Wednesday, December 31, 2008
What happened to this thing getting better?
I figured some nights of NyQuil, some days of DayQuil and pushing through would bring me to bluer skies, but instead the head cold demon is grabbing hold of me more fervently.
So I'm giving up, I cannot fight it alone... time for the doctor visit. I'm hoping my 11:15am doctor's appointment will bring me closer to head clarity... maybe give me some drugs that will knock whatever this is out.
AND it's NEW YEAR'S EVE... I've got to be better to be social, right?
Monday, December 29, 2008
I don't know what it is... maybe it's the necessary evil of going back to work after a break and time with family. Or that Christmas decorations are taken down by many right away. Or the discussion about the "new year" is made even before the last Christmas present is open. Whatever it is... I feel as if Christmas has gone for the year.
Sure, I have my decorations still up, and all the gifts we were given have not yet been put away... but there is something in the air that says the NEW YEAR is upon us rather than Christmas is here.
So with Christmastime passing us by and another awesome year with family during the holidays gone, I find myself ready to change my blog background away from the red and greens of Christmastime. Instead, here is my NEW YEAR background.
Friday, December 26, 2008
Can I refill your eggnog for you? Get you something to eat? Drive you out to the middle of nowhere and leave you for dead?
Naw, I'm doing just fine, Clark.
I'm not one of them. I'm blessed beyond measure with the family that surrounds me! Christmas brought home this reminder once again... I love my family! God has blessed me so!
We had an amazing Christmas time this year... maybe it was because Brent (Robin's husband, my "new" brother-in-law) is now officially part of the family this year, or because we played "Dirty Santa" with the Wilson family side and cracked up throughout it all, or just because my family rocks, either way this year was fantastic! We had hilarious fellowship, great food, good fun, and were blessed beyond measure with gifts. What a year!
My favorite gift of the season went beyond the monetary blessing it brought to me, rather the awesomeness within the gift was the way in which we had to get it.
Let me paint the picture for you: it's Christmas Day... the entire immediate family is opening Christmas presents: stockings and wrapped gifts. Mom and Dad announce before we start opening that everyone (the kids) has a gift with a very small bow on it. We are not to open that gift until the end, and everyone must open their gifts together. Therefore, after being spoiled with all of our stocking and gifts, we all begin to open our special gift with great anticipation.
Very excited about what might be in store, I tore into the wrapped box with the tiny bow on top. I opened a box to find a can of tuna fish in it. YUCK. Kelly had two cans of tomato juice in his. Brent had a can of spaghetti o's. Robin and Kelsey each had a bar of soap.
What the heck?!
We sat there all confused as Mom and Dad laughed together and took pictures of our confused faces...
And then it was found - a piece of paper taped to the bottom of each "gift". Mine said: "Heather #1". Kelly's said: "Kelly's #2". Brent, Robin, and Kelsey had the same with their names on their respective "gifts". As we pulled off these pieces of paper and turned them over... we discovered what was really unfolding - A SCAVENGER HUNT!
It was so hilariously fun! Mom and Dad were amazing with their planning! And the gifts we found in each of our hidden places blew us away. Here are what Kelly and my clues said:
Mom and Dad, thank you for the most amazing time we've had in a long while. We all loved it, and have bragged about the fun ever since. Merry Christmas.
Monday, December 22, 2008
I truly cannot believe that it's the week of Christmas. It seems quite surreal. The hubby and I are working in "the Christmas spirit" by watching one of Kelly's favorites: It's a Wonderful Life.
Before we swing into the happening of the next few days of yuletide and the many family festivities that will occur throughout Christmas, I want to share some pictures from our fantastic trip.
We were spoiled left and right by my Uncle Frank and Aunt Terri throughout the entire visit. From the Kansas vs. UMass basketball game at the SprintCenter, to amazing eats and drinks throughout the week, to enjoying U Frank's man-cave complete with a huge HD Tv and surround sound Bose style, to sleeping in each morning, to visiting wonderfully with family - the trip was excellent.
Things to know before looking at the pictures below: Madison, Clayton, and baby Coleton are my cousin's children. Lyndy is their mom. You'll see quite a few of them - they are most adorable!
Below is a self made picture of Madison, myself, and Clayton. For some reason the first couple of days Madison had a thing about "not smiling".
Here is a shot Kelly caught of the kids sitting in my lap. Clay is making a "funny face," or so he calls it, and Madison is cracking up because she's pushing us all back with her feet on the couch... hence the strain like look on my face.
For Christmas my parents (who came up with sister, Kelsey on Friday) gave Madison a pair of dress up high heels, a feather boa, and some jewelery. Madison is shown here sporting her new outfit. Notice the hip action, she's got 'tude.
Brother Clay did not want to miss the action with the boa, so he took a shot at it later in the evening.
We also had the pleasure of hanging out with Kelly's dad, Larry while in Kansas City. He's working on a project in KC for his job... we were able to enjoy two great dinners with Larry and have him join the Hansen Family (mom's side) Christmas event Saturday night.
Yeah, so mom has a "grinch" face... as we lovingly refer to it. We asked mom to make the grinch face in this shot, as well as have Kelly and Kelsey make their own.
Who knew a 4 year old could be so cute? I think she knows.
Once Kelsey arrived in KC, Kelly had his goofy sister right by his side. They are two pees in a pod, sometimes it's scary. I think they crack each other up.
Clayton is most adorable when he says Kelly's name... it comes out "Telly"... so cute! He and Madison wanted Telly to come watch Backyardigans with them. They asked over and over until they wore Telly down and he accepted the offer. Here is a shot of Clay enjoying some Backyardigans while sitting in Telly's lap.
I had to get a shot of the cuz and me. We were inseparable as younger folks... harder to get all the one on one time we like with families these days but I still adore this gal. So happy to see her this past week!
Mom's parents: Grandma and Grandpa Hansen.
Cabela's is one of the massive stores in a shopping center near my Aunt and Uncle... there we shopped for a couple gifts and found a fun "shooting game" within the store. Here is a picture of Allison (cousin) and I showing off the riffles we shot during the game.
I got a shot with Grandma & Grandpa together with me. Grandma makes the most awesome cheese cake. I had multiple pieces throughout our stay. Yum, Yum!
And last but not least, here is a goofy shot we took ourselves to send out to a couple folks during our trip. I called it our "hi" picture. See I'm waving. Yes. I'm a dork.
I took many more photos, but I'll post those on facebook and will not bore you with them here. Needless to say the trip was more than we expected, an even better time than we imagined. Thank you to all our fabulous family for taking better care of us than we can ourselves!!! We're so blessed with an awesome family... so thankful!
Thursday, December 18, 2008
I cannot deny the truth in his statement above any longer. The man loves Panera Bread. It's now even coined his "happy place".
We have been in Kansas City since Saturday early morning, so within six days of visiting, we have been to Panera Bread three times! Once after church on Sunday, once yesterday, and again today. I believe we would have gone Saturday also, had Kelly known it's location prior to Sunday morning.
This morning, I became tickled with my husband's extreme love for Panera Bread and I insisted that he pose with the Panera Bread cup to show in a photo some of his affection for the place.
Ha ha. I think the photo accurately portrays his love. What do you think?
What does Kelly get when he comes to Panera? Well, that's an interesting questions today. The answer is: a Cinnamon Crunch Bagel with Hazelnut Cream Cheese.
Usually he has the bagel toasted, but we've discovered that Kansas City Panera Bread's do not have an industrial sized toaster they can put their bagels through. We've seen these toasters at every other Panera locations we've visited... in Lexington, KY, in Nashville, TN, in Destin, FL, and I'm sure a couple other locations for Kelly. Therefore on the first day, Kelly microwaved his Cinnamon Crunch Bagel. I don't know what he did the second day with the bagel - it was at a different location but they did not have a toaster either.
But today... WHA-LA... the first Panera we went to on Sunday all of a sudden had a regular size bagel toaster located near their microwave! Coincidence? I think not! My hubby may have given them a good suggestion, so he toasted that bagel today... well after an incident.
See the interview below to discover how Kelly succumbed to "product marketing" and ordered something different than the Cinnamon Crunch Bagel with Hazelnut Cream Cheese. It might take a bit to load, but it's worth hearing Kelly tell his story. Enjoy.
So, as you can tell... ordering something beyond his norm was a mistake, and we ended up paying for a second breakfast to bring him back to "old faithful" and allow him to once again enjoy his "happy place".
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
One of those now set McGoo traditions is the writing and mailing of The McGugan Mailer. Each year (two in a row now... so not going on a record or anything yet), we have printed a Snapfish photo Christmas card and have created our McGugan Mailer. The Mailer is a newsletter that we've created - yes I'm a dork and like these kind of things, but most of you are well aware of that by now - to help keep our friends and family in touch with the happenings of the last year. It's complete with story telling, pictures, and a top ten list of things learned over the year.
I've learned that most of our recipients have received the card by now (maybe not the Canadian relatives and friends in Ireland and Japan, but most), so I am comfortable with posting about the Mailer. However, I'm almost positive whoever reads my blog is probably just a group of the same people - so hopefully I'm not spoiling anything for anyone.
Like my blog, I've so enjoyed the outlet of writing that The McGugan Mailer opens up for myself and the hubby. I think those that have a received it also get a good kick out of it, or at least roll their eyes and say, "only the McGoo's"... I'm proud of having either response.
Below is a sampling (well, more than that, a copy) of the 2008, Year 2 McGugan Mailer. My hope is that many more of these are created as Kelly and I grow old together.
McGugan Mailer - 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
As we learned and decided this morning that Denver would not be part of the vacation adventure today, or maybe not even for the week, we got creative with our entertainment.
After a leisure morning, we headed out the door for lunch, a movie, and some shopping. Below is what our drive looked like on the way home - it was worse on the way. Thank goodness Kelly is capable of driving in snow, I was a nervous wreck. I can't imagine if we had attempted to drive 9 hours in this stuff, I would be a mess (even more than usual) by the time we arrived.
While at the huge shopping center, the hubby and I caught a flick, ate some grub, and window shopped. Below is a picture of the Christmas tree in the center of the shopping center. It's huge! I thought it was pretty and festive, so had to get a pic.
While the hubby and I went against the weather conditions for a bit of entertainment, one of the funny things that happened throughout the day involved a "Kelly-ism".
One of the restaurants in the large shopping center today was HOOTERS. As we attempted to choose a restaurant for lunch,
Kelly asked with a sly grin, "What about HOOTERS?"
I laughed and said, "I'd rather not. I don't want to look at girls butts and eat their hot wings today."
Kelly replied, "Well, they're probably cold in there. Better yet, I think when it's cold outside HOOTERS should not longer be called HOOTERS, it should be called NIPPLES!"
That's when I hit him on the arm and cracked up.
The news just reported that the total snow accumulated after the snow fall was 3.0 inches in the city and suburbs. More planned for Thursday. It sure looked like more snow than that arrived here in the Bonner Springs/Speedway area!
These pictures do not do the sight justice. I forgot our "big" camera, so this one does not pick up all the individual flakes. But it's coming down. Have some decisions to make about our travels... today is supposed to be LEG #2 travels to Denver.
9:10am update - snow is still coming down! Looking at the I-70 Interstate forecast (which is the entire route to Denver) the snow is not supposed to stop until we hit Colorado... therefore the decision has been made. I have never driven in snow, my hubby has not in awhile, why chance it? We will not be traveling to Denver today.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Amazingly I did the driving from Memphis to St. Louis with a pit stop in Sikeston, MO to enjoy Lambert's for dinner. By the way... I ordered a House Salad at Lambert's and look what I was served:
Oh my goodness!!! Yes. I took a picture of my food. I couldn't help it. Do you see the size of that thing?!
Another waiter walked by our table before I began to "tackle" the salad and his words were: "Good luck with that salad m'am". No kidding! Could you pile anymore salad on this massive bread bowl?? Geez louizzz.
Anywho, I have gotten sidetracked... Once in St. Louis, Kelly took over the driving and I (again amazingly) stayed up with him the rest of the trip. We made it into Kansas City Saturday morning at 1:38am. Upon our arrival to Uncle Frank's and Aunt Terri's, we were showed our room and found it easy to fall into slumber.
We woke up Saturday morning about 10am, rested and ready to enjoy our vacation. U (short for uncle) Frank & A (short for Aunt) Terri had a fabulous day planned out for us, and we quickly accepted the offer. We love their company so it was an easy decision, but when you throw in their good taste on entertainment... we were sure to have a good time.
First we made our way to a local diner in downtown Kansas City. There we dined on diner hamburgers, spaghetti, and I forget what U Frank got. My cheese burger hit the spot. After lunch, we made our way to the Sprint Center for the University of Kansas vs. Massachusetts basketball game. Unfortunately the Jayhawks did not walk away with a victory, but being that my hubby and I are avid basketball/sports fans, we simply enjoyed the game and competition.
Following the game, all four of us made our way to a local restaurant and enjoyed a beer and good conversation for the next hour or two. Next, we went to this excellent Mexican restaurant, which happens to be A Terri's favorite and enjoyed good eats and drinks there too. Wow, we were stuffed by the time we walked out those doors. After dinner, U Frank drove us into the Plaza to show Kelly the lights, as well as make our yearly visit to the area - sort of a tradition. The Plaza is a great upscale shopping area in Kansas City. Every year, on Thanksgiving night they light the plaza up with Christmas lights. The picture on my past blog describing our vacation spots shows a picture of the Plaza. It's really pretty... busy area of town during the holiday shopping, but pretty nonetheless.
The Plaza was our last piece of outside the home entertainment before we headed back to the Bryant homestead. Boy, what a day. It was an absolutely perfect way to start our vacation, and U Frank & A Terri completely spoiled us along the way! We're so thankful to have such good family!
Once we made it home, the long day, the drive earlier that morning, and probably some of the beverages caught up with Kelly made my hubby realize how tired he was... so about 8pm he hit the sack. I waited for my cousin to show up. Lyndy (my cuz) has three kids now, and I had not seen two of them (Madison & Clayton) for about a year and half, and one is a brand new, four week old addition, so I was looking forward to the visit. Below is a shot of me Saturday night with my new cousin (second cousin really), Coleton. What a handsome boy he is!
So far, all I can say about our vacation is that we're having a blast. Today we went to church, then to my hubby's favorite breakfast establishment - Panera Bread. After Panera we visited the Nebraska Furniture Mart - oh my! The way Kelly said it today was "Best Buy on Steroids"... but you have to also add the biggest furniture store you've ever seen in the equation. It's big... It's actually huge! We even walked out... okay, not we... me... I even walked out with a desire to buy a certain chair. We may have more blog time on that later.
Other than that, we hung out with the family, watched football, played a lot with the kids, ate some awesome homemade cooked eats from A Terri and Grandma Hansen... finished the night with a few games of pool against U Frank and A Terri, and listened/watched the Brad Paisley concert DVD on U Frank's massive TV and phenomenal sound system.
I'll post more pictures of our adventure tomorrow. For now, heading to bed.
All I can say is that I'm blessed beyond measure with my family. Extended and Immediate. God really blessed us!
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
We leave Friday (Dec. 12th), after work...
We will drive to Kansas City, KS (478.85 miles ~ 8 hours) to visit with my side of the family. I'm so excited to visit with our relatives. It's my mom's side of the family. We will get to visit my grandparents, Uncle Frank & Aunt Terri, Uncle Steve & Aunt Lisa, and my cousins. My cousin Lyndy & her husband, Dan had baby #3 recently and I cannot wait to meet the new Farr Family addition. Plus, it's been WAY too long since I've seen their other two adorable babies who are not so baby-ish anymore. So I'm pumped. We'll go see a University of Kansas (Go Jayhawks) game with Uncle Frank & Aunt Terri on Saturday, and look forward to simply enjoying every one's company the remaining days of our stay.
On Tuesday (Dec. 16th), the hubby and I will make our second leg of the trip. We will drive to Denver, CO (588.89 miles ~ 8 hours 45 minutes) to visit with our friend Kim and her boyfriend. We're excited to see the city, visit with friends in the area, and hopefully see the slopes for a day or two. I haven't skied but for one week when I was in my junior year of high school. This could get interesting.
We will make our way out of Denver on Saturday (Dec. 20th), and travel back to Kansas City (588.89 miles ~ 8 hours 45 minutes) to spend the night before our last leg of the journey. In addition, we will meet my mom, dad, and youngest sister at my aunt and uncle's house. With everyone (except our middle sis and brother in law) in KC together, we are going to do our Christmas exchange early.
Lastly, Sunday morning (Dec. 21st) we plan on making the last drive home to Memphis (478.85 miles ~ 8 hours). Back to work early Monday morning. What a trip!
I think if I total the estimated miles on that... it adds up to 2135.48 miles in a 8-9 day time frame. Whoo, that's a trip! Let the journey begin. I can't wait!
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
It's been a rough few days. Work has been stressful. I looked at my blog and realized I must have been especially busy or tired of the computer when at home because I have not posted in almost a week - something a bit out of my norm. I'm tired. I have a long to do list, and I find myself wanting to sit on the couch, cuddled up in warmth and veg, rather than tackle the tasks I have before me.
So what have I been doing since I last posted - minus the J.O.B.?
Let's see... Christmas decorations are up! From the tree, to the garland, to stockings, to outside lights (Thanks for freezing with me Erin Marie! Your work is admired daily!), to the wreath hung on the front door, Christmas decorations are up. Kelly has started finals and taken two, with two more assignments/tests to go... all the while fighting sickness. He went to the doctor yesterday and is now being treated for Bronchitis. We've completed the McGugan Mailer - more to come on that. Ordered Christmas photo cards and began to stuff envelopes and address them. Ate dinner with mom and dad. Attended Tommy White's 30th surprise party - and boy did we surprise him! Happy B'day Tommy! Went to Sunday School and Church. Baked Christmas goodies with Erin Marie on Sunday afternoon. Ate dinner and roasted smores with Frank & Emily at their house- got a speeding ticket on the way home. Wrapped presents. Etc.
And for some reason throughout all of that, I never got on the computer to blog. It just seemed like their was always something to do or something to be done. If I did get some down time, it was due to my desire to ignore other things and just veg.
Another favorite pic from Dooce.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
They bought me a pair of TOMS Shoes. I mentioned that I wanted a pair and gave them free reign to choose a color/pattern. Today I'm happily wearing my birthday gift from Kelsey, Robin, and Brent. Thanks guys. I love them. Super Comfy!
If you're not familiar with TOMS Shoes, click the link above and check out their website. They do some cool stuff - for every pair purchased, a second pair is donated to those without shoes. Pretty cool vision.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Carpe Deal'em is an activity for the Riser family men. They hunt for the deals on Black Friday and bring back the booty to the rest of the family. The usual course of events consists of 3 Riser men. The driver, the line stander, and the hunter/gatherer. The driver drops the line stander and the hunter/gather off at the store's door. The line stander automatically finds his place in the long Black Friday lines. The hunter/gatherer finds all the requested items from the circulars and brings them to the line stander. They checkout, and are picked up back at the door by the driver. On to the next adventure. The described teamwork allows for the men to hit many stores very quickly.
What do the Riser ladies do?
Why is it named Carpe Deal'em?
Who is Riser?
Kelly suggested I let everyone know, who is Riser. I keep talking about the Riser Family, but have given little background to how we know them. The Riser family are friends of ours. Steve Riser is a good buddy of ours that lives in Memphis. His family lives north of Kelly's in Kentucky. We have the luxury of traveling to KY for everything Thanksgiving with Steve Riser. He drives, we ride. He drops us off in Lexington on the way to Villa Hills. It's a pretty sweet deal, really. The Riser family are great people (Steve's family) that have often opened their home to us on multiple occasions.
With all of the above background in mind.... welcome to Carpe Deal'em 2008.
Looking through the circulars that had been marked, the guys made a list of stores they needed to visit, as well as the suggested order to the stops. We said goodnight about 10pm or so, and all headed to bed.
3am arrived and the men of Carpe Deal'em were up and moving, matching T-shirts were sported, and they were out the door by 3:30am! The ladies did not see them until 6 hours later, when they came home with the booty. We went outside, greeted their arrival and looked at the treasure they brought.
The stats from Carpe Deal'em:
They tore it up! With Kelly in tow, there was a driver (Steve Sr), a line stander, and two hunters/gatherers.
Here are some photos of the experience:
This is a picture of the stash... the booty... the treasure... see the Carpe Deal'em deals and the proud and tired men that found them!
Steve Riser Jr. Quote following this year's adventure:
"We got so many deals we may have to change the name to carpe steal em'"
Kelly McGugan's Quote following this year's adventure:
"Deals were bought and made. Carpe' Deal Em was a success"