Monday, May 27, 2024

The Mavericks in Kansas City and a Relaxing Weekend

The Mavericks at Knuckleheads
The Mavericks
This past weekend, Carrie and I took a long weekend trip to Kansas City to see The Mavericks perform. It was actually our second time seeing them in KC – they put on such a great show, and we already have plans to go again next year!

This time around, we met up with my brother Tim and cousin Tom for the concert. It was Tim's first time seeing The Mavericks, and we had a blast right up front – we were only about four or five people from the stage!

Tom, Tim, and John at The Mavericks
Tom, Tim, and John at The Mavericks

Opening Act at The Mavericks
Opening Act at The Mavericks

Raul Malo of The Mavericks
Raul Malo of The Mavericks

Group Photo at The Mavericks
Group Photo at The Mavericks

Selfie of Carrie and John at The Mavericks
Selfie at The Mavericks

Oliver in the Hotel Room with his Toys
Oliver in Hotel Room
Oliver enjoys hotel life

We brought our dog Oliver along with us. He actually loves staying in hotels! He enjoys relaxing in the room while we're out, but his favorite part is definitely the walks he gets throughout the day. It's hilarious to see him prance down the hallway, knowing exactly how to get in the elevator, and thinking every door we pass is "our room."

Exploring Kansas City

We arrived in Kansas City on Thursday afternoon and checked into our hotel, the Intercontinental on the Plaza. This hotel is dog-friendly, and they haven't charged us a pet fee either time we've brought Oliver.

Pancakes at The Classic Cup Cafe
Pancakes at The Classic Cup
Friday morning, we slept in and then headed to The Plaza for a late breakfast at The Classic Cup Cafe. They have a great patio, perfect for people-watching with Oliver. The pancakes were fantastic, and Carrie loved her breakfast sandwich – the homemade fries were a hit too!

After breakfast, we wandered around the shops before heading back to the hotel for a relaxing afternoon of reading, snoozing, and hanging out with Oliver.

Oliver at Breakfast
Oliver at Breakfast

Walking Oliver Late at Night
Walking Oliver Late at Night

Drinks, dinner, and good company

That evening, we met up with Erin and Greg for drinks at Chaz Restaurant and Lounge before heading to our dinner reservation at McCormick & Schmick's (always a delicious choice!). We finished the night with drinks in the bar area of our hotel.

Us on The Plaza
Us on The Plaza
Relaxing Saturday and back home

Saturday was another slow start. We grabbed coffee at Summer Moon Coffee before heading to meet Erin and Greg for lunch in Lawrence, instead of Kansas City. We dropped Oliver off at my mom's place before lunch and then spent most of the afternoon catching up with her before heading back to Topeka.

It was a fantastic weekend filled with great music, seeing family, delicious food and drinks, and beautiful weather. We made some wonderful memories, and we hope you had a great long weekend as well!

Honoring Our Fallen Heroes on Memorial Day

American Flag on Memorial Day

This Memorial Day, as I watched the National Memorial Day Concert on PBS, I was reminded of the true meaning of the holiday. The beautiful music and powerful stories paid tribute to the sacrifices made by those who died serving our country.

Tears welled up as I listened to families recount the lives and service of their sons and daughters who gave their all in combat. Their bravery and dedication ensure the freedoms we cherish today – the freedom to live our lives as we choose.

On this day of remembrance, I am deeply grateful for all those who came before us, who devoted their lives to protecting the United States from threats both foreign and domestic.

May we never forget their sacrifice.

Sunday, May 19, 2024

Royals Win on a Beautiful Friday Night!

Royals Game on May 17, 2024 Against the A's
Royals Game on May 17

Another Great Night at the Ballpark

This past Friday night, I headed to my second Royals game of the season with Greg, Eddie, and Chris. It was a beautiful evening, and the best part? The Royals pulled off a win against the A's!

We arrived early to enjoy some pre-game tailgating. It had been a while since I'd been able to do that, and it was a great way to kick things off. Greg whipped up some hot dogs, Eddie brought the beers, and Chris supplied the peanuts. All I had to do was show up and enjoy the delicious food and drinks!

Greg and John in our Seats
Greg and me in our Seats

Greg got our seats and parking permit and then we all paid him back. I thought I got a picture of Eddie, Chris, and me, but I was using the BallPark app and apparently it did not post or did not take, so I have the picture to the right of Greg and me at the game. 

Royals Perfect When I Attend (So Far!)

While I wasn't able to find a picture of everyone together (seems the BallPark app failed me this time!), I did snag one of Greg and me at the game. Interestingly, the BallPark app tracks your attendance and win/loss record for the games you go to. With two games under my belt this season, the Royals are undefeated when I'm in the stands! (Just sayin') 

Stats from BallPark App for Stadiums and Teams
Stats from BallPark App

BallPark App Fun Facts

For anyone who's been using the BallPark app for a while, like me, checking your team stats can be a fun way to relive past games. To find yours, just tap your initials in the top left corner. My profile shows I've checked in to 33 games, seen 16 different teams, and visited 3 ballparks.

The app even tells me my earliest recorded game was on June 8th, 2013 (guessing the app launched around then?). Most of my Royals game attendance came in the magical 2014 season, where I saw 10 games throughout the regular and post-season. What a ride that was! And of course, who can forget the back-to-back World Series appearances in 2014 and 2015? Carrie and I were lucky enough to attend game one of the 2015 Series – an experience I'll never forget.

Royals Win!!!!
Royals Win!!!!

Here's to More Games and Ballpark Memories!

I'm looking forward to catching more Royals games this season and adding to my BallPark app stats. Maybe I'll even visit some new ballparks in the coming years! (Though I've definitely been to more than three, some pre-date the app's existence). Those attendance records are a fun way to see how my teams perform when I cheer them on in person.

Until next time, have a great week and Go Royals!

Sunday, May 12, 2024

Happy Mother's Day to All the Moms Out There, Especially Mine!

Tongue Out and Sleeping
Tongue Out and Sleeping

Every year on the second Sunday of May, we celebrate Mother's Day, a day dedicated to honoring the incredible women who raised us, nurtured us, and loved us unconditionally. But where did this tradition even begin?

The origins of Mother's Day can be traced back to ancient civilizations who celebrated fertility and motherhood. In the modern era, credit for the holiday goes to Anna Jarvis of West Virginia. After her mother passed away in 1905, Anna campaigned tirelessly to create a special day to recognize the sacrifices and contributions of mothers. It wasn't until 1914 that President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation making Mother's Day an official national holiday in the United States.

Why is Mother's Day so important? Mothers are the cornerstones of our families. They are the ones who bandage scraped knees, celebrate our victories, and offer a shoulder to cry on during our defeats. They are our biggest cheerleaders, our confidantes, and our guiding lights.

This Mother's Day, I want to take a moment to express my deepest gratitude to three amazing women: 

Carrie (Wife and Mom to Oliver), you take good care of Oliver and me. Oliver wanted to wish you a Happy Mother's Day which he did with kisses first thing this morning when he saw you wake up. Oliver cannot wait to snuggle on the sofa with you to celebrate.

Mom (Nancy), thank you for your unwavering love and support throughout my life. You taught me the importance of hard work, kindness, and resilience. Your endless patience and guidance have shaped me into the person I am today. Of course Oliver had to be part of the day to help celebrate.

Joan, Happy Mother's Day! Your warmth and thoughtfulness aren't reserved for holidays – your delicious cooking and special gifts are a constant reminder of your love and support. Thank you.

To all the moms out there, Happy Mother's Day! May your day be filled with love, laughter, and appreciation. You are all truly heroes.

Saturday, May 04, 2024

Celebrating Javier's Journey to Citizenship

Javier in 2009 Riding in Limo After Being Out of Country
Javier in 2009
Our friend Javier recently achieved a major milestone – becoming a United States citizen! We've known Javier since his days attending Washburn University to get his MBA and then after he graduated with his MBA, he got a jot at Frito Lay. Back in 2009, we even went the extra mile to help him out with his house and finances while he was back in Costa Rica, ensuring things ran smoothly as he completed the process to work legally in the US.

Javier in 2024 on Way to Become a United States Citizen
Javier in 2024

Fast forward to April 27th, 2024, and the big day for Javier's citizenship ceremony finally arrived. He let us know on Thursday, and we surprised him with a trip down to Dallas, Texas to celebrate. But we weren't the only ones with a surprise up their sleeve – our friend Corrie from Houston also made the trip to celebrate with Javier! We managed to keep it a secret, making the reunion even more special.

Group of Friends with Javier to Celebrate
Group of Friends to Celebrate

Javier got us a limo to take to the ceremony that then dropped us off at Rodeo Goat for a late lunch. With Corrie coming in Saturday morning and it being a surprise for Javier, we had to ask that the limo pick Carrie and I up at the hotel which was really so Corrie could ride in the limo too. Carrie, Corrie, Jess, Brock, and Kim all went to the ceremony to celebrate Javier becoming a citizen. We all had to remain outside as the event space was small and one hundred people at a time become citizens, so there is not a lot of room available within the swearing in location. We all stayed outside of the main doors and cheered when Javier, and others, came out after becoming citizens.

Javier and John Selfie
Javier and John Selfie

I am excited for Javier to have this completed. He can now vote in the United States elections. He is able to know that his retirement will go to him and not be seized by the government through future changes. He also keeps his residency to Costa Rica which is still in our plans to some day retire to Costa Rica, so I am glad that he keeps his residency to his home country. 

Javier, Hat, and Limo
Javier, Hat, and Limo

It was an incredible experience to witness hundreds of people from all backgrounds taking this important step. The excitement was contagious as they exited the ceremony, waving American flags and met with chants of "USA! USA!"

Congrats Javier on becoming a citizen of the United States.