Monday, August 25, 2008

Springsteen concert

On Sunday morning, Dan and I drove to Kansas City to see the final performance of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band's "Magic" tour at the Sprint Center.

We stayed in a hotel just a few blocks from the arena, the Hotel Phillips. It's an old, art deco hotel.

The lobby of the Hotel Phillips

We met up with Dan's brother and his wife and walked around the Power and Light District, which is a collection of bars and restaurants right across from the arena. We had a great dinner at an Irish pub called Ragland Road, and then visited several bars and had drinks.

We had risotto and bangers and mash for dinner

We headed over to the arena around 6 p.m. for the 7:30 p.m. start of the concert because we wanted to walk around the new arena. One of the neatest things about the arena was that it had a mini Quik Trip store inside where you could buy coffee and frozen drinks at Quik Trip prices, even though there were other concession stands that were selling $3.50 Pepsis.

The Sprint Center

Our ticket

The concert was awesome, although it started almost an hour and a half late. Bruce and the Band played for three non-stop hours, so we certainly got our money's worth. Since the concert ended at midnight, I'm glad Dan and I decided to spend a little extra on a hotel room and didn't have to drive back to go to work the next day.

For a band where the average age is 50, I think they put on a great show!

Sunday, August 24, 2008


On Saturday night, we went to Jeff and Kathryn's house for a luau to celebrate their recent trip to Hawaii.

It was a theme party, so of course everyone dug out their tropical attire.

Kathryn and Lauryn

Casey and Brett

Melissa and Joe

Dan and Jeff

Melissa and me

They had quite the spread of Hawaiian food and desserts:

The blue stuff is poi

Loved this cake

The kids really got into the spirit of the party. Casey played the ukulele and Lauryn played with a Hawaiian drum.

Casey and Lauryn rocking out

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Happy Birthday Brett!

For the second time in four days, we had a birthday in the Loving household.

Brett turned nine on Monday. (We really should have spaced our kids' birthdays out better!)

He opened presents before school, and got a new Star Wars lightsaber (to be able to fight with Casey), a new football, and a game for his Nintendo DS.

Brett and his new lightsaber

Opening his football

Later in the afternoon during school, he treated his class to Batman cupcakes.

Brett and his teacher

Sharing with the class


The birthday celebration was complete with dinner at Carlos O'Kellys.

Happy birthday Brett!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Happy Birthday Casey!

Today Casey turned seven. It was a big day, with presents in the morning, cupcakes for his class at school, and tonight, dinner and the new animated Star Wars movie.

Casey is a huge Star Wars fan, so we bought him a helmet that changes his voice and a lightsaber from the new movie. He opened his presents this morning before going to school.

Casey and his new lightsaber

Opening his helmet

Modeling his presents

Later this morning, Casey got to share cupcakes with his class. Thanks to my friend Janette for going to school and taking these photos:

What a ham!


Happy Birthday Casey!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


I've been staying up late most nights watching the Olympics. I love the swimming and gymnastics so far.

I thought it was really sad that the US women's gymnastics team choked last night. I also thought it was cruel that the cameraman for NBC insisted on focusing on the gymnast whose flubs cost the team the gold medal. When she left the floor you could tell she was really fighting back the tears, but because she knew she was on TV, she wouldn't let herself break down.

These aren't professional athletes used to the spotlight like Brett Favre or Kobe Bryant. Give them a break.

First day of school

Well, today was the big day.

Brett is now a third grader and Casey is a first grader. Wow! Time really flies.

We took our traditional first day of school photos:

Casey and Brett on our front porch

These are the tiki party kids at the bus stop
Casey, Brett, Tanner, Suzanne, Josh & Carson

Getting on Miss Debbie's bus

We followed both boys out to their schools to take a few photos on their first day. Casey had a little crying jag, but they both had a great day.

Brett and his teacher

Casey settling in with his classmates

Monday, August 11, 2008

Meet the Teacher night

Tonight Brett and Casey both got to meet their teachers.

Since Casey is looping, he will have the same teacher and classmates as in kindergarten, so he already knows his teacher. For him, this was an opportunity to take his school supplies to his classroom.

By the way, you haven't lived until you've had to shop off a school supply list. It's more like a scavenger hunt.

Brett met his third grade teacher and, as usual, launched into a story. This time it was about our trip to Washington.

I can't believe summer vacation is over already. Actually with the weather the way it's been, it feels like fall is just around the corner.

Casey and his classmate Olivia

Brett holding the neat notebook his
new teacher painted for him.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Washington, DC

Last Monday, we took the boys, my brother and my parents to Washington, DC for three days. On our way to DC, we stopped at the new Smithsonian Air and Space Museum near Dulles Airport. It was really amazing. They have a prototype of one of the space shuttles and lots of smaller airplanes from several different decades.

The National Air and Space Museum
Steven Udvar-Hazy Center

One of the hangars housing multiple airplanes

Brett and Casey in front of the space shuttle

This is an observation tower you can
go up in to watch planes landing at
Dulles Airport

After leaving the Air and Space Museum, we got to our hotel. Dan found us a great hotel on Hotwire, the Hotel Palomar, a boutique hotel in Dupont Circle which is near Embassy Row. Each evening at 5 p.m., there was a free wine tasting. Woo hoo!

The Hotel Palomar

Our room. Yes, those are "fur" throws on the bed

Later the first evening, my brother watched the boys while Dan and I and my parents took a nighttime tour of the city. It was really something to see the monuments and buildings all lit up.

Union Station where our tour began

My mom and dad

The Iwo Jima memorial

The Lincoln Memorial

On Tuesday, we set out on foot to see the major monuments and Arlington National Cemetary. It was really hot and there was a lot of walking, but the boys were real troupers. Most of the time.

The boys in front of the White House

Brett and a friend

Fun with perspective at the Washington Monument

Dan and the boys at the World War II memorial

This year in second grade, Brett's class learned about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his famous "I Have a Dream" speech. Brett came home and talked about it quite a bit. So while we were in Washington, we made sure Brett got to see the Lincoln Memorial where King made that speech.

Brett at the Lincoln Memorial overlooking the
Reflecting Pool on the Mall

Brett, Casey and Uncle Abe

Most of the time we were in the city, we took the Metro to get around. The boys really liked riding the escalators into and out of the subway stations and putting their passes into the turnstiles.

Going down into the subway

Brett putting his pass into the turnstile

We took the Metro over the Arlington National Cemetary to see the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns. We were able to take a tour of the cemetary on a tram so we didn't have to walk around so much.

JFK's gravesite with the eternal flame

The guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns

Later that night, Dan, my brother and I, went to dinner at a great French restaurant, Bistrot du Coin, in Dupont Circle near our hotel. It was a traditional French bistro with a huge wine list and no pop on the menu. I'm not a big wine fan, but we had a great Chardonnay.

I ordered ravioli with mushrooms and lobster in a really rich cheese sauce. My brother and Dan both had mussels (Micheal's with pesto and Dan's in marinara sauce). Dan also ordered French onion soup, which was quite possibly the best French onion soup we've ever had.

Our first French restaurant

Dan's French onion soup

My brother ordered escargot (snails)

Dan's mussels and my ravioli in the foreground

After dinner, we walked around Dupont Circle for a little while. It's a wonderful area. Very European in feel with lots of shops and restaurants. We found a great old bar called the Brickskellar that boasted the world's largest selection of bottled beer. From the twenty page menu, I think I believe them.

The entrance to the Brickskeller

Dan and Michael enjoying a beer

On our last day in town, we got up and Dan and I went to the Newseum, a wonderful museum dedicated to the history of news gathering. It's only a year old and is a very modern building made with lots of steel and glass.

The Newseum

Each morning, the Newseum displays the front pages of 50 newspapers from around the country.

The front pages outside the front of the Newseum

Inside, we found the front page of that day's Wichita Eagle

This is the whiteboard Tim Russert used
during the 2000 presidential election

Later on, we met up with my parents and brother who had taken the boys to the Museum of Natural History. I was really bummed to discover that the Museum of American History was closed for renovations until fall. I love pop culture and was really looking forward to seeing some of the exhibits. Oh well, next trip.

The lobby of the Museum of Natural History

I had to see the Hope diamond, the largest in the world

Here's another bauble from the gem exhibit

Brett and Casey in the dinosaur exhibit

The boys with another friend

Looking at the mammal exhibit

A family photo on the steps of the museum

All in all, it was a great trip. I think we'll go back when the boys are a little older because I still think some of the history is beyond them. It's a great city and I can't wait to go back.