage Sales. I am really hoping someone, and I know they are out there, is busy cleaning their home and selling some very vintage items. Just something totally cheesy like an old Budweiser hanging ceiling lamp or something. That would be cool. We are also in pursuit of a Little Tykes slide for my friend Jen since she won't be able to make it to this monumental event. Wish us luck!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Theta Love

So, I must apologize for the quality of this picture; but, at least we got the picture. It's been a long time since we all got together. With the extended weekend, my good friend Samantha and her husband, Ryan, came down to Kansas City. It's been too long, way too long. Sunday night Sam, Katie (another fellow Theta & Kansas City resident), and myself all got together for dinner at The Other Place in downtown Overland Park. It was quite the night catching up, watching the fellow bar patrons, and seeing things we had not seen since college (as in drunk girls making out). The most comic moment was when I thought I smelled a skunk. Being that I get a little nervous around non-domestic animals, I said with great concern, "OMG! I smell a skunk!" Sam and Kati both started laughing at me and informed me the people behind me were smoking more than cigarettes. We soon left, as Kati is 8 months pregnant and for the simple fact that we are way too old and responsible for that kind of shenanigans. The bar waitress was kind enough to get this snapshot in time that won't be forgotten.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Random Thoughts

Since I had time this morning to enjoy my coffee and and actually watch T.V. versus guzzling my coffee down between attempts to wake myself up and concentrate on The Weather Channel, I noticed something very funny. While Americans face the cold hard facts about the economy, they can't give up their luxury items. This thought came about as I was analyzing a Bounty paper towel commercial. The basis consists of a clumsy husband and his wife making a comical attempt to brew their own cappuccinos. The machine is working great until uh-oh the husband spills the cinnamon and coffee on the counter. Finally, in comes the super paper towels which not only clean up your mess, but also claim to save you your hard earned money by using fewer paper towels. The whole time I was thinking, ditch the paper towels, go green, and use a washcloth genius. Then, I also concluded that if they really wanted to save money, they'd get rid of the damn cappuccino maker and just make regular coffee. Maybe I'm too cynical.

In other news, we are enjoying a relaxed weekend. It's nice to putz around the house and enjoy each other's company. I also did some shopping as the essential items in my wardrobe are either pitted out, have missing buttons I cannot find, or have pen marks all over them. All in all, it's been an enjoyable weekend.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Franklin & Other Thoughts

Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.- Benjamin Franklin

I said on my facebook page that I'd be taking mine in a glass of wine. I love beer too, but didn't feel like purchasing any at the end of the day. I had promised myself that I wouldn't be blogging about anything school related this year. Every school year, I come in with rose colored glasses. Probably too optimistic. In the world of special education you know you are going to be dealt a tough hand. I've also always worked around the "at-risk" population, so I really feel any amount of optimism is really a need; however, I've been thrown yet another curve ball and had to move my entire classroom today. They are turning it into another computer lab. This was very disappointing as I spent a couple of afternoons before contracted time putting everything together from yet another previous move. While I know I will never get back the precious time my paras and myself spent putting together the room, I know we are in the business for the kids. The kids are why we folks in education get up and go to our jobs in the morning. Therefore, although I am disappointed, I realized good instruction and services can occur in any setting. Yes, even a broom closet. My youngest sister told me last night that she will always be grateful for the support staff and pull out instruction she received as she would not be where she is today unless she would of had it. With these thoughts of good instruction, support, and a good glass of wine I can forgive the whole situation and move on.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

What I Love About Kansas

So just the other day, I was ranting and raving to my work colleagues about how much I really strongly distaste living in Kansas. While I feel very blessed to have a lovely home, good friends, a great job, and not to mention a husband with a great job I often miss my friends and family back in Iowa. It is hard some days and my biggest fear is that when I do get pregnant, I will be all alone with no help. Just as hard as is it is for us to get back to Iowa, our families struggle with visiting us here in Kansas City. This weekend, however, my dad and his wife, Brenda, made the trip south and helped us cut down a nagging tree in our backyard. I got my firsthand experience with hedge trimmers and cleaned up our bushes. It was super cool and I felt like Edward Scissor Hands only electric. After some afternoon relaxation, we drove over to Lawrence, Kansas . If you've never been to Lawrence, I highly suggest you go. It is one of the things I love about Kansas. Nestled in the heart of ultra-conservative liquor laws and evangelism, is the uber liberal city of Lawrence, home to the University of Kansas. We gave my parents a tour of campus and then went to Massachusetts Street for dinner. Although Lawrence is never short of hippies, freaks, geeks, and punks we were lucky enough to witness even more of this mesh as there was some sort of a street fair. The other thing I love about Kansas is its history. I could go on and on about all the fantastic history here. One of the historical sights in Lawrence is a hotel with a lovely restaurant establishment called The Jayhawker. The hotel was burnt down twice during the horrific boarder war between Kansas, a free state during the Civil War days, and Missouri, which was a slave state. Above you can see the dedication to the hotel which resides in the lobby. Finally, I love the weather here most of the time. We could not have asked for a better weekend. The winters are a lot more mild and there is always more fall to enjoy. Really, I think it is probably about time I give living here a break and enjoy it already:) There is plenty to love!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Farmstead Stampede

Saturday, Justin and I got up bright and early to run in the Mayor's Farmstead Stampede at Deana Rose. Deana Rose is a petting zoo/ farm replica which has been featured on my blog before. I was very proud of my time finishing 22nd out of 41 for the 25-29 year old female category in 32 minutes and 40 seconds. Justin finished 28th out of 31 on runners for the 30-354 year old male category in 34 minutes and 52 seconds. This was our second 5k run and we both feel good about finishing another race.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Garage Sales

I had never been garage selling before, but it is a pretty good time. The idea struck us after we had gotten some coffee. Justin mentioned that there appeared to be a large assortment of sales around the neighborhood and said he'd come along if I wanted to go. So, we did and even ventured out to some of the more posh neighborhoods out west. There were some good ones with cheap furniture and some weird ones with a lady selling her sons' toys, happily selling away and smoking her cigarette. The day was a great success and I got a little stepping stool for $2. I've been looking for one for quite some time. I think this might have to become a monthly outing for us as Justin is really fun to go garage selling with.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Sweet Summer

Although the summer season is in gear for about another six weeks, my summer vacay is quickly coming to an end. Our school building opened for teachers to come in today. I plan on going in tomorrow to begin putting the classroom together. Really, there are just too many little things I need to get done at home in order to maintain life as we know it. It was funny because I was in Sam's Club yesterday afternoon and ran into our school psychologist. She said the same thing along with a few words of wisdom, "I just have to keep reminding myself that life doesn't end at home just because school is starting." And it's true, it doesn't; however, you all know how it is with putting little projects off till the weekend. Then, the weekend rolls around and you decide to put it off till later, and later, and later. For example, we have all these lovely picture frames we got as wedding gifts. Have I done anything with them? No. That is, not until yesterday. Hence, the trip to Sam's Club to finally print the pictures from years past and finally place them in our picture frames to remember all the sweet memories. Anyhow, so no memories get lost in digital photo wonderland on our computer, here are some of the good times we have relished in over the summer:

1. Friday nights on Larry and Lisa's patio. Larry and Lisa both work at city hall with Justin. This summer, we have spent many Friday nights on their patio enjoying the weather, good food, cocktails, and the pets. One night, Dan brought over his three dogs. It was a very enjoyable evening.

2. Baseball. Last night we went to a Royal's game with Jeff and Joe. Jeff and Joe are two engineer friends of Justin and are a riot to hang out with. We got to see Ken Griffey Jr. and all the new additions to Kauffman Stadium. It got me thinking…what song would you have playing when you go up to bat?

3. Weekends in Iowa. Last week, I traveled to Iowa to visit friends and family. At the end of the week, I traveled to Greenfield, IA for my sister in law's baby shower. Then, I headed down to Creston, IA to visit my good friends Jen & Joe Kenyon. I ate a ton of sweet corn and got to be there for Jen's body art. I am censoring the activity by stating it is body art, as Jen's mom and sister (who would not approve of such body markings) do not yet know about Jen's branding.

It has been a fabulous summer. Really, I have no complaints. It has been filled with all the good stuff summer is all about.

Monday, July 27, 2009

A Visit to Amy's

My youngest sister, Amy, moved to Omaha last year. I feel so negligent to say that we had not been there to visit until this past weekend. While it was a short visit, we had a great time. Saturday, Amy played in some volleyball competition so Justin and I headed for the zoo. The zoo was supposed to be free on Saturday; however, was insanely packed. They had closed the exit on the interstate to the zoo because traffic and parking had reached maximum capacity. So, Justin and I made ourselves content at the Old Market. We ate lunch at some hole in the wall Irish bar called O'Connors. I played a little Big Buck Hunter, my favorite. Then, we walked around the shops. Our favorite shop was the Overland Fur Store. Justin and I played a little dress up with all the lovely fur items they had available. Thank goodness we or no one we know is a part of PETA or a vegan as the store would have caused animal advocates a bit of an anxiety attack. After Amy's volleyball game was over, we cleaned up and headed out for dinner and then to a tent party at the Cox Classic Golf Tournament. It was a wonderful time and great to see my sister. I am very proud of her accomplishments, her independence, and life she is building for herself. Thanks for letting us stay with you Amy! We love you!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Meet Adylyn

Justin and I are proud to introduce our new niece Adylyn Beth. Adylyn Beth was born Friday July 17th at 7:43 a.m. She was 8 lbs. & 13 oz. and 21 1/2 in. long! It was so exciting to be there for the first few hours and days of her life. We got to feed her, hold her, but didn't get to change her diapers. Each time we got the chance, she filled them to the brim! It required not only a new set of clothes, but also a bath. I miss her already! It all makes you really appreciate what a miracle it is to bring a baby into the world.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Summer Obsessions

Every summer brings a new obsession or interest for me. Last summer's favorites included my philosophy course, learning about world citizenry and the book Cultivating Humanity: A Classical Defense of Reform in Liberal Education by Martha C. Nussbaum. This summer's obsessions are a little more light-hearted and actually bring back some vintage favorites.

Summer obsession #1: Running. I don't know why I ever got so lazy and gave up running last year. I swear it is like totally transforming the cellulite I was beginning to accumulate on my legs back into lovely muscle, firming my booty, and providing me with an outlet for pinned-up energy. Really, it's been the best therapy ever and I'm up to running about 4 miles every other day.

Summer obsession #2: Bermuda shorts. I know, I can't believe it either. I always made fun of longer shorts in my younger days and was violently opposed to wearing them after a horrific experience in junior high at church camp. Maybe it was the need to feel rebellious, but I was sent with longer shorts and then was sent home pretty much because I cut them to a shorter length. This summer, I am totally digging them. You can dress them up, dress them down, wear them with a cute tank and cute shoes, and they are totally work appropriate. Who knew all the possibilities?

Summer obsession #3: The firecracker sushi roll from Ichiban Sushi. We used to live in the perfect area about three years ago. In one little radius, I could see my eye doctor, get my hair done, see my insurance agent, get my tires changed, and have sushi, pizza, Mexican, Greek, Italian, or Chinese food. Seriously, all the places were all on one street corner. Anyhow, I still go to the same eye doctor and decided to get some sushi yesterday for lunch. I had totally forgotten how awesome this sushi is. Seriously kids, the spicy tuna roll is so fresh and still my standby; however, I was still a little hungry. So, I asked about the specials. He said the firecracker roll was a must. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh (cue angels and bells ringing)! It was amazing!

You Have to See This!

For those of you who live in Kansas City, you may have noticed the massive soccer field complex they are building near the Deana Rose Farmstead. The project has been my husband's boss, Dan's, little/big baby. After seeing these pictures I understand why. The ball had to be designed and made in Germany. It is currently being shipped by a boat to Virginia and then will make it's way to it's new home in Overland Park, KS where it will float on top of a pool of water. It is pretty impressive!