Wednesday, September 24, 2014

School pics


Fifth grade

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Big Blue

Spotted this statuesque blue heron out the window at work.

I'm a little surprised it was that far above the ground/water. Plus, it stayed in that same exact spot for more than an hour!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

First day of school

And away we go!
At dinner tonight, when I asked the boys specifically how the bus ride was, Jack said it was “sucky.” Because he had very much been looking forward to sitting with Landon and walking into school together, but the bus driver said kindergarteners — and only kindergarteners — had to sit in the front of the bus.

Jack was genuinely disappointed ... and we were extremely proud.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

For the record

Driving to work on Aug. 12th — in the Midwest — and it's only 55 degrees out!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Back-to-School Night

We've been gearing up for this for quite a while: the only year that Jack and Landon will go to school in the same building.
And Landon's turn.
Inside, he sat right down and got to work. Later, when I asked Landon what his favorite part of Back-to-School Night was, he said, "The beginning — getting to meet my teacher."
Meanwhile, Jack stopped by to see his former teacher, from last year.
Kindergarten, here we come!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Throwback Thursday

My dad — 1938

Me — 1985

Jack — 2009
Landon — 2014

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Double date

We went out with our friends Lisa & DJ to The Bristol last night.
Both the company and the food were great!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

While you were out — Landon’s cowboy bedroom

While Leslie took the boys back to her hometown for the weekend, I gave Landon's room a little makeover. It's hard to tell from these pictures, but I painted three of the walls a soft brown color (Sherwin Williams "Hopsack" — SW6109) and painted one accent wall, opposite his bedroom door, with a denim faux finish (Sherwin Williams "Needlepoint Navy" — SW 0032).

North wall, before:
North wall, after:

Northeast corner, before:
Northeast corner, after:
Southwest corner, before:
Southwest corner, after:
We bought the furniture — the headboard, footboard and rails; nightstand; vanity with mirror; and chest of drawers — a year or two ago off Craigslist, all for $180. It's old and has lots of character. So the mirror's clean, those spots are just imperfections. And I replaced the hardware with rope.

Other than the furniture, virtually everything else is something we already had or is a family heirloom/hand-me-down. Besides the paint, the only things I bought new were 99-cent bandanas for the lampshades and one 4x6 picture frame.

In this picture, the piece on the nightstand is part of the livestock "tie-out" from the old Ak-Sar-Ben (if you're from Nebraska, you'll know what that means) cattle barn, the guitar is from Leslie's family with the words "Singing Cowboys" on it and my grandpa picked up the cattle skull in western Nebraska decades ago.
After seeing these before-and-after pictures, I decided to paint the white candlestick lamp. I spray painted it a brushed bronze color, but it looks nearly black.

The framed horses is a pencil drawing by my uncle when he was in elementary school (the same school my dad, siblings and I all went to) in the 1930s. On the back is the original tag showing it won "First Premium" at the Douglas County Fair.
  • The "Broken Diamond N" on the wall-hanging above the desk is our family's brand.
  • The chair is from the old library at Northwest Missouri State University.
  • The horseshoes are from Leslie's family.
  • The makeshift shelf is reclaimed wood from Habitat ReStore on top of bricks from my grandpa.
  • And the book was a gift my great-grandmother gave in 1951.

  • I hope Landon likes it!

    Friday, March 7, 2014

    Choose Your Own Adventure Day

    Our school district had another day off school, so I offered to watch Jack and Synjin for the day (out of the first 82 days of this year, they've gone to school LESS THAN HALF of them). There were a variety of things we could have done, but I really didn't want to decide for them; however, I also didn't want to leave it entirely up to them.

    The solution? I created "Choose Your Own Adventure Day." I wrote about 20 possible options on slips of paper, put them in a hat and let the boys draw. Whatever they pulled out, that's what we did next. Here's how our day unfolded:

    1. Return our books to the Woodneath Library.
    2. Go to the zoo.

    3. Sing "I'm a Little Teapot."

    4. Go to the observatory on the 29th floor of City Hall.

    5. Get ice cream.

    Some of the ones the boys didn't pick were:

  • Buy some food from a food truck (or a Girl Scout).
  • Go up to a stranger from out of town and say, "Welcome to Kansas City!"
  • Get Jack's hair cut.
  • Visit Indigo Wild.
  • Tour the West Bottoms.
  • Go to the College Basketball Experience.
  • Wednesday, March 5, 2014

    “Recruiting” visit

    For several months I've been scheduled to speak to Northwest's Knacktive class this afternoon. Just a quick trip up to Maryville, try to impart some wisdom to a group of college students and jet back home. Really simple, right?

    But when Jack woke up and came downstairs this morning (well, half woke up — he was laying on the couch and still very groggy), I casually mentioned, "Hey, I'm goin' to Northwest today. Wanna go?" Now, keep in mind that he's usually pretty vocal about voicing his displeasure when we drag him to Northwest events, make him sit through Bearcat sporting events or introduce him to other alums. This time, however, his face lit up and he eagerly said, "Yeah!" That definitely wasn't the reaction I expected. Then I stammered, "Um ... I need to go talk to Mom."

    So after shooting a quick email to his teacher simply stating, "Jack won't be at school today," I then turned my attention to: Jack and I are going to Northwest today!

    It was FANTASTIC.

    I let him turn the radio up in the car louder than usual. We had great conversations for an hour and a half, all the way up there. Jack even did the impromptu math problems I asked him — based on the time, odometer, speedometer and mile markers.

    When we got to Wells Hall on campus, the first professor we met had a handlebar mustache and accompanying mustache thumbtacks and the second professor had a chess set in his office. Jack was soaking it up!

    For lunch, we walked with Dr. Shadinger to the union and each got to choose our own custom-made entrees at the Mongolian grill station. Dr. Shadinger was extremely kind and patient putting up with all of Jack's brain-teaser puzzles and riddles. Before leaving the union, we ran into a girl we know from church, a couple of Kappa Sigs and looked around the bookstore.

    Over in Colden Hall, getting ready for the Knacktive class to start, Jack spotted another girl from church who we talked to and we caught up with a campus minister from the Wesley
    Center who was there. Jack did great sitting quietly in the back of the classroom the entire 50 minutes that I spoke. That is, other than getting everyone to erupt in laughter when he piped up out of the blue to call me out on something he disagreed with.

    After my official duties were done, we went to the Administration Building, visited the president's office, received a tour from the director of the library on all of the impressive changes that have been made there and topped it off with a stop back in the union at the ice cream bar. The only reason we left was to get back home for an evening event ... or else we could have stayed for days.

    * * *

    A few days later, I was surprised to see this letter in Jack's backpack after school (his teacher — Mrs. Jellison — is a Northwest grad, too):