A Gal Getaway

I have read countless articles about the importance of friendships as you get older. I find now that I am settled in my career and have a family, it can be a lot harder to find time to cultivate those friendships. Between my job and family, my spare time is pretty rare. Plus being an introvert, I need my own downtime which I am pretty selfish about. I wrote about it here why this very thing is so darn difficult.

Even more so when your best friends do not live near you, which is the case for me.

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This is one of my all time favorite pictures of the three of us, circa 2006.

So in an effort to try to be better at being intentional about my own personal relationships, I reached out to two of my favorite people on Earth and suggested that we make a plan to get together for a weekend every year, just us. One for sure weekend out of 52 sounds manageable right?

Jeannette and Annette both live in KC, and it use to be easy to visit them when I went home to my parents. However, we hardly ever stay in KC for more than one night anymore because George is the worst travel companion, and we only live 2 hours away. This makes it more difficult to squeeze in time with them though since my time is already split between grandparents and parents.

Enter Ladies’ Weekend.

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We all have significant others, and two of us have kids, but this weekend we left all of them to their own devices. We were just the three of us again like most of our college days.

We hung out, stayed up way past my bedtime (but I didn’t fall asleep on the couch-which is a win), ate way too much food, and did some touristy things in KC that we had not done before. We played Heads Up for hours, and I haven’t laughed like that in a long time. We acted like kids while playing arcade basketball games, but also were full on adult when we made ourselves a fancy breakfast from scratch.

Our weekend revolved a lot around basketball. The NCAA tournament was winding down, so we watched a lot of great games. We also toured the College Basketball Experience, which is in downtown Kansas City. This was so much fun! I definitely want to go again but with my dad, who actually played basketball in college. He is also the reason I got into the sport in elementary school, and proceeded to cheer/coach me until high school.

There were shooting games (free-throw, three point, and dunking at various heights), a passing game (this was my favorite), and a video game similar to guitar hero but you were judged on your dribbling skills. There were several courts as well where pick up games were happening with elementary school kids up to adults. We didn’t get any video of our game playing. I learned that I cannot do a free throw pregnant, but I can still slam it down on pop a shot.

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They also have lots of interactive areas where you can compare yourself to college players. There is also several areas that were museum like with hall of fame information and a lot about coaches in the NCAA.

Our wingspan was not up to par with the collegiate player.

As someone who grew up watching college basketball with my dad and where pick up games were one of our favorite past-times as kids, this place was really awesome.

I hope that they continue to develop this experience and add more about the female aspect of the game. There were no displays on women’s basketball. It was still cool, but I think there is a lot of potential there to hit another audience.

We may have to go again once George is older because he is obsessed.

🏀🏀Basketball 🏀🏀

A post shared by Emily Whitener Roberts (@emilywhitenerroberts) on

We also rode the street car, which was a first for all of us. Public transport is not the greatest in KC, so it was nice to see they are making an effort. We also went through the City Market, which is always a highlight for me. We walked around Crown Center leisurely, and we all satisfied our taste buds with chocolate or my personal hometown favorite of Topsy’s popcorn.

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We attempted to eat in the Jazz district, but it just wasn’t in the cards for us that night. Apparently things close down or we weren’t wearing the correct “upscale” attire to even enter in. We ended up at a dive bar claiming to have the best burgers in KC. They were good, but “best” was debatable.

As a mom, I do not get much time with friends period, but definitely get very limited time without a kid in tow. So this was so nice to just be with Annette and Jeannette without our kids or significant others. Even though we probably talked about them for most of the weekend.

I think as a mom, things like this have to be a priority at times. Some may think it as selfish as a parent to want that time away but I think our bodies/souls need it mentally and physically at times so we can be the best spouse/parent/friend that we can be. It was nice to invest quality time into these relationships, but it was also nice to be away from home for a little while.

I don’t see it as running away from my responsibilities, but as a way for me to make sure my responsibilities don’t run over me.

I also appreciate a partner who also saw the value in me spending time with my ladies, and happily had a boys’ weekend with George so I could get away. Tom knows that I don’t get a lot of me time and encouraged me to go especially since our world is going to get a little more hectic here with DC’s arrival soon. (He also cleaned the house before I got home too. He’s a keeper!)

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So the first year was a giant success. I already can’t wait to see what will be in the works in the years to come.

How do you make your friendships a priority? Do you have friends only trips?

Holiday Stats

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Glinn Photography

We just resurfaced in Ft. Campbell after 2 weeks on the road. We don’t even know what to do with ourselves.

Here is a recap on how the past two weeks of our travel went.

Basics

  • 14 days living out of a suitcase (or two)
  • 1 state (Missouri) 2 cities (Kansas City and Jefferson City)
  • 2 Christmas celebrations in JC
  • 3 Christmas celebrations in KC
  • Drove through the town where our undergrad is and revisited old stomping grounds
  • Rang in 2014
  • 4 family birthdays
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We surprised my father-in-law with a 60th birthday party.

The Dogs

  • Crosby got a new nickname of Hammerhead, to go along with his others of Crosbastic and Crosbilicious.
  • Neither dog pooped in the house while we were away. Success.
  • Grace lived up to her name of the Food Ninja by stealing food off the counters.
  • We saw Crosby in the snow for the first time (with us anyway). He is not a fan. Grace however, thinks snow is candy coming from the sky.
  • Crosby demolished a Kong toy in the amount of time it took us to open up Christmas presents.
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The unlucky Kong and Crosby.

For Funs

  • We both got to visit with old friends with typical best friend behavior
    • My two best gal pals and I downed Chili’s molten chocolate cake under a couple minutes. As our families watched in awe (or horror) at three grown women fighting over cake and ice cream.
    • Tom played hours of video games with his bestie.
  • I went to my first Christmas Eve service that I can remember. Our family lit the advent candles for the service.
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My in-laws at Christmas Eve service.

  • Tom managed to work out every day. He scared a lot of people in the gym with his ranger panties.
  • On a date with my sister in law, I revisited the winery where we had our wedding anniversary.
  • I read 2 books and watched one documentary.
  • The Homemade Christmas items seemed to go over well. More to come on all the crafting that occurred gearing up for the gift exchange!
  • I got to officially meet the Climes whose son inspired me to run my last half. They are too sweet, except the boys let me die in a nerf arrow fight.
  • We watched Clemson and Mizzou win their respective bowl games. It is always a good day to be a Tiger!
  • We gave my parents a Royals neon. So awesome!

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    My father-in-law works for Budweiser so sometimes we come across gems like these!
    We were so excited to give this to them!

  • Unfortunately, the Chiefs lost by one point in their playoff game. It was a great year for them though!
  • We only got up before 9am one time. Tomorrow’s 5am alarm is going to be brutal.
  • I got my brother hooked on the show Castle.
  • On both the way to Missouri and the way out, we had to stop in the first 30 minutes to search for an open auto parts store in the middle of no where because Tom’s Jeep was acting up.
  • My dad bought our 3 year old niece a drum set. Bahaha! My poor brother.
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Oh grandparents.

  • Tom got a new gun for his birthday.
  • We saw snow, ice, rain, sunshine, and temperatures ranging from 4 degrees to 65 degrees.
  • We told our niece Ava about the Hamburgler, and she went on to talk about the hamburger stealer bad man for the rest of the day. Whoops.
  • The most played song for us was Miley Cyrus “Wrecking Ball.”
  • I took about 1,000 photos, but there are less than 10 that I am actually in. Most of them were the family photos we took.
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My in-laws

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One of the Christmases with my mom, brother and his daughter

We had a great time at home. And we can’t wait for the days when we don’t have to travel so far to have family time.

I hope you all had a great holiday season. Here’s to making new memories in 2014!

To be Glinn Again

We all have those people that we can be with that make it seem like you go back in time or you just start right where you left off even if it has been years since you have seen each other.

Fortunately, the timing could not have been more perfect for me to have that exact experience. Last weekend, was the Disney Princess Half Marathon in Orlando. I was able to run with two good friends from grad school who I have not seen in a long time. As soon as I got in the car from the airport, I became Glinn again. It was like my identity had rolled back to a simpler time when I was known by my last name, my maiden name. (I went byGlinn for years through sports and having a common first name. Bless being born as an 80’s baby.)

I felt at home, tending my roots per say. Not that I don’t feel at home in Iowa; I love my life here. But this trip was a needed distraction from my daily life as a Whitener. As a Whitener, there was a constant feeling that part of my life wasn’t complete and I was just waiting. Always waiting.

You see, my husband was scheduled to come back last week. Yes return from deployment, come back. So you can imagine that I needed a distraction from the fact that I had less than a week before being reunited with the hubs after 6 months. And then Iowa decided to have a freakout with snow, so needless to say I did not need to be holed up in my apartment counting the seconds or snowflakes coming down before I could see that plane come in.

To be known by my last name for most of my life made me have a little identity crises when I first got married. Who was this Whitener person? It has taken me nearly 2 years to not flinch when I say my name because for second I forgot who I was. The other day, I still responded with Glinn as my last name-whoops. I have made myself look like an idiot on more than one occasion because I can’t remember who I am, and I fumble over my name. It’s like you have amnesia every time you have to introduce yourself.

So it was really nice to fall back to Glinn for a weekend. Although, I did freak out my girlfriends when I had to use my Whitener name at registration.

Glinn had given me a foundation. I grew up Glinn, and I will never lose it. My Glinn clumsy gene doesn’t let me soon forget. But sometimes it is nice to bring the Glinn side to the forefront just a little more.

It was so nice to visit with old friends and be able to share the memory of doing a Disney race together. When I signed up for the race in August, I knew it would be fun to get away from the Iowa winter and be with my gal pals. But I had no idea that the timing would be perfect before Tom and I’s reunion.

Godsend.

Anyway, doing a half marathon at Disney, was one of the coolest things I have done. Anyone who is a runner should definitely consider a Disney race for the experience. Throughout the race they had staged Disney characters that you could stop and take pictures with-or just enjoy as you run through as we did. I only stopped at the castle-eek! It was also really energizing to run through the parks midway through the race. It made running 13.1 miles just a little easier-not much but a little. Running through the castle was certainly magical. I felt famous with all the cameras and people lined up to cheer you on. Total ego boost.

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It was a great experience, and it was awesome to see all the costumes and creativity. It was just a fun and silly weekend all around. Like I said, perfect distraction. And who doesn’t love dressing up in tutus with close friends, and thousands of total strangers?

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So here’s to being Glinn again, or still.

Moving on.

This craft was really easy to make. You need scrapbook paper, frames, velcro tape, and a dry erase marker.

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I already had scrapbook paper that had the planner design, so that made that part easy.

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You just put the paper in the frame. Then put a piece of velcro tape on the frame and the marker. I bought the markers that have little erasers at then end to make it as easy as possible, but you don’t need these.

Then, there you have a dry erase calendar.

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Super easy but fun gifts!

The next couple posts will be about Tom’s return home! I just need to find some crafts to do for them.

Hakuna Matata

This weekend, a couple friends of mine traveled with me to the closest military base. We went to explore the Post Exchange/commissary and see what we could find. In my head, I thought it was going to be this extravagant grocery store that I had seen at Ft. Campbell. And that turned out to be not so much the case. This base does not have quite the same amenities as bases I have been to before. The PX was basically a gas station convenience store. I got some good candy, and Linda and Melissa both got a Camelbak that says “hydrate or die.”  We also drove around the base for about 5 minutes seeing all the sites. It just boggles my mind to think how different this was from Ft. Campbell and Benning, which are both massive bases. But if you think about it, they each have different jobs and demands on their soldiers, so it makes sense. I am sad that I was not able to find my Odwalla juices for a dollar though.

Even though I was not able to do the shopping that I wanted, it was still nice to share the experience with friends. I was able to blend my two worlds for once.

I have been watching the series FRIENDS lately. It is absolutely hysterical. I highly recommend it. (I am also convinced that Tom and I are a real life version of Monica and Chandler.) This show is all about the bonds of friendship and how as a group they can get through anything together. The iconic theme song has a pretty awesome message too-“I’ll be there for you.”

My friends here in Ames are one big reason why I have not moved yet. Having this support system already in place is a Godsend. Whether they realize it or not, they give me a reason to get off the couch and out of my apartment. They help me relieve stress and keep my mind off the fact that I haven’t heard from Tom in 24 hours. Just being around them makes me not worry. It’s when I am alone that I freak out the most, like for example today on the drive to volleyball. I started realizing that I have not talked to Tom since Friday, so what does my brain do? It starts envisioning military personnel standing outside my door waiting to tell me the worst. Oh or every time someone has called in the last week for political garb, I panic when I see the unknown number calling me to tell me something has happened to my husband. So I apologize for anyone who has called me wanting me to vote for so and so. I have been pretty short to them because I get so worked up before I answer the phone. Whoops. I also have been having nightmares that they wont be able to find me since I live in a residence hall to tell me anything. See how easy the mind wonders? So having people to distract me is so helpful. They help keep my life normal.

I know that I would have people to reach out to in Ft. Campbell, but the decision to stay here was obviously the right one for now. My life kind of got turned upside down in some ways in September. If I would have moved, everything would have been unfamiliar, and I would have become a shut-in. It’s been comforting to be here in Ames where I have a place and people to lean on already. I didn’t have to work at establishing that once Tom left. Ames has been my constant. The friends that I have here are great, and I am not quite ready to start friend dating again. They don’t teach you how to do that in school.

I know that the move is coming someday soon, and I am sure I will forge on and make new life-long friends. But for now, Ames people are my security blanket.

What a great segue! My blanket project for this entry is something that has been a long time coming. I started this blanket a year ago. I got carried away with the size. Unfortunately, I still stink at judging the length/width with the first couple lines. But by the time I realize how big the silly thing will be, I have already invested too much time to dare pull it all out.

Anyway, my intention was for this blanket to be a gift for my previous graduate student, Tiffany. We had been together for two years and had begun our Ames journey together. She graduated last May, so you can see how I failed meeting my goal to have it done by the time she graduated. I will also defend myself that it took longer than I had planned because you have to change the yarn on every row, which takes more time. I also had to really pay attention to the pattern on this one, which again took more time.

I did a crochet boucan pattern. Here is the video I used as a guide.

This woman is awesome at teaching crochet stitches. I have watched several of her videos, and she breaks it down really well for you.

Even though it has been a rough time getting it done, I would say that this turned out to be one of my favorites. It looks pretty snazzy! Go Cyclones!

Grace doesn’t like it when I put the blankets on the ground to take photos. She has to inspect it. And see what I mean about it being massive?
Here is the pattern up close.

In parting, they say “keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” I say that’s silly. Why would I want to hang out with people who make me miserable? Friends keep you going even when you are at your lowest low. They are there to remind you of “Hakuna matata.” No worries, we got you.