Tuesday, September 22, 2015


Hey all, and Happy Fall!!!

As you may know, I turned 28 at the beginning of this week.  (Fun fact: this also meant, as my mom reminded me, my birthday fell on the same day of the week that I was actually born.)

I don't think I've admitted this super-publicly, but recently, I've been forgetting how old I am.  For real.  I felt so silly when I had to do the math a couple times over one night when I was explaining to Bryant about forgetting my age earlier in the day.  I don't know what the deal is...and while trying to figure it out, it has occurred to me that the ages between 25 and 30 (or maybe 29) seem to get smushed together.  They're just kind-of there...as placeholders after the 25 milestone...while you wait to turn 29 so you can prepare to enter into your 30's.  Can anyone relate?  Maybe this is just a way for me to justify the fact that I legitimately thought I was 28 for a time during my 27th year.  Ha.

Anyway, I thought I'd share a bit about how I rang in Year 28:

As you also may know, I've signed up for approx. 52,873 birthday/rewards clubs...which means I receive approx. 52,873 e-mails with special birthday offers in the weeks surrounding my birthday.  You'd better believe I capitalize on as many of those as possible...esp. the "no purchase required" ones!  (And you should, too!)  So, birthday festivities began well in advance of the actual day with this gem:

The night before my birthday, my sweet husband organized a surprise birthday dinner!  I was under the impression just he and I would be enjoying supper "out," but when we got to the restaurant, I was greeted by these sweet people!
There was even a complimentary birthday dessert!
They used cocoa for the stencil...we were wondering, too.  ;-)

My hubby got to spend nearly the whole day with me the next day!
We got an early start on the birthday festivities with Scooter's and a new donut shop.
The donuts were enjoyed at a new-to-us park and were followed by some exploring.
Those are locks on the bridge!
We didn't come prepared to leave our own...but maybe someday.  ☺
Also found some railroad tracks...
...and there was a train coming!
(Don't worry...it wasn't actually coming right then.)
Our next stop was the beautiful Overland Park Arboretum.
I think idyllic is the word.  ☺

(Not pictured: a bench by a babbling brook where we stopped to read for a bit, as well as a bird-watching cottage.)
These were little tiny wooden houses placed in an old tree's trunk!
Lunch: self-explanatory. ☺
There just happened to be a cupcake shop next to Chick-fil-a, so we decided we'd better try it.
As luck would have it, they give free birthday cupcakes!
Pumpkin Spice Latte and Choc. Chip Cookie Dough were our flavors of choice.
Bryant had a dentist appt. in the afternoon, then came home with flowers and made me a delicious steak dinner...
...and cake!
This is an aerial view of it with candles (2 and 8 for 28) - it's called Earthquake Cake...and it was so yummy!
I felt so celebrated by so many people!  Calls, cards, gifts, and wishes came rolling in all day!  I'll admit that a good percentage of the cards I received had cats on them...
Pretty sure if there was a literal key to my heart, it would be a cat-shaped Target gift card...or a tiny red vase...or a childhood-favorite snack mix with mini Doritos in it...
Received this pretty package in the mail...complete with a baby whisk!
This is what was inside!  Can't wait to put it to good use!  ☺
Not pictured: the gift of in-tune music in the form of piano tuning!  Hooray!!

Also not pictured: a sweet, thoughtful, precious gift from my husband.  Maybe I'll tell you more about it, someday.  ☺

I really can't put into words how thankful I am for yesterday and all it brought.  I never expect much (if anything) for my birthday, but I always receive beyond my wildest dreams...and not just in the form of tangible gifts.  The friendship, thoughtfulness, and love shown to me are more than I could ever ask for...and it all means so very much.

A great big "THANK YOU!" to all who helped make the day so special.  And an even bigger thank you to my husband.  He made me feel so celebrated and cherished all day.  I'm so very thankful for him and all he does!  I won't gush anymore, right now, but gosh, I love him!

Thanks for letting me share with you all!  I hope you are well and enjoying the last few days of September - can you believe it's almost over?!


Favorites of the day:
Post-it notes
the opportunity to attend a great piano teachers' workshop and win this door prize:
Pretty fitting, huh?

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Life is grand!

Hi.  ☺

We're going to skip the small talk today, if you don't mind.

Based on this post's title, any guesses about what the news I'm soooo excited to share with you might be?

The short story:

The long(er) story, which happened in about 3 days' time:
My sweet husband had been wanting to get a piano for our home since I moved in.  We had the keyboard I'd had growing up, but I hadn't had regular access to a real piano (the one I teach on at the community center is electric) for quite some time.  So, he'd been looking for one on Craigslist for months.  We'd been to look at quite a few in person, but they were mostly duds or over-priced.  We originally planned to find a cheap, smaller "starter" piano for the sake of our budget and our little starter home.   Buuut, then he found one that we both felt really good about - an antique walnut 6-1/2' grand that had recently been re-keyed...and they were only asking $500 for it.  I was trying not to get my hopes up about it, but we both felt better about it than any of the previous "potentials."  

Ultimately, we went to look at it, it was in really great shape, and we said, "Yes!"  AND, after sharing our story and asking what their lowest price might be, we got a hefty "newlywed/piano player & teacher" discount!  They were very nice people.  The piano was a family heirloom, but no one had room for it, anymore.   I think they were just glad to see it going to a good home and to know that it will be played often and loved lots!

Bryant and a coworker did a ton of research about how to go about moving a grand piano, and in an evening's time, we were able to gather the necessary materials to prepare for the process.  I have such an intelligent, handy, helpful husband!  (It's worth mentioning that among all this piano hoopla, he also spent hours and hours working on his car, yet maintained his excitement about our piano!)

Come moving day, we rented a U-Haul, and my awesome husband and ever-helpful dad made the trip to pick up our grand piano!  I stayed back to make final preparations (and keep my slight anxiety about the whole process at home...haha).  We called up some great friends who provided much-needed muscles and help with the truck-to-home transition.

It all went so well - we managed to catch the window between afternoon rain showers, nothing got dropped, everything fit, and it just went so smoothly!  I attribute that to my thoughtful husband's preparedness, my dad's advice and prior experience, and our amazing helpers!

Here are a few moments from the day:
And they're off!
(Unfortunately, we didn't miss the rain in the morning, so we were all soaked after picking up and loading stuff into the truck!)
They gave us a bigger truck than we paid for, so there was plenty of room!
A perfect fit!
I had the privilege of unloading the first piece!
(Just to be clear, it's the lid prop, not a gun!  haha)
Yes, I was the photographer.  The muscly men did a great job!
Debut performance!

So, just to give you a couple before/after glimpses:
Isn't it so beautiful?!?!?!

It's really in amazing shape for being almost 80 years old.  As far as we know, it just needs a good tuning.  Of course, there are probably lots of other things we could do to restore it to it's 1936 glory, but for now, we're going to love it just as it is!

I can't begin to express how thankful I am about this.  I'd say it's a dream come true, but I never dared to dream I'd have my very own grand piano to play whenever I want to - especially at this time in our life!  A huge thank you to my husband for making it happen!

Wanna know the kicker?  I've always loved playing pieces by Jim Brickman (a famous piano composer/performer).  The first piano piece I played for Bryant was "Rocket to the Moon" by Jim Brickman - a piece I've had memorized since the 5th grade.  (This was the piece I played for our piano's debut performance, too - even though it was terribly out-of-tune.)  Anyway, the family we bought the piano from left a couple books in the bench for us.  One was a really interesting Japanese (or perhaps Chinese) version of a beginning John Thompson book they'd gotten for a foreign exchange student once-upon-a-time.  The other?  A Jim Brickman book...that has "Rocket to the Moon" in it.  Just further confirmation that it was meant to be.  ☺

Thanks for reading and for sharing our excitement!  You're welcome to come over to play and/or hear it anytime (after we get it tuned...unless you just can't wait, like us!).  ☺

Grand Piano-ownerly,

Favorites of the day:
my sweet, loving, hard-working husband
our new piano...of course
garden-fresh pesto