Thursday, April 29, 2010

Springtime at Northwest

I attended the Northwest Foundation board meeting at the end of last week, which happened to be held at the Missouri State Arboretum!

Part of this Centennial Garden is a waterfall and a firepit.

The Bell Tower at dusk.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

There is no place like Nebraska

Last Saturday, while Leslie attended a Raising Spiritual Champions workshop at church, I took the boys up to Lincoln for Nebraska's spring football scrimmage. It was incredible.

We left home shortly after 8 a.m. and even had a fun drive up there. We found a great parking spot on campus for only $5 and joined in on all the pre-game festivities.

Jackson eagerly tried his hand at all the "big kid" activities.

The weather was gorgeous and Landon enjoyed running free on the nearby soccer field, that was packed with families and kids.

Puttin' it through the uprights.

Squeezing in a quick color/geometry lesson.

Another football challenge.

Trying out for running back.

After playing for more than an hour, we made our way inside Memorial Stadium and found our spots. The last time I was there, these bench-seats were wood!

I hadn't been to a Nebraska football game since junior high or high school with our family. The thunderous applause as the Huskers took the field, taking in all the sights and sounds, thinking about how Dad graduated from UNL, and getting to experience this with Jackson and Landon for the first time gave me chills.

All the balloons being released after the first touchdown. (As Jack said, "That's littering.") I still remember going to my first Nebraska football game and being amazed that balloons can cast a shadow over the field.

Valentino's pizza (prior to his red Fairbury Brand hotdog).

Ndamukong Suh announcing his $2.6 million gift to the university between the first and second quarters.

Photo by Alyssa Schukar of the Omaha World-Herald.

Jack was being silly putting his cap on the Gatorade bottle, but his eyes are open and he's smiling! And having the best day ever.

Both boys did great during the game and stayed interested a lot longer than I expected. It was especially fun teaching them "the wave."

Students on the field during halftime to take a drug-free pledge.

Only half over and it was already really special.

After a while, we headed out to go "exploring."

We walked by this art sculpture on campus...

...on our way to the Nebraska Bookstore.

I passed on buying the corn hat, but did get Jack (and Leslie) a new red T-shirt.

By this time, we had stopped back by the mini-van to get the stroller for Landon, and hiked — via "O" Street — all the way to the state capitol.

We got there right at 5 p.m. and I was afraid we'd be turned away, but luckily we were able to get inside.

In front of the country's only unicameral legislative chambers.

It was kind of eerie being the last ones left in the building, but we still rode the little old elevator all the way to the top.

Playing on the lawn.

When I asked Jack what he wanted to eat for dinner he said spaghetti. So we went to, where else? The Spaghetti Works!

Interacting with more public art back on campus.

Evidenced by the lack of anyone else in these pictures, it felt like we had the whole place to ourselves.

Right outside Nebraska's student union, where a fraternity was holding a 30-hour bike-a-thon for charity.

Since they only had 20 minutes left, we hung around to find out how many total miles they pedaled ... and discovered that the guy on the bike had recently visited Northwest Missouri State and graduated from my high school!

After walking down Greek Row, we had to go see the mammoth outside Morrill Hall.

And this glacial rock.

It's not that the view of this bell tower is Photoshopped at an angle, it's...

...taken through the half-circles of this sculpture.

Trying to push it upright.

Someone lost their head.

That's my boy. :)

Since it was 8 p.m. and the sun was setting, we headed back to the car and decided to call it a day. One that we'll never forget.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Friday night + Creston, Iowa + Elks' Lodge = !!!

A personal goal during my term as president of the Northwest Alumni Association is to visit as many of our chapters as possible. So Friday afternoon I drove up to Creston, Iowa, for a big event with the Southern Iowa Alumni & Friends Chapter.

They had 70 people — including three current Northwest football players from the area — for a catered dinner, featured guest Coach Tjeerdsma along with the national championship trophy and the season's highlight video, Northwest's athletic director and alumni relations director, door prizes, a slew of raffle items, a live auction, and The Student Body selling merchandise. (Note the disco ball on the ceiling, in case the Creston Elks really wanna tear it up.)

I loved how their chapter banner at the front of the room was hung from the actual elk, itself.

Afterward, I was intrigued by some of Creston's historic architecture as I drove back home to KC. On the frieze above these columns is engraved "VNITED STATES POST OFFICE AND COVRT HOVSE".

The old train depot certainly caught my eye when I first drove by it in the daylight, so I stopped to take a picture before leaving.

Then the craziest thing happened when a car pulled up and a familiar-looking woman got out. I said hi and asked if she happened to be at the Northwest alumni event.

She replied, "Yeah. I was just across the street (at the bar) having a drink and saw you over here taking pictures. I have a key to the building and thought you might like to see inside. C'mon." How crazy is that!?!

Unfortunately, she said, they don't give out keys to the light switch. But she explained Creston's long railroad history, how it's a stop on the BNSF Railway, still offers daily Amtrak service and that the depot — built in 1899 — also now serves as city hall. She also gave me a tour of its unique Presidential Doll Collection and this original waiting room, with a working train display by the Creston Model Railroad Club. It was surreal!