Friday, November 28, 2008


We drove to Kansas City on Wednesday night to spend Thanksgiving with Dan's family. It was a quick trip up and back since Dan had to work on Friday.

This year, we decided to eat at a restaurant instead of having his parents cook, since Dan's dad recently had back surgery. Dan's brother made us reservations at a new restaurant and it was great.

The Sawmill restaurant.

There was quite a buffet.

The buffet was great. They had anything you could want for Thanksgiving, even some things I didn't expect like waldorff salad, noodle cassarole (a nod to our Jewish relatives), and sweet potatoes with homemade marshmallows. It was all delicious.

Casey and me.

Brett and Dan.

Our niece Lily and Casey.

Casey enjoying dessert.

The Loving cousins
Sophie, Lily, Brett, Casey and Maggie

After dinner, Nana Harla had all the grandkids help her put together a gingerbread house. She's very brave! :)

Sophie, Brett and Nana Harla.

Casey and Maggie decorating a cookie.

Lily with her cookie.

We left Kansas City at about nine to drive back to Wichita. It was a long day, but lots of fun. As you can see, it really wore out Casey and Wanda!

Casey and Wanda on the drive back.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Gingerbread Junction

On Sunday, Casey and I went to Gingerbread Junction, a fundraiser for the Assistance League, where you get to make your own gingerbread house. Brett is still a little under the weather, so he stayed home with Dan. We went with Kathryn and Lauryn, who also joined us last year.

This is the second year we've gone and it seemed a little easier to make the houses. This year they had much better "glue."

I love looking at the professional houses people make for charity. It's amazing what some people can do with icing!

I'd call this a gingerbread manor, not a house!

This had an ice theme.

This barn was cute.

When we got there, we ran into Denise and her daughter, Lexie, and her mother-in-law, so we all sat together. It seems like the kids' favorite part was taste-testing all the decorations.

Lauryn loved the icing.

Casey working on his house.

Kathryn and Lauryn.

Denise and Lexie.

Casey and his house.

Lexi demonstrates the best way to clean
your hands after decorating your house.

Casey and me.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Blog tag

This is a blog tag game that is making the rounds. Here are the rules of the game:

  • Link to the person who tagged you. I've been tagged by Tess.
  • Post the rules on your blog.
  • Write 6 random things about yourself.
  • Tag 6-ish people at the end of your post.
  • Let each person know he/she has been tagged.
  • Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

Here are six random facts about me:

1) I am a first-generation Italian-American. My father jumped ship when he was with the Italian navy and met my mom in New Jersey when he styled her hair in a beauty salon.

2) My full maiden name is Maria Divina Bacchini.

3) When I was in ninth grade, I had surgery to supposedly cure my mild case of scoliosis. They took off a piece of my right hip in order to better align my hips. I spent two months in a body cast that went from my hips down to my knees. Needless to say, I was tutored at home and still managed to keep up with my class. I don't know if it really helped, but now I have a great scar to remind me of the whole ordeal.

4) I graduated from Rutgers University and am an alumni along with Calista Flockhart, Sex and the City's Kristen Davis and Merrill Teller, the meterologist from Channel 12.

5) I am a complete news junkie. A great evening is watching live coverage of a breaking news event on CNN.

6) Two years ago, I dressed up for Halloween for the first time since I was 10. I was Marilyn Monroe for a theme party. This year I went as Sarah Palin.

I tag:

Julie S.
Amy W.
Amy M.
Jenny N.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Stomach bug

In the past two days, both Brett and Casey have had a stomach bug. Casey stayed home Monday and went back to school today. Then Brett got sick early this morning, so now he's home.

I feel like I'm on a merry-go-round that's not so merry!

Birthday party

Casey went to a really fun birthday party this weekend for his friend Nate.

It was a karate party and the kids had a blast. I've always said that someone could really clean up if they could come up with some new ideas for birthday parties.

We met in a gym and the instructor first had the kids to exercises to warm up.

Casey stretching.

Then he taught the kids some karate moves--kicks and punches. They even got to try nunchuks.

Casey practicing his block.

Casey's kick.

Twirling the nunchuks.

Then the kids each got to do something cool--break a board just like in a real karate class. The boards were small so it didn't take much to break them, but the kids loved it.

Casey breaking his board.

Casey's board.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

And the winner is...

Woo hoo!

Democracy in action

Today Brett's class got to vote in the presidential election. Not really, but their school did have a mock election.

Unfortunately, out of Brett's class of 24, 20 voted for McCain and only 4 voted for Obama. Brett made sure to tell me he voted for Obama. That's our boy! :)

Checking in to be sure his name is on the rolls.

Pondering his choice in the booth.

Class photo.
I love the hats!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Third grade program

Tonight Brett's class participated in a program that used singing to teach kids about respect. They all did a great job and it always amazes me how the music teachers are able to teach the kids several songs in such a short amount of time.

I've posted a video of Brett signing and dancing with his class.

Brett and his class.

More singing.

Preparing to dance.

Taking a bow.

Brett and his friend Logan.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Road trip

We loaded the boys in the car on Saturday morning and took off for Springfield, Missouri for the Barack Obama rally.

Springfield holds special fondness for Dan because he went to college there at Missouri State University (formerly Southwest Missouri State). Any excuse he has to go back is welcome.

Since I've been consumed by the presidential election, I thought it would be really great to get to hear Barack speak. The rally was held at a high school football stadium. The doors were to open at 6 p.m. and Barack was to speak at 9 p.m.

We got into town at 2 p.m. and ate a late lunch and checked into our hotel room. We went to the stadium at 4 p.m. and got in line. By that point there was at least 1,000-2,000 people in line. At the end of the night, they estimated the crowd at 40,000 and the line stretched for miles.

The boys did remarkably well with the long wait. Thank God for their Nintendo DS games!

Luckily the weather was awesome--much like Halloween night here in Wichita.

Here was the line at one point.

Casey checking out the long line.

Almost four hours after getting in line, we finally got to the parking lot of the stadium. To say there was security is an understatement. No bags were allowed in, and everyone had to turn on their cameras and cell phones to prove they were real.

The line at one of many metal detectors.

Once inside the stadium, we made the strategic decision to go down onto the field instead of sitting in the bleachers. We actually got as close as 8-10 rows from the stage, which proved to be a great vantage point.

The crowd waiting for the show to begin.

First we were treated to the Democratic line-up for this year's election. Those running for governor and other offices in Missouri got to make their pitches for Obama (and themselves).

At around 9:30 p.m. a roar went through the crowd--apparently the motorcade had arrived.

First up was Michelle Obama who introduced her husband.

Michelle speaks to the crowd.

Then Barack took the stage. He spoke for about an hour and really got the crowd fired up. When he walked onto the stage, Dan and I held Brett and Casey up so they could see him. They've been learning about the election in school and we told them this would be a speech they would remember for a long time.

A photo from the local paper.

Brett waiting to see Barack.

I managed to get quite a few good photos even from where we were standing in the massive crowd.

Barack making his case.

I liked this photo with all the signs.
Barack is in the middle of the photo.

Another photo from the local newspaper.

We left the rally at about 11:30 p.m. after spending a considerable amount of time trying to get out of the stadium. It was a really memorable night.

On Sunday, we got up and went to Bass Pro Shop, an outdoor store in Springfield that draws visitors from all over the country. It's a must for us when we visit Springfield.

Bass Pro Shop.

Casey and a stuffed friend.

Dan and the boys looking at a display of live turtles.

The boys and a bear.

We then went to visit one of Dan's high school friends who is a drug enforcement agent. We watched most of the Chiefs game and had chili. When we got ready to leave, he let the boys look at some of his work gear. They got a real kick out of that.

Casey modeling a bulletproof vest.

Brett modeling the full get-up
complete with battering ram.