Presents

With all the traveling over the holidays, I put up the tree before Thanksgiving. After Thanksgiving, presents started showing up!

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I couldn’t talk CS into opening any early, so K and I celebrated early instead! I wanna open presents! We are such good gift givers.

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Headed to the Fort this year with 2 of my favorite people to celebrate with my 2 more of my favorite people. Mom and Dad went all out with the Chrismats lights this year…

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Just kidding! This is a house across the neighborhood from them. Calling Clark Griswold! Speaking of kidding, Mom got me this as a gift?!

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I kept staring at it going “NO. No way.” I read it all and still was like no. Once you start to open the box it says “Gag Gift!” on the sides. Phew. The real gift inside was the wildly popular new game Speak Out.

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Everyone but Dad was on board to play. The giggling takes over during the game and you have to pull it together. It was a lot of fun. Puzzles are still a favorite of mine. This one combined 2 into 1. But then once I did the Sudoku, the puzzle was done. I felt bad throwing it away.

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A bit harder was my 1000 piece Shoe puzzle!

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6 combined hours over 2 tries. It was a bit of a headache, but I got it done! Only 4 more puzzles to go.  I always buy myself a present and this little guy caught my eye. After a long debate, his name is Bungina. I don’t know where I am hanging him yet but I say hello to him every morning!

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Happy Holidays!

Spreading Holiday Joy

My amazing new work family adopted a United Way Christmas family this year. Myself and 2 other people got to play Santa and deliver the gifts!

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They are not pictured in my truck because they couldn’t fit inside! We packed my car for our Mom and 3 kids!

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Our Mom’s eyes kept getting bigger and bigger as we unloaded the presents under their tree.

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I thought I would make it through without crying, but nope. Our Mom wanted a hug. I kept it to welling up tears at the house, then lost it as I drove home. Such a great reminder of how grateful I am for what life has afforded me. If you ever hear me complain, call my bluff. If you think you have it bad, you may need a life check. Making a positive difference in someone’s life is not measurable. It’s a choice and a choice I will make for the rest of my life.

My Dreams Come To Life On Stage

Previously.

I’ve started dreaming again. Oh how fun it is! I can never really describe how amazing my dreams are. Until I saw the ISO Yuletide Celebration. Holy shit. This is how I dream come to life.

I have to credit my Mom with this event. She’s been in the past and said get tickets. Sure. Any time I can spend with my parents, I don’t ask questions. I made a large assumption that I was just going to see the symphony for 2 hours play Christmas music. Piep loves to sing, so I figured it’d be a good day for all. Until the night before, I get an email from the ISO that there will be a live reindeer out front before the show. Animals?! Yes please!

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So I’m thinking that was fun, never touched a reindeer before. As I walk into the lobby. Ummmm Yuletide mascot? Not sure, but I need a picture.

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I’m feeling great! Animals, mascots, let’s go hear the symphony. Then I walk into the theatre concourse, and WOAH. I see a sea of holiday mascots. I could hardly contain myself. “Pieper, take my phone! Let’s go!” She’s such a trooper. Reindeer!

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Penguin!

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Tree?

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Mouse!

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Come on! Gingerbread man?!

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I thought we were done until Mom and I found Olaf! And a kid who’s face says “Why is this adult taking a selfie?”

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Best part, my teammates get in on the action without prompting from me. Fun-lovers!

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Fwd: Pic

If you have never been to the ISO Yuletide, please please go. I never in my wildest dreams thought anyone out there had combined my love for theater, mascots, animation, fun, family, hope, goodness, music and sheer happiness into a show. THIS IS ABSOLUTELY AMAZING. And you get treated to Josh Kaufman as the emcee. Yes, the voice winner!

Turkey Travels South to West

Mama and I need a shopping fix. We hit Holiday Mart again and left with empty hands and mostly full wallets.

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Most of the boutiques that we loved, weren’t there. They must not need the publicity anymore. The clothing selection looked liked it was purchased online and overseas. Just not the quality and style we were looking for. We made up for it with a shopping cart full at TJ. Ahhhh we felt better!

Mom offered to make a turkey. Mannie wanted lasagna. Mannie rules the roost and even dressed up for the festivities. Then he requested a selfie.

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CS has a built in selfie stick. I tested out my new real selfie stick that I swore I would never own. It was free, so I call it a wash.

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To get our Thanksgiving turkey, we headed west to visit the lake CS grew up around, a beautiful sunset on Smithville Lake.

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My tour guides!

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To add a little fun, everyone donned Thanksgiving themed headgear.

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J-Man and I collaborated on some decorations for the table.

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After the meal, I was treated to the annual lighting at the plaza. Before:

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After! Bonus fireworks!!

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Thanks to all my non-laws for the tour! Go-go-CS-selfie-stick-gadget-arms!

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Boos Booze & Carving

Previously. A bit previously. And waaaaaay previously.

I built a pumpkin cairn so our 22 RSVP’d guests could find the party!

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Thanks to Joann’s 50% sale, I added a lot of new pieces to the Halloween theme.

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Mom RSVP’d for 3. Huh? Mom + Dad + ? = 3. I was scared they were bringing a dog which they planned on leaving here. No time for that right now. I was delighted to meet Mannie instead!

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His face just says “wwwwwwwwwwoooooooooaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh”. Mannie welcomed our guests to a delightful spread courtesy of CS, me, and Carole. CS made his world famous chili, homemade salsa which accompanied my meatballs, taco dip and Carole’s devil eggs with eyeballs! Our guests were well fed, which is always our goal.

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Based on what we learned last year, we brought out the heavy equipment. “Bring out yer drills!”

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We had plenty of kid-friendly activities to keep the youngsters entertained. Paint, chalk, Sharpees. Ok, maybe Sharpees wasn’t the best.

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Who wants pumpkin glasses?! This kid!

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Thanks to karma for the great weather! It was a beautiful outdoor day to spend with friends and family.

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Finished product by SJ, who was in love with using a drill. Such a cute design!

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I was a bit nervous about my bat design choice. It wasn’t looking great during day light. Come sun down, I was surprisingly pleased!

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I think we have a great tradition building.

2016 Stars of Pink Fashion Show

Previously.

My favorite and most nerve racking part of planning the Pink Ribbon Connection’s annual fashion show is the music.

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All year, I start jotting down songs that would be possible for the show. My first pass of selection eliminates songs about taboo topics, explicit lyrics, or mention death. None of that is needed at this uplifting event. I had a moment this year while stressing out about it, that I am in control of what stresses me out. Well shit, let’s just not stress out about this then. I’ve done this 3 times before and it’s been fine every time. Deep breath. Move on. This year’s line up kicked off with my #1 favorite group:

*HandClap by Fitz and the Tantrums
*I Like How It Feels by Enrique Iglesias
*This Is What You Came For by Calvin Harris
*Hollow by Tori Kelly
*I Won’t by Little Mix
*Stand By You by Rachel Platten
*Finale – Can’t Stop The Feeling – Justin Timberlake

I arrive each year to an empty and bland ballroom. I am always amazed how this room is transformed overnight by our event sponsors and volunteers.

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Before heading off to bed, I had a task to organize the display at our main table. I was humbled that our staff wanted me to design the look for this part of the event.

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I got a room with a great view!

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Time for the show!

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Soup & dessert are pre-set and my table wasted no time digging in. They looked too delicious to hold back.

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My trusted team at my side to pull off this event.

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After lunch, the Fashion Show begins!

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All of our beautiful models out on stage for the Finale walk!

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Even though this was my 4th year, I learned a lot! I did the same training as prior years but I overly stressed “Have fun” & “The audience doesn’t know the program”. And the models heard those messages. Our timing this year was off. Way off. For me, it was so bad I said over the backstage mics “The train has officially come off the tracks. This is bad.” Well turns out, I was wrong. Feedback I received today:

Well, you have outdone yourself again this year! I have had RAVE reviews all day today. One guest said she had a friend at her table who does fashion shows professionally and thought this was the best fashion show she has ever seen. I think many things contribute to that, most of all, the models themselves. But you are the star for putting it all together and making it work!!

Goes to show (show, funny?!) , we are in charge of our own stress. I own mine and this reminder tells me to drop it. I hope this gives you insight to join next year!

Pin Me

I’ve been wanting one of these for years. I even tried to use work as a reason. I finally caved and shelled out the cash myself.

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What is it?

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All the reviews said the circular cutter that came with it was crap. Recommended you download the 1 inch template and just cut yourself.

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Load it in, and out comes a BUTTON!

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994 buttons to make until I run out of supply!

Rock The Ruins

After a long Corporate Challenge morning, I was ready to relax. My roomies agreed to chill with me at Rock The Ruins!

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Holliday Park has been raising money for 2 years to revamp and refresh the ruins sculpture at the park. I expected a good crowd but was delighted to see it packed with friends, couples, and families.

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Toy Factory played for us, while the kids played in the new water splash area.

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Can’t wait to use that after my next run!