Getaway: Omni Scottsdale at Montelucia

If you follow me on IG (@MrsKansasMommy) you probably know I recently tagged along with my husband last minute on a business trip to Scottsdale.

We got up at 4:30am to make it to the airport. Safely on board, we pulled away from the gate, only to have the captain come out (he had a Mike Ditka mustache and was wearing a huge wedding band full of diamonds, which I found noteworthy) to tell us that the plane is “broken” so we are going back, deplaning, and getting on another plane. However, the delivery was infused with a lot of jokes and was unnecessarily lengthy. You could tell that in his head he was like, “pause for laughter…these people are loving me!” Ugh.

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Finally in the air on the way to Phoenix, Kevin worked  while I drank 2 bloody Mary’s and had pleasant xanax-laced dreams for three hours while I listened to the Hamilton soundtrack. (OBSESSED!!!)

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A #JoeStrong Nation

Spiderweb

Photo Via JMeyersForeman

If you could illuminate a map of the sadness across the world tonight, I think it would look like a spiderweb; interconnected and gleaming with energy emanating from one source. We lost our friend Joe. He is gone and we are left here, each feeling alone and at the same time united in our grief, united in our memories of him, sympathy for his mother who has lost too much in her life, love for his wife and child who will carry his legacy in their hearts and on their backs forever.

When he fought, we tried to fight too in the only way we knew how. We feebly sent thoughts and prayers and pictures and cards and messages of hope in every form. We visited and put on worried smiles. We wanted to rescue him but we didn’t know how. When he grew weary, we grew weary with him. He is gone but he has left a legacy of light and bravery in the world that is equaled only by the grace, dignity and courage shown by his wife Amanda.

Together, they weathered a devastating storm. By all accounts, everything should be ruined from the torrential rain and the gale-force winds, but when you look at what is left, a beautiful Mira-cle baby, a legacy of strength, a community of people aching to do something, anything to make things more bearable, you can start to see the light coming through the droplets that have collected in our web. We are forever connected by one incredible man.  He made us feel welcome, safe, funny, important, and loved.

To his family, there is so much to be said and yet nothing at all to say.

The lumps in our throats are nothing in comparison to their feelings, but here we are, hearts hurting and wanting to help.

So I want to end this night with an excerpt from a poem by Alan Seeger which is said to have been President JFK’s favorite poem. It’s in honor of our friend who faced his life with bravery and humor, even as it was being unraveled out from under him, in honor of his family who will always hold their heads high knowing what a meaningful life he led, and to anyone reading this who has been touched by their story. May we all be so brave and strong as Joe Clark.

I Have a Rendezvous with Death

I have a rendezvous with Death

At some disputed barricade,

When Spring comes back with rustling shade

And apple-blossoms fill the air-

I have a rendezvous with Death

When Spring brings back blue days and fair.

God knows ’twere better to be deep

Pillowed in silk and scented down,

Where love throbs out in blissful sleep

Pulse nigh to pulse and breath to breath,

Where hushed awakenings are dear…

But I’ve a rendezvous with Death

At midnight in some flaming town,

When Spring trips north again this year,

And I to my pledged word am true,

I shall not fail that rendezvous.

Florida Amanda Wedding 013

This sweet picture of Amanda and Joe with my Avery was taken two nights before their wedding, exactly three years ago tonight. I love the happiness in their smiles. I will always think of him this way.

Goodnight, sweet friends.

Orlando Sentinal Obituary

www.CocktailsAndChemo.com

Sunshine when skies are gray

To say the sky looks gray to me today is an understatement. When I get a moment to myself, I cry. This is why.

Leave it to my kids to make me laugh when I feel like sobbing. This morning I was in the basement watching The Mindy Project on Hulu and drinking my coffee (with no less than 6 different interruptions) when I saw my 1 year old Savannah toddle over to her 3 year old big sister Avery in their play area and hand her an ever-so-coveted doll. In response Avery non-chalantly said, “Thanks B*tch.”

I wish I could say I was shocked, but this is not the first time that has happened. Playing it cool, I said, “Oops, AJ, that’s an adult word.” Sweetly she said “Sorry, Momma, is that a bad word?” My (self-serving) philosophy is that we don’t have “good words” and “bad words” because frankly I don’t think cussing is really that bad as far as vices go. Also my taste in music is questionable for the toddler set and we have Sirius radio so nothing is censored. Again, I explained to Avery that there are kid words and adult words…

Me: Kid words are words like ‘owie’ and ‘boo boo’. If Daddy got hurt and announced he got a boo boo that would be weird because he’s an adult and it wouldn’t sound appropriate. He would just say he got hurt. Just like it’s not appropriate for you to say the other word.

Avery: So only Britney Spears can say B*tch?

Me: Um, yes, Britney Spears can say whatever she wants. Because she’s an adult. And because “it’s Britney, b*tch.” (Okay I didn’t say the last part but it was tempting.)

 

Silly Avery

My sunshine when skies are gray.

 

 

Cocktails and Chemo 2014: A Cardboard Cut Out and a Crotch Shot (But not the kind you’re thinking.)

Sometimes I post about this topic and I get reflective because I want so badly to help. This is not one of those posts. It ends in a bar crawl with a giant cardboard cut out.

Last weekend I flew to Indy for the 2nd annual Cocktails and Chemo Fundraiser/Silent Auction for my college friends Joe and Amanda (read their blog HERE). Since they have a new baby and Joe is currently undergoing treatment in Florida they couldn’t make it to the event, but my two besties Lauren and Jessica both met me in Indy along with their husbands and some other friends from college.

I LOVE Indianapolis. I love the whole vibe of it. I love that it’s kind of rustic and cowboyish and urban at the same time. I love that it’s a hip city full of midwestern values. I love that somehow it seems really old but still really clean. I just feel inspired when I’m there. I took myself on a little walk and snapped a few of the beautiful little quirks I saw. Then I stopped to take a picture of a gorgeous old abandoned church and SCREAMED when I noticed a homeless man sleeping 2 feet away from me on the front step. Reeeeal cool, Emily. So cosmopolitan! He was probably like, that girl is a total A-hole. Anyway, I walked away without getting the shot. It strikes me that it probably would have been a really cool photo if an actual photographer had taken it, but when it’s just me and my iPhone I guess I’m more of a tourist than an artist. 

We all stayed at Lauren’s parents condo in downtown Indianapolis. Lauren’s mom has a knack for decorating, as you can see from a couple of these pictures of the condo living area. Tres chic!

The second I saw all of these people I’ve known since college I was instantly transported back to that fun, warm, nostalgic place and all the memories came flooding back. We spent the afternoon setting up the silent auction at the church gym where the fundraiser was held. Amanda’s friends from High School had pitched in to coordinate different restaurants bringing small bites, the whole place was decorated so joyfully, and Amanda’s dad’s band set up. It felt so good to hug Amanda’s mom and grandma and just be there to show our love and support.

Lauren was in charge of the silent auction and I was completely in awe of how many amazing prize packages and one of a kind items she pulled together. She is a business woman, mommy, wife, and basically a rockstar and one of the most generous people I know. My favorite thing was this painting of Mira’s Tree that Joe replicated for the silent auction. I tried to get it for Avery’s room but I was outbid at the very end!

Someone made this awesome step and repeat where people could pose with a cardboard cut out of Joe, Amanda and Mira. It was half comforting and half creepy to “see” them there as you glanced across the room, but everyone had a blast taking pictures with them!

The party started and it was a huge success. I worked the check in table for a while and then danced the rest of the night away as Amanda’s Dad’s band played classic party music (think Earth Wind and Fire!) We were having so much fun being silly that during a particularly snazzy dance move, I threw my hands up in the air, then straight back down behind me (kind of like Flashdance…but not at all sexy) however at that precise moment a man was walking by and my jazz hand made contact with his jazz crotch. I don’t know who was more shocked, but Jessica’s husband Tim saw it happen and he and I stood there, speechless, as the man hobbled by while grabbing his crotch protectively and maintaining eye contact with me the entire time. His wife trailed behind, also glaring at me. The only place I should ever dance is alone in front of a used-car lot, because I look like this:

When all was said and done, someone had the brilliant idea to put the cardboard cut out in the car and take it back to the condo, where it then ended up going on a bar crawl down Mass Ave. I think the next set of pictures speaks for itself. What I will say is that it’s nice to know that no matter how old we get, how much life goes by, we can still be us. I can’t remember the last time I laughed so hard or felt so nostalgic for my 20 year old self. However, as I said to Tommy before we left, we are 30 years old and we are STILL doing this. Still having fun. Still being ridiculous. And still waking up on Lauren’s parents’ couches. It doesn’t matter how many years go by, when you find people who really get you and love you for who you are, time stands still when you are together.

 

 

 

The only thing that could have made this night better is to have the REAL Clark family with us! Baby Mira included, if there’s one thing I’m sure of, that girl knows how to work a room!

 

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#Joestrong Day

Here are our #JOESTRONG pictures for my friends at CocktailsandChemo.com. Please show your support by taking a picture in your blue shirt and don’t forget to use the hashtag: #JoeStrong so he can see all the love people are sending his way. (I’m told the actual chemo process is pretty boring so let’s all send him some fun pictures to make the day fly by!) Here you go, Joe!

 

 
 

#ToeStrong!

Obligatory Selfie!

And this one is specifically to make you laugh. We love you Joe!