Dec 31, 2007

Harris Extended Family Christmas

OUR last stop on our holiday trek was Ellinwood, KS, where Shawn's grandparents, Chet and Dorothy, reside. Everyone was there with the exception of Shawn's cousin, Karen, and her husband, Chris, from Atlanta. We did the gift exchange game, which is always fun, as we're given the opportunity to steal someone's gift if we'd like. I loved my gift--the Kimble's homemade salsa, which should cost $300 a bottle. It's that good!! Shawn received a Pampered Chef fancy grilling tool, grilling recipes, and jamaican jerk rub. It was wonderful to see everyone, but we're relieved to be home relaxing until work commences on the 2nd. Happy New Year, all!

Dec 29, 2007

Hightlights from 2007

IT may not even be worth mentioning how quickly time zooms past us, before we even have a chance to stow away meaningful moments. Nonetheless, life didn't pass by too quickly for me to forget some exciting people/things/moments that happened to grace our lives. So I'll give you a quick rendition of our 2007:

January-bought our first home!
February-spent endless hours de-wallpapering/painting the rooms
March-welcomed our nephew Max into the world; adopted Marley, our Boston
April-both traveled to Seattle for business/play; Shawn turned 25
May-Mindy turned 26; ran the 2 mile Bank of America RiverRun with the Kimble's/Merrigan's (won 3rd place as a family team)
June-Mindy's sister, Erin, married Ryan Bilby
July-Celebrated our 4-year wedding anniversary (ordered pizza & watched Honey, I Shrunk the Kids); Shawn traveled to OshKosh, WI, for the Experimental Aircraft Association's annual Airventure; attended a Dunning family reunion in Wamego, KS
August-attended Modest Mouse concert in Kansas City; Mindy celebrated 2-year anniversary at Kansas Health Foundation; Mindy underwent successful LASIK surgery
September-attended a Kimble family reunion in historic Council Grove, KS (neat little town)
October-Shawn celebrated 2-year anniversary at Sullivan, Higdon, & Sink
November-Mindy went to Miami on business; drove to Champaign, IL for Thanksgiving with Mindy's family
December-traveled to Salina, Chanute, & Ellinwood for the holidays

Hope you had a swell 2007! Here's to a happy, healthy 2008!

Dec 25, 2007

Merry Christmas from the Harris family!

We went to Salina for Christmas Eve/Day, to spend quality time with Shawn's sister, Andrea, her husband, Brenden, and Shawn's parents, Harold and Kathy (H & K). Normally H & K host, but they are gutting their kitchen and living room. It's going to look so great when it's done!

While in Salina we ate at Bogey's, went to Lowe's and Target, ate yummy food, and played a card game (canasta) (well, I read magazines). The guys also played Brenden's new XBox games.

Two more stops on our holiday journey--Chanute and Ellinwood. More pics to follow as I have time! 

Dec 19, 2007

Ladies Night In

I was privileged to have some girlfriends over Saturday night. We snacked, shared, prayed, laughed, listened to music, and opened gifts (I gave each of them a framed photo of their child(ren), which are also included in the slide show). It was a blessing to have them all to myself, and I love hostessing!

Dec 10, 2007

Amidst the Drizzle

AMIDST the drizzly, cold weather of the weekend, we managed to eat at Granite City for a long overdue "hot date," shop for Christmas gifts, visit with friends for game night, attend church, grocery shop, have steak & taters with friends, and watch Spiderman III. Our photo uploader had a glitch, so I lost most of the pictures. Hence, I've posted pictures of our Christmas tree and decor!

Dec 3, 2007

Marley's First Play Date!

Yes, we're a little obsessed! Our friends Liz & Derek came over for pizza, a movie, brownies/ice cream, AND for a play date just for their female puggle, Buckley, and our boston, Marley, this Saturday. We talked about their diets, laziness, pottytraining, tricks, sweaters, illnesses, etc. The dogs got along well, and even fancied each other a bit (Marley may be neutered but he's no dummy). We plan to do it again, except Buckley will be "hosting" next time. Thanks for bearing with us as we fuel our canine obsessions!

Nov 27, 2007

Thanksgiving 2007

WE were fortunate to spend Thanksgiving with both the Dunning and Harris families. The weekend prior to Thanksgiving, Harold, Kathy, Andrea, & Brenden came to our house for yummy food & hangout time. I've posted pictures from that weekend.
Also posted are photos from our trip to Megan and Stephen's home in Champaign, IL. My parents tagged along for the lengthy car ride. They kept Shawn entertained while I slept, as I was fighting a sore throat. While in Champaign, we ate delicious food, went shopping, toured the University of Illinois campus, played with our darling nephew, Max, and relaxed. I even had time to finish reading Patty Jane's House of Curl by Lorna Landvik. I know it's been a rewarding holiday when I have time to read a novel!
Hope you all had special moments with your loved ones this holiday. We have so much for which to be grateful!

Nov 18, 2007

Bienvenito a Miami

Ah, the joy of all-expense paid trips!
I was given the opportunity to travel to South Beach, Miami, Florida, for a business trip last week. Shawn was unable to attend due to work obligations, so I made the trek to the lower east coast all by myself (coworkers attended, but we traveled separately)!! I LOVE seeing new places and people, and Miami was definitely an eye-opener! I attended sessions to improve my skills in utilizing our grant-making database, but also had time for the beach, shopping, and visiting friends in West Palm Beach. I was grateful for the time away and the seemingly royal commodities (um, you don't need to turn back my bedsheets, but thank you for asking, and thanks for the mints & flower?), but was very delighted to be back home with "my boys", Shawn and Marley. It's a different feeling in Miami--not the wholesome goodness I'm proud to know in Kansas.
Public beach behind the hotel

Poolside at Loews Miami Beach Hotel

At the client appreciation party

Nov 4, 2007

Halloween 2007

WE may never tire of dressing up and going out for Halloween. There's something so liberating about masquerading as something we're not--being someone or something else for a few hours. We represented the ethereal by dressing up as a gnome and a faerie. We saw lots of pirates, superheroes, Sponge Bob & Patrick, flapper girls, etc. Shawn won second place (and $25!) at work for his costume. On a side note, anyone have a yard gnome sitting in your garage that you don't want anymore?? My grandparents had one, and it weathered many years of Kansas climate. I was so sad when he at last crumbled. He was a cute little guy. I wonder what all he saw in his life--on the street before him, sky above him, home beside him?
Not sure who these peeps are but they smiled for us anyway!
Sponge Bob & Patrick posed for us. I told them that's how they'd be spending their entire evening..

Oct 22, 2007

I'm a MOMIX fan!

ONE of the perks to working at KHF is that we get free tickets to the symphony or ballet on occasion. This Saturday, tickets to Ballet Wichita (hosting MOMIX) were up for grabs, and I got them! I was quick to email Shawn to let him know I was taking him out on a date, and he wasn't too enthused that it included the ballet. Then I explained the MOMIX company has certain Cirque de Soleil elements, and he expressed more interest!

Here is a link to the MOMIX website:

Below is aYouTube link to one of the dances:

I WAS absolutely sold, utterly smitten, and completely captivated by the beauty, strength, and grace the dancers displayed. I thought of what fascinating lives they must live, traveling nationally and abroad, awing audiences with the steadfast obedience manifested through their bodies. Every muscle, every inhalation and exhalation, showed. They danced with balls that looked like planets, hula hoops that never once brushed the floor. What an encouragement to see the capacities and talents of the human form.

If MOMIX ever comes to your city, GO! If not, why don't you dance in the kitchen, or outside amidst the quickly falling leaves?

Oct 15, 2007

Babies, Barbies & Bolivar

Our friends Becca & Joel had their sweet baby girl, Sela Ann, on Thursday night, and we visited the birthing center on Friday to cuddle her! She is such a beautiful baby—her features so small and pixie-like. They are going to be wonderful parents-I envision lots of laughs, learning, & song in their household.

My eldest sister Megan and her hubbie, Stephen, attended a wedding on Saturday, and thus needed someone to watch baby Max. So, newlyweds Erin and Ryan offered, since they were the closest, & Shawn and I, plus my parents, all of us searching for an excuse to dote on the nephew/grandbaby, joined them in Bolivar. Max makes parenting seem doable (and fun!) as he is so laid-back & cheerful. He also has 4-teeth incoming & enjoyed chewing Uncle Shawn's car keys. We took him to the park to feed the duckies, went for frozen custard, snapped hundreds of photos. He was such a good sport!

Erin piled a bunch of old suitcases next to her bed and plopped a lamp on top. Makes for an unusual (& totally awesome) nightstand. Upon discovering one of the suitcases contained Barbies, I had to bring them out for old-times' sake!

The trip home offered torrential rains, which may have spurred an idea for our Halloween costumes…Shawn a meteorologist and me a thunderstorm?

Here are some fun photos from the weekend:

Oct 1, 2007

Salina "Photo Shoot"

IT HAD been awhile since Shawn and I visited his sister, Andrea, and her hubbie, Brenden, in Salina. Aside from the delightful company, we always enjoy good food & relaxation. This weekend we ventured their way for a weekend of scrapbooking (the girls) and video games (the guys). Harold and Kathy joined us later in the weekend for a novice's photo op, in the hopes of birthing the perfect family portrait for Christmas cards. Their backyard was a prime location on that nearly-Fall day. Enjoy!

The End

Sep 28, 2007

Marley--A Pet Profile

Breed: Boston Terrier
Sex: Male
Age: 3 years 6 months old (25 dog years):
Adopted from Mid-America Boston Terrier Rescue: March 25, 2007
Hometown: was Ft. Smith, AR, now it's Wichita!

Nicknames: Marls Barkley, Marlboro man, Marsupial

About Me: I am a dog. Not just any dog, a man's dog. That man is awesome - he feeds me twice a day and slips me human food all the time. I am a tad overweight because of him and I love it. If I see you out in public don't be offended if I smell your behind--it means I like you.

Activities: Eating, sleeping, trying to figure out new ways to lay on laps, watching Conan, eating peanut butter, tooting, sitting on the back porch and eating q-tips.

Favorite Toys: Mid-century antique furniture

Favorite Food: Purina Pro Plan for sensitive stomachs - yeah it's boring but I'm a dog and it's all I know so I love it.

Favorite Treats: Meat treats dog biscuits; they make me obscenely gassy but I can't stop eating them.

Favorite places: Futon, rug by back door, & behind the couch where I have my way with pillows and blankets.

Tricks: Sit. That's all.

(profile written by Shawn & modified by Mindy)

Quotes as Fuel for a Triumphant Day

I ran across the following quote in Oprah magazine (hey, don’t jeer; it’s a good magazine!) a few months ago, and feel it’s too good not to pass along:

“…see how the flesh grows back
across a wound, with a great vehemence,
more strong
than the simple, untested surface before.
There’s a name for it on horses,
when it comes back darker and raised; proud flesh,
as all flesh
is proud of its wounds, wears them
as honors given out after battle,
small triumphs pinned to the chest—“

~Jane Hirshfield, from For What Binds Us

I tend to get carried away with great quotes-they clutter my cubicle much like the mail conquers our dining room table. But having the messiest office is worth it. These tidbits of wisdom, thought up by some ordinary and extraordinary people, can be my fuel for a triumphant work day.

So here’s one more quote—a tasty bit of encouragement my forever friend sent me. It’s the last one. I promise!

“When a lot of things start going wrong all at once, it is to protect something big and lovely that is trying to get itself born…this something needs for you to be distracted so that it can be born as perfectly as possible.”
~Anne Lamott

Sep 18, 2007

Sister's Weekend 2007

The second annual Dunning Sisters Weekend occurred this last weekend in Bolivar, MO, where my baby sister, Erin, and her newly wed hubbie, Ryan, live and attend school. My drive was about 41/2 hours; Megan's-almost 7. Saturday we ventured to Branson, MO, to visit our all-time favorite theme park, Silver Dollar City! We shopped, got old time photos, went to the saloon show, and rode rides (well, I didn't-I was the purse guard). Sunday we slept in then went antiquing. I even found a starburst clock for $8! Yes, it works! I've left out lots of details but I at least wanted to get photos up and share my excitement over getting to spend time with two of the most important people in my life, & my BEST FRIENDS!

Sep 11, 2007

Small towns

Chanute, KS, is home to over 9,000 people and is also the town I lived in my whole life (until '00). Going back to visit is hard, because it seems like the town is always changing, and I'm noticing the "not so good" things about it. Then I wonder, "has this town always been like this, and I'm just now noticing?" Probably. When I was younger, I was oblivious to the economic hardships, familial dysfunction, substance abuse, etc. Now it seems to be so darn evident. But, like any town, Chanute possesses both wonderful and sorrowful qualities. I'm so lucky to have experienced all the wonderful things.

This weekend Shawn and I though we'd take our "child", Marley, along for a nice Sunday get-away to good 'ole Chanutey. The drive was pleasant, the fields lush from the recent floods (that happened to occur on Erin/Ryan's wedding day!) and the watchful sun bright in the sky. There were even fields of sunflowers bowing to the sun. I always try to find just one who is, perhaps, rebelious and turned in another direction, but I haven't been successful yet.

We arrived at my parents and enjoyed brisket, taters--the works. Then we went to a flea market, where we hit the jackpot, so they say. I forgot that MOST THINGS IN A SMALL TOWN ARE CHEAPER than in the "big city." We bought an awesome chair for $5. It was originally marked $20, but the salesman knocked the price down. We were elated! It needs reupholstered; once done, it will be groovy. My dad explained that the man likely wanted to be rid of it as it would cost more to ship it off to the dump than to sell it to us city slickers.

Ok, I guess that's it for now. Enjoy the pics below of our flea market steals.
Here's the chair:
And here is the cheesy floral painting in our living room:

And here's a picture of us at Council Grove, KS, for Labor Day weekend:

And one last pic of my new 'do:

Aug 29, 2007

House Projects

We've lived in our new house since January and have many a house project left to accomplish. Current project: painting our bedroom.

The walls had several layers of wallpaper that we removed several months ago. So we've been living in a room with bare walls covered in spackle.

That's Marley, our Boston, taking a nap. Notice we've come as far as getting the walls primed. Shawn plans to paint the ceiling tonight, then it's off to Home Depot for paint colors!

Oh, and in case you were wondering what the outside of our house looks like, here ya go: