Catch Up

So much catching up to do! It has been far too long since I have posted.  WHERE HAS MAY GONE?!?  Let’s see what’s happened these past few weeks…

Over Mother’s Day Weekend, Momma and I ran the Komen Race for the Cure 5k.  We were interviewed by the local paper, and our article showed up a couple days later.  The race itself was not a great one for me, I was feeling slow and tired, and Momma definitely had to push me through.  We finished together (which we rarely do during a race), and even held hands over the finish line.

It was one of my favorite races, just for the fact that Mom and I did it together, and without her, I wouldn’t have finished like I did, and would not have had the memory of crossing the line together.

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When the weather was nice a couple weeks ago, James and I took Jasper outside to get some fresh air.  When Jasper was little, we took him outside on his leash quite often.  Since he’s gotten older, we don’t take him out as much, but he still goes out on occasion.  He was on edge, and didn’t want to stay out long.  We also take him out in the car every once in a while, I’m hoping that he’ll continue to tolerate car rides as he grows older.

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The weekend after Mother’s Day, we were invited to my cousin’s high school graduation in Salina. She is my second youngest cousin, and it was nice to see a lot of family I haven’t seen in a while.  The following 4 pictures are from the graduation festivities.  It was a beautiful day, couldn’t have asked for a nicer weekend for a party!  Congrats on being a High School grad, Jennifer! Good luck at KU next year!

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My youngest cousin Ava and me

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Aunt Debi, me, and Momma

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Beautiful Jennifer, Congrats GRAD!

This past weekend was MY BIRTHDAY! I turned 28 on Sunday, and we spent the weekend relaxing, celebrating, and spending time with family.  Most years, my birthday falls right around Memorial Day, and I was happy to have a 4 day birthday weekend this year. James got me some absolutely gorgeous lilies and roses.  He also got me a lovely shopping spree for running stuff (YES)!  With the long weekend, we were able to see my grandparents, my grandpa, James’ parents, my parents, James’ grandma, and James’ aunt and uncle, all in town.  It was really nice to see everyone and have some time to chat and catch up.

I also got a beautiful dish set, an owl candle (I do love my owls), a gift card to get my nails done, and a pretty scarf.  It was a great birthday, couldn’t have asked for a nicer time!  On Sunday, my mom and I were actually running at the exact minute I was born 28 years ago, at 11:33 am.  I know you really wanted to know that, but it was neat to be WITH mom at that special minute, in particular.  Today, I got a package in the mail, my sister Kristen bought me my first Oiselle gear! I got a Thirteen point One shirt.  Thanks sisser!

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Momma, Shay puppy, me, and Daddy

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My awesome Oiselle shirt that Kristen got me for my birthday!

Also over the weekend, my best friend Michelle was in town to see family.  She lives in Alabama, and I only get to see her once or twice a year.  She was able to go to Mom and Dad’s on Monday and we made S’more’s over the fire pit.  It was the best end to the long weekend.  We got to catch up, I got to hear her ca-razy Southern accent, and just BE in the moment.

Miss you already, Bug!

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Mom, Michelle, and me

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A lot is going on this coming month or two as well, James and I are working hard and feverishly on getting all our ducks in a row to move to KC.  Job interviews have started, and more are continuing.  We have found an apartment, and are trying to figure out the timing of everything.  Soon, we will be living in KC.  It is very scary, very exciting, and pretty nerve-wracking.  I do not like not knowing what is going on, or how everything is going to work out.  I know it will be a great opportunity for us in KC, but I will definitely miss “home” and the people here, especially my Mom and Dad.

What will you be doing this summer?

Cinda the Elephant

A week ago, James and I were very lucky, and were able to feed, pet, and get up close and personal with an elephant.

First, let me back up and explain what’s going on.  For Valentine’s Day this year, James gifted me an “Elephant Kiss” from the Sedgwick County Zoo, which means the elephants had paint on the end of their trunks, and “kissed” the canvas, leaving a gorgeous and totally unique art piece.  My aunt, Debi, volunteers at the zoo, and was able to set it up for us to meet the artist herself.

My “Elephant Kiss” print was done by the elephant Cinda.  Cinda is about 42 years old, and has lived at the Sedgwick County Zoo for most of her life.  She and her elephant buddy Stephanie are about the same age, and were both brought from Africa to reside at the zoo.  The zoo-keepers told us that Stephanie is the smaller elephant, but she is the boss, and though Cinda is larger, she is pretty timid.

We got to pet, feel, and feed Stephanie, as Cinda was being weighed (monthly weigh-ins to ensure the elephants aren’t gaining/losing too much!).  Then we got to pose with our “Elephant Kiss” artist, Cinda.  It truly was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I cannot express how excited I was to meet both of the elephants!

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It was amazing to see and feel first hand how gentle and intelligent these great animals were.  We watched their training, which is done daily, to keep their minds sharp and to keep them active.  The keepers said they know about 80 “tricks,” including “dance,” “march,” “sit,” and “salute.”  We only saw a few minutes of training, but the elephants are very smart.

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James feeding Stephanie. Both elephants ate a mixture of potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, and apples.

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Selfie with James, Debi, and me, photo bombed by Cinda the elephant!

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The Artist herself, Cinda the elephant!

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Cinda and me!

The zoo-keepers surprised us and also offered for us to meet and feed BiBi the Rhino! I was nervous at first… a few years ago I was partially sprayed by a rhino at a different zoo (not a fun experience!)  Turns out BiBi was super nice, and gentle, and we fed her a bucket of bananas.

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The entire day was just amazing.  After we fed and met the elephants and rhino, we saw the penguins get fed (it was World Penguin Day), and we saw the orangutans and chimpanzees that Debi volunteers with every week.

I have always loved the zoo, and it was such a unique experience to do something that not everyone can do.  It is a memory I will cherish, and I look forward to taking our children to the zoo someday and hopefully they will share the same love of animals that I do!

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James even bought me a stuffed elephant, and I named her Cinda, of course.

If you ever get a chance to meet an elephant, TAKE IT!! It was a fantastic experience, and I’m so happy I was able to do it with James and Debi.

Have you ever gotten to feed or meet a rare animal?